I returned to the U.S. from Greece in late 1975 and was hired by Western Geophysical in Houston as an oceanographer in anticipation of a huge ocean survey project offshore Iran. By the time I was brought on payroll, however, the project had evaporated. Western then assigned me to a navigation unit for their worldwide fleet of seismic vessels.
In the Spring of 1976 I was itching to get back "in the field" and Western accommodated me by transfering me to one of their survey vessels, R/V Anne Bravo as a navigator. We sailed from Galveston, passed through the Panama Canal, and cruised up the Pacific Coast to Long Beach, California. After taking on tons of 3-foot steel rail sections to use for sonabuoy anchors, we got underway and cruised up the Pacific Coast to Alaska. I spent the Summer surveying for Mobil Oil in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. Port calls were few and far between, specifically three in the entire summer in Kodiak and Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian chain. We spent the U.S. bicentenial celebration in Kodiak and it was absolutely wild.
After a total of 146 days at sea, I was given a two week break and flew from Anchorage to Honolulu and Maui to renew my memory of a warm climate.
The next season, after a winter surveying in the Gulf of Mexico, I was back in Alaska aboard Gulf Oil's research vessel Hollis Hedberg. It was on this cruise that the chief scientist, Bob Lattimore, now with Chevron, suggested I send out some resumes. He felt I was overqualified for what I was doing. I used the ship's office typewriter and mailed a few to names randomly picked from the Geophysical Directory.
That Spring of 1977 I was transferred off the boat, and was in a hotel room in Houston preparing to accept a similar position for Seiscom Delta, when the phone rang. It was Dr. C.G. Dahm, Chief Geophysicist of Texas Pacific Thailand Oil Co., who had received one of my resumes. Dr. Dahm wanted to know if I would care to supervise a seismic survey in the Gulf of Siam as a consultant. I immediately accepted, and flew directly to Dallas to meet with Dr. Dahm.
A week later I was making my first foray into Asia. I met the ship, GSI's R/V Eugene McDermott, in Singapore. Little did I know I would repeatedly ride this vessel in coming years, in locations as diverse as Tasmania, Indonesia, Philippines and Australia. We rode the McDermott from Singapore into the Gulf of Siam and made port at Songkhla, Thailand. The seismic survey was a pioneering 3-D survey and I was basically in charge of the multi-million dollar project, representing TP Oil.
It was on board this ship, in the Gulf of Siam, sitting on a fo'c'sle bit with a cup of coffee that I conceptualized Oceanprobe, even deciding on the name of the corporation. I then enjoyed a spectacular Siam sunset that prepared the way for a night featuring an awesome display of stars.
From 1978, when I incorporated Oceanprobe in Houston, until 1991 when I shut it down in Houston, the company accomplished a broad diversity of ocean-related work, in every corner of the world.
Oil Exploration Field Supervision
A company is, by necessity, a group effort. Oceanprobe certainly could not have accomplished everything it did without a lot of help from many people. I have given a lot of thought to this Honor Roll of employees, consultants, shareholders, friends and cheerleaders. Without these people, there could have been no continuation of Oceanprobe for 14 wonderful, crazy years.
Finally, to those young men and women who are scientifically inclined and especially endowed with a taste for adventure, I hope these pages will serve as an inspiration to you. Never doubt that you can achieve your dreams if you get down and work at it. Doc Edgerton's key word was "Persistance", and it is the most powerful force in our world.
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Copyright © 1995-2004 Paul H. Kronfield, Revised January 2004