I was over at Pamela’s The Dust Will Wait neighborhood and she was talking about the experiences she had going whale watching. It brought back a few memories for me, too.
A couple of years ago Marni, with hers and me with mine, went on a cruse to Nova Scotia. On the return trip we had a pod of whales follow us for about half an hour. It was neat to see them blowing and diving. But I didn’t get seasick. I did, however, get seasick the fist time I went to sea.
I had just reported aboard my ship (USS Frank E. Evans DD754) and the next week we went to sea. When I first went aboard I was in the deck force (painting and chipping, swabbing and sweeping.) When we pulled out it was windy and stormy and the ship was really rocking and rolling. I was stuck inside and couldn’t get any fresh air, orient myself to the horizon or any other trick to staying nourishly sound. So, I got sick. The problem was that the “barf bucket” was under the coffee urn. So, when you upchucked and came up for a breath you would get a whiff of the hot coffee aroma (as strong smelling and with the consistity (sp) of burnt motor oil.) So you upchuck again and again until you get the dry heaves. I had to stick my finger up my ass and crook it to keep from throwing it up, too. But the next day I was able to go out on the deck and reorient myself and I was okay after that. I survived but I did have sore ribs for a day or so. And I had to live through the ribbing from all the “old salts” for quiet a few weeks. Those “old salts” were only eighteen to twenty years old, but they had been to sea before.
A few days later I had to stand the mid-watch (midnight to four in the morning) as lookout on the top of the bridge. The next morning they call me up to the bridge and showed me the mess someone made throwing up over the side of the ship. Because I had been sick the first day out, they assumed it was me. I tried to tell them I didn’t do it, but they made me scrub down the bulkhead (wall) anyway. I believe it was a petty office that was coming of a drunk (sometimes the hard drinkers would sneak a bottle aboard and have a nip or two or twenty) and got sick, but I couldn’t say that. And they didn’t want to hear it anyway. I was the newest crew member (boot) and I had to pay my dues. So I scrubbed puke. It’s wasn’t too bad. It was dry and flakey so I came off real easy.
We were out for three weeks that time and ran through two more storms, but I didn’t get sick again. I became an ole salt. So salty that if I need salt on my food, all I had to do was rub my finger over the food and the salt would drop off. It wasn’t long after that I discovered alcohol and whore houses. Ah, the Navy experiences. Interesting way to grow up, don’t ya think?
MASTERPIECE #1830 - Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Spanish *The Duke of Savoy, Jamming on the Bass,* 1601 Oil on canvas
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