Woke up, got out of bed, took a shower, leaning and staring at the coffee maker as it does it's wonderful thing my phone rings. It's Matt, one of the guys I work for.
"How soon can you get over here?"
"The tug is loose from the barge, we need to get them out of the marina before they break free and destroy everything."
"Ok, I'll be there in ten."
"Is your life insurance up to date?"
"OK, see you in a few."
I knew last night when we parked the barge in this marina we are working in that things could be bad in the morning. We had to execute a 30 point turn just to get the 70 foot tug/barge combo wedged into the back of the marina the previous evening, getting it out in a surge with wind and rain would not be easy.
A storm of epic proportions was forecast to commence past midnight. I heard the rain begin sometime after midnight and as soon as it was light out I could see the bare branches of the trees swaying. I did not sleep well knowing it would be a shitty day.
There's a thing that happens when you know you are going to get cold and wet and face a dangerous situation. Its the gallows humor soldiers face before battle. Its the tense joke to relieve the stress. As i walked to the marina from the parking lot all I could see were whitecaps rolling down the harbor. Spray shot over the seawall directly to leeward, where we would have to get the barge behind for any measure of safety.
The docks were heaving and dropping out under our feet as we walked out to where the barge was spudded down. You had to time your leap from the dock to the barge as the swells rolled them in different directions, sometimes level, others four feet high or low.
The tug as it turns out had not broken loose but one of the cables had slipped from its anchor. We fixed that then slapped on as many "oh shit" lines as we could. Matt came up with a plan. The plan involved me in a smaller boat controlling the bow of the large helping to turn it 90 degrees into the wind and swell so we could get out of the marina and toward the breakwater and safety.
At one point, in front of the barge waves surged and filled the boat with water. The barge slammed the other side up. I was trapped between the force of the barge and the force of the waves. At two or three points I was within an inch of broaching and getting sucked into the 40 degree water and being driven over by the tug and barge.
The barge was slamming into the marina docks. Everything was fast. Hectic.
Everything could have gone so incredibly badly so quickly.
I never felt panic. Matt never panics. There is never yelling or screaming. Every last bit of daily boredom, a bad relationship, an annoying co-worker, a problem with your car, the daily tedium of life is gone.
I dont NEED to do this work. I don't always enjoy this work. I often love it. I dont really know what I'd do without the ocean.