Tag Archives: Offshore Hiccups

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.