Whilst on a job in Malta, we managed to go on the Blue Lagoon cruise. How it went down is as follows. We were tasked with performing some repairs and inspection to a semi-submersible moored in Valetta harbour on the island of Malta.
The project ran for 27 days and at the end of this period, 3 out of the 4 of us were to sail with her to the Congo, while the other got demobbed. Up until 4 days before departure, I was going with the rig, but that changed (to my benefit as it turned out). My office heard that we would be finishing soon and requested that I was to be the one to demob, as I had another rig to go inspect .
The client for this particular project requested that I stay on board as they also required inspection. So I was stuck, heading for the Congo. However, at the end, the client informed us that they no longer required inspection and I was all too happy to get off. Let the good times roll.
Our day off
So the rig was due to sail for the Congo on the Tuesday, so the agreement was that the core crew of the rig got the Saturday off and the third party companies that were sailing with got the Sunday off. As we were third party, we got the Sunday off. Well technically only the guys going (which meant not me).
So the OIM (Offshore Installation Manager) came up to us during our tea break on the Saturday and jokingly said to us, “Looks like you are all going to enjoy your day off tomorrow…..except you(me)”. “What are you going to do, seeing as you won’t have a day off tomorrow?”, he said to me.
“Well Sir, I’m going to start my day off by drinking a few cups of tea, then heading to the helideck when the sun is at the optimum height for the best sun tan. Then head inside to cool down, before repeating the process until end of shift”. He replied, “Are you not going to do any work?”. I replied, “Absolutely, but I will need my supervisor as I am not allowed to climb alone. Seeing as you have given him the day off, I won’t be able to do any work at height”.
He paused for a second, then looked at my supervisor and said to him, “Is this true?”. You could see the colour drain from his face as he replied, “Yes, if you want him to work at height, I need to be on site”. Another long pause, then the OIM grinned and said to me, “Well it looks like you are also getting a day off”, and walked away.
Getting ready for the cruise
So we had organized a boat trip out to the Blue Lagoon which left at 07:30 on Sunday morning. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we headed down to the harbour. That was a slight exaggeration of the truth, we dragged ourselves down to the harbour. Probably shouldn’t have stayed out as long as we did the night before.
We boarded the boat and asked the captain if he had beers for sale. “Of course I do!”, he boasted as we sat down. What he failed to mention was he only had 24. We had them finished by the time we got out of the harbour. That what you get when you put 4 oil rig workers on a cruise boat on their day off.
I went to the captain and asked if there was any way to get some more beers. The said that we could try buy off the other boats. “Don’t have to tell us twice my man”, I replied. So we went beer hunting. We managed to salvage 3 more cases and we were set for the day.
The stolen tourists
Funny thing about the last boat we got beers from, was the case came with his only two tourists. All the boats in the harbour were quiet, their tourists sitting solemnly on board, looking hopeless. Our boat was the “party boat”. Music blaring and people having fun. The tourists on board our boat weren’t having any fun until we got on board. We soon changed that.
So we bought the last case of beer from the boat and one of the lads shouted to the two tourists (a German couple), “It’s more fun on our boat”. Next thing, the two of them wanted on our boat. They started to climb on and a heated discussion developed between our captain and their captain. What we didn’t know was that during this transition, the German couple had asked for their money back as they were getting charged for being on our boat.
“Oh you’ve started it now haven’t you?”, I told my mate (bursting with laughter). The only way to diffuse this situation was for us to pay their fare on the bought they were on. So we paid their fare and we were off.
The Blue Lagoon Cruise
We cruised around the coast of the island for a few hours, then started heading towards the blue lagoon. We thought we were being set up, as we cruised for ages seeing nothing. Then the captain said, “Blue Lagoon front”. “Nah mate. That’s just rocks”, we said back. “No Blue Lagoon”, he shouted.
Our boat kept moving towards the “rocks”, but no sign of the Blue Lagoon. The next thing the rocks separated and we saw it. What an incredible sight. It looked just like a swimming pool.
The lagoon was populated with all sorts of boats (including the “high rollers”), with people diving off them and swimming around. Music was playing from different boats and the atmosphere was incredible. It didn’t take us very long to fall off the boat and enjoy the water.
The water temperature was astounding. Felt like you were in a bath. Literally. We asked the captain how long we would be here and he said for 2 and a half hours (as the last part of the cruise was St Pauls Island). We were allowed to walk on the small island surrounding the lagoon, so we headed up for some sightseeing.
Then we quickly realized that the beers were still on the boat, so we headed back down. It’s about prioritizing really! We could have taken them with us, but the fridge was too big.
Some more beers flowed and we lay back on the roof of the boat, wondering if the beers would last for the trip back. We had a few more beers, while we thought it over.
Heading back to Malta
Then the captain announced that we were going to pull the anchor and head back to Malta. Everyone suddenly fell off the boat for one last swim. It’s got to be done.
We made our way out of the lagoon and headed for St Pauls island. This was a short stop and consisted really of us running around it, then getting back on the boat. Not much to see (well there might of been, but were pressed for time and didn’t really pay attention), but it was fun.
As we pulled into the harbour, we were deliberating on how we were going to get back to our hotel. The German couple said they were going to get a taxi and asked if we wanted to ride with them. My mate suggested we pub crawl back.
It ended up being just us two. The rest cheated and went in a taxi.
We got off the boat and thanked the captain for his tolerance of us. What a gentleman he was.
So the two of us headed to the first pub and ordered a pint. While we were drinking it (bear in mind we must of had about 20 cans each by this point), we stopped and had a good hard think about the distance from the harbour to the hotel.
As it turns out, the taxi was the more viable option, but we are determined individuals and we said we would make it. We made it to the next pub and gave up. With our tails between our legs, we decided it was best to go back in a taxi.
Let’s rather hitchhike
I decided it was more fun to try and hitchhike, so out went my thumb and we started finding a lift. A Swedish couple in an open top jeep pulled up and asked if we wanted a lift. I thought the internationally recognized thumb up signal on the side of the road was a dead give away, but I figured let’s curb the sarcasm for a bit and get in.
They were heading past our hotel anyway, so we invited them for some drinks at the bar on the beach. We just don’t learn, do we? Luckily for us they weren’t up for it, but the rest of the rig crew were and shouted at us to join them when we got there.
Sitting grinning at us, was our other two team mates. “Get far then lads?”, one shouted at us. “Oh shut up!”, we shouted back and ordered another round.