the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

In the Navy…Moonfish

>When at sea on good days the CO of HMNZ warships would call ‘Hands to Bathe’ and the crew go for a dip, and a pipe (broadcast) generally went like this;

Hands to Bathe…starboard side. Shark Watch Crew close up. Do not use heads (toilets) and showers on the starboard side of the ship.

This pipe was fairly self-explanatory, sharks are always about and the last thing someone wants to dive into is someone else’s excrement. To clarify the use of toilets at sea, once in the open ocean (normally out past 100+km from any coastline) waste would dump directly out into the sea rather than be held on board in treatment plants.

This particular story has us out in the South China Sea, posted on HMNZS Wellington (F69) and it was a stunning day – and soon after the pipe most of the crew who were not on watches were jumping off the side of the ship into beautiful blue water and carrying on only as young men are want to do.

I was just a young Midshipman, still in training, and me and about 10 other “Middies” were posted to Wellington (nicknamed  ‘The Goat Boat’) for 6 weeks to experience life at sea while she was taking part in Operation Starfish, a five country defence exercise. One of my fellow Junior Officers Trent just happened to be scrambling back up the net for another dive in when you guessed it, a head on the same side was flushed, and the outlet was aimed directly at the centre of his chest and out it came and covered him! In surprise, astonishment and disgust Trent fell back into the water in a futile attempt to get away from it and clean it off himself. People were scrambling everywhere as the mist of poohs and wees drifted far and wide, very reminiscent of the scene from Caddyshack.

I was up on deck, didn’t actually go for a swim that day as I was one of the sharpshooters on Shark Watch and watch with tears in my eyes as Trent slowly clambered back on deck, remnants of ‘Moonfish’ still caught in his chest hair!

Just when you thought is was safe to enter the water…

FYI, no one ever fronted up for using the wrong toilets.


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