THE LIABILITY CRUISE

THE LIABILITY CRUISE

This was one of the more memorable episodes in the S.O. history.

Hubbard, in all his "majesty" had decided that the Royal Scotsman ship was in Liability. A large dirty grey rag was tied around the funnel.!

A crew was needed to fulfill Hubbards instructions. MarySue was appointed Captain. Hubbard often stated that he was worried about her safety as captain. Don't worry, Laffy baby, Mary Sue didn't want to be there either!

Some of us from Alicante had been "selected" to be part of the crew. I think Hubbard was pissed off at me because word had got back to him of an "unfortunate incident" and a "regrettable occurance" which had involved a rather fetching young lady, some beer, a raucous party and jar of vaseline. ( NO. Don't ask!!).

Anyway, we turned up at Valencia Docks. The Security Guard at the gate (whom we knew well) ushered us through and we prepared to head out to the ship.

At this time Hubbard had a local lawyer, Mr Serna, acting for him on certain matters. He had a daughter, Maria, who had taken a shine to me. This was considered very unacceptable by Mr Serna's family and I got the "private word". Nevertheless, there she was, waiting to see me at the dock. I remember having to scurry down the quay to avoid her. You know the expression "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"? Well, I got it in spades!

She told her father, he told Hubbard, Hubbard told Mary Sue (all this took about 1 hour) and I was standing there facing a sour faced, hissing & spitting Mary Sue. What a great start to the cruise.!

There were certain prerequisites that had to be achieved before we could take the ship out of Liability.

Each crew member had to hava a full Joburg (There's a surprise)
Everybody had to have done (or redone) Staff Status 1 & 2
Everybody had to have completed S.O. Staff Status.

We arrived on board in the early evening. Those who had trevelled up from Alicante were tired and hungry. The entire crew were mustered in the tween decks area and a pompous little James Byrne stood up on a desk to give us "the lecture". He had been assigned as Chief Officer and was there on Hubbards instructions to "whip us into shape". Otto had raided the galley on the way through was standing there eating a piece of cold chicken, the greater majority of the crew were looking at Byrne with a " Yeah, right!" attitude. As he reached ths climax of his pep talk he waited for the applause he expected. There was absolute silence, followed by a deep, long and loud fart from one of the crew. That said it all.

Actually we had a LOT of fun on that cruise. We sailed North to Segunto and Burriana (?) an old Roman port, and South to Benidorm. We sailed right across the restricted waters where Spanish submarines and warships carried out manoeuvres and were regularly tracked by them.

We has a South American kid as cook. We called him the "Yellow Peril" because he had this obsession with saffron. We had yellow potatos, yellow meat, yellow vegetables.

Our top up supplies came via the local pilot's boat. I remember Robin Peglar standing on the deck of this small craft which was pitching about like a cork in the bath. We had the side Cattle doors open and Robin was throwing food across to us to catch. Unfortunately the pitching was so wild that the packets arrived at different heights and one poor lad got distracted for a moment and caught a frozen chicken right in the side of the head.

My post on board was Fourth Mate. I was also the Medical Officer which meant I had to be on duty at 8am for sick call. This did NOT fit in at all with my plans, so the first morning I had three patents. The non-scio engineer had sprained his arm, someone else had a headache and another had some minor ailment.

Each patent was given a salt tablet, a vitamion B pill and a 5 grain Cascara tablet.

You know, after that there was absolutely no one reporting sick for the rest of the cruise. I became known as Herr Doktor.

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