This weekend will be my 5 year anniversary of separating from the Navy which means its been 10 years since I went to boot camp. Holy crap!
In honor of this glorious occasion I want to share a sea story. I did something that would have gotten me in a ton of trouble but I’m thinking the statute of limitations has passed.
A little background information first. When ships pull into foreign ports sailors are only allowed to leave in groups of two or more. The idea being that you guys can take care of one another should you run afoul of some degenerates in whichever exotic locale you happen to find yourself in. Another thing the Navy likes to do is outline which parts of town are off limits to the sailors who visit. While this makes sense in theory I always found it a bit pragmatic as I usually had no idea where I was in relation to these areas. They also don’t anyone renting cars. Basically you are expected to attach yourself to a few buddies and mill around in a very concise area of whatever town you happen to be in.
Anyways, in the spring of 2009 the mighty warship Iwo Jima and I were in Spain. A friend of mine cooked up quite the scheme and roped me into it. He was determined to go on a grand adventure in the space of a single afternoon. The first leg of our journey took us to Gibraltar which was about 45 minutes away. Of course we rented a car to get there. This would have been bad enough but on our way back to the ship inspiration struck. The Straits of Gibraltar are approximately 7 miles wide which means on a clear day you can see Africa from Spain. Something else you might not know is there is a ferry that runs regularly from Spain to Tangier, Morocco. Can you see where this is going yet?
Our trip across the Straits was uneventful aside from the thrill of doing something degenerate. When we got to Morocco staying more than 45 minutes wasn’t an option because weather conditions forced us to take the next ferry back. That trip was much more dramatic. The seas had gotten much worse. I’ve spent a fair amount of time at sea and I can say these were the roughest conditions I ever experienced. I used the bathroom at one point and found every sink and urinal filled with vomit. I wasn’t convinced we weren’t going to die until we were moored again in Spain.
The rest of our day was uneventful. We made it back to the ship and no one was the wiser. I felt like I had robbed a bank and gotten away scot free. Outside of my family and friends I trusted beyond a doubt I didn’t tell anyone this story until I had scribbled my name on my DD-214.
P.S. This is my best story from the Navy unless you like hearing about the freaks and na’er-do-wells I met while serving.