Sid's N T I N S Locker
by John K. Ellett, RMC USN(Ret)
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  3  ||  4  ||  5
Chapter Six

Short Chapter

This will be a short chapter, since it only concerns Palma de Majorca and transiting the Gibraltar Straits.  First of all, Palma.  Great port for liberty.

Even the Spanish seem to think so, since they go there quite frequently on vacations.  Another reason it is a good port is that they had a plentiful supply of Sangria and cold beer.  Strange, the cold beer part just seemed to happen every time we went into a port.

Happenstance, possibly?

Do you want a potential for disaster?  Place a somewhat well lubricated Sailor on the crowded streets of Palma, carrying a 4 foot sword, unsheathed, over his shoulder.  At this point, I will let your imagination take over.

We will just say that I made sure it was safely tucked away in the ship’s Armory.  Additionally, I must confess, the Officer of the Deck, his assistants, and the Duty Gunners Mate assisted me in tucking it away.

To sum up all hands had a good time in Palma, and we departed before too many questions got asked.  Even at this late date I shudder to think of the consequences.  Good liberty port, or did I say that before?

The Straits...One of God’s great creations.  Europe on one hand, and Africa on the other.  And, us in the middle.

As it happened, as we were approaching the straits, we encountered about a 40mph ‘head’ wind and we were entertaining ourselves by standing on the Signal Bridge, and seeing who could lean further into the wind.  45 degrees was easily possible, but much beyond that and a person got down into the ‘wind shadow’ of the forward 5 inch gun turret, with concurrent  “fah down, go boom” activities.

All at once, we noticed that the light had taken on a strange color.  It had become a beautiful lemon color.  Very shortly afterwards, we found that this was caused by the setting sun shining through a sand storm.  It was unearthly, but I understand that the Captain, and the Chief Engineer were very glad that we were able to run out from under it.  For some reasons, that I now kinda understand, sand being sucked into a ship’s engines is not considered a Real Good Thing.  We made it out of the straits and turned our bow towards Norfolk, to the cheers of the entire crew.

And so, this little tale endeth, bringing us back to the top at the all night movies and such like.

Ah, what a wonderful cruise.

Virtually every word of the above is absolutely true.  Mostly.  Well, within reason. Sort of.  Really.

Sid's N T I N S Locker
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  3  ||  4  ||  5