Sunday, 30 October 2011


Back in the good old days of the Roman empire, when a unit had displeased the general it would be decimated. The General would walk the ranks and count each man, when he reached 10 - that man was killed. The count would begin again until each man was counted. "Pour encourage les autre" as the french would say. Talk about a waste of talent.

One of my last voyages as a sailor was to Hawaii. A lovely spot, one that I have had enough of seeing (at least Pearl Harbour). We left port to find 3 meter seas on Constance Banks. Now 3 meters isn't much of a swell for a 100 meter ship, but when that swell is at the harbour entrance, what the hell is it going to look like on the open ocean? Word was passed down to secure for heavy seas and we all took it to heart. If it wasn't tied down or put in a tight spot, a roll of duct tape was employed. Bouy J was 4 hours away. We secured the ship and waited.

We hit Bouy J and the 3 meters jumped to 11 meters. Man what a ride. The moment we hit that swell the CO declared the upper decks out of bounds. The ship was sealed and we turned toward Hawaii.
6 Days of up and down. The ship handled it reasonably well but below decks things were a bit harried. If you weren't on watch you were asleep. If you weren't asleep and we able bodied, you cleaned as best you could or helped care for those who were incapacitated by the sea. At one point we had 5 guys in the Junior Ranks mess who were on IV fluids because they were so dehydrated. Every day there were two or more pipes of
CASUALTY. The cooks could not cook, we all ate a lot of sandwiches - those that could eat.
Life on the bridge was pretty wicked. While the ship rode reasonably well, we were shipping green frequently - for those who don't know the term, when a wave breaks over the bridge and all you can see is green.

Life was like this for 6 days. For those of you who believe us sailors are all godless heathens, let me tell you - there was not a single atheist aboard.

And on the 7th day the Gods looked down on us and said "ENOUGH"
The sea flattened
The wind calmed
The clouds parted
And we all breathed a sigh of relief

The hatches were opened
Clean air scrubbed through the ship (the air below was getting a bit crunchy)
and we had a day of rest - the following day was lent over to a good scrubbing of the ship.

We got to Hawaii 3 days later and when we got there, we landed 26 men who had been damaged by
the trip so far.
26 men out of 210.

Who says times haven't changed?
Later on I found out the the CO had been ordered to go around that storm. Apparently he
decided that we wasn't subject to the desires of the Admiral.

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