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The Dutch Sector of the North Sea began to feel more like home than home. The service people were offshore more than at home with their families. We knew more about the people that we worked with more than our own families. You normally had to get something cut off to get a day off and then it had better be serious. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, that sort of stuff started after about 40 days straight offshore. Today there are laws against people staying offshore too long but not in the 80’s, I remember being offshore for 45 days straight. You could see town, from the rigs heliport. Den Helder, Holland is where our families lived. We had finished testing this well and finally got to go to town. After three hours at home the phone rang, we had an underground blowout and had to return to the rig. No one else was at home except my friend and I that had just gotten back home. The chopper was waiting. I was gone another 45 days. By the time, I got home, that wife had gone back to Germany.
On the Penrod rigs back in the early 80’s the toolpushers office was where the chosen few gathered to cuss and discuss everything and anything. One, seeking knowledge could harvest a plentiful amount from the all knowing wizards of the North Sea. In this office a man could learn how something that someone else did, very wrong on another rig, could have been miraculously cured by one of these heroes. This place was truly the tower of knowledge. Rarely could something happen that had not been seen before. This is not these toolpushers first rodeo, these guys were very good. The service company personnel made up a great part of the chosen few welcome inside the toolpushers office. Most of these service personnel were shuttled all over the world to do specific jobs. These guys were the very best in the world at what they did; others were just along for the ride.
Judge was a mud engineer, working in Holland, that lived on a sailboat in the Greek Islands. The Dutch girls treated poor Judge like a piece of meat, they had no mercy on this poor boy, abuse at its worst. I have seen similar things like this in Aberdeen, Scotland. Judge had never been on this Penrod rig just offshore Den Helder and only was known by a couple of service hands. Judge was a small man, as he walked past the open door, he peered inside. Bobby, a huge man with a very rough voice was the toolpusher and was telling about some wet behind the ears kid had asked his daughter for a date. When the kid came to the door to get her, Bobby answered the door and said very loudly “What the hell do you want?” Judge, just walking by the door, in a very meek little voice answered “I just want to be friends.” He thought that Bobby was talking to him. Judge was a new member of the chosen few from that point forward.
The friendships that were made on these drilling rigs will last a lifetime. The next time I saw Judge was in “Mi Matica” in Anaco, Venezuela. I told the story, he had long forgotten.