Some friends got me motivated to take the boat out on an overnight fishing trip offshore 4-20 on into 4-21. We first tested the boat the day before and one motor threw temp light and the other would not start! So we began! The port motor just needed to have the sand flushed out the water pump and VIOLA, no more temp light... the starboard motor, on the other hand, read 12.4v @ the battery and 12.4v @ the starting magnet and 7v @ the starter when cranked.. The port motor had a new magnet on it so we assumed it must be the magnet ($170) and we bought a new temp sensor for the fun of it ($40). After installing the new magnet on starboard motor we had the same results. So we then assumed the starter must be bad. Pulled the starter and tested it, and of course it was good. So we charged the battery and Bam! Eureka! We brought the boat into the lake around 9pm and ran it for a test run... The gas leaked out of the water separator on the port motor and melted the float sensor for the bilge pump causing the wires to touch and heat the float and melted it. The bilge almost burned up as well. We replaced the water separator ($10) and installed a new float switch as well ($60). Went to bed at 1am Tuesday morning and rose again @ 7am to head out. We loaded up and headed South from Mandeville. We caught a flat on the trailer in Belle Chase and replaced it with a smaller tire to make do to get us to Venice! We launched and went to head out and starboard motor wasn't getting fuel... Soooo, we found the problem, which was a broken, corroded, elbow connecting the fuel line to the gas tank... We went to a local parts place and made do with $80 of misc fittings and hose and replaced that fuel separator ($10) for the fun of it. We fixed it and left the dock @ 3pm headed down river to BP 109 offshore rig. We stayed there until we landed enough blackfin tuna and make it to our sleeping destination before dark!
We left there in a hurry to make it to Deep Water Horizon before dark. The water was like glass.
My radar got stolen off my bought before this trip so we planned on getting to a floater before dark and staying/fishing till sun up the next day. We got to Deep Water Horizon at sunset and began catching more tuna. These jelly fish were floating everywhere.
It was pretty cool to see them literally SAIL! When we drove at night the jellyfish would glow as they passed under the boat by the thousands. The tuna bites were starting to slow down so we drove right up to the rig to try to catch bait. No bait, but we found more tuna under the floating rig. Around 10pm the entire center of the rig started rushing water downwards over all the pipes... I've never seen such an event take place. I looked at my friend who previously worked offshore, and he said that's BOP something another and the rig took a 'kick!' I thought the rig was sinking and that was their way of bilging... But nope! Methane gas began BLOWING out of the West side of it and the noise of the thrust was louder than anything I've ever herd (except for a sonic boom I herd once, and what I'm about to tell you next) My eyes began to burn and that friend I was telling you about earlier began to SCREAM, "GO, GO, GO, GO, GOOOOO!" I positioned my compass North and put the gears in WOT! At approximately 100 yds from the rig it Exploded! Puts a new meaning to explosion. We hit the deck and continued North @ WOT, Blind because the moon was at quarter crescent and I had no radar.
The switch board went black for unknown reasons; therefore I had no running lights either. The flood lights in the rear did work. The rig continued EXPLODING. A very large crew boat was tied to the rig as it blew and the ppl began rafting to that boat as it floated away slowly. I got on the radio to try to help and they told me to stay away for safety. The rig blew a few more explosions after that and began to burn down. Some of the rig began dripping into the water and the platform tilted in and turned RED HOT. As bad as we wanted to save ppl, it wasn't the case here. I tried going in to be a hero and my posse wasn't having it! Maybe they were right...
The guy who predicted the explosion was terrified of what would happen next and would not allow for us to get any closer than a mile. He told me things about air rising from the pipes below, and how the pipes could be below us since they run at angles under water, and how the explosions would continue. I think he knew what he was talking about and made us all worry...
We stayed a mile off the fire and searched/listened for missing ppl for 4 hours. We saw nothing. 20 or so commercial liners eventually brought Medics and oxygen for survivors. Helicopter came for search and transport. All the other facts you probably already know about; via News. The 11 missing people in 'mind' I hope slipped away in a safety boat, but in reality I doubt they are alive. This is a sad thing to say, but if you would have seen the explosions you wouldn't believe anyone of the 126 would have survived it! I pray for all of them and their families! We left at morning to make our way in, we were 60 miles offshore and gas was running low. We stopped at Elf on the way in and filled the ice chest.
The tuna were busting on top water and we couldn't resist. We left the half way point in hopes to make it home. The starboard motor ran out of gas at the very mouth of the river, but fortunately we had a spare gas tank on board! We made it to Venice at about 3pm on Wednesday and began cleaning the fish.
I made it to my home at 8pm Wed night (37 hours with no sleep). And now it seems like it was a dream!