Monday, November 13, 2006

The Good Ship Mayo

Quite a few years ago, we took a cruise that started in New Zealand and ended in Sydney, Australia. We had a ball and enjoyed every minute but only because we are the kind of folks that can see the humor in minor misadventures. We were lined up one morning as we left a port to go on a tour of the ships bridge. The group before ours completed their turn and passed us on their way off the bridge. We stood and waited for what seemed a long time when a junior officer came to us and said the tour was cancelled. No explanation was given . Later that day we were up in the Observation Bar with another couple and one of us said to no one in particular, “Wonder why we have stopped!” We had just started across the Tasmanian Sea. When we started moving again it was somewhat slower that our own boat (the Sally Forth, a twenty-eight footer) could putt-putt up Barnegat Bay. That afternoon we were drinking in another bar and started buying drinks for an older Irish comedian entertainer on the ship’s staff. He gave us the inside story. Coming out of one of the previous ports we had stopped at, we had struck a rock. The rock was clearly marked on the ship’s charts. Thus, the staff captain in charge at the time earned himself an automatic and immediate discharge complete with exile to his cabin until we reached the next port. This had all been of little consequence to the operation of the ship until we had reached the point where the speed was to be increased for the crossing of the Tasmanian Sea. At that point the bent drive shaft made itself known.

It was a slow and rough-rough several days to Hobart, Tasmania where we were told that engineers were being flown in from the US. Each passenger was given $150 credit at the ship’s store plus free bus tours to visit the sights of Hobart. These were exhausted before the drive shaft could be straightened. Every 12 hours our departure was extended another 12 hours . An upscale mutiny was whispered. People had tickets to the Australian Open the date of which was upon us. Lawyers had cases to argue on schedule. Businessmen had deals to close. Meanwhile, S and I were shopping at the kiosks that local merchants had set up on the dock. We took long walks up and down the hills of the delightful city of Hobart. We were having a good time. When the propeller shaft was finally jerry-rigged, the ship headed north to Sydney non-stop, skipping Melbourne completely( For Sale : unused Open tickets).

We stayed a few days in Sydney. We went back down to the dock to see the new passengers as the ship took off for the next cruise. We waved and shouted , “Good Luck!” as they left the harbor.

This morning, we went down to the pharmacy to get a prescription filled. Waiting, we sat in the main Mayo waiting room where new patients check in. As they were told that since they were “on standby”, they should get some lunch and come back at 1:00PM. S said she felt like we were in Sydney waving to the departing cruise passengers. True! They were about to find out something needs fixing and it is going to take longer than they think.


Keith said...

Very enjoyable post. I've had a long, tiresome day and it cheered me up no end.

Floridora said...

Keith - The poor old ship caught fire about six months later on a cruise to Alaska. It was taken out of service and sold to some one in Europe. Never did hear if it was reincarnated and sails the seas under a different name.

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