I’ve seen stuff on the rigs over the years—dropped blocks, blowouts, smashed fingers, split skulls, and broken arms. Stuff. Lots of stuff. Never seen a lazy man get hurt, unless it was his feelings, or seen him for very long either. Lazy ones don’t last. It’s the good hands who are injured most often. Sometimes a man gets too close to his job and gets bit.

Seen stuff in the oceans too—whales, thousands of dauphins or porpoises traveling with purpose, sea snakes by the too-many-to-number or even guess at, whale sharks, one alligator and one turtle.

Bet you can’t say “sea snake” four times quickly without saying “snee snake.”

A whale shark is big as a whale, but it’s a fish that has gills and filters its food from the water.

I’ve seen many gators, but only one offshore. They’re freshwater creatures, and this particular beast was 200 hundred miles offshore and headed farther out to sea. Lost for sure.

It may be a surprise for you to hear that we employ whale watchers. That’s a profession, whale watching. Anytime seismic work is done with air guns, whale watchers are brought out to the rig to … watch for whales.

Now we have to watch for turtles, 24/7/365. Any sea turtles sighted in the moon pool, the opening in the middle of the ship where we do drilling stuff, must be reported. Until a month ago, I’d never seen a sea turtle. My wife asked me when she heard about the new requirement whether I’d seen one. Nope. Never have. Never say never. We named the little rascal Dale Earnhardt. He’s about a big as a large dinner plate and swims around and around to the left. I think his flippers are shorter on the left side.

The critter was reported to the proper authorities of course. They wanted to know if Dale appeared to be distressed. Now I ask ya … Distressed? They live in the ocean with sharks and whales and barracudas, and Dale comes and goes as he pleases.

I think I’d recognize a dead turtle, but a distressed turtle might slip by me.

I was on the bridge talking to the marine crew about Dale. What are the odds? New regs out and one shows up. As if he was planted, a secret agent sent to test our work ethics. During the conversation I mentioned that someone would have to attend turtle resuscitation class. (True story.) The regulators want someone on the rig who is trained to resuscitate turtles. Well that really got the comments flowing. Have to be lipless or carry lip guards, and turtles pull their heads inside so … and on and on. Then, one of the guys, who’d been conspicuously quiet, interrupted and said, “I’m qualified. I went to turtle resuscitation class.”

That’s some stuff there.

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