<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d9339269\x26blogName\x3dit\x27s+a+dog\x27s+life\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dBLACK\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://se7endog.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://se7endog.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-5098711483944384749', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
Wednesday, May 25, 2005

good clean fun... yeah right!

One of the cool things about deep sea diving is a situation where there is so much work to be done at a relatively deep depth that it makes much more sense to "saturate" divers for up to 30 days at a time. Saturation technically means that your body tissues can not absorb any more gas from the environment at pressure and that decompression time will not increase any further because of that fact. To do this you need chambers large enough to live inside and be able to lock out of into a diving bell and ride in it to the sea floor to accomplish your job. The pressure on your body remains the same for the entire 30 days. Decompressing is accomplished at the very end of the job one time only instead of every single time the diver surfaces. Divers generally love it because the pay is very high compared to other forms of diving.

Ok, now that the techie stuff is done with lets move on to the fun. Living at depth in a very small chamber crowded with 3 other men can be tough, especially when there is no privacy at all when it comes time to take care of business. There are specially designed toilets for this and they use the pressure inside the hull of the chamber to evacuate waste thru a large valve on the outside, thru a large fire hose that has its end in the ocean. When the diver is finished he has to call for a flush and a deck tender must go and manually open the valve for a few moments and allow the piss and shit to blow thru the hose into the sea. The highly pressurized waste is too much for the shipboard waste systems to handle so letting it fly overboard is the easiest solution.

Unfortunately, sometimes the seas can be rough and very windy and if the flush is done when the tip of the hose comes up out of the water you can have a huge vapor cloud of waste blow back up and over the deck. What fun it is to watch the riggers on deck run for cover when the control room calls for a flush on one of the chambers. They quickly learn how nasty it is to get caught in the cloud and the smell is incredibly bad. The would often be tripping all over each other when they hear that call over the deck speakers.

Tugboats and supply boats often come alongside and eventually wear a hole in the side of the hose above the water line and if they are tied up alongside when a flush is called for they get sprayed down with some truly godawful stuff all over their decks and hull. Of course this is a lot of fun to watch if there is some activity on their deck and we would find a strategic location on the top deck of the ship to watch the fun when a flush was imminent. The looks on peoples faces when they realize what just happened to them is priceless! You ever see a grown man cry because he was just sprayed down with a high pressure mist of finely vaporized piss and shit? It's hilarious!

I recall one job in particular where the shitter hose was taking a constant beating from tugboats coming alongside and we had to change the hose often. I was a technician on the job and I scrounged around below deck in the machinery rooms and found some hose that I thought would work ok. I had a couple of tenders move the reel up to the deck and instructed them on how to replace the old shitter hose. I told them to put 2 new clamps to hold it to the valve assembly and to make sure it was very tight so that it couldn't blow off when a flush was done. They turned out to be a couple of wimps apparently because the hose was not tight enough...

The very next time that a flush was done the hose blew off the valve right there where the hapless tender was standing when he cranked the valve wide open. The explosion of vaporized piss and shit was literally right in his face and the vapor cloud engulfed that area of the deck and chambers and the man was soaked to the bone with some of the absolutely nastiest stuff you could imagine. His screams were heard all over the deck at the moment he realized what had just happened to him. He started cursing and crying and running to the stairwell to go below deck and get into one of the showers fully dressed. That entire area of the deck and chambers had to be scrubbed down with soap and water over and over again and they still could not get rid of the smell. No one ventured over that way unless they absolutely had no other choice.

The tender smelled for days afterward, the odor seemed to have permeated his skin almost permanently and of course he became the butt of many jokes about what had happened to him. I was certainly glad it wasn't me although I did get yelled at about the whole thing, the superintendent on the job tried to reprimand me for not installing the hose myself, but he could barely contain his laughter the whole time he was supposedly yelling at me. Me? I thought it was one of the funniest things ever!