The Amazing Grace

Let Your Dreams Set Sail

Diversion to Scotland

                  We didn’t make it home for Scott’s birthday.  A two week project stretched itself out to being almost a two month project.  

         The trip started with a great bus ride to Mackinaw Bridge on the way to Pellston Regional Airport.  It was a beautiful, calm morning.  We hope that when we get back we will have a morning just like this one to get our pictures under the bridge. 

         Cindy finally got to experience the benefits of getting on an international flight and turning to the left instead of the right. Flying business class across the Atlantic was a wonderful treat:   from the hot towels, champagne, 5 course meal, watching movies, to lounging out in my fully reclinable seat cocoon.    The seven hour flight to London flew by. 

         The first week-end we were pretty jet lagged.  So we took off and went to Edinburgh.  Cindy guided Scott to the Royal Ship Britannia. Cindy had visited it during the 01 Aberdeen trip.  She finally got to show Scott the picture she has wanted to get with her boat under the Mackinac Bridge.  Once we get back to Michigan, we will be getting that shot. 

We even went to the local rig workers hangout, “The Bond” on Karaoke night.  That is the best part of these projects, meeting so many new people and hearing their life’s story as well as seeing familiar faces from one of the previous projects. 

Later on in the project Cindy was going almost every day to work with Scott.  She was requested in the day’s planning meetings to run the cranes for testing purposes.

We also visited the Tattoo Festival Parade in Holyrood Park. The international military band festival had just started the Friday before.  We checked into getting tickets but they were sold out for the entire month event.  We did get to see a parade of  marching bands including a whole band of accordion players.  It just looked a little different when you are so used to seeing bagpipes everywhere. 

         While in Dundee we are staying at the Rowan Electrical Flat.  We are staying with Mike (Our Boss), Miao (his wife from China), Noel, Aaron, Mike M. and Kyle (Four Rowan Project Electricians). 

We had met all of them on the project last fall in Sabine.  Here is the flat with the rig in the background.  The rig is easy to spot and find your way to from anywhere in Dundee since it is the tallest thing around.

Here is the River Tay from outside our window at high tide.  At low tide, we pretend the marker in the river is a submarine.  It is nice staying in the flat.  Cindy gets to cook in a real kitchen.  We made some of our favorite meals, King Ranch Chicken, lasagne, and as much of a Mexican meal as we could using supplies found in Scotland. 

         The next week-end on Friday night, Mike decided to go sightseeing to the Island of Skye.  To break up the 6 hour drive, we got to stop and visit Nessie in Inverness. 

We also visited Castle Urquhart on Loch Ness.  Before we left we tried to find lodging for the night on isle of Skye.  Everything was booked.    So, we planned on camping.   Before we left Inverness we bought a tent, mattresses, and sleeping bags.

 Isle of Skye has 350 miles of coastline with the most beautiful mountain scenery.  They also claim that do to all the jetties and peninsulas no point on the island is more than 5 miles from water.  Because of its beauty it is a tourist destination for bikers, cyclist, hikers, and RV’ers from all over Europe.  There are two ways on the island:  by one bridge or by ferry.  We decided to go on by bridge and off by ferry.  Once we were on the island, boy did the weather change. We got to the campground as the wind picked up to 50 mph gusts.  We decided we couldn’t even get the campsite set up let alone sleep in a tent all night.  So off we went in search of two rooms.  Finally at the 5th place we asked, they had their last two rooms. 

         This inn was exactly what you would think of as a European Inn.  You went into the common room or pub.  Of course, there was a football game with loud patron support, on the tele’.   In the back and upstairs were the rooms.  Our room was a single with the lavatory facilities and shower facilities down the hall in opposite directions (with signs that said only for room six).  Later, after everyone was a little bit tipsy, a couple of singers played 60 – 70s songs with everyone singing along. 

         Sunday we drove around the island.  Here are the best of shots. 

The last shot is the bridge used in the Harry Potter movies on the way to Hogwarts. 

         This is the second year that Scott got to celebrate his birthday in Dundee.  I was able to find some party supplies and a cake.  It was “Two for Tuesday” day at Dominoes, so his birthday dinner was pizza.  Cindy gave him a camping stool to use at work and the obligatory kilt towel. 

The weather during August was typical, cool and rainy.  But September was a great surprise, lots of sunny days. It sure does pick up your spirits when it is sunny.    Most days Cindy was able to find sun rays to sit in to warm her up.

The big project consisted of upgrading the rigs 5 cranes to meet the requirements necessary to take the rig to Norway.  We have learned that Norway has the highest safety standards in the world. One of these standards is that the crane cabs have to rotate to follow the crane, so that the operator is always able to see where his Hook is.  This rig will be the first of its class to meet this higher standard.  

Cindy driving the old crane cab

Cindy driving the new crane cab

In the last picture they were installing the crown on the derrick.  The project was basically wire in the new cabs to run the existing cranes.  Scott’s part was to design safety measures that are required only in Norway. One was AOPS  (Automatic Overload Protection System).  It takes over in the scenario that the crane is hooked to a workboat that is pulling away.  It will automatically let off the cable to save the crane, so that it is not pulled into the water. 

During the first few weeks, I didn’t go everyday with Scott to work.  I watched my soap opera the Young and the Restless which were showing shows from Feb. 2005.  It really didn’t matter since I had never seen them before.  I also watched the Oprah Book Club selection webcasts of Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth.  Other days I would just go and hang at Borders and read the day away. 

At right about Scott’s birthday, Sept. 1, he had all his programs written.  All we had to do was get them tested.  If that would have happened we would have been back for a family wedding over Labor Day Week-end.  We didn’t take into account that parts take so long to get here. We even had some parts that went to Africa by mistake before they ended up here.    Unfortunately, for the next 3 weeks, we basically sat, helping out as we could, and waited for the mechanical side and crane cab designers to get their parts installed, working, and tested.  

Another Saturday afternoon excursion was to the Flower and Garden Show.  It was kind of like a 4 – H fair for adults.   

Awards were given for big, beautiful flowers and vegetables as long as a table. 

Excitement was added to our little neighbourhood when Princess Anne visited the local attraction, The Unicorn Ship. 

We didn’t actually see her, it was cold and rainy, but we did see the security people (with radio wires in their sleeves) and the Royal National Band.  They used the penthouse apartment in our building as their staging area and to change into their very fancy uniforms.  It was neat to see the behind the scenes. 

We did get a chance to see a few of the local attractions:  Broughty Castle, The Discovery Ship, and sights around Dundee. 

She even got to lift a load of 11,000 pounds.  Finally we started commissioning started on Monday, Sept. 21.  When DNV (the Norwegian Authorities) showed up to begin, all five cranes were not working.  Luckily by Wed. we had 3 out of the 5 working. Yahoo, our part is done.  We left copies of the programs that others will be able to install when the other two are up and running. 

We got tickets home on Monday, Sept. 28:  Edinburgh/NY, NY/ Detroit, and Detroit to Pellston Regional Airport. After 24 hours of being awake we were home on the boat.  What a surprise.  We came back to the first cold day since spring.  The next morning’s weathermen were stating that it was unseasonably cooler than normal.  Why did we tell anyone we were coming home???

Now we round the northern tip of Michigan’s lower, peninsula and start heading back south down Lake Michigan. 

louis vuitton pas cher louis vuitton handbags air jordan 11 retro jordans sac louis vuitton louis vuitton pas cher jordan 11 jordan retro 11 jordan retro 13 cheap jordans michael kors watches air jordan 11 christian louboutin nike retro jordans christian louboutin uk air jordan 11 mulberry sale retro jordans air jordan 11 retro jordans jordan retro 4 air jordan 11 doudoune moncler louis vuitton bag jordan retro 4 cheap uggs north face jackets jordan 4 mulberry sale louis vuitton nike roshe run michael kors outlet louis vuitton air jordan 11 louis vuitton nike roshe run jordan retro 13 louis vuitton sac moncler cheap jordans doudoune moncler jordan retro 4 moncler michael kors outlet louis vuitton jordan retro 11 christian louboutin uk ugg boots jordan shoes louis vuitton jordan retro 13 michael kors outlet moncler pas cher moncler jordan retro 13 borse louis vuitton jordan 4 mulberry sale jordan 11