Sunday, December 25, 2005

back from the land

Well, after spending a month doing oil and gas exploration, I can't believe that gas only costs 90 cents a litre! I'm very exhausted, 16 hour days and no days off for 24 days has left me rather heaped. Heavy deadlines, demanding production schedules mean that work is pretty much all encompassing. I'm part of a two man team that takes a line on a map from some geologists office and puts it on the ground. We survey out down to the inch where the blasting points and geophone positions will be. This involves bypassing power lines, gaslines, oil pipelines, wells, allowances for foundations and a million other details which must be sorted out on the ground. So I've been doing everything from phoning landowners and getting permission to access their land, gps places to avoid, using metal detectors to locate pipelines, using a laser transit and prism mirror to locate blasting points, producing maps of seismic lines, hacking through bush with an axe to make sight lines for survey equipment, and drinking coffee all evening sorting and producing the tonnes of red tape that our job demands. Our team is about the sixth iteration of subcontractor so everything I do has to go be recorded and sent to a million different places. Fastidious accuracy is a satan to me since if I place a blasting point next to a fiber optic trunk line and blow it to smitherenes, claiming I didn't know it was there wouldn't save me from being lible for the millions of dollars in damages. Trying to keep your wits about you on little sleep in the cold can sometimes be a challenge, as is dealing with the contractors that are impatiently waiting for me to finish the line.
But, on the plus side, it pays quite a bit of money and I did add two sights to my Extraordinary Nature Moments catalogue. I was quading through a frozen, sparsely treed black spruce bog about 30 minutes after sunset and I came up a small knoll about 6 feet above the surrounding plain. When I allowed my eyes to glance away from the trail I was following, I discovered that there was an impenetrable layer of dense fog about two feet above the ground and perfectly flat. Every twenty meters or so a 5 foot tree poked through it. A vision of Elysium with a boreal flavour perhaps but really breath taking. The other sight was a sundog that was so bright it was almost as powerfull as the sun itself. It was so bright it was as painful to look at as mean ol mister yellow face himself. It really felt like I was on Tatooine or some other planet with a binary star system. Incredibly off putting actually to have what relly seemed like two suns! It lasted with that intesity for about 2 minutes before fading into a regular faintish sundog. I must have been in some climatic super-alignment or something.
So home for the holidays for at least a week. The next contract starts at the end of december somewhere on the NWT/BC/AB border and will be at least 60 days straight. I'm not sure if I'm up for it or not but I'm going to just enjoy some rest before I consider the future. And to be honest, I won't actually consider the future, I will appear (to myself) to be weighing the facts and performing somekind of mental calculus but actually these machinations are a facade for what will likely be a snap decision.


rainswept said...

Merry Christmas and welcome home. Perhaps you would visit the Plow and I later in the week during the day?


CaptainOrange said...

Holy Shit! That sounds a little more demanding than I would have imagined when you casually said something right before you left about "seismic surveying...blah, blah ... oil company, blah, wilderness.