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Another thought is how quiet it was as we were towed down the flat calm Fjord into Molde, looking back it seemed a lttle sureal, I guess we were all to some extent still in shock.

One last thought I hope we can get to meet some of the fabulous crew who looked after us all during that period, many of them very young but to a man and woman they rose to the occasion.

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Agree on the crew, though I still have my own thoughts as to the decisions that were (or were not) made that got us in the situation in the first place.

 

Those pictures are great - remember seeing them before shortly after the whole event was hashed out (many times probably!) on these boards. I wish I had taken a few still shots from the helicopter. I got some video, but nothing else.

 

I have to agree....the chance to reunite on the Venus is an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in so many ways, and is something that I think we've all been hoping for. Thing is...even if the trip goes...just not sure WE'LL go. It'd break my heart not to, but with the Iberian Explorer added on the end of it as well as several days sightseeing before the Invitational, I just don't know if it's not a bit of over-reaching in terms of a travel experience during such uncertain times yet. Having done virtually no travel since this past December, it's a heck of a step from there to what we have planned in January. We do have a few days' driving trip planned next month - but just keeping it simple and short...staying at one (reasonably unpopulated) place. 

 

With NO cruises going at all before end of December, I'm increasingly doubtful that this trip will even go - as scheduled at any rate. It is on my mind a lot...too much in fact. I'm one who likes to plan very carefully for trips - sometimes trying too much to micro-manage. This thing is the exact opposite in that I feel I have no control over most of what could happen. Of course, ultimately, life is like that every day. Awaiting further word from Mr. Hagen...that's all we can do. 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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31 minutes ago, Haworth said:

Another thought is how quiet it was as we were towed down the flat calm Fjord into Molde, looking back it seemed a lttle sureal

 

I'll bet....totally understandable. 

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Haworth....Here are some pics from the evacuation. Apparently I did get a few still shots from inside the helicopter. Didn't remember that. The last one is of the staging area where they took all of us. Those emergency personnel, Red Cross, etc. were simply amazing. All praise, too, for the chopper pilots who had to hover above the ship for something like 13 hours in between transferring people to the evac facility. First shot is really cool - bird's eye view from one of the rescue personnel's helmet cam. I can still recall every detail about standing on that deck waiting my turn to be swept off the top of the ship.

 

Unbelievably C O L D and W I N D Y out there!!!!  

 

 

 

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Edited by OnTheJourney

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Amazing pictures, 2 sides of the same coin, to reflect on that most “memorable” of events 

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Great pictures!

 

Viking and the Portuguese coastal rescue services ran a similar evacuation drill during our Trades Routes voyage in October 2019.  The helicopter hovered  overhead, and lowered a basket with an EMT. Two crew members went into the basket, and went up.  They were lowered, and the helicopter went away.

 

It returned a few minutes later and repeated the process.  Likely familiarizing pilots with a night evacuation.

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Incredible photos, thanks for posting.

 

When conducting helo ops on the ship, especially with military helicopters, the thing I recall most is the incredible down wash from the rotors.

 

Standing on deck waiting to be lifted off, the combination of down wash and storm must have been incredible.

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3 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

The helicopter hovered  overhead, and lowered a basket....

 

...yeah, except that we weren't so blessed to have a basket to take us up! I would have much preferred that. Many people I talked to afterwards at home assumed that was the case. Nope. They put a belt apparatus around your waist that was attached to the cable, grabbed your hands and put them on the cable with the indication to hold tight (way too loud to even hear anything that would have been said verbally), and then off you went. I probably had a death grip on that thing. Sort of twisted and turned a bit on the way up depending on the wind. 😳  Not having served in any sort of military / service capacity, it was truly the scariest thing I've ever done. (And I don't even like amusement park rides!) And only wearing a sweatshirt. Kind of ironic, ya know? Went on a trip above the circle being sure to take all manner of cold weather clothing along, and yet, when we really needed it that day, had no time to go back to the room for anything. 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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2 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Standing on deck waiting to be lifted off, the combination of down wash and storm must have been incredible.

 

Yes...aLOT of wind! Gotta say, Andy, I watched every inch of the slack going out of that cable once the signal was given to hoist me up, trying to mentally process the fact that I was actually going to do this. 

 

Thankfully the approx. 100 ft. journey  went pretty fast. I looked down at the ocean briefly then straight ahead the rest of the time. Once at the hatchway, they sort of pulled you in like a sack of potatoes, disconnected, showed you to a seat, and moved on to the next person. LOUD In there. The guy gave me earplugs to put on. I was directly across from the open hatch and so, yeah, the wind coming in was fierce.

 

Even scarier, however, then MY departure from the ship was watching my wife go up. I was very honestly in tears praying that she'd make it. One of those memories that is seared into my mind as vividly now as it was while it was happening. After she went, I was delayed because they had brought someone out on a stretcher to take up, so it was little comfort to my wife - who expected me to show up right after her. Worst part for her was that she couldn't see the people down on the deck. My gosh...such a day it was! 

Edited by OnTheJourney

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3 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

Likely familiarizing pilots with a night evacuation.

 

I cannot IMAGINE the passengers that went through this once it got dark. Somehow scarier I think. I believe we were among some of the first to get off. We were at breakfast early the next morning at the hotel and there were still evacuees coming in. Imagine how long it would have taken had the ship truly evacuated everyone as per the original plan. 

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55 minutes ago, OnTheJourney said:

 

Thankfully the approx. 100 ft. journey  went pretty fast. I looked down at the ocean briefly then straight ahead the rest of the time. Once at the hatchway, they sort of pulled you in like a sack of potatoes, disconnected, showed you to a seat, and moved on to the next person. LOUD In there. The guy gave me earplugs to put on. I was directly across from the open hatch and so, yeah, the wind coming in was fierce.

 

 

Wow - winching up about 100'. That is way higher than we have practiced, but our drills were always in sheltered bays, not in a raging gale with the ship pitching/rolling. Last drill we completed with the SAR helo, the chopper (CH-149 Cormorant) was only about 30' above the deck.

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On the familiarization exercise I mentioned, the helicopter was probably 50 feet  above deck 8. The ship's lights provided a very bright operations area.

 

The process was announced ahead of time "we will be conducting a drill in coordination with coastal services", and the deck area was secured. The area around the Infinity pool on the stern provided good views.

 

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3 hours ago, Heidi13 said:

Wow - winching up about 100'. That is way higher than we have practiced

 

Andy, using this picture - I did some rough estimating with a ruler. Assuming an average height of 6' of the people on the deck (roughly 1/4" on the ruler) and then measuring the distance to about the middle of the chopper (roughly 3 3/4"), scale-wise it would translate to about 80' from the deck to the chopper. So, even if I'm off, I'd say definitely a good bit more than 30-40'. Who knows...might be me being hoisted up there!!  

 

Actually I think using the 1/4" measurement was probably conservative as well as assuming an average height of 6' - so it could be more than 80'. And, of course, could have varied with the different helicopters and all the different runs they made back and forth. 

 

 

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Edited by OnTheJourney

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21 hours ago, Cienfuegos said:

The process was announced ahead of time "we will be conducting a drill in coordination with coastal services", and the deck area was secured. The area around the Infinity pool on the stern provided good views.

 

 

The ship's safety manuals will have written procedures for helo ops.

 

Probably required - area secured, area inspected to remove all loose debris from decks, secure/remove chairs, tables, etc. all participants with PPE, fire-team standing by with foam system, aerials lowered/removed, planning meeting before to assign tasks, etc.

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27 minutes ago, Heidi13 said:

 

The ship's safety manuals will have written procedures for helo ops.

 

Probably required - area secured, area inspected to remove all loose debris from decks, secure/remove chairs, tables, etc. all participants with PPE, fire-team standing by with foam system, aerials lowered/removed, planning meeting before to assign tasks, etc.

I remember helo training and it was very comprehensive.  One thing they really pounded into our thick skulls was never touch the cable/basket until it was grounded to the ship.  We had a hook like handle with cable clamped to the steel of the ship to initially grab the cable.   Helicopters can build up quite a large static charge.  Possibly newer ones handle it better than the oldies.  

Edited by Jim Avery

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36 minutes ago, Jim Avery said:

I remember helo training and it was very comprehensive.  One thing they really pounded into our thick skulls was never touch the cable/basket until it was grounded to the ship.  We had a hook like handle with cable clamped to the steel of the ship to initially grab the cable.   Helicopters can build up quite a large static charge.  Possibly newer ones handle it better than the oldies.  

 

Right on Jim - this is discussed in detail during the safety briefing. Normally mentioned multiple times.🙂

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