Travelin' Tootsies :: The Sea Biscuit 2

I really did mean to post this on a true Tuesday!  Between finishing cargo and leaving port it just got lost in the shuffle….lets just pretend that it’s Tuesday. I’ve talked about this totally cool Tootsie before – in fact I’ve published one of her letters before  (The Rubber Duckie’s Original Letter)!  Everytime I get one I let out a *squee* (on the inside...not out loud).  She is going to publish a book someday – and it’s going to be awesome – I just know it.  Her letters from sea absolutely ROCK.

Enjoy!  (p.s. The subject of this e-mail was:  The Sea Biscuit 2)


Family and Friends,

I'm rounding the bend of Florida this evening.  "Margaritaville" has been dialed into Sirius Radio, and I'm intoxicated with the thought that in t-minus three days I'll have a beer in hand.

The Virginia rounded the Strait of Hormuz at a full bell; it was a hot, oppressive evening with visibility lingering around five miles.  The smuggler boats scored the water like a hot knife through butter, full to the gunwales with booty...hash, booze, smokes, and maybe some Twinkies.  I encountered a small cargo vessel heading into the Traffic Separation Scheme (highway) the wrong way.  This guy was riding dirty up the 134 like a drunken Nicole Richie.  I made numerous attempts at hailing the negligent vessel…receiving several requests for bananas from the Filipino Monkey…no response from Nicole Richie.  A call to the Captain and some aggressive maneuvering, we dodged the bullet.  Nicole Richie continued to wreak havoc in the TSS…RADAR vectors could be seen going every which way to avoid her. At least four different nations tried to contact her.

Three hours, four nations, and 30 calls later…


OmanNavy:  “West bound vessel in “X” position, “X” course, “X” speed.  This is Oman Navy.  You are transiting the TSS in the wrong direction.  Alter your course immediately.”

Nicole Richie:  “Is someone calling…me?”


There has got to be Natural Selection for Mariners…ice bergs…that’s it.  I do recall that hundreds of professionals constructed the Titanic without much success; some amateur, with a lot of pets, built the Ark.  If only ice bergs thrived in the waters of the Persian Gulf.  I’m sure the Iranians are on it; they’re industrious folk.

I can’t say much was cooking between the Gulf and Sri Lanka this time around.  Sri Lanka is generally an enjoyable stay until you leave your bag of souvenirs in the taxi cab (No…I was not drunk).  I had purchased a most excellent t-shirt…there was an elephant with foot tracks…but the foot tracks looked like poop.  Nevertheless, it was an immense loss.  Back on the ship, the monsoon swells rolling into the basin kept the Mates on Watch busy.  The vessel would continuously surge for the duration of the port stay.  I was responsible for dousing the mooring lines with water and dish soap on an hourly basis; this prevents the lines from chaffing and eventually parting (breaking).  Parting lines are no bueno; they can sever human limbs in the blink of an eye.  This is not conducive for my Mexico vacation. All limbs aside, the ship turned around and headed west.  The monsoons continued to batter us until we reached the protected waters of the Gulf of Aden.  How is that for irony?  Anyway, on days like those, it makes me glad I have to sit down to pee.

Bouncing from waypoint to waypoint, the ship entered the Suez Canal for round two.  The transit is rather slow and dull, so I grabbed a pair of binoculars to see what the canal residents were up to.  Aside from parking their camels and staring back at us, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot going on.

Me:  “Mr. Pilot.  What are those bird house looking things?”

(These things are like three story bird house condos.)

SuezPilot:  “Bird houses…for sparrows.” (Go Ann)

Me:  “I bet they taste like chicken.”

SuezPilot:  “Yes.  They do.”

Me:  “No shit?”


I’d go for some sparrow nuggets verses the taco meat the ship has been pumping out.  The damn taco meat is so salty it has me retaining water for weeks.  If that isn't bad enough, it has been stored and reused…over and over.  I think they have a 55 gallon drum on retainer.  Spaghetti…taco meat.  Sloppy Joes…taco meat (sometimes the Sloppy Joes get into the Spaghetti).  Out of chocolate chips…taco meat.  The Steward’s Department checked out before we even hit the U.S. East Coast.

I think a lot of people “checked out early” towards the end of the Voyage.  The Third Engineer decided to stop bathing with three weeks to go.  His stink was heavier than air and would settle in obscure locations such as the video locker.  He was basking in his musk much like that of a ripe Djiboutian.

Back on the mainland, the half baked cookies of Savannah have me convinced that your children should all be sent to private schools.


Longshoreman (U.S.):  (After just speaking with him).  “What country are you from?”

Me:  “Huh?  I’m Wisconsinese.”


The ice bergs haven’t hit Savannah yet.


"A-Salting" the Taco Meat,

Rubber Duckie