I take a vacation on a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Humiliating myself for fun and profit.
June 4 2007 5:27 PM

Rigtime Gal

I go drilling for natural gas on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

(Continued from Page 2)

As Rusty and I walked around and over the equipment, I looked at the gorgeous aqua ocean, dotted with bobbing yellow seaweed. Rusty said the rig is a haven for migrating birds. A few weeks ago, a flock of hummingbirds took a break onboard, followed by one of purple martins. Amy said the birds are sometimes so exhausted that when they land they fall into such a deep sleep that she has stroked their feathers.

Three hours after our 6 p.m. dinner (I topped off my enormous meal with two bowls of ice cream), Amy escorted me across the rig. There, a group of welders were fishing from 90 feet up. Barracuda and swordfish are common sights, and someone pointed to flashes of brilliant blue—a school of mahi mahi. Within minutes the welders were hauling a 10-pound tuna onto the deck. They unhooked it and threw it back—it landed with a hard thwack that I hoped was not the tuna equivalent of the jump from the Golden Gate Bridge. Incongruously, on this part of the deck someone hung a white porch swing facing north—toward land too far away to see. I sat for a few minutes enjoying the darkness while engines hummed and gears turned.

Advertisement

We went back to our room, and Amy turned up the air conditioner to high, to drown out the hospitallike sound of the PA making incomprehensible announcements all night long. I slept wonderfully, the slight swaying of the rig having a womblike effect. I also discovered that being in the middle of the Gulf totally cleared up my allergies.

Recently the Washington Post reported that the Interior Department was looking to expand coastal oil and gas drilling to include a now-forbidden area off Virginia. Of course, environmentalists objected, citing potential damage to the tourist industry. But why should the choice be tourism or rigs? You can have both! Think of the marketing: unlimited food, suntanning on the heliport, fishing from 90 feet—just don't mention the 5 a.m. wake-up call.

OK, maybe Mohamed Al-Fayed and I are both crazy, and no one will want to vacation on a rig. But anyone who goes on that vacation will have a new respect for what it takes for you to warm your house with a push of a finger on the thermostat, or to get a flame on the stove with a turn of your wrist.

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.