Today Capt. Alex Bergstedt (FSB Scuba Commissioner) and I are scheduled to “get off the rock”. That is a term the locals use when they get to go to the mainland. Living on an island has it romantic qualities, but it’s also easy to get “cabin fever”. Many of us watch very little TV or listen to news radio or read the newspaper even (except when we need a good laugh about how moronic some of the local politicians are). Getting off the rock is a little shocking sometimes; cars driving faster than 45 mph, roads with more than two lanes, convenience stores (but not on EVERY corner like it seems to be back in Texas), chain stores, fast food, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target, shopping malls, and all the other evils of society. READ MORE.
Our primary mission is to deliver 53 (I believe that’s the right count) scuba cylinders to A-1 Fire Extinguisher in the small town of Naranja (that means orange in Spanish) for hydrostatic testing. We have at least to batches of 50+ tanks each to hydro this year. Hydrostatic testing (or hydro for short) is required by the US DOT every five years for scuba cylinders. It is an interesting process. They put the scuba cylinder into a tank filled with water. Then they fill the scuba cylinder with water. Next, a hose is connected to the scuba cylinder and then it is pressurized to 5,000 psi. They measure how much the cylinder expands (stretches) by how much water is displaced in the larger tank. If the expansion is within tolerance, we get to use the tank for five more years. This process takes a while so Capt. Alex will have to go back and pick the tanks up in a few days. Once they get back to base, they will have to be visually inspected, inside and out, and then reassembled (valve, boot and dust cap). They are visually inspected at least once a year.
After we drop the tanks off, tradition requires that we tend to some personal business before heading back. Capt. Alex needs to pick up some contact lenses and wants to buy the DVD “Up” that is being released today and I want to stop at the AT&T store to discuss upgrading from the original iPhone to the latest model. I know everyone has his or her favorite phone (just like cars and cake) but I have had an overall excellent experience with my iPhone. It has held up to rain, saltwater splashings, being dropped on the deck of the boat (innumerable times) and being carried around in my pocket for over two years. (I quit using a belt clip or holster after two phones committed suicide by jumping into the ocean – a frequent occupational hazard around here.
It’s 0423. I’m going back to bed.