Life at sea: “Why I dived into the Atlantic Ocean,” Master mariner shares experience 28 years after
On this edition of the programme “Life at sea”, Nigeria’s first female master mariner, Capt. Roselyn Kete, shares a story of what made her dive into the Atlantic Ocean , while her vessel was in Angola.
In 1993, she had gone with her vessel as a cadet, on a contract they had with Angola Block 17, owned by Total. Theirs was the anchor handling vessel and they had gone there to carry out the job.
“I was then a cadet and everything was new to me,” Capt. Kete said.
Being a cadet at sea may have been new to the young Kete, but her confidence of the sea was very strong, being a native of Sangana Akassa, a coastal community in Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Once on the job, she went with the other crew members to work on the deck and bring the buoys to maintain on deck.
“In anchor handling we go around, take the boat hook and keep the buoy head, the wire would come on board and we put it on the tugger wire and we roll the buoy on board and maintain them.
“So, sometimes when we do this, our hook was going with the buoy, sometimes we don’t get it right; sometimes maybe due to the maneuverability of the master, we don’t know. But we were losing our boat hook.
“So, we had only one which we were working with and it left our hand. And that means we would be coming back to Nigeria; it would be contract over. Nobody wanted to go down to get it, so we were all looking at it go.”
For the love of the job and for the fact that she hadn’t any fear of the ocean, Kete volunteered to go and get the boathook. Of course, no one else wanted to do that!
“So, I told them that instead of me going back to Nigeria, I would dive down and pick the boat hook. So, I dived into the Atlantic Ocean.
“I had to take the easyline on my waist and told them that if I dragged the line, it means “pick me up.” So, I had to dive down. In the initial stage when I was going down, I saw this boathook very big; it became very large.
“As the thing was descending I was also descending and I closed my eyes and got the courage, held the boathook and it got to my hand. I then got them to drag me up by the easyline and they pulled me with the boathook to the deck,” Kete said.
Narrating how she felt while diving into the water, Kete said she was not actually afraid until she saw the size of the boathook she went after.
“I didn’t get afraid; the only thing that brought fear was when I saw the thing bigger than myself inside the sea. I wanted to come out, but I was encouraged so I grabbed it,” she added.
However, Kete wouldn’t take such risk again, she says laughing.