Somewhere in the North Atlantic
Whaling season started this week, so Scooter and I headed to Norway to join some of our Greenpeace friends in protest against this barbaric event. One of these friends is my buddy "Cappy," and he graciously offered the use of his old 75-foot trawler he uses for ecological tours. We were touched by his generosity, and looked forward to an effective protest.
We arrived at Sandefjord and proceeded to the docks where we met up with Cappy. His boat "Sea Slug" wasn't the most beautiful vessel there, but it was adequate for our needs. Cappy had already hung some big Greenpeace banners on the ship's sides that really looked cool and covered up a lot of rust. I sent Scooter out to buy a bunch of ketchup (to represent blood) for us to fling at the whaling ships. This blood-flinging thing is always very dramatic and the press loves it. Unfortunately it turned out the Norwegians aren't big on ketchup, so Scooter brought back 200 gallons of cocktail sauce instead. Close enough, I guess.
The next morning we weighed anchor and headed out to the hunting area. The sun was shining, the seas were fairly mild, and we were in high spirits, especially Cappy. Several times I noticed him pouring something from a flask into his coffee, and by ten o'clock his quiet demeanor had given way to loud farting and belching, obnoxious cursing, and unsteadiness. Later Scooter noticed we were going in circles, and after reaching the bridge, we found Cappy draped over the wheel, passed-out drunk. When we tried to carry him back to his cabin, he suddenly woke up, started screaming about pirates, and struck Scooter several times before we could restrain him with some rope. Great. After putting Cappy in his room, Scooter took the wheel, but only after we agreed to address him as "Admiral Scooter." Jeez.
Just after noon we came upon our first whaling ship. Its crew had apparently speared a whale and had a line around its tail, preparing to haul it aboard. I told Admiral Scooter to bring us in close so we could maybe snag the line with something and release the poor whale. Scooter was doing a horrible job steering the ship and I was yelling commands at him, which just seemed to make him more tense. Right about this time Cappy fell out of his cabin bellowing, "UNTIE ME, DAMNIT!" to which Admiral Scooter replied, "RAM IT, AYE AYE, SIR" and he steered right into the side of the huge ship, creating a nasty gash at its waterline! I noticed an oil slick spreading from the damaged area and wondered how much insurance Cappy carried. Lots, I hoped.
While Admiral Pinhead searched for reverse, I went to untie Cappy so he could get us out of there. With a barely-functioning Cappy at the wheel, Scooter and I ran to find something we could use to free the poor whale. I got a knife from the galley and was tying it to a pole when I heard Scooter yell. "I've got it!" I came around the corner just in time to see him fire a flare gun at the line.
You can probably guess the rest. The line was partially severed and the few remaining strands were ablaze and probably would have burned through, releasing the now-struggling mammal. Unfortunately, the first flaming ember that fell to the water produced a loud "FROOOM!!!" as the oil, ship, and of course, the whale caught fire. Oh crap! Scooter made a last desperate attempt to save the creature by dumping the cocktail sauce over it. While it doused the flames, it sadly wasn't soon enough to save the poor thing.
The large oil spill, coupled with the loss of the whaling ship and its 43 crew members was indeed a tragedy, and I'll probably never forget the sizzling sound that whale made as it cooked in that horrible fire.The good news was it turned out to be surprisingly tender and juicy, and the cocktail sauce added just enough "zing" to mask the fuel oil taste. I guess things could have been worse.