Monday, January 19, 2009

More sea stories, T.I.N.S

January 1994 Inport Castries, St Lucia.

FFG-55 with HSL-44 Det 3 Embarked. Better known as the World Famous Rod and Gun Club!

Fast forward to the past, 1994. Having spent all of 1993 in the Med, our good ship Elrod, FFG-55 (I think the name was Spanish for the 'Shaft', but I only heard that third hand) was dutifully embarked on a most important mission;

Showing the Flag at the island of Saint Lucia, helping the locals celebrate Independence Day. Our ship was the big guest along with the French Foreign Legion Detachment from across the way, based in Fort De France.

I had never been to St Lucia, before. The clear aquamarine waters brought a happiness to the soul, reggae to the ears and the availability of cheap rum and other island treats. Oh yes, we did indeed partake in the four dollar rum, Mount Gay flowed and we were definitely gonna be in our cups. Total badness!

Get this; We had to actually form up on an early Saturday and march in a parade. Three Quarters of the good ship's crew were mustered in whites and standing in the cricket field, near downtown Castries. I had been on Shore Patrol the night before, so I was not in any kind of hangover condition. But the Gent about two rows from me was feeling it, and he passed out flat on his face with a great thump. This was in grass, so no one was actually hurt, except for his pride and the new trousers he was a needin'. It was that bad.

After the parade (my first since MCRD San Diego) we made our way through the shopping district. After an afternoon of rum and bad barbecue, we repaired to the Mighty Elrod for revivifying naps. (Read: We passed out until the bus was scheduled to pick us up for a ride to someplace called "Rodney Bay.)

We show up at Rodney Bay, a little bay carved out of the North tip of a volcanic island. It was/is a yacht center with overpriced bars, foreign tourists and sailboats. By the way, you will hear of Rodney Bay, again.

I asked about boat rentals, and I was introduced to a fellow who owned the biggest bar, he was wanting us to charter his 75 foot Catamaran, with full bar. I told him that we were froma Frigate, not a CArrier. Our crew was about 200, not five thousand and we were essentially broke.

So he graciously allowed me to take this boat out, at NO charge.

Did I not say that things were getting better?

A Beneteau 39. Free, except a little "tip" for the local guide. I am wearing my "Green Parrot" bar t-shirt from Key West. It said, "See the lower keys on your hands and knees" on the back. I always act like I'm some sort of "cool" person. What a geek!

We acquired a couple of cases of Piton beer, and we grabbed a few of the available shipmates from the 'Rod and off we went to sail down the island to the Piton's, about halfway down the island, along the western coast passing Castries and Marigot Bay. We made sure that everyone got a chance to steer the helm, while we worked up an incredible buzz on beer and life.

Some more of that "Hedonism"

Finally, back to Rodney Bay for gloating

I was startin' to really get better at this sailing thing! I'm glad to have found these pictures and pass on the story.

We returned to the ship with some great stories and some more beer. We had no cooler or fridge, and beer can't come aboard to get chilled, so we took matters into our own hands...

Be sure to use CO2 extinguishers. The powder stuff makes a tremendous mess...

1 comment:

Buck said...

So... I was by yesterday and was all set to comment when some yahoo cut the fiber cable between Clovis and Lubbock. A five-hour outage ensued (the whole frickin' city [?] of Portales was down) and by the time I got connectivity back I found I was suffering from a motivational outage.

All THAT said: great post! You guys obviously knew how to make the most out of your port calls and liberties. I'm glad you shared it with us.