An Ocean Of Grievances

, , , , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

I was skippering a large charter boat off the west coast of South Africa in the 1990s. We took a group of passengers up the coast and stopped off at an island overnight, where we fed them freshly-caught crayfish, BBQ, and all sorts of rich food. The party went on well into the night and many bottles of booze were consumed against the advice of me and my crew.

In the morning, the wind had changed direction and was picking up strongly. The sailing got rougher and rougher, and as captain, I decided to ask the passengers to stay below deck.

Suddenly, one of the passengers ran on to the deck to be ill and, understandably, given how ill he was feeling, had a little breakdown and started screaming abuse and demanding to be taken to shore. I explained that, as we were more than 30 miles from the nearest harbour, nothing could be done.

That’s when he crossed over to the dark side and threatened to kill us before trying to jump overboard to swim for shore. I caught him before he was over the railings and managed to pin him to the deck while he was screaming, trying to bite and punch me, and generally behaving like a crazy person. As I was holding him down, his girlfriend leapt onto my back, also screaming like a banshee, and started hitting me in the head with a shoe.

That’s when I decided I’d had enough and released my inner Captain Bligh, muscling both of them into the aft lazarette, a small stowage area on the boat, and locking them in the tiny enclosed space for the eight hours it took me to get them to shore. Their friends tried to protest and were informed that if they didn’t like it they were welcome to join them and so we sailed in solemn, bitter silence until we hit the wharf.

I released the wayward couple there and watched as they staggered to shore, covered in vomit, and stalked down the pier without a backward glance, never to be seen again.

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