10/19/2016 - 07:04
My first and only deep sea voyage, round the world on one trip. I\\\'m not sure of the date possibly 1968 or 1969 don\\\'t have my sign on book handy.
I was 16 at the time after a training session at Gravesend merchant navy school, I still have my training book.
I had a great time on the ship even though it was only a 4 or 5 month trip.
Being a tanker we never got to stay tied up more than a couple of days, and going through the panama canal was great. I did one more trip, middle trade including Italy, Sweden, Norway then back to Scotland and finally spent a few months on the ferries. A fairly short life on the ocean.
08/18/2012 - 09:13
I remember Bob Jenkins, and Doug Proctor,both in their 23+, I was a young catering galley boy aged 15, the pair of twats barged into my cabin after midnight,and beat me half to death.I returned home DBS,after treatment in Curacao.
07/06/2009 - 11:58
With regard to seafaring life one story I have never forgotten concerns the ruined lunch.
Seafarers, like other men, need and enjoy good food. Whether it be steamed puddings in the Panama or a forced salad in the North Sea we all needed our "scram" and enjoyed it properly when we could.
Steaming in the direction of Singapore from Vietnam we were, one morning, in a brisk following sea. The ship was on tank clean operations and I was on deck work. I took a short break on the bridge.
The sound powered telephone wailed as the engine room notified that soot was about to be blown. These deposiits would have made a mess of the deck so, according to procedure, there was a course alteration.
On the bridge that day was a young deck apprentice who by this time was very experienced. He took the call and notified the Third Mate. Sweeping aside the chart room curtain he promptly told the apprentice "starboard ten".
The apprentice told him of his concerns regarding the following sea which was on the starboard quarter but was with madrigalean directness dismissed the while being reminded that his job was to follow orders and not to think.
The apprentice disengaged the autopilot, put the helm over, re-engaged the pilot and calmly stated "ten starboard on."
As the ship came about the outcome was quite clear. The ship rolled to starboard, stopping for a lingering moment before rolling to port into the trough that followed the aforesaid wave. Secure in the clasp of the bridge wing taffrail I watched the sea roll up to meet me. The angular momentum of the roll, typical in these vessels because of their tendency to be over stable, had dreaful consequences for the anticipated luncheon.
From aft came a shout, followed by a crash which disturbed the calm of that eastern sea. This was followed by a stream of skillfully voiced invective as impressive as much for its content as for the uninterrupted delivery which ran for twenty seconds. Silence followed. It was during this period that the Third Mate, Stottie as he was known to us, realised that he should have warned the galley to rig the fiddley bars on the range whose intended function was to prevent the premature destruction of any meal during foul weather.
Stottie was not his usual bouncey self that lunchtime. Walking into the saloon he was subdued if not crestfallen. He was rather like a deflated Bagpuss whose nap in the washing machine had been catastrophically interrupted by the insult of the rotating drum followed by the injury of inrushing water. Stottie resembled this Bagpuss in that both had injured pride to repair.
The lunch had been hastily re-constructed but the pudding or "duff" was intact since it had been steaming in the citadel of a galley steamer all morning. It was served with little ceremony along with a hastily made sauce, the intended one having been discarded along with soup, entree, main course, vegetables and gravy that had been the originally intended fare.
Stottie ate in silence. There may have been commiserations offered but dark things were no doubt expressed in other places. The vindicated apprentice sat with me at our table. Stottie had the company of a Fourth Engineer possessed of a dry quick wit.
Stottie was very popular and I remember him with great fondness. He told us one evening how, during one trip, his parents told him by letter that they had moved house. Directions were, for some reason, not conveyed.
Stottie arrived at Heathrow and, knowing a watering hole roughly equidistant from the two dwellings, parked the hired vehicle and wandered in.
He was welcomed as usual and then he made to ask directions to the new abode. Asked casually who he was visiting he replied that he lived there. There was a brief silence after which directions were forthcoming followed by enquiries after his well-being.
Such stories as these form the stock-in-trade of American comediennes who use similar material to describe the dubious methods by which they discard their offspring.
Stottie had that wonderful and disarming ability to "take the mickey" out of himself. I came to learn that this is the most effective defense against anyone who would target others with ridicule.
I flew home from Singapore with the young apprentice who was as funny as he was engaging. We arrived in the middle of the three day week that some view as the worst legacy of the Heath government.
So many other things happened on that trip. Some of us encountered the Naked Pilot but that, as they used to say in never-never land, is another story.