City Vox Popili – A Life in Abid’s’s Day, Oman Coast
As part of The Delhi Walla series asking citizens to “write down everything you did in one day.” Send yours in 400 words max to firstname.lastname@example.org
[Photos by Syed Abid Ali]
[By Syed Abid Ali,a sailor and engineer]
My 7:05am alarm wakes me up. We are drifting on the Indian Ocean, around 10 nautical miles off the coast of Oman, in an LNG-carrying ship, waiting to enter the port.
Following a quick work-plan meeting, I head out to the deck for work. Busy with my back towards the water, I hear a loud air-blow shoot out from the sea. I immediately know what it is. Whales usually don’t come so close to ships, but since we are merely drifting, without the engines, she doesn’t mind us much. Her repeat dives show a clockwork frequency. The whale leaves behind a rainbow from her misty breath.
In the afternoon, we receive confirmation to enter the port. I station myself at the ship’s mid-section to align its pipeline connection with that of the terminal’s. It’s a very slow process, and I pass most of my time looking at the surroundings.
Barren mountains stand behind the port. Orange-white striped power transmission towers dot their slopes, which are crisscrossed with connecting roads.
I have often noticed schools of small fish living under the port’s platform, and they all emerge when a ship gets closest to the platform. This time too, they are emerging out, settling against our fenders (shock absorbers). They start scrubbing the underwater hull for whatever exotic marine growth we have brought from the far seas.
I have been to the ports of many gulf countries, and have noted that they heavily depend on Indian workers for operations. But it is not so in Oman.
Following the completion of mandatory paper work, we start the process of loading the cargo into our ship. A full moon on the horizon is calming. I call it a day after the critical part of the loading is over, hoping I won’t be called at night. Fingers crossed.