Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Unexpected U-Turn

I worked on a cruise ship as an entertainer when I was 19. We had one cruise that took us through the Panama Canal. I wasn't aware of this at the time, but it's apparently pretty common for people to die during this lengthy cruise. I think our total body count by the time we docked in Los Angeles was 19 - something like that. But that's not the story.

The night after we went through the Canal, all of a sudden, the ship started to list. We were turning around! Murmurs of "man overboard" were traveling through the ship faster than the waves!

Our crew got that man on the ship. He was naked. That was weird. But we still celebrated late into the night in the OB (Officer's Bar) with everyone taking turns buying drinks for our life-saving crew.

The next morning, it was discovered that this guy had not gone overboard from our ship. He wouldn't answer questions about his identity. The crew decided to chaperone him.

At lunchtime, we felt the listing again. What now?

Sure enough, that same man was overboard again! He had thrown off his clothes and jumped overboard!! The crew, a bit more grudgingly this time, went out to save him again.

This time, he fought them, saying "You are the Devil! I am swimming to God!" They were only able to rescue him by shooting him up with a tranquilizer.

Once on board, he lost his stateroom privileges and was taken to the brig. His picture was sent to the Feds for identification. We never learned the name of our devil-fearing exhibitionist. He was taken off the ship in Los Angeles. that's where these people come from!

*I originally posted this over 3 years ago, but was reminded of it while reading The Unexpected Circumnavigation as this month's From Left to Write book club. And the links to the book are connected with my Amazon affiliate account.


Tara R. said...

Wow... that's incredible. Probably another good reason to stay on dry land.

Pippi said...

Hehe. I feel for the crew. I never understand why our society tries so hard to stop people from killing themselves, just to ostracize or imprison them later. It's weird.

Thien-Kim aka Kim said...

@Pippi, you make a good point. LOL!

What an interesting job, a cruise director. I'd love to hear more!

Joy Weese Moll said...

What an adventure! You must have lots of stories from those days.

Helen P said...

What a wild story. It's amazing how many lunatics are out there.

Alicia said...

One of the most interesting tales I've I can't believe you would throw out the statement, "I think our total body count by the time we docked in Los Angeles was 19 - something like that. But that's not the story." and not have it be the I'd like to hear how those deaths happened.

Taylor said...

Bwahahahahaha - what a great story!!

Melissa said...

I can't help but think that this person must have been mentally ill. I realize that there probably wasn't someone on the ship who was prepared to deal with this man who was likely suffering hallucinations and delusions, but I can't help but wonder what became of him and hope that your ship's rescue led to him getting the help he needed.

Amy said...

Wow, that's so strange! I would love to hear more about your experiences on the cruise! :-)