Thursday, 20 October 2011


If there is one thing I can always have a fond memory for, it would have to be the Banyan. Every once in a while, he Captain would decide it is time for a good old fashion bbq/party on the quarter deck - the back end of the ship. The ship would be put on a smooth course or the anchor would drop, the bbq would be dragged out, the fishing lines would go out and we would all get together and socialize. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
Not withstanding any of that, we would also be issued our two beers. That is right, issued. Each man was given two beers, one of the great benefits of being part of the Canadian Navy vs the US navy. They may have some really cool toys, but we have beer.
One of the best banyans I can remember was way back in the late 80's. The ship was anchored off of San Clementi Island - somewhere off the southern California coast. The banyan was in full swing - we had two bbq going at full burn, everyone who was not on watch was back there having a good time. The sun was shining, the sea was dead flat and there was a gentle breeze just coming over the port quarter. Life at sea was at its finest.
From around the corner of the island we heard the roar of a small boat approaching . After a few minutes, a small torpedo recovery boat came into view. We all watched in amusement as it approached and started issuing commands of you need to leave immediately. We responded with a shower of beer cans, empties of course because wasteing a can of beer was paramount to treason. I suspect if we had thrown a few full one at him he would have been a bit happier to see us. As it was, he turned his boat around and sped away, muttering under his breath.
The party continued for another 20 minutes or so until the CO got a call on the radio. Apparently the US Navy uses this island as a gunnery range and they really wanted to fire a few hundred rounds in our general direction. The CO was asked polietly if he could see his way clear to unfouling the range. In his infinate wisdom the CO said he would move his ship. I liked this CO, he could drive, he could sneek up on an aircraft carrier (more on this on a later post) and he had flair.
The party was wrapped up in a hurry when we were told that the US Navy was about to lob high explosives in our direction. Yes, they were our allies but somehow we weren't all that trusting of their ability to keep the shells where they belonged

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