Thursday, December 09, 2004


I was called home from Jordan because I was needed to do a job in Eastgate in Weardale, Durham. I travelled with my logging unit, an old American Ford, bullnose truck, arriving in Eastgate at about 10pm. Our residence for the trip was the Burnside Guesthouse in Standale which I can highly recommend. Our hosts gave us free transport to and from our workplace, provided us with massive full English breakfasts and very comfortable clean rooms. The borehole on which we were working was drilled to explore the possibility of using hot groundwater for heating purposes. We provided Fluid Conductivity, Flow, Temperature, Gamma Ray, Resistivity and Density logs. On completing our work we went for a meal at the Cross Keys in Eastgate, which I can again highly recommend. The dinner plates are the biggest I have ever seen and they were full. The area itself is very pleasant English hill country which I may target for a family holiday in the future.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Half an hour after returning from Holland I got a phone call asking me to fly to Jordan the next day. I took a flight from Birmingham via Schiphol to Amman. Here I stopped the night in a very spacious but very cold staff house owned by our client. The next morning I was driven to the rig which was drilling next to the Dead Sea near Ghor Mazra'a 400m below sea level. It was much warmer here and I found my co-workers Neil and Inayat working when I arrived. I helped until I ran out of steam and fell asleep. The next day was spent checking our memory kit. After dinner, also after dark I decided to walk down to the Dead Sea for a swim. My friends were not interested in a night time trek in unknown territory so I went alone. I went initially to where I thought the nearest water was, only to find out that it was actually extensive mud flats. I followed the edge of the mud flats for an hour until I came to a man made causeway cutting off a section of the Sea. I followed this until I found deep water, waded out and experienced Dead Sea swimming. I found it impossible to swim on the front because I was floating so high that my legs were not submerged when I tried to kick. On my back no movement was necessary at all. Half my body was out of the water, it would have been possible to sleep, staring up at the stars, it was very relaxing. After a while I made my way ashore and got dressed. I did not want to recross the mud flats so I followed a path that headed towards the rig. This took me passed a goatherders encampment where I was set upon by 8 or 9 dogs all yammering at me for being in their territory. They kept there atttack to one of barking, not of biting, but their efforts must have alarmed the goatherder because a shot was fired. I don't believe it came near me, because, although I saw the flash and heard the report I heard no sound of a bullets passage anywhere close. I continued on my way and the dogs eventually gave up, so that I arrived back at the rig safely. A few days later it was decided that I was needed back in England, so on Friday morning I caught a plane home from Amman.

Santa Fe Monarch

I got my weekend at home after returning from Ukraine, but on the following Monday I was on a plane to Schiphol followed by a train (a double decker) to Den Helder where I stayed in a hotel with Neill Gilhooley, my workmate. The next morning we were on a helicopter, a Bristow Tiger (modified Super Puma) out to the rig. On arrival we checked our equipment and then waited until Thursday to be told that our services were not needed after all. So we packed our equipment and got the chopper back to Den Helder on Friday afternoon. We took the train to Amsterdam and had a night on the town. After an excellent Indonesian meal we drank the evening away until 2 a.m. At first we tried a standard, noisy, glitzy bar which you can find in any town anywhere, but we finished in a more Dutch bar, long and thin, sand on the floor and a wide range of Dutch drinks. We eventually decided to return to the hotel, since we had to wake at 6 a.m in order to catch our flights. This we duly did and home we arrived on Saturday morning.