D-day arrived this morning. When I woke up it was still not 100% whether I was going to make it offshore or not due to all the passes required etc.
First thing on the agenda was to go to the bank. I had opened new bank accounts last week, but didn't know what the account numbers where or the IBAN etc. I needed to get this details to finance for the payroll close, otherwise I would probably have to use UK accounts and didn't have all the various info for those an given the time differences and different work week it might have been a struggle to get things for the deadline.
Anyway, I took my offshore bag with me this morning just in case I wouldn't have enough time to go back to the apartment to drop the car etc. and headed off to the office. Parked in the multi storey and then walked to the bank. It wasn't open for another 30 mins so just sat outside and watched the rush hour go by. I did see the bank agent in the banks own car park so he knew I was in to see him. At 7.30am on the dot the bank opened and in I went. Just as I went in the agent was coming out to get me, so at least they are on the ball. Wouldn't expect that in the UK!
In I went and the agent went to see if the various cards Had arrived, but they weren't due until that afternoon. He thought I had received the 'pickup' text message and was a bit confused. Once I explained that all I wanted was the account numbers as I was heading away that afternoon it all made sense to him.
Walked back to the office, and then went and got the relevant form off the system filled it in and sent it off to the relevant party in finance.
At this point I bumped into the travel advisor who handed me a temporary QP pass, a local vantage card. She then took me to get my PPE issued and a travel bag. Hat, ear defenders, safety glasses, tinted safety glasses, gloves, safety shoes and two pairs of coveralls. One thing that immediately stood out was how lightweight the coveralls were compared to North Sea. Maybe a sign of the temperature to come!
As we were checking I had everything she noticed I did not have the original plastic survival certificate card and only had a printed copy. She said I would need a signed dispensation from the ops director. She printed out the form filled it in a stamped it and then we headed up to get it signed. He was in a meeting with the ops superintendent and neither her or the department assistant wanted to go and disturb them. I said I'll go in as we were in a rush and needs must. Knocked on the door, walked in, made an apology, got the form signed and left. That's it ready to go now.
Picking up my kit bag and heading for the lift, checked my email on my phone and noticed that finance had replied and said they needed a wet inked signed and scanned copy of the bank details, so had to go and log back into the system print, sign, scan and send the details. Good job I had looked at my mail!
Now I'm off, down the lift to the basement, jumped in the company bus round to the multi storey and into the car back to the apartment.
Into the apartment and dropped off my mobile phones, checked nothing was accidentally left out that could go off (although I'm sure the cleaners would sort it out) and phoned a taxi to take me to the heliport.
Dropped the car key into reception as one of my colleagues was going to use it while I was away as he doesn't have his car yet. Then waited for the taxi. He arrived on time and off we went.
Traffic wasn't too bad and took about 30 minutes. Arriving at the heliport, I headed in not sure what to expect. I had chatted with one of the guys on the platform the night before and he gave me a run down on what to expect, but over the phone descriptions don't always give you the same picture in your mind as actual. Anyway, walked in and the medical desk to left is where you fill out a recent travel declaration and the medic takes your temperature. Think this was introduced following the Ebola issues. After this just sat and waited for the flight to be called. Got speaking to a guy also from the UK who was heading out to one of the drill rigs, but was one the same flight, so he also filled me in on some other bits and bobs. Check in was called, although not very clear, as was being called through security. Bags checked, safety tickets and pass was checked but despite the beep from the body scanner there was no frisk. There was a bit of chaos at this point as there were two flights to one rig and some people got mixed up. More by luck I ended up in the right gate as my flight was double stopping via the rig then to my platform.
There were 11 on the flight (seats 12), and one of the ground crew put on the safety briefing, then handed out the life jackets. It was time to go and we headed out to the helicopter. It felt extremely odd having no survival suit, no EBS and just wearing jeans and a polo shirt. The helicopter was 3 rows of 4, the passenger behind the pilot also wears a head set to talk to the pilot and rely any concerns or instructions in both directions. It was surprisingly comfy. And the chairs were better than the UK flights and certainly had more cushion. Taking off we flew over Doha and it gave a completely different view of the city, and made the roads make more sense and even managed to work out and spot the apartment. After about 15 minutes we were over the sea and I promptly fell asleep to only be woken when we were approaching the first stop.
Stopped at the rig, 9 off 8 on, then over to my new home. Gets off and followed the other guy down to admin meets the medic, heliadmin and the guy standing in as OIM who I was taking over from. Watched the induction videos went for a walk to the accommodation facilities and muster points then went and met a couple of others, had a general chat, evening meeting then dinner.
I was now needing my bed so headed to the cabin, and had to check if we were wifi'd up and could get online. Needless to say the answer is yes, hence this update!
And that brings a close the first day. Tomorrow get out and have a walk around my 4 new platforms, I'll give the flare platform a miss though. I can see it from a distance that's enough!
No complaints so far....suffice to say it's different to what I've been on in the North Sea. Warmer that's for sure. Must be before the induction video says in the summer to drink 5 litres a day and add salt to your food...
Until the next time!