To my regular readers: Do not even think of asking what this is all about.
The voyage was long and fraught with peril.
It was a clear morning tide when we weighed anchor and sailed off into the sunrise. I waved good-bye to my true love who was on the pier.
"Good-bye, Clancy's! Save me a bottle of Jameson's for my return!" I shouted and after I did I saw my betrothed standing on the pier and turned to her.
"Good-bye, Penelope! I'll be back when this barge is full of whale oil in three years!"
"If she hasn't run off with Ivan the woodcutter by this weekend," said my shipmate. I nodded. We all know the drill. Then all hands turned to. We sailed the rig and shortly after sailing the tow was strung out on a long hawser.
In a few short hours land disappeared from view and we all sat down for a tasty evening meal. I turned in as the mate came on watch and slipped into a seagoing coma for several hours.
I was awakened to a series of noises and the engineer saw me stumble into the galley and asked for assistance in taking installing a 'keeper' on the tow cable. I agreed to go along and provide security to protect against the perils of sea serpents and other creatures known to prowl the seven seas.
I took the fire axe out of its holder and stood by ready to put a crashing blow into any sea serpents we might encounter. While standing by I spied a slimy tentacle sipping over the rail and awaited until the time was right until I dealt it a crashing blow and severed the slippery limb from the terrible sea creature. At once I recognized it and we all knew the only thing we could do the save the ship was to defeat this terrible sea creature from the murky depths.
In a flash the deckhand put his cutlass in his teeth and dove over the side in pursuit of the creature and parried off the attacks of the several tentacles until he managed to thrust his cutlass into the center of the creature.
He had little time to watch the remains of the creature slip down the depths into Davy Jones's Locker because he knew that if he didn't find a way to get back aboard he would be lost.
The Gods were with him and as he looked up he saw the towing cable and grasped it with one hand while putting his cutlass back in between his teeth and then began the slow process of climbing up the wire hand over hand.
As he emerged all hands helped him aboard where he was given a cup of rum and fed ham and eggs.
"Huzzah!" cried the crew.
The afternoon proved to be uneventful and I managed to get a decent sleep before the evening watch, which was also somewhat uneventful. After the evening watch I went to my bunk and dreamed of the terrible events of the afternoon and shook in fear at the possibility of another peril fraught day at sea.
Fot the next few days we sailed and came across the beautiful white sands of the southern Floridian beaches. We went ashore in the long boat where we consorted with the native women of the southern part of the exotic islands south of Florida and dallied in the sun which provided great respite for all hands.
But the sea called again and once more we sailed off into the sunrise and the following day we were in the perilous seas of the Atlantic.
There was little fear of deadly sea serpents in these waters. Our fear was now that if we sailed too far from sight of land that we would fall off the edge of the earth where we would plunge of the face of the eearth and spend eternity with much moaning, wailing and gnashing ot teeth and hearing the horrid lamanations of others that had fallen before us.
"Thar she blows!" cried the lookout.
"Whar she blows?" demanded the skipper.
"Whale blows off the starboard side!" answered the lookout.
"Lower the boat!" cried the skipper.
But before we could get the boat lowered a Japanese whaler came by out of nowhere. They harpooned the whale, took it aboard and sailed off headed for Osaka followed in hot pursuit by the Rainbow Warrior, the Sea Shepherd, three camera crews, six rubber rafts full of pot smoking hippies and the business agent of The Discovery Channel.
After we sadly watched a pretty good under the table paycheck head off to Osaka, a watch was posted to keep a sharp weather eye peeled for the sound of rushing water that would signal the brave little floating band the proximity of the end of the world and a terrible fate.
The weather turned for the worse and a storm brewed faster than a pot of tea and there were terrible wind and sea noises.
I took over the weather watch to give the beleaguered dackhand a well earned respite from the long watch.
I have sailed to the other seas of the earth and while Dutch Harbor is not the end of the world, on a clear day you can see it from there. I knew what to look out for. At the end of my watch I sat down for a meal and looked at the bottle of salad dressing.
Several years ago I had written the Navy, NOAA, and the defense Mapping agency letters asking them which of the seven seas were the 'official' seven seas and the answer I got was some mush about it being an old sailor's saying.
Disgusted, I wrote the Seven Seas salad dressing company who sent me the entire story of where the term 'the Seven Seas' came from along with the list of the official seven seas and a couple of coupons for free salad dressing. Go figure.
In the morning I awoke to find that during the night the wind had freshened and was now a tad blustry and knew the whistle of the wind would make it difficult to hear the end of the world. I listened but over the roar of the wind I could hear little.
Suddenly I spied the waterfall and cried out to the skipper a warning. "It's the end of the earth," I cried.
"Hard alee," shouted theskipper, turning the wheel.
It was a close call, but we made it. We looked aft and the tow was still headed toward the end of the world. If it went, we knew it would carry us off over the side.
The cable came taut as the tow started over the edge of the fearful precipitice and spun around. Tha after half hung over the edge.
"More steam!" roared the skipper.
"Uh, Skip...this is a diesel boat," answered the engineer.
"Well then, more diesel! shouted the skipper and we looked fearfully at the tow suspended half on and half off the face of the earth and quaked in our very seaboots.
To be continued the next time I need another favor.
my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/