Navigation Menu

Commercial Delivery



January, 2018 – I was engaged as the Delivery Superintendent for the new-build Diving Support Vessel          KREUZ CHALLENGER

After months of commissioning and commercial wrangles during the last 6 months of 2017, we finally departed Norwegian waters and pointed the DSV KREUZ CHALLENGER towards her home port of Singapore.  During the journey, I made daily posts of our progress and you are invited to come along.  Let’s go!


Final Entry in Singapore



Norway to Singapore


Log Entry:        001

Date:                 2017/Nov/11

Local Time:       1800

WX:                    22 Kts,   NW,   0.25m seas (protected in Fjords)

Position:            062º  29.5 N   /   006º  08.05 E

Comments:       Well, we are off!

We just slipped away from the dock, under freezing cold inky black night, punctuated with 45º sleet.  We have some vessel trials to do first, but we aim to be at Alesund at 0600 to take on an additional 800m3 (that’s 211,337 US Gallons) of Bunkers.  We’re currently cruising through the Fjords at 11.7 kts.

A Google-map representation of our Passage Plan is below.  The anticipated route is 9,150 nautical miles.  We expect to take 45 days.  I’m keeping tabs on our progress, from my office with my trusty iSailor / iPad combo.  Love it.

I’ll post again in 24 hours.  See you tomorrow!     :  )









Log Entry:         002

Date:                 2017/Nov/12

Local Time:       1800

WX:                   23 Kts,   NE,   0.25m seas (protected in Fjords)

Position:            062º  27.9’ N   /   006º  07.2’ E

Comments:       Last night was spent doing Dynamic Positioning trials, all last minute checks completed successfully.  We were in the Lee of the Fjords, but it was still rough, surprisingly rough in fact     :  (

The vessels rolls quite a bit with no way under her keel.  We had a lesson last night on what wasn’t sea-fastened properly.  I was wondering if I should have brought some Stugeron with me.  Bad weather is most certainly on the cards for us during this voyage, but this is a commercial enterprise and the boat will be delivered on time.  Of course she is built for it.

As I write, we are still taking on Bunkers, and will probably get underway by 2100 this evening., once all formalities have been completed.   It’s bitterly cold (for me) and I’m looking forward to be heading south.


The Vessel AB’s Bunkering the CHALLENGER


ALESUND Fuel Jetty. City of Alesund to the left of the photo.




Log Entry:        003

Date:                2017/Nov/13

Local Time:      1800

WX:                   18 Kts,   N’ly,   2.5m seas

Position:            060º  35.4′ N   /   004º  01.1′ E

Comments:       The Kreuz Challenger completed bunkering and departed from Alesund around 2100, all formalities completed.  We then sailed into some heavy weather, which was forecasted, and certainly did not disappoint.  At around 0130 Mayhem ensued, with our second go at Sea-fastening.  Everything on deck was squared-away, but the internal personal stuff always seems to catch you out.  You would think we would have all this sorted by now, wouldn’t you?  Anyway, in order to comply with Shipping Channels, it meant we had to endure 4 hours of beam-on, 6 meter seas, winds gusting to 45 kts.  Our vessels’ initial & final stability calcs were put to the test.  Once we made the turn south (around 0600), and now with the Northerly wind behind us, everything started to settle down.

At 1530, we were passing the TROLL Oil & Gas Fields  and into the rhythm of passage making.  I still feel a little woozy, thirsty & tired, but that will go away in a day or two.  

Our speed is averaging around 8.5 kts (anywhere from 6.5 kts – 11.5 kts), and currently purring along at an economical 9 kts.  So far, 160 nautical miles – under the keel.


I use my own Predict Wind subscription as a ‘check’ to our paid professional forecast.  It nailed it last night!


35 knots from the North – yep!



6.5 meter seas – nailed that one too.



as we depart Alesund, we had to carry out a safety/muster drill. Yesterday, I reported sleet at 45º, Last night is was horizontal!



Seas behind us, calming right down.



Did I say calming right down??



Log Entry:                     004

Date:                             2017/Nov/14

Local Time:                   1800

WX:                               18 Kts,   SW   4.0m seas

Position:                        057º  10.3 N   /   005º  15.0 E

Distance travelled:       383 nautical miles

Distance to go:             8767 nautical miles

Average Speed:            8.5 kts.

Comments:                  The last 24 hours have been “peaceful”, just the way we like it!  ODIN was shining upon us, and with calmer seas, the crew were busy with their projects.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of individual jobs that need to be carried out during this transit.

As 1800 approaches, we are right in the middle of the North Sea.   80 miles South-West of Norway, 100 miles West of Denmark, and 230 miles due East of Aberdeen, Scotland.  And all is well.



A few photos of the CHALLENGER’s Bridge follow:

This is the “after-Bridge”, or “DP Desk”. From this position, the vessel is controlled when the vessel is stationary or Diving. The DPO sits in the STBD chair (on the left)



The PORT-side, Bridge wing station. There is an identical control station on the STBD side.



This area is dedicated for the Survey Team. The Surveyors pin-point our sub-sea locations when we are Diving or ROVing, constantly gathering & updating the info in live time. Then produce a permanent record for future use.



meeting area, Emergency Radio Desk, and Forward Bridge



the business end, Forward Bridge. From this location, the vessel is commanded during all transits



Oh so many buttons. Twin Radars fwd, Command screen center, ECDIS Chartplotters out of screen (not shown),,,perhaps another day for those! The white levers are Rolls Royce command sticks and control the vessels propulsion. The two after ones are the main Thruster Pods for main propulsion.



Log Entry:                   005

Date:                           2017/Nov/15

Local Time:                 1800

WX:                              20 Kts,   SW   1.5m seas

Position:                      053º  42.2 N   /   004º  43.8 E

Distance travelled:     610 nautical miles

Distance to go:           8540 nautical miles

Average Speed:           9.5 kts.

Comments:                  Just like yesterday, and perhaps even more so, today was “peaceful”.  I wonder if I could get away with saying that 3 days in a row?  As you can see from the map below, our progress is purposeful and steady.  We are currently 25 miles North-West the Dutch West Frisian Islands, and 125 miles North-East of Norwich, UK.  We are staying well East of the Southern Sector – North Sea Gas Rigs.




I have not seen too much marine traffic by eye, & I’m slightly surprised by this.  One fishing trawler, lots of Cargo ships, but not one yacht, (power or sail) since we left Norway.  As we approach the English Channel (this time tomorrow), we’ll no doubt see plenty of everything.  I’m actually looking forward to that, as I do have a room with a view.


the sole fishing trawler I’ve seen in the North Sea, spotted from my Room-with-a-view.



looking East, Esbjerg, Denmark.  I have plenty of stories from my time pulling into Port there, early 1990’s.  (For another time perhaps   ;  )



And looking to the west, is Newcastle. (Just thought, got some stories from there too!) Whitley Bay!!


We’ll see what the English Channel looks like tomorrow!




Log Entry: 006

Date:                            2017/Nov/16

Local Time:                  1900  (UTC +1)

WX:                              15 Kts,   SW   0.75m seas

Position:                       050º  38.9′ N  /   000º  40.65′  E

Distance travelled:      836 nautical miles

Distance to go:            8314 nautical miles

Average Speed:            9.4 kts.

Comments:                  Well the Northern entrance to the English Channel has held no surprises, and for this I am actually grateful.  Many Nordhavn owners would agree, a boring passage is the best kind of passage.  There has been minimal marine traffic all the way from Alesund, Norway, to the English Channel.  It is winter time I guess.




We are currently in the English Channel, 13 miles South of BEXHILL, and 45 miles North of DIEPPE.  A few hours ago, around 1600 we passed the White Cliffs of Dover.  Always wanted to do that,,, Bucket list, ‘check’.





The ‘White Cliffs of Dover’. Something enchanting in my mind about them. Another personal Bucket-List item checked off. : )



Looking towards England, as the traffic goes by,,,




This Maersk machine flew by at 16 knots. Actually seemed faster than it sounds.



If nothing eventful happens tomorrow, (and I think we’ve all had enough photos of “the sea”), I’ll talk us through the Saturation Diving System.  

The “Comments” are starting on the Comments section, (at the bottom of this page), which is cool.  If you want to see something on the CHALLENGER, just add a comment below (or, of course you can just email me).

And thanks to “Harbor950”  for giving me a ‘bump’ on Trawler Forum.  Thanks dude.     :  )

I will leave you with the recent weather forecast.  The first one is the anticipated wave heights, followed by the wind.  All looks great for the next few days, and we know the forecast never lies.     ;  )






Log Entry: 007

Date:                            2017/Nov/17

Local Time:                  1900  (UTC +1)

WX:                              Light airs,   Variable     1.0m seas

Position:                       049º  09.7′ N  /   005º  06.9′  W

Distance travelled:      1076 nautical miles

Distance to go:            8074 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.0 kts.

Comments:                  Beautiful British day today, light breeze, sunny, perfect day for the Spinaker!  An hour ago we passed Lizard Pt to our Stbd, and Brest to our Port side.  The Bay of Biscay beckons ahead! 





But enough sea talk, lets show you guys the Saturation Diving System.  I’ll guide you through the system with comments on the bottom of each photo.



The saturation divers live in these Chambers for a month at a time. The Equipment Lock is on the left. That is used to lock-out the divers hot-water suits, towels , laundry, etc after a bell run. The vertical trunking is the pathway up to the Diving Bell.




There are 3 of these Chambers in the CHALLENGER, which are all interconnected by ‘trunkings’ which you can see in the middle of this photo. It’s like a space station set-up, or gerbil warren (depending on where your head is at).  Each Chamber supports 3 divers, although one of these Chambers is approved for 6 divers, which makes this a 12-man diving system.




This is the Saturation Control room – “Sat Control” From here, the Life Support Supervisor, and his Life Support Technicians maintain the Chamber atmosphere to sustain the diver’s lives.




The Business end. The divers come up into the bell – 2 Divers , and 1 Bellman. They close the bell bottom door, while the LSS closes the Chamber top door, and then the trunking is vented to the surface. Now the Bell can be safely locked off, and trollied across to the moonpool. The Bell is connected to the Bell stand-off, (or ‘Clump-weight’) and then they are lowered together to depth. The Divers lock-out of the bell for 8 hours at a time.




The Nerve Center. From here, the Bell Diving Supervisor controls the Job (Project). He supervises the divers, maintains breathable gases, controls the Crane(s), instructs the Deck crew, commands moves on the vessel, and orders coffee, typically all at the same time.



You guys get the idea.  This boat was built so those two divers on the bottom can progress the job.  But it takes an entire support crew to get them there.  Every job onboard is as important as the next one.  Typically DSV’s (Diving Support Vessels have a very tightly-knit crew.  It’s been a pleasure to be a part of these crews for the last 35 years.




Log Entry: 008

Date:                            2017/Nov/18

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC)

WX:                              Light airs,   Variable     1.0m seas

Position:                       045º  37.1′ N  /   008º  22.4′  W

Distance travelled:      1310 nautical miles

Distance to go:            7840 nautical miles

Average Speed:            9.8 kts.

Comments:                  It’s a late one for me tonight.  Funny how ‘work’ gets in the way.  It seems endless at times.  The attention to detail required to get the vessel out of the Yard was a mammoth task, and one would now think job done.  Well, now I must prepare the vessel for remedial work in Singapore, and then through the Client Audit process.  1000’s of “to do’s.”  All new-builds are the same though, and I love the work.


We are well over half-way through the Bay of Biscay.  If we were going to get any trouble with the weather, it would be here.  Biscay in winter??  Seems someone on-board is blessed, because Odin has behaved.  (Thank you God).




So, today, we’ll have a quick run around the accommodation areas


This is “D” Deck, and this particular passageway is where my personal sleeping cabin is. FWD, Stbd side. My office is another level up, on “E” Deck. The Bridge is above that. If you haven’t noticed, the CHALLENGER is a tall ship!




This is the Conference Room, where the Daily Meetings are held once we are operational. The chairs have been corralled because we are crossing Biscay. You never know.




The MESS Room, where we all eat. Some refer to this area as the Galley. Hey, no issues.




I believe this area is called the ‘servery’. Meals are run 4 times a day, and this will now run 24/7. Hopefully, with a strong market, this Galley will never stop for 20 years.




We actually have a “smokers Lounge”. This is it.  Julie would have this ‘cozied-up’ in no time.




The Gym is set up in two halves, this is one of them. I christened the Concept II Rower yesterday. 30 minutes. Nearly killed me. Day off tomorrow, but come Monday that Rower and I are going to get reaquainted. The dumbells are still packaged, and left on the floor. Once we get into the Med, we’ll sort the Gym out properly.





Log Entry: 009

Date:                            2017/Nov/19

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC)

WX:                              8 knots,   Variable     1.5m seas

Position:                       042º  25.2′ N  /   010º  06.9′  W

Distance travelled:      1536 nautical miles

Distance to go:            7614 nautical miles

Average Speed:            9.5 kts.

Comments:                  Beautiful night here in Europe, as we’re smoking along past the Spanish coastline, towards VIGO.  We’re maintaining a comfortable 50 mile distance from the shore line and the Portuguese border is 30 miles ahead.  





A few folks have asked to see various systems on the KREUZ CHALLENGER, and because today is my Birthday, I’m starting with the Vessel’s Propulsion system     :  )



Every ships’ propulsion system starts right here.   And No, this is not mini DARLEK.  It’s a Marine Diesel Oil separator, which uses a centrifugal separation system to provide clean diesel to the engines. We have two. One to show, and one to go.



Next up, are the SPERRES. These compressors are arguably the most important component in the ship. They provide Air to start the engines. The precious air is stored in the white cylinders behind the compressors, and are always kept topped up.



CATEPILLAR 3512C MAIN ENGINES. These puppies are 2350 HP each, at 1800 RPM, & obviously Continuous Duty.



The ship uses diesel-electric power. The main engines are each coupled to a Generator.  We have 5 engines, so 5 generators.   The diesel engines produce power to generate electricity, and the electric energy is harnessed for use.


the generator (the circle-boxy thing) is coupled to the end of the engine.




A shot of the Engines’ ECU, the modern heart of the engine. The Electric Control Unit is the flat rectangular item connected to two wiring harnesses. If this unit gets compromised, engine stops. Yes, we have a spare.




All the power generated from the engines/generators if fed to the Main Distribution Board.  The photo shows just one of them.  There are many more Boards around the ship.





And all the power generated is managed from this humble room.  This is the ECR – Engine Control Room.  The entire power management, for all the vessel’s systems is controlled from here.  Those computers have multiple pages and control hundreds of valves with the touch of a button.  Beam me up Scotty!




What you all wanted to see – the business end!   Electrical power is provided to the hydraulic system, and the thrusters are then hydraulically actuated.


Rolls-Royce Azimuth thrusters.   Beautiful pieces of kit.




the grey FWD end of the thruster is the gearbox / transmission.




Steering compartment – even more electrical cabinets. These are associated with the main propulsion units.




Whew, and finally out of the engine room and onto the deck for some fresh air.   And what a beautiful night it was too.  As for the Razor-wire?  Well that’s for another day.     ;  )


Paradise by the razor-wire lights




Log Entry: 010

Date:                            2017/Nov/20             

Local Time:                  1900  (UTC)

WX:                              6 knots,   Variable     0.25m seas

Position:                       038º  32.6′ N  /   010º  03.1′  W

Distance travelled:      1775 nautical miles

Distance to go:            7375 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.0 kts.

Comments:                  Woke up at 0500, grabbed a full-on espresso, and sat in my office contemplating the Conference Call ahead of me.  Lots to discuss.  I’ve been planning this call for two days.  The sun was rising and OMG, what a beautiful day I knew it was going to be. 


Fresh Java in hand, I walk out of my office and I’m greeted with God’s magnificence. It does not get any better than this!




We are heading due south, down the Portuguese Coast.  By 0600 tomorrow, we should be making the turn East, towards the Strait of Gilbraltar.


a different perspective today, to keep you guys from getting bored.




Turns out my super duper, brand new Conference phone does not work.  Allegedly, it needs to be programmed in a specific manner which has not yet been worked out.  I want to rip the rest of my hair out.  I take several deep breaths, and decide to have another Java.  I’m on my fifth, and it’s not yet 1000.

It looks fantastic outside, so I grab my iPhone and see what I can do with the video.



The Razor-wire is one of the anti-piracy measures we have in place.  There are many more in fact, but for security reasons I’ll not mention them here,,, yet.



We also had a few technical issues today, mostly just learning the miriad of systems.  Each hydraulic system is protected with many sensors, all which have to be set just ‘so’.  This is why this time used for the sail down to Singapore is so valuable, to get these things set right, in a non-commercial environment.


Probably not the most responsible move. Installing a coffee machine in the office of an individual with an OCD personality.  What could possibly go wrong?     ;  )



Despite some set-backs, it’s been another productive day.  Time to relax with a coffee and watch the sun go down.  I’m in awe, every time.  Not wasted on me!     :  )



So, what do you guys want to see tomorrow?  Let me know in the Comments section.




Log Entry:  011

Date:                            2017/Nov/21             

Local Time:                  1900  (UTC)

WX:                              15 knots,   East     0.75m seas

Position:                       036º  07.3′ N  /   007º  15.7′  W

Distance travelled:      2005 nautical miles

Distance to go:            7145 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.0 kts.

Comments:                  Well, it seems I have no takers with the “what do you guys want to see tomorrow?” question, so today I choose the Ship’s Hospital.



Stretcher straight down the corridor, and into the Hospital. It’s situated on the main-deck level, which is a clever design. The door to the left is the GYM,,,, not joking.   ; )



There are very specific rules which govern whether or not a vessel is required to provide a Hospital, and they can be found in the International SOLAS, IMO, Class, & Flag State requirements.  Suffice to say, that on virtually all Diving Support Vessels that I have worked on, we carry one.



One examination bed, and two patient beds.





We carry Class/Scale A drugs onboard so we have a dedicated Doctor who dispences as & when necessary.  All drugs are inspected by Customs onshore and sealed prior to leaving, with the appropriate Medical Chest Certificate provided to us.  Other than Controlled drugs, the Doctor also carries non-prescription medicines to administer to crew when required.


The Drugs cabinet front & center. Hopefully this is the last time I look at it. (please God)


Regular drills are carried out, say (injured man on deck) or (ships engineer electrocuted) and recorded in the veseels’ Safety Management System.  Stretcher drills conducted every month or so, etc.  The Doctor is set up with Vsat communications and we have a Hyperbaric Medical Specialist on a permanent call basis if required.



Our Doc keeps things clean.





But the guy getting injured on deck, while unfortunate, is comparatively easy to deal with.  We are well set up for that, as you can see.  It’s when a saturation diver gets injured at depth, issues arise.  Our good Doctor is always available for guidance, but he cannot enter saturation, so he is not able to treat the patient directly.


The divers in saturation must deal with the injury / burn / compound fracture / amputation, themselves.  Our industry Guidance dictates that at least one Diver Medic must be present in every Bell Team.  One per Chamber, minimum.  The Diver Medics are trained in advanced trauma care, intubations, intravenous cannulations, sutures, etc.  Most divers love it, I personally hated it.  I carried the Diver Medic qualification for 15 years, and physically let a out a sigh of relief when I did not renew my last 3-yearly certification.


A rough rule of thumb for Heliox (Helium/Oxygen) decompression is; for each 100′ – it will take a day’s decompression, plus a day.  At an average North Sea depth of 450′ – that equates to 5 1/2 days of decompression before any outside medical treatment can intervene.  These guys earn every penny, the hard way.



So, with over 2000 miles under the keel, we have another 7000+ to go…  It’s steady-as-she-goes, all plain-sail here.

In roughly 8 hours time from now, (that will be 0300), we shall be passing through the middle of the Strait of Gibraltar.  I’d say a Milestone completed.  Next Milestone – Port Said, Egypt.





Log Entry:  012

Date:                            2017/Nov/22             

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                              8 knots,   East     flat calm

Position:                       036º  07.0′ N  /   002º  27.6′  W

Distance travelled:      2244 nautical miles

Distance to go:            6906 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.0 kts.

Comments:                  Our mileage ‘to go’ has dropped under 7000 – progress is steady.  Our transit this afternoon was interrupted by Spanish Authorities wanting information about a vessel in our vicinity.  It was a pleasure vessel, fishing, not running illegal immigrants.  Information was relayed, and we were on our way.  An interesting diversion.



Follow the Red thread – 2244 nautical miles under the keel.




Spanish Granada to our Port, Morocco to STBD.




OK, Erik, this is the Forward Bridge, where all Transits on CHALLENGER are conducted from.  (I apologize for the photo quality, the sun was crackin’ the flags today!)  The FWD Bridge is set up in a 3-Panel concept.  To Port, is the Instrument Panel,  Center is the Navigation Panel, and to Stbd is the Alarm Panel.  Flanked either side of the center Nav Panel are the Chart Plotters (ECDIS), loaded with Admiralty Charts.





Port side – Instrument Panel.  This large monitor displays the Power distribution necessary for propulsion.  To the right are the GPS’s and AIS units, all FURUNO.  Of course there is redundancy for all equipment.




The Power Distribution monitor displays the power available and the power being consumed, in real time.  This SeaQ Control systems monitor also displays all the functions, levels, and quantities, etc. on the vessel.





The Navigators Center Console.  The vessels’ propulsion can be manually controlled from this position.  The 4 white levers control the Thrusters.  The fwd-most lever controls the two bow-thrusters, (Tunnel-thrusters).  The second lever, to Stbd and slightly aft, controls the FWD Drop-down thruster.  (more about that puppy in a separate post)  This drop-down thruster is an Azimuth, and will be deployed when in Diving (Dynamic Positioning) mode.  The after-most levers control the main Propulsion Azimuth Thrusters, No’s 04 & 05.  You can imagine the power and control available to the operator, with each thruster able to thrust well over 2000 HP in any direction.

The center wheel is available to the operator when they want the vessel to respond in a traditional manner, i.e, as if the vessel had Rudders.  The Propulsion thrusters are commanded together in unison, and taking steering direction from the wheel.  ALL controls are Rolls Royce.





This iPad like device is the Main / general control pad.  It sits directly next to the operators chair and is immediately availble to make any command.  It all works flawlessly at the moment…  I’m watching this techneology change right before my eyes.  It’s a gift, really.





The central panel, in the central console   ;  )  This is the CONNING Monitor and displays all the relevant information that the operator needs to see in order to navigate safely & efficiently.





Up above the Central panel, is the Repeater overhead Dispaly.  Remember, redundancy for everything!





And lastly Erik, the Alarm panel.  This console monitors all the fire alarms,smoke alarms, and water-tight doors, amongst others.




Hope I haven’t bored the crap out of too many people, but I’m with Erik, I love this stuff.     :  )




Log Entry:  013

Date:                            2017/Nov/23             

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                              5 knots,   East     flat calm (again)

Position:                       037º  14.1′ N  /   003º  04.3′  W

Distance travelled:      2494 nautical miles

Distance to go:            6656 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.0 kts.

Comments:                  As you can see, we are well into the Mediterranean Sea, and it’s been flat calm all the way.  Just beautiful.  Perfect day for Julie and I, for our Minicat! on INFINITY.

As we make our way West, towards the Suez Canal, we have Algiers on our STBD side, and the Mallorca on our PORT.






It’s going to be the Diving Bell today, one of my favourite subjects  ;  )   Allow me to desscibe some things to you, and make these photos come alive.

The item before you, below, is a ‘Schedule 6, Diving Bell’ rated by Det Norske Veritas to support 3 Saturation Divers lives down to 300m – 984′  In a Bell just like this, I made my living for 16 years.

Once the divers are sealed in the Bell, the Bell is then trollied over to the moonpool on that hydraulic ram / rail system.






You see the Moonpool here.  That ‘hole’ goes right through the vessel hull and allows the Bell (& clump-weight) direct access to the water in a controlled environment.






Today, the Dive Techs and I lifted the Bell off the system and moved it over to the ‘maintenance position’  The Bell is currently at ambient pressure, in an air environment, so it’s safe to go in and have a look.





Under the Bell here, looking up into the Bell.  You see two divers Umbilicals which we have onboard to test all Divers Gas & Bell Gas systems out.   That long white, bundled-up rope, is the Unconscious Diver Recovery Block-&-Tackle.





From the top.  The red box is the Emergency ‘Through-Water’ Communications set.  This unit is tested before every single Bell run.  If it doesn’t work, the Bell run waits until it’s swapped out with the spare, or repaired.  Gotta have it working.  The upper stainless steel cylinder is the Carbon Dioxide scrubber. (No.01), there are two.  That device takes out the carbon dioxide exhaled by the Bell occupants.

The lower stainless steel cylinder is the Hot Water Heater.  The Bell needs to work in any Locale, and in colder climates (like the North Sea) the bell reaches near freezing temperatures.  Hot water is piped by through the Bell umbilical and directed through that device.

The orange oblong box, and black handle, is actually the Enerpac which lifts or lowers the Bell door with hydraulic pressure.





Front & Center is the DRASS FAVA Panel.  This supplies the Heliox Gas which the Divers and Bellman breath.  The actual Gas mixture varies depending on the depth, which the Diving Supv ensures the right mix is online at the right time.  CO2 scrubber (No. 02) is to the right.

Those masks are NOT the Divers Helmets.  They are referred to as BIBS (Built in Breathing System) which provides emergency gas to the Bell occupants, should the Bell atmosphere become contaminated with hydrocabons, or the Bell floods.

Over to the left, on the top, is the Gas Analysis regulator.  Below that is the Oxygen Injection panel.  If the Bell atmosphere drops, the Bellman can manually inject O2 to bring it back up to normal levels.  The black box below the O2 Injection panel is the main Bell communications.  And lastly, are the gas-flow regulators to set up the Diver’s reclaim.  We actually “reclaim” the divers gas, back to the surface.  That reclaimed gas is cleaned, some oxygen added, and then sent right back down to rebreath again.





350m (1200′) Internal and External Bell Depth gauges.







The hand-held telephone receiver is the 3rd set of comms (Sound Powered Comms).  Appropriately positioned next to the Emergency Communication Bell Tapping Code.  In a disaster, these low-tech methods save lives.





Moving along.  We have the Divers Hot Water manifold.  Hot water from the surface is sent to this manifold, where it is directed to (or dumped from) the Diver or Bellman.  Divers wear “Hot-Water suits which have a set of tubes running through-out the suit, providing hot-water to the entire body.  In South East Asia (where the water is much warmer), the Divers tend to wear a hybrid suit, known as hot-water coveralls.  Both work great.





Last one for today.   This Port in the bell allows the Bellamn to read the pressure in the Emergency Gas Bottles secured to the outside of the Bell.



There will be an Exam at 5pm tomorrow.     ;  )





Log Entry:  014

Date:                            2017/Nov/24                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               9 knots,   SE     rippled sea,    Gorgeous!

Position:                       037º  45.7′ N  /   007º  43.2′  E

Distance travelled:      2747 nautical miles

Distance to go:            6403 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.3 kts.

Comments:                  As you can see by our GPS coordinates, we have moved into the Eastern hemisphere, where our baby belongs.  We have been Kreuzing along (I promise I won’t do that again  ;  ), keeping about 30 miles off the Algerian Coast.  By midnight, we’ll be passing into Tunisian waters.  To the North of us is Sardinia and I can hear the Sirens calling me.





Thousands of emails over the last couple of weeks, that’s right, today is day 14.  I had to get out and stretch my legs.  Today is an ‘outside day’.  Let’s have a look around.

Just under the Helideck, is the Bridge (which you are all familiar with now), and under the bridge is my office.  I’m looking out of those two large windows as I type.





The Ship designers have created this open space, which can be fully enjoyed by the Superintendent and the Client.





No matter which way you look, it’s Nice!





Around the corner, and we have direct access to the Bridge and the Helideck.





One DNV Approved Helideck.  Soon the deck will be adorned with a Helicopter safety net which makes walking around the deck a chore.  Best to enjoy it now in it’s virgin splendour.




The white circular domes are for satellite communications.  Both Radars are FURUNO, one S Band, and one X Band  (just like INFINITY).





You can see how the Bridge wing extends outboard of the vessel by 2 meters.





Just the same ol’ view for the last 72 hours.  It does not get any better than this.  We’ll talk about the Cranes another day.  Pace yourself guys.




And the final shot of the day.  It’s a long way up to the Bridge from the Engine Room, trust me on that one   ;  )




It sure was a beautiful day today.  I kept saying to myself, we HAVE TO take INFINITY here one day.





Log Entry:  015

Date:                            2017/Nov/25                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               8 knots,   SE     minimal swell    

Position:                       036º  48.7′ N  /   012º  33.8′  E

Distance travelled:      2986 nautical miles

Distance to go:            6164 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.3 kts.

Comments:                  We are passing Tunisia as I type.  Just in our wake a few hours ago, on our Stbd quarter, was the Italian Island of of Pantelleria.  It took a lot of us by surprise because it’s the first landmass we’ve actually seen since leaving the English Channel.  Funny how sighting land is always a welcome sight.  (I think it’s reassurance, like a dog who’s wandered ahead, then stops abruptly and turns around) – Ah, the land is still there, we can carry on now.




Is it me, or do you notice us taking the long way around Libya?



The photos today, are of the Officers / Management level cabins.  The Captain, Superintendent, Chief Engineer, and Client Rep all have the same standard room, all in the same area.  =  D Deck, FWD.   Here you go Jamie.








90% of my day is spent in my office, or running around the ship, checking on the progress of our work-scope.  I’m awake at 0500, and by 0503 I have a fresh Java in my hand.  Giggle the computers’ mouse, and the emails start flooding in.  At 1730 I stop for a break, and head to my cabin for a quiet 15 minutes; and watch the sun down go in this Ekornes chair.

I reflect on the day, and usually give silent thanks.  Then collect myself, and back to work!





The view on this voyage has been particularly awesome.  In her normal element, the CHALLENGER’s  view will be cluttered with oilfield assets.  Everywhere.




But tonight,  the sunset was as fantastic as the others have been since Norway.





Separate Sleeping quarters, and bathroom.  Photos taken on Commissioning.













Log Entry:  016

Date:                            2017/Nov/26                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               15 knots,   NW     1.0 – 1.5m swell 

Position:                       035º  33.8′ N  /   017º  27.3′  E

Distance travelled:      3226 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5924 nautical miles

Average Speed:            10.1 kts.

Comments:                  The miles are dropping away, as we cross the Ionian Abyssal Plain.  The way ahead to the Suez Canal now seems clear, and straight-forward.  We’ve been keeping ourselves closer to Italy, but we only have 40 miles to go before we depart Italian waters, and enter the Mediterranean Sea border with Greece.  Crete is 285 miles ahead.






No discussion about Diving Support Vessels would be complete without mentioning the Health & Safety of the Saturation divers.  In the highly unlikely event that the crew must abandon the vessel , say through fire or collision, there is also a way to evacuate the Divers committed to saturation.

We do this using a SPHL – Self Propelled Hyperbaric Lifeboat.






This schematic below shows you the Hyperbaric Evacuation Arrangement.  The divers must make their way to Chamber No.02, and from there exit the chamber system through the escape trunking, and into the Lifeboat.






Yep, through this trunking, up to safety.






This photo is taken from outside the vessel, and shows you the Hyperbaric Chamber within the lifeboat.






No bunks in this one.  When you enter this Chamber, it’s going to be all Business, survival mode.  Note the door on the floor.  This is the door which the divers enter the Chamber.






Once the divers are in the Lifeboat, strapped in secure, helmets on, their peace made with their higher power, a ‘seal’ is taken on the Chamber.  All the support services, like dive gasses, heating, electricity, etc, is disconnected via the Stab plate you see here.






Almost there.  Final action is to ‘Open the Clamp’.  Once completed, the SPHL is ready for launch.






The vessels’ Davit system, launches the Lifeboat, and the Coxswain motors the SPHL away towards safety.

This Rescue vessel has a 110 HP STEYR Marine Diesel in it, and it’s conned from this Helmsman’s position.  Nordhavn’s interior designer was absent on this one.






Once the “Nominated Safe Haven” has been reached, the SPHL will be lifted using the dedicated Lift Rigging you see here, and placed onto an HRF – Hyperbaric Rescue Facility.  And that is a whole other discussion.






Log Entry:  017

Date:                            2017/Nov/27                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               25 knots,   W’ly     3.0 – 4.0m swell 

Position:                       034º  34.9′ N  /   021º  13.6′  E

Distance travelled:      3435 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5715 nautical miles

Average Speed:            9.1 kts.

Comments:                  The weather has deteriorated.  :  (     We’ve had a good run though.  In fact, it has been so good that I have not even looked at a weather report for days.  Lulled into a false sense of security once again!

However, we are on a Delivery, so the weather report would have to be so severe that damage to the boat was likely.  Then perhaps, we might take evasive action, but other wise, it’s strap yourself in, and get on with it.





Try as I might, I have never taken a photo that truthfully represents what the weather is actually doing.  The boat was rolling quite a bit.  And unfortunately the MRU’s are fed into the DP desk, (AFT Console) the so the actual roll was not recorded.  Most newer Nordhavn’s are set up better in this regard.





Tomorrow, I’ll take a proper weather forecast using my Predictwind Software and talk us through how I go about it.  I could use the practice.





As the mediterranean & Ionian Seas meet, the seas built up quite nicely, to around 4m.






588 miles to go, until the entrance to the SUEZ Canal.






Log Entry:  018

Date:                            2017/Nov/28                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               20 knots,   W’ly     3.0m swell 

Position:                       033º  37.7′ N  /   024º  52.6′  E

Distance travelled:      3620 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5530 nautical miles

Average Speed:            9.0 kts.

Comments:                  The weather & sea state have subsided somewhat, but we’re still rolling around quite a bit.  (comeback INFINITY, all is forgiven!)  It seems I have to pay the price for the lofty office.

So lets see what the weather has in store for us over the next few days.  I’m going to use my own program, on my own computer.  The software is called Predictwind, (those Kiwis should have me on the payroll by now)  Of course it’s flawed (weather prediction always is) but it’s a complete package that comes bundled with everything we need, for any device you choose.


The sequence for me, goes like this:

  1. I select the Predictwind icon from the bottom of my mac, and launch the program.






2.  The program opens up into a world map.  I simply position the green START icon where I want my forecasting to begin, and similarly place the red STOP icon where I want the forecasting to end.  Of course you can run a bendy course around land masses by inserting ‘waypoints’ along the route.  The box in the top right corner does that.






With my selection made, I choose what service I want from the box on the top left.  I’m choosing GRIB Offshore this time.






Another selction screen opens up, and I fine tune the detail I wish to see.  I’ve chosen the European forecast over a 3 day period, reporting every 12 hours.






Et Voila!  The forecast in Technicolour!  Note the scroll bar on the bottom.  In the lower left corner, I can press the  <  or  >  keys, which will advance the forecast, or rewind it, by 3-hour increments.  Or I can press the PLAY button, and the entire 3 day forecast will run in animation mode.  It’s quite cool, and it’s actually awesome when the forecast turns out to be accurate.






On the Tables view, I can scroll through a multitude of pages.  I often choose this view as my brain is kinda wired this way.  The different colours represent the different forecasting models available.






In Summary view here.  Each Forecast delivers it’s own set information.  Often it’s ‘too much’ information   ;  )






Then I’ll slide back to the Menu, and see what the Satellite view tells us.  The Satellites are constantly orbiting the earth so you only get what is available at the chosen time.  I had to select the lower middle target box tonight, because the preferred left-side box was not available.






And this is what has been delivered.  This is real time, and this is COOL!  Very top, upper left is where we are.  Currently showing minimal cloud in our location.  Correct.






Then lastly, I go back to the Forecast page and zoom in to see what we should be expecting in our area.  It says: 15 knots from the North West, and loosing power as we move east and the time progresses.  Yep, sounds good.





Log Entry:  019

Date:                            2017/Nov/29                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               15 knots,   W’ly     2.5m swell 

Position:                       032º  27.7′ N  /   029º  16.′  E

Distance travelled:      3620 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5530 nautical miles

Average Speed:           10.2 kts.

Comments:                  We are 165 nautical miles from the Pilot Station to Port Said By Pass Channel.  Our planned ETA at the Pilot Station is 1400, 30/Nov/2017.   While here, we’ll take on our security team, and our agent will handle all the necessary documentation & formalities to enter the Suez Canal.





We have been sending our Shore Team 6-Hourly reports since leaving Alesund, Norway, so all things are in order.  Today, the ships’ crew have been increasing our security measures.  All doors with outside access have been dogged-down tight and locked.  All room pass keys have been handed out.  It’s not ‘Lock-down’ yet, but we are now ready for it.

This double-shot below, shows the simple, but effective way our doors have been locked-down.




Those two screws are not normally there.  I tested it myself (it’s the door to my office) and it is rock-solid shut.  Nothing is getting past that door.






This type of door has pad-lock on.






and this type, has been double-locked from inside and the Key mechanism is engaged shut.






While we started to prepare our security measures, the sun rose in a most Biblical way.






As the morning hours passed by, I could not take my eyes off the low sun poking through the clouds.






I foolishly (but playfully) suggested to God that there was no way he could do better than that.  Seconds later, I turn around to this,,, running to get my iPad.

I guess I should not be surprised, this is His back-yard after all.     ;  )






Log Entry:  020

Date:                            2017/Nov/30                 

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               8 knots,   W’ly     1.0m swell 

Position:                       031º  21.3′ N  /   032º  19.2′  E

Distance travelled:      4038 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5112 nautical miles

Average Speed:           10.0 kts.

Comments:                  No internet last night?  Sorry for the later-than-usual posting, just had to bide my time for better service.

Our transit so far has been good, with few blips, or mishaps along the way.  Reaching the SUEZ CANAL is a Milestone point for us, and marks almost halfway through our Journey.

Here’s a map showing our present location.









So, we dutifully arrived at the PORT SAID Pilot Station at 1400, as we had estimated.  We did not have to wait long for the Pilot to arrive.














The Pilot instructed the Captain to make haste, 10 knots minimum, to our designated anchorage spot.  (Then proceeded to enquire about Cigarettes).






Perhaps 45 minutes later, our anchor is down in South Anchorage, C4.  The Pilot has departed with 6 cartons of Cigarettes, and we have had minimal intervention with Inspections.














The plan is to overnight in this location, and wait for our turn in the morning with the Convoy through the Canal.  Presently sitting pretty with 7.5 m under the keel.





I walked around the outside of the Bridge, taking photos 360º of our position related to the other boats.  Lets see what tomorrow brings!















Log Entry:  021

Date:                            2017/Dec/01                

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               11 knots,   NE     0.25m swell 

Position:                       029º  27.5′ N  /   032º  35.5.′  E

Distance travelled:      4144 nautical miles

Distance to go:            5006 nautical miles

Average Speed:           9.0 kts.

Comments:                  We’re through!!   We have transited the SUEZ Canal   :  )


The map screenshot below shows our exact location, 2023 local time.  We’re currently heading south, through the Gulf of Suez, and all formalities have been completed.





But first, let’s rewind a bit.  It’s 0630 and we are on our way, in line – last boat of our Convoy.





After thorough instruction from Port Control, our first Pilot joins us.  We are doing 10 kts, minimum, and everything is moving at a very fast pace.





This Gentleman was very professional.  A pleasure to have his company.






Passing through the City of Port Said.  The Airport is just a bit further South.






We can see 3 boats ahead of us.  It was darkness when we first got going so not entirely sure how man in front exactly.  Small boats zipping around like worker bees.  (Jay / Chloë, remember Cabo?)






We had Agents, Surveyos, Inspectors, Linesman, boat-by-boat they came.






About half way through, another Pilot takes over.





We passed many Ports like this along the way.






And saw lone fisherman .  I spared a thought for them, and wondered if they spared a thought for me?






This area made me feel good,,,  then it occurred to me that this was the first T-Shirt weather since leaving Norway, and I smiled.  “We’ve arrived the sunshine”






Another settlement up ahead.  They tended to be dotted along the Canal.  Various outposts (Military?) mixed with small urban areas.






As a personal matter of interest, I wanted to show you guys the accuracy of iSailor (TRANSAS Charts).   You see our vessel transiting South along the Canal.  You’ll notice that we are just about to come to an intersection on our Port side.





I look out my window, and Boom, this is what I see.  Precision cartography, I love it.





Another example.  You see those tiny teenie-weenie circles, tracking along the STBD side?  What are they?





They are these things right here,,, right where they should be.   :  )






Not long until the end of the Canal from this point.  The Gulf of Suez beckons us on.





By 1800 we were out of the Canal, Pilots departed the vessel & the Linesman went with them.  They were not needed this time Paul, no Sand Storms for us.






Log Entry:  022

Date:                            2017/Dec/02                

Local Time:                  2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                               8 knots,   N     1.0 m swell 

Position:                       026º  08.4′ N   /   035º  01.7′  E

Distance travelled:      4397 nautical miles

Distance to go:            4753 nautical miles

Average Speed:           10.0 kts.

Comments:                  Just a quick update tonight. 

The weather has been great since the Med, and there’s nothing ominous on the horizon for a few days at least.  The seasonal Northern winds are calm and sand free.  No chop on the water.

As Ross predicted, we passed by the Hidal Oilfield first thing this morning but kept 1500m well clear, so no real photo opportunities there.  So for now it’s smooth sailing with a happy Delivery Crew.













Log Entry:  023

Date:                                 2017/Dec/03                

Local Time:                       2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                                    9 knots,   N     1.0 m swell 

Position:                            022º  34.8′ N   /   037º  06.4′  E

Distance travelled:           4625 nautical miles

Distance to go:                 4525 nautical miles

Average Speed:                9.5 kts.

Comments:                       You see those numbers above?  4625 miles down, 4525 miles to go.  We have broken the back of the journey, and we are on our way home    :  )



At 1300 this afternoon, we officially crossed the half-way mark with 4575 nautical miles completed, and 4575 to go.  Coincidentally, it also marks the point where it felt ‘hot’ outside, and I immediately felt better in the cooler Climate Control inside the ship.  We are never happy, are we?

Anyway, throughout our travels on INFINITY since 2013, I have noted a distinct temperature change when crossing through the Tropics.  Whether it’s been Cancer or Capricorn, that (to me) is where the Climates change – right between 022º and 023.5º, every time.


A closer view of our track below.  Just as we were crossing our half-way point, we were also crossing out of Egyptian waters and into Sudan.






It’s was clear, but also kind of muggy for the first time.  Visibility down to 5 miles.








And pretty-much more of the same.  You have just been walking around the Bridge with me, doing a 360º.  Nothing to report, and that my friend is about as good as you can get.     :  )




If things don’t liven up a bit tomorrow, I’ll show the Dive System Chambers in a bit more detail.  I have had quite a few emails about them.





Log Entry:  024

Date:                                      2017/Dec/04                

Local Time:                            2000  (UTC +2)

WX:                                         7 knots,   N     0.75 m swell 

Position:                                 019º  45.2′ N   /   038º  43.4′  E

Distance travelled:                4806 nautical miles

Distance to go:                      4344 nautical miles

Average Speed:                     9.0 kts.

Comments:                            We continue down the Red Sea, going with the flow, and the seasonal winds.  As I take my hour around the Helideck, my mind wonders to the Bible (read it twice) and I try to compare these local areas we have past with the Scripture in the Book..  It’s kind of fascinating, on many levels.  Apart from the obvious revelations, it’s gotta be one of the oldest recorded books written on this area.


Our current position @ 2040  (UTC + 3)





Now let’s move to another fascinating area, the Dive System Chambers.  We’ll enter Entry Lock No. 3, (which is just below the KREUZ logo), and then move to the right, going through the spool, and into Entry Lock 1.  EL1 connects to ML1 (Main Lock 1).  Ready?




Enter through door 32 (into EL3)






Now we are in EL3, looking through the spool (or trunking) into EL1.  In you go, and please close door 33 behind you.  (that is a rule).






OK, now we are in EL1.  This is Chamber Central, a lot happens here.  Right above your head is Door 18 – up to the Bell.  You are looking through Door 10 into the Main Lock 1 (ML1).  This is where the divers eat and sleep.  The Entry Lock’s are used to shower, use the facilities, and lock all dirty/used equipment out to be cleaned/recharged.






This is the Equipment Lock.  Laundry, towels, Hot water suits, soda-sorb, garbage, water bottles, coveralls, back packs, anything goes out through here.  Nothing goes into the Main Lock (Living quarters) that isn’t clean.  Clean clean.







Standard issue.

Doing ‘time’ is not really an issue for a Saturation Diver, so suggest you do not piss them off     ;  )






Note the bar / lever mechanism attached to the toilet seat lid?  This is a safety device which will enable flushing the toilet, only when the seat is in the lowered position.  (Yes, the story of the diver having having his bowels removed is true)  Also note the drilled holes around the bowl.  That safety thing is taken seriously.






To the left of the toilet is the drop-down sink and shower hose.  Hot water & pressure is not a problem on a Sat system, so they Divers can usually enjoy a nice hot shower after a Bell run.  The Bellman showers last, and cleans up.  Everything is left clean & dry.  This is a high pressure, high O2, humid atmosphere, a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.






OK, now we’re into the eating / day room.  Door 14 is the EL1, where we just came from.  To the left is the “Medical Lock” which should really be renamed the “food lock”.






Medical lock and Sound Powered Phone.  All meals are served through this lock.  Divers regularly receive a “Pot of Hot” through here too.  A Pot-of-Hot is usually requested for the slightest celebration.  Any excuse in fact.     ;  )












Sleeping quarters.  A couple of mattresses and duvets, and just like home!

Those floor plates get lifted, and the floors wiped down with disinfectant, every 3 days.  Did I mention we have to keep things clean?






Log Entry:  025

Date:                                      2017/Dec/05                

Local Time:                            1930  (UTC +3)

Update:                                  It’s all plain sail on the KREUZ CHALLENGER.  Everthing going to plan, all systems ‘go’.  However, I’m going to shut things down here for a few days while we make the transit through the corridor and clear all potential hostilities.    See you on the other side     ;  )





Log Entry: 026

Date:                                      2017/Dec/25

Local Time:                           1300 (UTC +8)

WX:                                        5 Kts, E      0.5m seas

Position:                                02º 15.5 N / 101º 48.3 E

Distance travelled:               9019 nautical miles

Distance to go:                    131 nautical miles

Average Speed:                   10.5 kts.

Update:                                 Merry Christmas!!

My last entry was Dec 5th, 2017, as we were about to enter the Internationally recognized Piracy HRA (High Risk Area) in the Red Sea. There were a few unsettled crew onboard and who could blame them? We took armed security guards onboard for the transit, and they politely requested ‘no photos – no media’ For these reasons, and a few more, I shut the blog down until we were free-&-clear of the HRA.

Well, ,,,life at Sea, the best laid plans soon get altered. Once we dropped off our security team (all done under the cover of darkness again) I flashed up the blog and discovered that the Indian Ocean Satellite was not up to the bandwidth I needed to post to the site : (   Well, I gotta tell ya that this kind of came as a blessing as I was snowed under with work anyway.

So, here we are, Christmas Day, December 25th, 2017 and all is well. It’s Day 42 of the transit, and it will be all over tomorrow morning at Day break. Our ETA into Singapore is Dec 26th, early hours. I will do one more post after this one, to summarize the trip.




A few folk are interested in the Red Sea / HRA period, so a few photos of the preparations we took are below:

We had 4 guards onboard, each had their own case of weapons and Tac gear, stored ready on the bridge.



Each case held two Steyr FN .762 caliber Hunting rifles. 20 shells per magazine. semi-automatic. Effective range about 750 meters.



2 x 1/2″ steel plates were installed to offer a secure position to defend. Sand-bags ready to deploy for positioning.



Mannequins erected on each Bridge wing to eradicate minor threats



On the night of Dec. 12th, a vessel 12 hours behind us was attacked by two armed skiffs. Of course at night, around 2130 hrs local time. No further details were ever made available.



But, we were ready. ; )


I am extremely pleased to report – that no incidents occurred during our transit. We certainly had a few days of rough weather, but no piracy.



Log Entry: 027                      Final entry

Date:                                      2017/Dec/26

Local Time:                           0800 (UTC +8)

WX:                                        9 Kts, E      0.5m seas

Position:                                02º 15.5 N / 101º 48.3 E

Distance travelled:               9150 nautical miles

Distance to go:                    0 nautical miles

Average Speed:                   10.0 kts.

At 0400, December 26th, 2017, the delivery of the DSV KREUZ CHALLENGER to her home port of Singapore, was successfully completed – taking 42 and a half days.  The vessel will now undergo a mobilization period to ready her for a five-year Diving Contract for SHELL Brunei.

I have been asked to remain with the vessel and run the Brunei Project, and I have accepted the offer.  So from here on in, I shall be working a schedule of 6 weeks on / 6 weeks off.

As I glance over the Port bow of the CHALLENGER, I can’t help thinking of what it would be like to run the diving program on the vessel anchored right next to us, Paul Allen’s OCTOPUS.



Both the CHALLENGER and OCTOPUS represent the finest Diving technology in the world, albeit one for commercial operations, and the other for recreation & exploration.



The non-commercial world certainly looks exciting!     ;  )

Well, my job here is done.  Thanks for following.     :  )





back to top of page








    • Hi Andy I love your info on the trip and ships ops , why is it they cant just pressurize the Doc and send him in to the chamber I though the chambers were cross connected. No wonder divers get paid so much it would be very easy to get hurt, have a great day looking forward to tomorrows report.

      • Hi Stuart, Unless the Doctor is specifically trained in Hyperbaric medicine, it’s basically unlawful to blow him into Saturation. The Doctor onboard does not have the skills in that environment. Anyway, that’s what the Diver Medics do, they have been trained in Trauma, triage, & emergency care, and a good one can handle anything. Many come from a military background. I have been surrounded with good guys all my working life, it’s great to know they have your back.

        • Hi Andy thanks for your explaination , Its hard to imagine just how risky this kind of diving is , and thanks for your diving bell walk through today very interesting, I take it non of you blokes have issues with tight spaces WOW its small. have a great Day

          • Hi Stuart, If you think the Bell is small now, try imagining it with 2 Diving Helmets, 3 Survival Packs, 3 Divers back-packs, spare soda-sorb, emergency equipment, medical equipment, a Bellmans’ Lock-out Mask, and 3 grumpy Divers? Not enough room to swing a Cat. This particular Bell is 6m3, which is average. I have dived in one which was 3.8m3 , ahh,,,those were the days,,,

  1. Best of luck from North Vancouver with this great passage!

    • Thanks Vic, I really appreciate a ‘good-luck’ message from my home town! North Vancouver – you are awesome!

  2. Hi Andy, finally left! I hope you have been home since I last saw you on board!

    • Hi Simon! Great to see you here! Yes, I did manage to get away for a month in North Vancouver & New Zealand. The CHALLENGER is shaping up nicely, and we really appreciated your assistance. Look forward to working with you again.

  3. Hi Andy, great postings, hope you have better weather along. Enjoy you photos – keep on posting – hope to see more from the pilot House, instrumentation and interiors as well. Keep good lockout in the Channel.

    • Hi Erik, thanks for your input. For sure I will include more photos of the Bridge, and accommodation, anything you like. There’s another 40 days left, so we’ll get to the whole ship in due course. I imagine everyone must be sick of the “at sea” pictures by now ; ). Speaking of the Channel, we are just passing the “White Cliffs of Dover” as I type. I’ll take a photo for you. Weather overcast, but minimal traffic.

  4. Ever since I traveled to And from Norway as a kid, I’ve been facinated with ships. Your blog will enable me to travel by ship again. Safe travels.

    • Hi Eric, Thanks for sharing. It’s people like you, who participate, who make this blog fun! I appreciate the interaction. Once the CHALLENGER has been safely delivered to Singapore, Julie and I will be cruising the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, and then up to New Caledonia on INFINITY. I shall be writing about it all. Which reminds me, I still need to get our current NEW ZEALAND Listing up. Oh so much to do, so little time,,,

  5. Seeing the SAT system I miss it all!

    • You were one of the best Chris, I miss you out here.

  6. Happy birthday Andy! (a day early from CA, but it all blends together when you are offshore doesn’t it?). Great photos, fascinating commercial marine enterprise. Each of the ships you have worked on has a unique look unlike recreation trawlers (i.e. your Nordhavn 62 Infinity) which are more uniformly comparable. How many dive ships are active around the world?

    • Hi Jeff!! You know, a few years ago I used to have a real good handle on that, but since then, the Diving industry has had a meteoric rise and fall, and I’m not sure where the dust has settled yet. It’s still settling, and has a bit to go yet. However, an educated guess, I’d say more than one hundred and less than two. It’s quite a specialized field, niche market.

  7. thanks to sharing Andy these all exiting life and passion need to be share with the world writing your book should definitely be on your bucket list

    • Hi JP! Mon ami! Mon frere!
      Perhaps one day. How cool would that be?

  8. Hi Andy. Always enjoyed following you, Jules and the fam on Infinity. But this series is really interesting. I’m sure that you’re very busy with all of the work to be done aboard, but if you get the time and the inclination, I’d love to hear details of the various systems aboard. You know: propulsion, electrical, plumbing, electronics, the hull… and on and on. With 30-Plus days to go, you could do a system every few days and still probably leave much unsaid. Just sayin. Regardless, thanks a ton for having us along on this delivery. Very cool.

    • Thanks Cedric, I like the cut of your jib! Let’s do it. Because today is special, (it’s my Birthday), let’s start with Propulsion!
      Excuse me now, I have to go gather some photos. See you in 4 hours. : )

      • Happy Birthday, Mate!

        The Admital loves the job-cut too! Lucky me.

  9. This is so fascinating for those of us on the outside who never get to experience this. I thought of you as I was visiting the Titanic display in Southern California this week. Amazing stuff!

    How deep and how long is a typical dive and what’s your record?

    • Hi Al, great to see you here! Welcome to our back-yard! A typical Saturation dive in South East Asia is from 50 – 90m (165′ – 300′) where the divers are under pressure for one month at a time. Yes, that’s right, 28 days.
      My personal deepest saturation dive was to 295m (970′) off Brazil in 1990. My longest Saturation was 62 days in India, and my most fun project was the Salvage of the KOSTAKOS in Greece, 1997, in 550′ of clear blue crystal clear water.

  10. Andy,

    Give us a proper scare – what is an estimated equipped unit price on the ship as she sails?

    Thank you for letting us ride along.

    • Hi Larry! Market price for a Norwegian built, DNV Classed, Diving Support Vessel is around $150M. But negotiation is the name of the game for 2017, so we could probably work some sweet deal out for you. Step into my office. Cappuccino Sir?

      • I’ll be having all the mod cons – and the mats, don’t forget the mats – thrown in with that….

        • Your local friendly Vard dealer says he’ll sell me a luxury conversion of a boat like yours (Brage, Kilkea) for about half that. Time to up your game. ;-). They’re not as as much fun though – no hospital.

          The market and the amount of money floating around in it is staggering just now! A new Gilded Age to be sure.

          Cheers and clear sailing.

  11. Hi Andy from Kona Hawaii!
    I just queried Julie as to your whereabouts and now I know! Great information on your current voyage. So im pressed with you guys! Missing you at Kona Brewery! Good memories…stay safe and out of that hospital!!!

    • Hey Diana, Greetings from the Mediterranean Sea! Julie and I are looking forward to our next visit to Kona – hopefully soon!

      • Just met a couple from Aukland staying here at the condo. Sounds like a good place for Julie to be! They also told me all about New Caledonia! Look forward ro hearing more when you get there next year! Cheers Andy!

  12. Hi again Andy and my late birthday greetings.
    You call for our comments – Well again a further go-thru of the helmstation/pilot house, with navigation and eletronics would be v ery much appreciated. Follow your progress daily. You got off from Norway at the right time – the last week has been heavy on the Norwegian coast and North Sea. Bon voyage!
    Erik A.

    • Hi Erik! Today’s post will be all about you. We’ll have a look at the FWD bridge.
      Let me know if you have any questions about the nav equipment. Thank you for your participation : )

      • Thanks Andy – marvellous presentation – This goes somewhat further than what we see on DIRONA – I’m sure James Hamilton will follow this closely as well.
        Will revert if further questions arise – but will take some time to investigate in detail ….., sure you are as interested as I am. How long does it take to get aquainted with such set-up. Did your people have simulator training ahead??

        • Hi Erik, James & Jennifer are Legends, no doubt about it. Regarding the crew familiarizing themselves with the ship’s systems,,, well that’s what we are doing now, with this transit. However, even before they step onboard, each crew member has been selected because of their previous experience and knowledge with similar equipment. Said another way, they are Professionals, and this new ship is nothing intimidating at all. Modern training does involve a lot of simulator training, but that doesn’t really apply in this case.

  13. Andy, please don’t think that this is boring. I am enjoying the updates, I look forward to them every night. thank you for taking the time to do them.
    John Thompson

    • Cheers John! Guys like you make it all worth while. : )

  14. I think I put this in the wrong place today…and I just wanted to poke you a bit.

    Your local friendly Vard dealer says he’ll sell me a luxury conversion of a boat like yours (Brage, Kilkea) for about half that. Time to up your game. ;-). They’re not as as much fun though – no hospital.

    The market and the amount of money floating around in it is staggering just now! A new Gilded Age to be sure.

    Cheers and clear sailing.

  15. Hi Andy, Val would like to know what ‘Bunkers’ are please. How are you doing? You should have called in while you were in the English Channel, (joke). How long do you estimate it will take you to do this journey? Good luck from Liverpool and Marlow, Bucks.

    • HI Lorraine ! Hi Val! Wow, great to see you here in the Med! You are just about to enter Tunisian waters. Please pass along to Val, that Bunkers are the ship’s fuel. Often referred to as MGO, or MDO (Marine Gas Oil or Marine Diesel Oil respectively).. When I’m discussing these matters with the Client, we often refer to it as Diesel. It’s measured in cubic meters or in Metric Tonnes.

  16. Great story. Thank you for sharing. Followed Infinity some also. If you are still taking picture requests, I would like to see a picture of the Captains cabin, if he is not offended. How far is his cabin from the bridge, pretty close I would guess? But that is an uneducated guess, I admit. This summer I got to travel on the Celebrity Solstice Cruise ship, and Captain Taso’s presentation of the ships build was incredible. Interesting he was there with the ship, during the build, from day 1. It’s probably safe to say there is not many people that know as much about his ship as he does. Is it the same way with this ship? Was the Captain present during the build?

    • Hi Jamie, well I think you got me there. I’ve been trying to think all day “how am I going to ask the Captain if I can photograph his room?” And each imagined response from the Captain doesn’t go good for me. So here is what I’m gonna do. I’ll take photo’s of mine, and explain any differences. The Captains Cabin is just FWD of mine.
      The distance from the Bridge is actually not as close as one might think it is. He is in constant contact with the Bridge through his dedicated phone, so it’s just a matter of one minute to get there. Close enough for sure.
      Our Captain has been with the ship since the hull was towed from Romania, (for fit out in Norway). We all (Delivery crew) joined the vessel in Norway.

      • If you could post yours that would be fantastic. You know, right after I posted the above request, I thought, oops, if it is a dedicated Captain that is kind of a personal request so apologize for putting you in a tight spot! Glad you didn’t ask. And glad the weather is co-operating so far. Enjoying the story.

  17. Hi Andy. Really enjoying your posts. Today’s on the diving bell was very interesting. Not much room in there but I assume it is only used to transport divers to and from the work site. Between jobs they live in the pressurized chambers. Would like to see inside there if possible. Can’t imagine being cooped up for a month at a time!
    Please also comment on the use of gas for breathing and what is “saturation”?

    • Hey Doug, how’s it going? Our daughter went to UVic, so I get a pang of nostalgia whenever I see the word VICTORIA : ) We used to berth INFINITY right in front of the Empress, many times. OK, onto Chambers – of course I can do that, good suggestion. I’ll slot that one in mid week. As for the Dive Gas questions, I have a question for you first – do you scuba dive at all?

      • No Andy, no diving experience.

        • Hi Doug,

          When we breath on land, we are breathing atmospheric “air”, which is made up of 21% Oxygen (O2) and 79% Nitrogen (N2). Our bodies just need the oxygen part, and the nitrogen component just becomes the ‘carrier’ gas. We can use ‘Air” for scuba diving just fine, but the Nitrogen becomes toxic as depth increases. It creates a narcotic effect which becomes debilitating around 50m (165’). For this reason, we do not use ‘Air” for deep diving. We need to get work done, and not hurt anybody. So, anything deeper than 50m, we switch the Nitrogen out, and substitute it for another inert gas – Helium (He). This diving gas is known as Heliox (HeO2), which can mixed for deep diving, from 50m – 300m.

          The term ‘Saturation refers’ to the type of decompression required. A diver can not come directly to the surface if they exceed a certain ‘profile’ (meaning = Depth / Time). If exceeded, a diver must “decompress” at staged depths according to the specific Decompression Table that his profile dictates. Well, in Saturation diving, we spend so long at a certain depth, that the body becomes “saturated” with inert gas (Helium) and no matter how much longer he stays at depth, the decompression required will not alter. The diver can spend 8 hours at 400’, or 28 days, it will be the same decompression.

          To assist with this theory, consider this analogy. A diver drinks so much beer in a pub, that at some point he becomes “saturated”. No matter how much more he drinks, he will not become any more drunk. It’s physically impossible. As a true professional, I have case studied this theory on many occasion and can confirm right here, that this is true. ; )

          • Thanks for the great explanation Andy. I truly appreciate the research you have done to come up with a good analogy. It’s one I can relate to. ; )

  18. Hi Andy, I have long enjoyed Infinity’s Blog, but this is up another level! Absolutely fascinating. so thank you very much. I would love to know more about how the ECDIS is actually used in a typical watch as well as all the other fascinating things you are covering.

    Your reference to Whitley Bay made me smile………..

    Best wishes,

    Colin Rae
    North Shields (next to Whitley Bay!)

    • Why-aye-man! I had forgotten I wrote that ! Those were some great nights out. Legendary in fact. Just brought a smile to my face thinking about it. Got the ECDIS on my list Colin, we’ll get into it for sure.

  19. When is Kreuz Challenger expected to arrive in Singapore? Is it heading to Brunei for Shell long-term charter next?

    • Hi Al, the current ETA for Singapore is around Christmas. And yes, the purpose of CHALLENGER is the BSP Contract. : )

  20. Great photos and easy to understand explanations. What is your plan for a devastating lightning event?

    • Hi Jeff! Great question, well seeing how we are now right near Israel, we figured we’d pray!
      Hmm, well I could tell ya that the ‘charge’ is designed to pass through the vessel, and how we’ll always have redundant, unaffected equipment in Stand-by,,, but we’re actually going to get back to you on that one…

  21. Hi Andy with all the security measures your ship is taking would you really want to take INFINITY through this area of the world ?

    • Hi Stuart. I’m actually using this experience to gauge whether or not we will do this. My eyes & ears wide are open, drinking it all in. We have a while to go yet, but from here on in, I’ll be mentally accessing the situation for INFINITY’s future travels.

  22. I found your comments on the diving tremendously interesting. My great grandfather was a hard hat diver, his hat is in storage with our families valuables, and I had an uncle who was a salvage diver in the thirties up into the sixties. Who has the industry become a science. I admire the way you approach people and the time you take to explain what’s going on in a manner that I find interesting. As a side note, my great grandfather once had the Bends, he called it Caissons disease. that’s mostly what he did, was build caissons for bridge footing construction. He did a seven cantilever bridge in Montreal somewhere when my grandmother was very small, all she remembered was the long train ride from NY and the sometimes empty seats at the dinner table from divers who were hurt. I’m not sure if people really know how dangerous this type of diving is, but your explanation was very educational. Safe journey, and thank you fo allowing me to tag along.

    • Hi Michael, Thank you for your most welcome comments. All feedback is important to me, but personal ones like yours make doing this sort of thing worthwhile. Your family has a deep history with hyperbaric work, and I would have loved to have had a coffee with them, we could have talked for hours! : ) One day, when you dig your great grandfather’s Hard Hat out of storage, please take a photo and send it to me, I would love to see it.

      • I will take a picture of it for you as soon as I can. As for the coffee, with my Great Grandfather it would have morphed into a beer or two at the corner bar. Just another point on old time divers. When my Great Grandfather was looking for work without so much travel, the early 1900’s travel wasn’t as rapid as it is today, he got a job as a ground hog digging the water tunnels for New York. Seems they needed men who could work with higher pressure, as the tunnels were pressurized to keep water from leaking to quickly into them before they could seal them, and divers fit the bill perfectly.

  23. Andy,

    You will pass by some onshore oil fields on your starboard side tomorrow morning. Those are my company’s fields! I was there just last week. I am so envious of this trip you are on. It is a fantastic experience that few can ever hope to achieve.

    • Ross – you nailed it! I woke up in the morning, made myself a fresh Java, looked out the window,,, and Boom, right there were the Oilfields, stretching South as far as my eyes could see. What do you do Offshore?

  24. The diving bell photos gave me claustrophobia! One question: How are biological needs met in this environment? How do you eat and deal with waste? I did not see the head compartment.

    • Hi Ross, well once the divers are in the Bell, that’s a “No Go” Zone if you know what I mean. But the Diving Bell is only a means of getting ‘to’ and ‘from’ the worksite, like an elevator. The divers only need to hold it for a half-hour at a time. Once they are back on the system, they have proper toilets, which I’ll describe in detail tomorrow.

      Well, what about when the diver is working in the water for 6 – 8 hours at a time? Anyone squeemish should go back to Facebook right now. If Nature takes control, then you just deal with it. The suits are constantly flushed with hot water as the diver is working away, and you can open them right up for brief periods, no problem. Once back on the ‘system’, the Assistant Life Support Technician is notified, and the suit is thoroughly disinfected. Hey, shit happens.

      Sorry, could not let that one go. This sort of thing does not happen regularly but the divers do get ill, fever, Delhi belly, what-have-you, and there is no “going to the Doctor”. But it is a fact of a Saturation Divers career, and there is a procedure for it.

      • Now that`s some fascinating `stuff` Andy! Glad to know that everyone`s good to go!!! One more week in Kona then back to cold and rain!

  25. Great Photos and posts taking us through the Suez. Clearly the closest most of us will get. Questions: what is the minimum depth in the canal, what does it cost for a vessel like yours ands like your N62, and what is the task of a linesman that the AB crew wouldn’t normally handle (is it just a way for some more people to get paid)? Really enjoy your blog! Thanks.

    • Hi Jerry. Great questions. I’m learning about this stuff as we go. the dredged design depth of the Channel is -24m. I did not see any Dredgers while we went through but the Pilot told me they were a common sight. Boskalis makes Miliion$ here. As for the cost, I’m not sure. Our Agents shoreside took care of that. No money changed hands but a case of cigarettes sure did. IF we take INFINITY through, I will have the maximum allowable Cigarette stash, tucked away for this purpose.

      The Linesmen came onboard to help the Vessel tie-up to the shore in case of a Sand Storm. Apparently it’s a known occurrence, and all visibility is lost. In that case, the procedure calls for the vessel to stop transit, and move to a suitable point along the shore where the Linemen tie up the ship and wait for the storm to pass. Of course it’s a cash grab, but your boat is not going through the canal with out these guys, so you make peace with it. Everyone was friendly, and it was a pleasant experience. The mood onboard was: OK, we’re all going to have a chill day today. Like a Sunday. : )

  26. Great Canal Passing Report Andy. Well nobody in private yachts would tend to go further South and into the Indian Ocean at present. iSailor is indeed a wonderful and reliable navigation equipment. I tested it last year in Limfjorden, Jutland (Passage from Kattegat to the North Sea) during a night run through passages even as close a the beam of Kreuz Challenger – and it worked surprisingly good. When you are thru and well out in the Indian Ocean I’m sure a lot of your followers would welcome a comment on security measures onboard including installations and security crew. Realize this is subject to you being allowed you to reveal these details. Enjoy the weather – I envy you, we are below 0 C for the past couple of weeks. Thats why I seriously consider the Kabola Heating as a must on our next boat.

    • I know I can’t be the first to make the observation that, both in construction and practice, your activities very much resemble those in spacecraft (although spacecraft aren’t nearly so well built!). When you’re done with this phase of life a new “voyage” awaits sir…..

      I am always impressed by organization and that required for both your “vehicles” and your mission is a testament to human ingenuity. I know that when you are actually involved in enterprises like these it’s “just the job” you’re humble and you get on with it, minimum drama. But it’s something very special indeed to all of us who have some feel for the effort represented here. Thank you very much for taking us along. I volunteer for your first delivery to Mars! I’m certain I would be in good hands.

      Cheers and safe passage,


      • Hi Larry. Thanks for your note & vote of confidence! I guess it can look Technical, but the equipment hasn’t really changed all that much in the 36 years that I’ve been doing this. It’s just simple physics, based on a few natural Laws of Pressure and Volumes, and how they interact. We have started to see the introduction of PLC equipment which is almost common place now on any new-build, but I gotta say, I’m not really a fan. Just like our Nordhavn, I like to keep things Offshore as simple as possible.

        It’s just occurred to me, that I actually do like talking about this stuff though, and I forgot to mention before, that I was involved in a National Geographic production called Blood, Sweat & Tears. Yeah, kind of corny, and the show was even worse, but that film was a dramatised event showing the running of a Diving Support vessel in the Gulf of Mexico in 2005. The vessel was the WITCH QUEEN.

    • Hi Erik, Well the ‘Security’ plan has not unfolded yet, but I will report something about it in due course. And yes, a Kabola is certainly the way to go, I hear good things. However, I’m going to give ITR’s HURRICANE a plug here because that’s what we have on INFINITY. It’s also a fantastic unit, and the support is just great. Marcello Velenosi, please send a Fuel Regulator to Auckland!! : )

  27. This is very interesting. The photos and descriptions are very easy to understand. Thanks again for taking the time and effort.
    Thank you,
    John Thompson

  28. Really great stuff, Andy. I just caught up through a period of binge reading and studying every photo. It’s all so very interesting and fascinating! Thanks so much for bringing us along and showing us the inner workings of this technological marvel….part airplane, part space lab, all ship!

    Hope your transit through troubled waters goes smoothly.


  29. Hi Andy
    Got a reassuring email yesterday from Julie. Said she had talked to you.
    Glad things are still ok
    PS She`s working her butt off on Infinity!!

  30. This has been fascinating to read, love the explanations of the technology on this boat. Was getting concerned with no updates on progress through troubled waters. Appreciate your time in creating this blog of your delivery.

  31. Whew! Great news that you made it through the area safely and without incident. That was a long, silent trek! Welcome to Singapore!

Leave a Reply to Andy Nemier Cancel reply