From Chapter 11…
That was a helluva speed bump
We regularly got invited to events in the Northwest. It seemed that pirates could fit into any event imaginable.
Every year we received an invitation to raid a Highline High School reunion but all the guys would turn it down. I would sit aghast. Let’s see, a high school with a pirate mascot (they were the Highline Pirates) with a 10 or 20 year reunion coming up and a divorce rate of at least 50%. What are the odds there would be any single women there?
At other times we chose really strange events to go to, such as the World’s Biggest Office Party. It was indeed a great party. The booze was flowing, there wasn’t a single boss in sight and everyone was dancing and having a great time. I have been to many office parties since, but none like this one. It was crazy. Case in point. Over in the corner they had a barber’s chair. They would sit people down in it and then pour shots down their gullet from the bottles. And there was no shortage of takers.
Pirates, of course, were always being dared to do these things. So off I went. Someone would pony up the bucks and I would take the shot. Then another. And another. In between, I was getting other drinks bought for me. As a pirate, you’re not supposed to have a limit. You take whatever people throw at you. You are, after all, invincible.
Only one problem. Faith (yes, that Faith) was flying in from New Orleans that night. I was supposed to pick her up at the airport. Thankfully, the airport was about three minutes from the hotel. So I swung down and picked her up.
As I said, girlfriends were strictly forbidden from going to our events. But since she was from out of town, I was allowed to bring her to the party.
The good news was that Faith was quite the party girl. She could drink as much as I could. I guess that comes with the territory, being from New Orleans.
So she enjoyed the evening with the pirates and spent a good amount of time in the barber’s chair. Eventually, the party wound down and it was time to leave. As we left, I saw Captain Bill. He couldn’t remember where he left his car.
This was not unusual because the general rule was that we all met at one place and rode the Duck to the event. That way we all arrived at the same time and entered together.
The Duck had already left. So I motioned for Bill to come along and “we’d find his car.”
Faith sat in the front passenger seat of the Green Monster, Bill piled into the back of the car and off we went. I headed across the parking lot of the Hyatt, knowing there was a shortcut to where we had parked our cars earlier to catch the Duck.
The speed bumps in the parking lot were like Mt. Everest. I hit the first one. Our heads flew up into the roof. I continued across the lot, cursing the damned speed bump as we all laughed.
It was then that I noticed the row of hedges passing close by my side. Strange. They looked really out of place in a parking lot. Then, I noticed that the parking lot had turned green right before my very eyes.
Slowly I came to realize that I was driving across the Hyatt’s lawn, and that the hedges were actually the huge HYATT that you could see from the air as you landed at the airport. I hit the second speed bump, which I now knew was actually the curb.
Now most normal people would stop right then and there and assess the damage. But not the three of us. I said something about those damned speed bumps again, we all laughed some more, found Bill’s car, and then I drove
Faith back to my apartment in West Seattle, some 25 minutes away.
Yes, it was a bit stupid. But I survived it. And as any pirate knows, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. Besides, I had my Get Out of Jail Free card with me. Bill was a captain with the Seattle Police Department.
From Chapter 19…
We almost become an international incident
Our next port of call was Roatan. It was there that we almost became part of an international incident. The government of Honduras wanted to make a big deal about the arrival of the Ocean Spirit and they were going to dedicate the reef as a national park during our visit. They had even sent out the Minister of the Interior to perform the ceremony.
Understand that the reef we are talking about, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, is second only to the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. It is huge and an ecologic treasure for the region.
The ceremony was beautiful. They had some native dancers perform, children’s groups and a band. They pulled out all the stops.
As we were all standing there, looking solemn during the dedication ceremony, we happened to know that the Ocean Spirit was dragging anchor. They had lowered three anchors so far just outside the reef, but the ship wasn’t staying put. She was drifting toward the reef, just as they were making such a big deal about our ship helping their economy out here on the Bay Islands.
So we would look at the stage and speaker on the podium with one eye and look out at the Ocean Spirit, growing ever closer to shore, and wonder if we would become hostages in an international incident should our Bahamian flagged ship rip off the top of their precious reef.
Thankfully, a fourth anchor caught and the ship held fast, not a hundred feet from the reef.
After the ceremony, we posed from some photos with the ship in the background. In the photos are two interesting artifacts. It seems that the local kids had brought their Mayan statutes, obviously retrieved from some ancient temple, to see if we would buy them. Shades of Indiana Jones.
And little did the locals realize that the lovely ship that was posing behind them in all their photos was perched precariously close to their prized ecological asset, a sudden wind gust away from certain disaster.