1975, my schooner Eurydice was anchored in Lelu Harbor, Kosrae,
Caroline Islands, Micronesia. If you haven't a clue where that is,
next big thing West is Indonesia. Out of the way? The copra ship
dropped by every two years. A fuel barge made the rounds twice a
year. You might have a yacht come visit once every two months. A
little missionary plane tried to make it every couple weeks from
Ponpei with a mail bag.
day, a 45’ ketch motored thru the pass. Turned out to be chartered
out of Ponpei; two stewardesses and a Navy quartermaster who had been
retired off a nuclear submarine by heart problems. I forget right
this moment what surgery they had done on him; but it resulted in
limpdick, which they had solved with a bulb implanted in his ****
to inflate his member. The stewardesses liked the way he could stay
up as long as they liked. So they were tooting round together on
vacay for a lark.
all four visited a beach. I got to talking to him about amazing nuke
sub features. The gals thought we should have paid them more
attention. But that’s all another story.
we returned from the beach, the missionary had arrived, the gals
wanted to bug out by plane, the quartermaster followed them, they all
squeezed into the jumped up Piper Cub somehow and flew back to Ponpei. The
ketch’s skipper was a young lubber hired by the ketch owner who had
fled back to the states. Skip felt basically marooned without someone
to help him hand the ketch. Begged me to help get the craft back to
harbor. Away I went.
he had no clue how to balance the ketch using the mizzen; so he was
under the impression you had to steer the critter 24/7. He would turn
in leaving me on watch, I would balance her up, then he’d hear me
wandering round the deck scrubbing here, fishing there, come up and
find me reading or napping. Was a jaw dropper to him. But, this kid
was the skipper, so I tried to be good crew: never in the way and
never out of it. If he'd known anything how to self-steer, he wouldn't have needed me. But then, he prolly would have died.
here’s the thing: We fell into doldrums. In a few days, we got to
drifting round. The equatorial counter current goes one way, the eq
current the other. It’s tough to know which way you are drifting.
So your dead reckoning goes all to hell. Turned out he didn’t have
much of a pantry. We ran flat out of stores. How any idiot goes to sea
without a year worth of ramen or rice or corned beef in cans aboard
is a mystery to me. Turns out his water tank was more suited to a
weekend yacht club than a seagoing cruiser. It is no exaggeration to
say that if my native buddy (my Taio) Sigrah Glenn had not pressed me
to take a big burlap sack of his jungle grown tangerines, we would
have died of thirst. Turned out the ketch had no water catcher; but it
didn’t rain much on this voyage anyways. Engine crapped out, of
course(I saw more cruises come to an end because of engines than for
all other reasons combined … not even close). Had to suck the last
drops from the water tank thru tubes, cause his galley pump was
electric! Electric! Could not navigate cause all’s he had was Loran-C -- again, electric. Nope;
not so much as a plastic sextant. Holy hell.
came the day when we could make out the sky shadow of some distant
island, but did not have enough wind to even raise it out of the sea.
Belly was rubbing it’s sides together. Lips were cracking. I
decided it was time for a minor mutiny. So I broke a hand mirror &
glued a bit of that onto the biggest plastic protractor in the chart
desk, tied as nut to a string, fastened the other end of the string
to the center of the protractor crosspiece, so that now the nut plus
gravity would extend the string toward Earth center, & by
pinching it at the protractor I had a rough measurement. Course, the
doldrums are always cloudy; so I had to account for some bend thru
clouds. I don’t insist any of this was accurate. But I had brought
Ageton’s tables with me (I didn’t know why I instinctively felt I should, until
that day), and I had Dad’s old self-winding watch, which I had a
pretty good idea how many seconds that would have lost since last
check by radio. And as I recall, the sky shadow even came into the
reckoning as prolly being some dot of an isle whose name I do not
recall. Then the discussion went like: “You clearly do not have a
clue. I’m thirsty. I figure we need to turn thataways, considering
leeway. Otherwise, this rate, we’re two weeks from Yap and no
guarantee we bump into it.” Not much resistance. I think by this
time he had lost all respect for his own skippership and would have
mutinied against himself. Caught a squall that night that helped…
bit of water and loads of wind… for a few, anyways. Couple nights
later picked up some dim loom. Worked until late afternoon to get
ourselves in front of the pass. Drifted away. Next afternoon finally
entered the pass. We were literally waggling the booms to swim the
ketch thru still air. Dropped anchor, all we could think of was beer
and food. I had on a pair of goat skin shorts. Stuck a hundred dollar
bill in the waistband and leapt over. First guy I saw on shore, I announced: “We need to get to any place serves food and beer.” I don’t
remember where he took us. I do think when we got there I hollered
something along the lines of bring us every thing and all your beers
until the money runs out. Long time ago – hundred bucks went
further then. Ponpei is a tourist trap compared to Kosrae.
here comes the drunk part: I have no idea how drunk we were… sorry ... not much of a drunk story there. But I
am pretty certain sure we were happy drunks. That night, the two of us woke
up in the back of a pickup watching the moon behind clouds flitting
thru tree branches, bouncing down some dirt road. Then we blacked out again. Came to next morning
dumped on the beach. Shorts tight, belly swollen, glad to be alive.
damn beer I ever drank.
I should tell you about the school teacher from Iowa vacationing in Ponpei who I met while I was waiting for the missionary plane to go its rounds. I was sleeping in this tourist hut, and I heard someone playing the zither in the distance, and followed the magical sound....
Nah, yer not sposed to kiss and tell.
I'm not in it for any contest...Shots of Irish whiskey all night at my local watering hole. On my way out of the restroom suddenly can't walk down a long hallway from the bathroom. My roommate drives off with some random so the "Norm" of the bar says don't worry I have a CDL I can drive you. We pull into my drive that is a long R shape with trees lining the sides. He tries to park in the garage and ends up stuck between trees and my front pillar. Dipshit is pulling a Jim Carey hitting house then trees repeatedly before saying I'm stuck. In the passenger seat with feet on the dash head between my hands I make him gun it out if the driveway. Send him on in his way as the roommate and I are home safe. Wake up with alcohol poisoning to find close to 10k in damages to the house, 8k for the car. Take myself to home depot and grab chicken wire, stucco and paint. Still hungover I Bob the builder that **** so well landlord never noticed and got full security deposit back. 😂Just one of MANY stories...
Drunk story, mmm.. can't be sure the statute of limitations has run out. I just wanted to say to @Trish nice to see you posting again. I was worried you were imprisoned and your auto mechanic was missing and presumed dead.
There we were.... Summer of1985, what my bud & I dubbed the All England Road Trip. Friday night after work we'd fill my 260Z with gas, toss a couple cases of beer in and run till one or the other ran out. I don't ever remember running out of gas. We're in Great Yarmouth, about 60 miles from the base, around 2 AM after leaving this after hours club (the pubs closed at 11 PM) and headed home with a few beverages in us. My car's left hand drive, Brit's are right hand. We're stopped at the only red light on the island (virtually all their intersections are roundabouts) in the left lane when a VW Bug with 2 lasses in it pulls up on my right. Passenger side to passenger side, so my bud, ever the gentleman, reaches out, hands a couple cold ones across and says "Have a nice day." Girl pulls off her top, tosses it back and says " Catch us..." as her friend launches through the light. The chase is on and the game afoot!They saw the roundabout, I didn't. Around they go and I hit the raised middle going at the speed of smell. Blow out BOTH front tires and I've only got 1 spare. Look around and there's a Z car parked in a gas station. "Borrowed" a front wheel, left 20 pounds & an apology note under the wiper and vanished. Fastest three tire changes in history. Went back the next afternoon and gave their tire back. How we didn't get busted is anyone's guess. Never did catch that bug either. I keep in touch with my bud and know he still has that shirt as a trophy all these years later.