Category Archives: GECO SNAPPER

5 Best Flashbacks on the Geco Snapper; a Dedication to a Late Friend

Roosevelt (bottom) and Manny with Infamous Poses; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

Roosevelt’s Favorite Seas – Calm and Tranquil; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

I want to dedicate this post to a great friend, awesome colleague, and an amazing father – Roosevelt.  I can never thank him enough for the great memories that we had onboard. He really was an inspiration to me. I thoroughly enjoyed the time that we had spent together and he made every moment precious. He was an incredibly sweet guy and he will always be missed. His smile always warmed my heart and his memory will forever remain in each of the crew on the Geco Snapper. May he rest in peace and live on in each of our hearts. 

Jim, Roosevelt, Brian, Tall (Nickname), and Smiley (Nickname); Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

After spending 8 lovely weeks onboard the Geco Snapper it was time to go home – or so I thought. The boat was headed into Galveston, Texas for some minor repairs; I thought that I was riding in with them. Instead, I was requested to go on the Gilavar (more about this ship in next post). Honestly, it did not hit me until the day that I was getting off the Geco Snapper on how close I became not only to the boat, but also to the crew itself. I had worked with two separate crews during my time onboard. Each crew brought a unique character to the boat and made the Geco Snapper really come alive. Sure, I was locked in the shower on the very first day that I arrived onboard – “How to Cope with Steamy Situations; Helpful Hints to Improve Your Breathing,” but even with its tattered floors, small restrooms, and strangely odd odor it was still home to me. After all, nobody’s perfect and this includes boats! Looking back I can still see the crew’s smiling faces every morning, smell breakfast that was being cooked in the galley at dawn, taste the freshness in the bread that was recently made, hear the crew laughing as they joked with each other, and feel the softness of my comforter as I wrapped myself inside it at night. I really had felt welcomed here and it was very hard for me to leave. Without further ado, I present to you my top 5 best flashbacks on the Geco Snapper

Phenomenal Sunset with Oil Rig on Horizon; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
Cotton Candy Sunset with a Taste of Orange; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008
5 Best Flashbacks on Geco Snapper

Powerful Clouds; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008
Drillship Entering Clouds; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
Bright Clouds Align the Sky; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
1.  Eating a smorgasbord of American food:

I love various cultural foods; since my time on the Viking Vision I had an assortment of Norwegian dishes (including rice pudding) to choose from – “Embracing Norwegian Culture; Hyggelig å møte deg.” I enjoyed trying different foods, but nothing beats a good ole American hamburger with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Since I was working onboard with an American crew and on an American boat I had my fill of plenty dishes of American food. Most of the guys lived in the South and they added their own flavor of Cajun to the mix. I had the best gumbo onboard; I never had gumbo until then. The guys were really serious about their cooking and it definitely showed in the preparations of their meals. The taste was wonderful; I do not recall ever a bad dish! One of the ultimate meals that I thoroughly enjoyed were the “once a month” King crab legs! I was that girl in elementary school that would get excited if my mom decided to take me to “Red Lobster” for my birthday dinner. Maybe it was the “small town mentality,” but I absolutely loved this tradition. Of course, most individuals will tell you this is imitation lobster or not really your “typical” seafood restaurant. I never really knew what I missing until I started working offshore. Working offshore definitely has many perks, but the best one in relation to food is that it is, in fact, the freshest that you have ever tasted. The boats and ships are able to have fresh produce or provisions as sailors call them, come onboard. If I am really lucky I will have the chance to fish for our dinner that night (seems to only happen in international waters; more on this later). At that moment as I was excitedly eating my King crab legs and dipping them slightly in butter, I knew that I could totally get used to this lifestyle! Kudos to them for making the best American dishes that I have ever tasted; it simply was a great experience onboard. For this reason alone, they will always be remembered as, “the Awesome American Boat.”

Golden Sunset with Supply Vessel Pegasus; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

Pink Sunset; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008
2.  Having the best birthday surprise:

As luck had it I was getting off the Geco Snapper in the early morning to transfer to the Gilavar. That particular morning happened to also be my 25th birthday. The first week that I was onboard the galley guys, Dave and Keith, had asked me to try the dessert that they created before dinnertime. I remember that it was vanilla cake with colored icing and sprinkles on the top. I do not favor the original “birthday cake,” but I did sample a small piece in the common courteously that I was asked to. It was okay, probably would have better if I actually liked cake (exception Dairy Queen Ice Cream Cake). Afterwards, the guys asked me what I thought of their dessert. Without hurting their feelings, I told them that it was good, but that I preferred apple cobbler any day of the week. I did not think much of this conversation until we fast forward to the morning of my birthday. It was like any regular morning, but then I noticed the date and instantly did a “happy dance!” It was my birthday and I was able to view an incredible sunrise to welcome the joyous day. Like every morning I walked downstairs and greeted the galley as I filled my mouth with a couple of Cheerios. The guys were grinning from ear to ear, more so than usual. They told me to wait right there for a second as they had to go check on something. As I stood there waiting a delicious aroma of cobbler tickled my nose. All of a sudden a cobbler in a pie dish was presented right in front of me. I knew exactly what it was at first sight and I was tempted to take a piece. The guys enthusiastically expressed that they were not able to get me a “gift,” but thought that I would settle for apple cobbler instead. Of course, I quickly agreed that this was a far better choice. The guys asked me for me to take the entire apple cobbler with me on my voyage to the other ship if I could not eat it this morning. Long story short, I had a several pieces, offered the rest to the crew (which they willing took), and saved one piece for my trip to the Gilavar. Material objects like presents do not matter when your friends are there to accompany you. I would have been just as happy with or without the apple cobbler made for my special day. My stomach definitely thanks them.

Calm Seas with Vast White Clouds; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

Absolute Bliss; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

3.  Being part of the crew:

There is nothing better like the feeling that you fit in somewhere. In this case, I was part of the crew. I could tell you a funny story about every single one of the guys onboard. Earlier I had mentioned Roosevelt. I would love to share his funny story with you. Roosevelt grew up with 3 older sisters and in a small town in Louisiana. He was the only boy and his sisters reminded him of that every day. He was a tough kid who looked up to his sisters and fought off the boyfriends that tried to steal his sister’s hearts. He was really protective and cared about their decisions in life. He tried to be a good role model, like they were to him. He and his sisters always played outdoors, even in the middle of winter. Roosevelt’s favorite drink was apple juice. His sisters decided to play a little prank on him. One day while he was walking home from school he was exhausted and wanted something to drink as soon as he got home. His sisters knew that he would be really thirsty once he arrived home (this was his normal routine). His sisters told him that they had fixed a glass of apple juice for him as he approached the steps to his front door. Excitedly he asked for it and they handed it to him. As his sisters sat there loudly laughing, he was slightly oblivious to what was going on. As he was about to take a huge chug of the apple juice, his sisters screamed, “Ewww that’s our pee!” He quickly dropped the glass as it shattered onto his hard concrete porch. To me this shows how great of a guy he really was, his response to his sisters – “You girls were going to make me drink your urine, yuck! I guess I have to figure out some way to get you all back! Thanks for telling me before I drank the “apple juice;” I maybe would have told you if you were in my shoes!” I absolutely loved Roosevelt’s witty sarcasm and his contagious laughter. I was happy to have shared his last few memories together. I was lucky to have had the chance to meet him in my life. He became one of my best friends on that boat. Every time I reflect of the memories on the Geco Snapper, I think of him.
Ryan and I at Sunset; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008
Hot Abercrombie Model (My Personal Nickname) Winking at Me (He Always Did This!); Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
Dustin, Ryan, and Captain John (from Maine); Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

Roosevelt was a great asset to the crew and so were all of the other guys onboard. Manny and Roosevelt were inseparable; both of the guys were equally awesome. Manny was on the path to become a record producer, while Roosevelt wanted to eventually get his sea time in and become a mate or officer to work on a boat similar to the Geco Snapper. Both of the guys loved the boat, the crew, and the general atmosphere. Quite frankly, I grew to love it too; maybe not as much as them though! Captain John from Maine was amused at my small hand-writing and decided to call my notes “the Benford Chronicles.” He had a great sense of humor and a refreshing perspective towards life. He would tell me stories about his travels, which, in return, would entice my desire to travel more. The galley crew was always in good spirits and as you read earlier, were amazing cooks onboard. Another Captain John (he was from Arkansas) was really cool; he joked around with me quite a bit. He loved to read and would tell me about his current books that he was reading onboard. He had a drive to work on the sea, like I did as well, which is why we got along so well. The seismic department was really laid back. I enjoyed having nightly conversations with the guys, especially Dave and Shaun. These guys would make me laugh for hours; it was nice to have great charisma on the Geco Snapper. We even watched Jeff Dunham’s comedic session of “A Spark of Insanity” several times; which made us uncontrollably laugh – “Swept to the Geco Snapper; A Spark of Insanity.” I met a really awesome medic named Nikki, who would love to tell me about her nomadic international adventures. She and I became really good friends at the time; we still remain in touch to this day. There were a lot of other crew members to mention, but these were my favorite memories with these individuals. I thoroughly adored my time with the crew and thanks to facebook we still remain in contact. 

Juvenile Brown Pelican Rested on Fence; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

The Boys Waving Goodbye; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008

4.  Watching a juvenile Brown pelican on helideck:

For exactly a week, there was a friendly encounter by my definition of “the coolest bird!” I have never viewed a pelican in close quarters, as I did when he rested on the fence located on the helideck. He was quite a photogenic species and seemed to love our attention. He was pretty far away from land, which made me think that he flew hundreds of miles to say “hello” to us on the Geco Snapper. He did hunt at night briefly, which guaranteed that he would survive without our assistance. We were tempted to feed him bread, but we did not want to have him rely on us for his prime food source. Within nature, it is a good rule of thumb to not feed the animals (I am sure we have all seen these signs at the local zoo); however, if you are rescuing a bird from oil or exhaustion then it is okay to provide some nourishment for the avian species. In this particular case, it was best to leave this juvenile Brown pelican alone and let him rest. Consequently, this did not prevent us from taking loads of pictures of him. He was a beautiful bird – after all I had to add this species to my avian collection.  

Juvenile Brown Pelican with Streamer in Background; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008
Golden Sunset with Almighty Oil Rig; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

A few cool facts I learned about Brown pelicans: A) Brown pelicans can live for 15-25 years; B) It can hold approximately 3 gallons of water mixed with fish in its pouch. The air sacks beneath their skin and in their bones helps makes them buoyant; C) Unlike most birds, which warms their eggs with their breasts, pelicans incubate their eggs with their feet. They hold the eggs under the webs that stretch from the front toes to the hind toe, essentially standing on the eggs to warm them. This practice was detrimental to the species when the pesticide DDT was in common use. This pesticide caused thinning of the eggshells resulting in so many broken eggs that the species became endangered; D) A group of pelicans have many collective nouns, including a “brief”, “pod”, “pouch”, “scoop”, and “squadron” of pelicans; E) While the Brown pelican is draining the water from its bill after a dive, gulls often try to steal the fish right out of its pouch. They sometimes even perch on the pelican’s head or back and reach in; and F) Nevertheless, pelicans are often victims of fishing hooks and lines, oil spills, pesticides, guns, arrows, cars, boats, and power lines.

Rough-toothed Dolphin Breaching out of Water; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

The Beautiful Creation of a Mixture of Dark and Light Clouds at Sunset; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
5.  Sighting a Rough-toothed Dolphin for the first time:

Before each project I research which cetaceans I will be encountering during my time offshore. All of my preparations could not have warned me that I would see a Rough-toothed dolphin for the very first time – “The Unexpected Surprise; First Encounter with Rough-toothed Dolphins.” These creatures are definitely unique, but it was because of this specific project that I was able to view numerous pods. After I witnessed my first sighting of this specimen, I gathered some online material and started examining details about this marine mammal. I will never forget the crew’s reaction as I was explaining about the sighting – they were so intrigued to learn more as I was too. I self-taught myself everything there was to know about Rough-toothed dolphins on the Geco Snapper. After the first approach of the Rough-toothed dolphins, I was prepared for the quick identification of the second sighting and so forth.
Violent Clouds Encompassing Oil Rig; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008

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I will never forget the friendships that I made on this project and the memories that I had with Roosevelt. It is caring individuals like Roosevelt who remind me on a daily basis why I love my fabulous, but unique lifestyle.

The Unexpected Surprise; First Encounter with Rough-toothed Dolphins

Rough-toothed Dolphins Quickly Swimming; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
After whales continually greeted me on my adventures offshore, I was rather used to seeing these magnificent creatures randomly pop up everywhere- “My Favorite Bostonian Cetaceans; Dive into a World Different from Our Own” and “The Pursuit for the Sperm Whale; the Great Legend of Moby Dick.” Not to mention on the fabulous projects the Texas Horizon and the Viking Vision, I kept spotting numerously large pods of whales. I had seen several sightings of dolphins, but the whales seemed to outnumber them. At this time, I was ready for a change – maybe a large pod of dolphins will excitedly approach my boat? I wanted a few whales to drop by at the Geco Snapper, but strangely during the full 8 weeks offshore I had none! I grew rather fond of the Sperm whales and kind of scratched my head in confusion where the whales were headed, definitely not in my general direction! Instead I sighted a few sightings of dolphins, which comprised of two specimens: 1) Bottlenose dolphins; and 2) Rough-toothed dolphins. 
You have seen Flipper, right? This delightful creature that had captured our hearts was actually a Bottlenose dolphin. I learned recently that in front of the Dolphin Research Center (DRC) in Grassy Key, Florida (which is just south of Miami) stands a 30-foot concrete statue of a mother and baby dolphin. This was the final location where Mitzi aka Flipper spent her last few days. What did she die from you may ask? A heart attack – I had no idea how similar dolphins really are to humans; they are such incredible beings. Unfortunately, on this project I was not able to photograph any close-ups of Bottlenose dolphins, but lucky for you I have some great shots of these adorable subjects for a later post.
On the other hand, I had several close encounters with Rough-toothed dolphins. My favorite memory of sighting this particular specimen was when I standing on the bow of the boat (the front half of the boat) and was in the mist of examining some Portuguese man of wars drifting with the current. Suddenly, I heard a rather large splash behind me, as I glanced over my shoulder I saw what appeared to be a dolphin breaching out of the water! I quickly sighted 6 more individuals staying in close proximity of the larger adult that had just breached. As I carefully watched this pod of dolphins I was perplexed about what this specimen was. I grabbed my trusty marine mammal book and started skimming through the pages to identify this specimen with the provided pictures. Instantaneously, I noticed the lack of long beak or at least a poorly defined beak, which when I glanced at the book it highlighted that these were Rough-toothed dolphins. I have never laid eyes on Rough-tooth dolphins, not even on Discovery Channel! Excitedly I yelled up to the bridge wings and caught Dustin’s attention. He ran down to where I was standing and helped me document their behavior as they breached a few more times, and then quickly swum towards the horizon. I was happy that they dropped by! The final outcome was that I learned of a new species of dolphin that I have never seen before and I enthusiastically welcome the next encounter!



Educational Background on Dolphins:
Dolphins are carnivorous small, toothed whales.  Dolphins are found in many parts of the world and within various oceans and even in freshwater rivers of Asia, Africa, and South America. Did you know that an Orca or Killer whale is actually a dolphin? Dolphins also belong to the order Cetacea, which means that they are mammals fully adapted to aquatic life. Dolphins are part of the Delphinidae family, which in this particular family consists of highly intelligent aquatic mammals. A common assumption is that dolphins are fish – dolphins are not fish; they are, in fact, mammals. The dolphin refers to the species that have a slender beak-like snout and streamlined body, which have in return developed during the Miocene, nearly 10 million years ago through evolution to enable their ability to swim extremely fast at great speeds.
How many different kinds of dolphins are there you may ask? Surprisingly, there are over 33 different species of dolphins, over 5 distinct species of river dolphins, and over 6 separate species of porpoise. One intriguing fact that I learned in high school while researching information on dolphins were that they can reach speeds of 35mph. 
As we discussed the theories of echolocation – “The Pursuit for the Sperm Whale; the Great Legend of Moby Dick;” we learned a greater understanding of how dolphins actively communicate. To summarize this past segment, echolocations or sonar is the method that a dolphin exercises to locate and distinguish between objects underwater. Cleverly, the dolphin emits a sound and listens to the echo – in response, the powerful clicking noises comes from the melon which subsequently travels through the water, and then bounces off the objects and returns back to the dolphin. What is the importance of the melon you may ask? The melon along with the lower jaw is filled with a jelly-like substance used to amplify sound waves. As a dolphin swims, it moves its head back and forth to scan its surroundings – the echoes it sends out bounce off objects and hit the lower jawbone, which conducts the returning sound waves to the inner ear. By the pitch of the returning echo and the time it takes to get there, the dolphin can determine the shape, size, speed, texture, and density of the object. Shockingly, a dolphin can even view the inside of an object, almost like an x-ray, except it substitutes vision by sound. In addition, echolocation helps the dolphin navigate through the water avoiding predators and other dangerous situations.  
Another form of communication that is utilized by dolphins is recognized as vocalizations. What are vocalizations you may ask? Just like a human has the ability to communicate with noises that are formed into words, dolphins have the same benefits. For instance, vocalizations are representations of various noises that come from their blowholes. On the other hand, signature whistles or squeals that are also practiced by dolphins for communication purposes are a great indication of them expressing their emotional status.
Shocking Facts: Like the whales, the most dangerous predators for dolphins are humans. In fact, all river dolphins are in serious danger of extinction due to pollution and man-made dams. The Whitefin or Baiji dolphin is the world’s rarest cetacean. The current estimation of the population is a staggering 100. With this being said, there is no definite time on how long these creatures will thrive. I have read several articles about the Lipotes vexillier’s survival and sadly enough it does not look promising. 

Rough-toothed Dolphin Breaching; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008


A Detailed Description of a Rough-toothed Dolphin:

The Rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) is commonly mistaken for the Bottlenose, Spinner, and Spotted species, but upon closer inspection observers note unique physical characteristics specific to this animal. When I originally had sighted the pod of dolphins my automatic assumption was that these were Bottlenose dolphins. 

Throughout my sightings of the Rough-toothed dolphins I noticed a number of unique characteristics which defined this marine mammal. Rough-toothed dolphins appear to wear a mask, hood, and cape which range from dark grey to black in color. The markings begin at the tip of the nose and extend back past the dorsal fin. The lips, throat and underbelly are in stark contrast with hues of white to pink. The belly surface is further marked with irregular grey or black splotches. The nose or beak is long, round and gently curves to form a small head. The body is stocky in appearance having dorsal and pectoral fins located further back on the body compared to other dolphins. Additionally, the fins are much larger in size. This playful sea mammal was aptly named for the wrinkled ridges on the crowns of the 22 to 27 large teeth within its mouth

Rough-toothed dolphins prefer deep tropical waters around the world. They are very social creatures not only amongst their own kind, but with other dolphin species, some whales and fish. In fact, the Rough-toothed dolphins have been known to produce hybrid offspring with other dolphin species while in captivity. The Rough-toothed dolphin is known to travel in groups as small as 8 and in communities numbering in the hundreds. Researchers estimate the total worldwide population to be over 150,000 and this dolphin species is not currently considered endangered.


Rough-toothed Dolphins Slowly Swimming; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 05.2008


5 Fun Facts about Rough-toothed Dolphins:

Did you know?
Do they stay within their own species or do they travel with other pods as well? Rough-toothed dolphins have been known to associate with the Bottlenose, Spinner, and Spotted species. A matter of fact, on the Geco Snapper, I observed 2 Rough-toothed dolphins swimming with a pod of Bottlenose dolphins.
Do they attack each other? Like other marine species, Rough-toothed dolphins may show scars resulting from encounters with other marine life such as sharks, squid, and other Rough-toothed dolphins.
Do they sleep? Traveling as much as they do, Rough-toothed dolphins must rest some time. They do not sleep, though. They merely take cat naps at the ocean’s surface for two or three minutes at a time. At night, those naps increase to seven or eight minutes.
Do they bow ride? Frequently Rough-toothed dolphins will accompany boats, riding the bow waves. They are also famous for their willingness to occasionally approach humans and interact with them in the water. In return, in some cultures like in Ancient Greece they were treated with welcome; a ship spotting dolphins riding in their wake was considered a good omen for a smooth voyage.

What do they eat? The Rough-toothed dolphin feeds on fish and squid as well as mollusks and cephalopods.
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Conservation Status:

Rough-toothed dolphins are world widely affected. For instance, Rough-toothed dolphins are hunted for food in some regions. They are harpooned in Japan and West Africa. Entanglement in fishing gear poses a threat, and Rough-toothed dolphins have been reported caught in purse seines in the eastern tropical Pacific. Others have been reported caught in gillnet and driftnet fisheries in Sri Lanka and Brazil. Pollutants have been detected in blubber analysis of Rough-toothed dolphins in Hawaii.

How to Cope with Steamy Situations; Helpful Hints to Improve Your Breathing

Ryan and I; Gulf of Mexico: Geco Snapper 04.2008
After a short flight, two nights at the hotel, and a long hot bus ride I had finally set foot on the Geco Snapper “Swept to the Geco Snapper; a Spark of Insanity.”  The boat was still at dock until we set sail the second day. I was officially onboard and after a long few days, I was mentally and physically exhausted. Needless to say, I slept the entire morning and a portion of the afternoon. After lunch I had decided to get a quick “hot” shower. One thing I should mention is that if you do not want to get athlete’s foot, the best solution for this is to wear shower shoes (even on brand new ships). Those trusty shoes have become my sidekick when I depart for any project – a much needed item on the toiletry list. 
Nevertheless, here is where the story gets really interesting and my “blondeness” is revealed a little bit more. So there I was wrapped in my towel, toiletry bag in hand, shower shoes on my feet, and a mini adventure waiting for me to find the shower onboard. I arrived what I thought was the shower door – this was something that I have never seen before. It was just a white door that blended into the wall, with a door knob sticking out of the side. On the Texas Horizon and Viking Vision I had a private shower in my own room – not having a shower in my room was slightly an inconvenience, but I suppose I cannot always get what I want. Anyways, as I opened the door I realized that there was a small changing room, and then the actual shower was hidden in the back. I noticed a puddle on the floor when I first started walking on the concrete floor, learning a lesson from my past experience working on the Texas Horizon, I was going to carefully step over the water. A few days before I was leaving the Texas Horizon, I had a horrible spill that resulted on slipping on a puddle on water and my elbow smashing into the side corner of the toilet – the black and blue mark remained on my arm for 3 weeks! As I stepped over the puddle, I locked the door behind me. I always have locked the restroom door, why should this time be any different? Finally I was able to have my hot steaming shower and had begun to dry off. I looked up at the ceiling and noticed that the steam was still circulating in the small room; it was not venting properly, which caused the hot steam to remain in the closed quarters with me.
All of the sudden, the room started reaching a higher temperature that I would classify as abnormally hot. During this time I felt like I was in a sauna – sweat had begun dripping off the side of my face and I felt my heart beating slightly faster than normal. I was so ready to get out of this “sauna!” As I unlocked and wiggled the door knob, it would not open! It would not even budge! The latch was stuck, how could this be? All I could think of at that moment was, “Here I am covered in a towel, sweating profusely, and locked in such fine quarters. All my goodness, I am locked in the restroom! Help someone get me out of here!” 
Have you ever had the reoccurring dream where you are being chased in a dark alley; you try to scream for help to the person down the street, but nothing comes out? Then as luck would have it, the creep catches you because you could not project your voice or utter a word for help? Does this sound familiar? I have this “nightmare” frequently onboard every ship and boat that I have been on. I am terrified that this nightmare may eventually become a reality; you have heard of Freddy Krueger, right? Maybe I should analyze this more with a dream psychiatrist? Regardless, I was in this situation that I dreaded for so long. I perceived a distant sound through the thick door, but I could not understand what I was eavesdropping on. I tried to articulate a phrase, but nothing came out.  I would have settled for a single vowel to come flowing out of my mouth, but still I could not verbalize a single syllable. It felt like a scene out of the “Little Mermaid” where the evil octopus Ursula stole Ariel’s voice box. Though I was not in a Disney movie and I did not foresee the reason that an “octopus” would need my precious voice box, I still felt that someone took my voice! Again, I attempted to speak, but like before nothing – I could not even get a single yelp out! 
In the mist of defeat, I sat down, placed my head in my hands, and had begun to think “What would MacGyver do in this situation?” In strange circumstances like this a bobby pin would have worked wonders! My handy yoga skills that I learned a few months ago while working with Whitney on the Texas Horizon definitely came in good use – “New Friendships Created; Reuniting Old Ones!” Once I controlled my breathing techniques, I was able to assemble my thoughts together and I thought of better solutions on how to get out of this ridiculous, yet crazy situation. I wiped the sweat off my eyebrow and put all my strength to unlock the door and regrettably still no luck! I paid attention to someone’s footprints outside the door walking down the hall. Thankfully I managed to utter a form of mumble jumbled words to get his attention. I noticed a small vent underneath the door that I opened to get some of the steam to elevate out of the restroom; I was tempted to kick the vent out with my shower shoe to help me get out of this claustrophobic room. All of a sudden the door knob started turning on its own! I overheard someone on the other side grunting to open up the door – hey genius, the door is locked not stuck! I remembered that I yelled through the door and asked the guy what I should do? Noises seemed to bounce back at me, but I could not make out what was being said. Can you believe 20 minutes had passed and I was still in this ridiculously uncomfortable room? 
After realizing that I was in this mess way past the time that I had anticipated, I grasped my razor to assess the situation. I utilized the end hard part of the razor to smash it into the jammed lock. I must have hit it pretty hard, because immediately I heard a “click!” Quickly I struggled with the lock a few more times before pushing the lock counterclockwise with all of my power. After what seemed like a lifetime, it opened! I threw myself out the door and all the stream followed me like it was happy to be released! The American ab, Ryan, stood directly in front of me with a crooked grin and knew better not to ask what presently took place. He chuckled, “Oh yes, I forgot to mention that we do not lock the door leading into the shower mainly because we do not want to get stuck!” Really, he told me this now! Grrrr! 
As I strolled back to my room relieved to see the outside world, I promptly changed to head to the bridge to introduce myself to the Captain. Due to the ability that I can drink numerous glasses of water, I wanted to use the restroom fast – I was not ready for another adventure just yet! I progressed to the restrooms that were located next to the evil shower and walked into the one positioned on the right side of the boat. Suddenly, as I closed the door I contemplated to lock it. Bottom line, I did not want to encounter any awkward situations with a gentleman walking in on me – this blonde decided to lock the door (you know you would too!). The restroom was preposterously tiny and if I was claustrophobic I would have had major breathing problems! 
As I leaned over to unlock the restroom door, the bugger was stuck! I thought to myself, “You have to be kidding me! Not AGAIN!” I recognized a large stick sitting next to the door and instantaneously grabbed it to resolve this uncanny circumstance. At that moment, I seized the stick and took my Louisville slugger swing to smash straight into the lock! Honestly, I think I broke the lock after that, but it released and I was able to open the door! I scurried out the door and raced down the hall – déjà vu! Ironically in the mist of running down the hall, Ryan positioned himself in front of me as I was hurrying up the bridge steps and asked me what just had happened. His crooked smile was a dead giveaway; he totally knew what just had occurred! This time before he could utter a word, I expressed frustrated, “There is no way on this boat that I am ever locking another door! If you see the door is closed, knock before you come in!” Satisfied with my statement I marched up the steps and on my next quest to find the Captain. I met Captain John and would you believe the first thing he emphasized before he introduced himself was, “Do not lock any doors on this boat for obvious reasons!” Seriously, you wait to tell me now! From that moment on I did not lock any doors on the boat and sometimes when I am on other projects I debate to lock those doors. I still remember this incident like it was yesterday! Least, it made a good story! ;)
Yoga breathing techniques:

The first rule for correct breathing is that we should breathe through the nose. Breath is life – it is one of our most vital functions. Yogis recognize this importance through the Pranayama or Breathing Exercises which is one of the Five Principles of Yoga. They have formulated different Beginner and Advanced Breathing Techniques to help you breathe easier and enjoy a healthier and purer life.
The word Pranayama consists of two parts: Prana and Ayama. Ayama means stretch, extension, expansion, length, breath, regulation, prolongation, restraint and control, describing the action of Pranayama. Prana is energy, the self-energizing force that embraces the body. Pranayama is when this self-energizing force embraces the body with extension, expansion and control. It is the science of breath control, which consist a series of exercises intended to meet these needs and to keep the body in vibrant health. Proper Breathing in a Yogic point of view is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control prana or the vital life energy.
My Favorite Stage of Breathing Yoga:

Rechaka (Exhalation) – The third stage, Exhalation, is called Rechaka. Like inhalation, it too should be smooth and continuous, though often the speed of exhaling is different from that of inhaling. Normally, muscular energy is used for inhaling whereas exhaling consists merely of relaxing the tensed muscles. Such relaxing forces air from the lungs as they return to a relaxed condition. Muscular effort may also be used for both inhalation and exhalation. You can force air out with muscular effort like when you sit or stand erect with your abdominal muscles under constant control. When you deliberately smooth the course of your breathing and hold the cycle in regular or definitely irregular patterns, you are also likely to use muscular energy at each stage, including the pauses. However, in a condition of complete relaxation, you should expect to exert some effort for inhalation.

Swept to the Geco Snapper; A Spark of Insanity

Geco Snapper at Shipyard; New Orleans, Louisiana 04.2008
After the girls had left and I had begun to get serious with Adrian it was time to head on my next project the Geco Snapper. Adrian and I discussed that we both wanted to remain dating each other despite my time away from shore. The office asked me if I did not mind working with two gentlemen colleagues; of course, it did not matter to me bring the project on! Shortly after I gave them the “go ahead,” I was swept off to New Orleans, Louisiana to meet with the crew members. When I had arrived at the Radisson Hotel my lead Dustin and his side kick Buddy was brightly smiling when they first saw me. Slightly confused, I asked them what they were so cheerful about. They both responded, “We are staying in the hotel an extra night due to our boat not being ready to leave dock yet.” Not a bad start to a project! Nonetheless, I needed a mini-holiday after the girls spent their spring break 2008 with me in Florida – “Defining “True” Friendship; Blended to Perfection: Spring Break 2008.”
Geco Snapper at Shipyard Bow Close-up; New Orleans, Louisiana 04.2008

While we were staying at the hotel we were greeted by Dustin’s offshore friends; the boys, Austin and Travis, who both worked for our company and were flown in for a project the next morning. Along with us, the boys were getting ready to head offshore for a few weeks on their project. My highlight that night was when Dustin put on, “Jeff Dunham: A Spark of Insanity.” My friends will tell you that there are two things I absolutely positively hate (yes, I know this is a very strong word) – clowns and puppets! Jeff Dunham’s show is a clear representation on how one can skillfully mimic puppets by the art of ventriloquism.  What is ventriloquism you may ask? According to Jeff Dunham himself, he emphasized that, “ventriloquism is defined as the art of producing tones and words without any motion of the mouth.”  If you are interested in becoming a ventriloquist, his best advice to you would be to practice and work on dexterity. My favorite line of Jeff Dunham’s show was in the main introduction when he used a skit for his opener. I will never forget this statement, because I almost fell off the bed while mid bite into my pizza! Jeff Dunham chuckled, “the only difference between your kids and mine are that their Barbie dolls actually spoke back to them!” I absolutely love that line – if you are interested in learning about “The Suitcase Posse” aka  Walter (a grumpy old man), Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Melvin the Superhero, Peanut (a purple woozle), and Jose (a jalapeño on a stick), check out his site “Jeff Dunham.” So maybe not all puppets are bad! ;)
 
Right after the show had finished we had received word that our boat would be ready to go in the early morning. In other words, we had to get up at 5am and transport via van to the shipyard where the Geco Snapper currently waited for us. Needless to say, we had it an early morning! The following morning we had checked out and ventured onto the bus that drove us 2 hours to get to the dock! Finally we had arrived and discovered that we were staying in dock for a few more days due to technical problems on the boat. Nevertheless, we stayed onboard and were very familiar with the crew by the time we arrived at the project site! And so began my 5 week rotation offshore, or so I thought!