One of the many perks that comes with the horrible job of being a navigator on a boat is that you occasionally get to do port calls in awesome cities. A “port call” is when the boat stops into a port, for whatever reason. Sometimes the stops are days, sometimes they are weeks. Regardless of how long you are there, you get to get off the boat and do some exploring. Or in my case some serious drinking. My third trip on the boat left out of Hammerfest Norway, officially the most northern city in the world. When we left, we had no idea where we would be, but we all knew that trying to survey in the Barents Sea in November was a bad idea. Our suspicions held true and pretty soon the boat was on its way to Frederickshaven Denmark.
Our first night there was a total fucking gong show. The boys all got off the boat around midnight and promptly made our way to the nearest bar. It was around Christmas time as I recall, thus there a plethora of Christmas themed cheap-ass-dirt beer. We found ourselves at the local sports bar chugging Danish swill and making small talk to other sailors. As I sat at the long awkward table drowning my freedom in deliciously foreign beer I started to notice that the bartender kept staring at me. I thought this to be somewhat odd as she was pretty, and I was only pretty drunk. Whatever happened that night though things went sideways quickly. There are brief recollections of shooting champagne and jaeger right from the bottle. I think I fell in love with Denmark when I was handed a bottle of jaeger from the bartender.
I woke up in darkness the next evening. I was approximately six hours late for my shift and NOWHERE near the boat. I basically woke up like someone who’s just had their heart jump started. Kind of like that scene from Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman O.D.’s on heroine and Travolta has to hit her with a shot of adrenaline right to the heart. Well that was me, waking up in Penny’s apartment with no memory of where, or why or what I was. Penny came into the room after hearing me wake and said something I don’t remember. Coincidentally, just at that moment Penny checked her phone to find a new voice mail. As she listened to it she began to laugh. “Oh no.” she eventually said. “It was my manager. He said the police were at my work looking for you. Apparently your colleagues have reported you missing.”
I began to laugh in that insane tone of “wow this is so bad, but I am still pretty drunk so I can’t comprehend just how bad” kind of way. Minutes later I was in a cab on my way back to the boat. Shortly after that I was back ON the boat. Shortly after that my boss was telling to “fuck off for a bit”, CLEARLY upset with me in a “wow you are so fucked that I need time to now figure out how to deal with you” kind of way.
An hour or so later we had a pretty stern discussion about my absence and my drinking. I assured him it was a one off and it wouldn’t happen again. Unfortunately it sort of happened the next night. This time there wasn’t any disappearance or insane drunkenness, but instead I brought Penny back to my cabin on the boat. To be honest I don’t think it was the girl-in-my-cabin part that really ticked my boss off (although it is VERY prohibited to bring unauthorized people onto the boat) as much as it was the fact that a pile of us came up stinking drunk again. And also because, ya know, of the night before thing and how I had told him I would essentially straighten up and fly right. Anyway that was Denmark. There’s werew still Malta and Italy to deal with.