Saturday, April 27, 2019

A diver describes working on an oil rig

A Redditor:
Used to do saturation diving. I did work on oil rigs. It's pretty spooky down there. No particularly "spooky scary seamonster" stories, but it's not a nice place.

For one, it's dark as a MOTHERFUCKER. Pitch black and your lamp barely goes more than a few yards effectively. The water is filled with particles so it's kind of like shining a light into smoke. It's seriously like being in a void and the only things in this void are you and the rig. I never disconnected from it longer than I had to. It just feels like you can fall forever.

As for spooky scary seamonsters, I never really saw any. Don't get me wrong, you see shit a lot. The mixture you're breathing combined with the pressure can and will fuck with your senses. More than a few times I saw something big and fast moving just beyond my light. Sound doesn't travel well in water but you can hear the rig popping and other shit, always really deep tones.


The rig popping is really ominous because it's like a bass drum that's all around you and the only sound in almost absolute silence. You can see things moving in the dark and when you look at them, your lamp only goes ten yards or so and all it's hitting are the particles in the water. This happens a few times and you're certain you're not alone down there. You feel like you're being hunted. A lot of guys die because they try and rush and that's something you can't do underwater, no matter how much you want to. You kind of got to get it in your head that "well shit I hope it doesn't eat me" and keep working. It can be hard not to panic. They teach you tactical breathing both to conserve and to keep you from losing it.

You start focusing really god damn hard on that tactical breathing when you swear you saw something on the edge of your vision, felt the water move against your back, and heard the shift.


Every diver has heard "the stories" though.

I think my favorite is the oldie of the diver goes down in the bell. He exits with his partner into the complete and utter darkness, slipping silently through the deep. They reach the pipe and begin to work. Eventually, they get down to the last bolt and they realized they forgot one! The partner goes back and the other stays, waiting. He watches his friend's lamp fade into the all-encompassing darkness until it's nothing more than a bulb that soon slips out of view. Minutes pass and then the light comes back, quickly making its way towards the diver... perhaps a little too quick. It seems to sway left and right. The diver, unnerved by the display, flashes his light twice before turning it off, hoping to get a response. Nothing. He sits in the complete and utter darkness, watching the light grow closer and closer. There's a deep moan in the water and all he can do is sit still, watching this light glide through the void.