"My Shearwater Journey" By Petros Karalis
I started working for Shearwater in the Tunbridge Wells office after finishing my master’s degree in Geophysics. Soon after that I joined the depth imaging team and since then I had many interesting opportunities to work overseas.
One of them was a 1 year assignment in Mumbai, India. My time there was very enjoyable despite the high pressure of the project. I had the opportunity through my work to discover new places and cultures.
My last experience working away from the office, was offshore Brazil. As it always happens in these situations, management asked who would like to volunteer for an assignment to go on a vessel for 6 weeks, working on a Depth Imaging project as the data were acquired! I wasted no time; “who wouldn’t want to work in such an exciting project, perhaps doing the global first full depth imaging project in transit while data are acquired” I thought. A quick call to my wife to get the necessary permissions (of course) and back to my manager to express my interest!
Two other colleagues and I were asked to get our documents ready to go offshore as the project was starting imminently. That meant a quick trip to Greece to renew my passport, Brazil visa, Seamans book, vaccinations and offshore safety training. To get the safety training done I had to spend a week in Southampton for firefighting, first aid, sea survival skills and escaping from helicopters.
Eventually when all documents were ready, I got into a flight from London to Rio and from there I went to Macae port by car. On Macae I met with the rest of the crew and we went on the support vessel to take us to Amazon Warrior over 300 kilometres away from the coast in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean where the survey was acquired.
Finally, I got on board of Amazon Warrior to start my project. What a beautiful vessel that was! If I didn’t know that I was going on a seismic acquisition vessel, I could have assumed that I was in a cruise ship! Amazing galley with all sorts of cooked food, single-occupancy large cabins, multiple break rooms with TVs, game machines and comfortable sofas. In addition, there was a small cinema room, gym, table-tennis, table-football and a sauna! Apart from the great facilities I was very fortunate to meet on board a great team of people contributing to a delightful atmosphere making my stay on the vessel very enjoyable.
On the work side of things it was a beast of a project. Depth imaging of about 8000 square kilometres in under 4 months including complicated Top and Base Salt Interpretation, all done using the processing power and resources on board. Of course, using satellite technology and super-efficient data compression methods we were able to send data onshore to both the company and the clients for quality control and other purposes.
After one pass of velocity tomography updating in the overburden sediments, top salt interpretation/salt velocity flood, base salt interpretation and basement velocity update the project was completed in record time. However, that was a little more complicated that it would seem, as the project had to be split in swaths because the seismic data were still acquired alongside the imaging work. Therefore, every swath was taken through the imaging sequence and then all the swaths were merged together ensuring there were no artificial boundaries created because of the merge.
When the project finished I had also the opportunity to visit and spend some time in Rio together with some people from the crew, where we truly had a wonderful time. A break certainly well deserved!
What a wonderful trip that was! Now being back to the office I am waiting for the next exciting opportunity that will be presented. So where next??