Voyage Of The Wobbling Duck

TranquilpenStarred Page By Tranquilpen, 20th Jan 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/hjtf5739/
Posted in Wikinut>Humour>Funny Stories

Taking a sightseeing cruise on a crowded Rubberduck is not wise, Taking this cruise in a sinking duck is bad. If the crowd happens to be a load of under the weather sailors, well, that’s pure suicide...

A Top Level Visit From The Navy:

During the 1980,s I was working for a shipbuilding company in Durban South Africa. The company had just received a government tender to build 9 Strike craft ships for the S.A. Navy. This was was a very sought after contract with many groundbreaking challenges to face.

(2) Geared For Building Quality Ships:

Our yard was well geared for shipbuilding, having built upwards of 80 civilian ships during its lifetime as a shipbuilder. The start-up was preceded by a defense task group visit, who had to assure themselves, of our company’s compliance with their safety and security requirements. Everything was shipshape in anticipation of their visit and nothing was left to chance.



(3) Every Aspect, Meticulously Planned


The local Navy base, S.A.S. Nkonkoni at Salisbury Island in Durban harbor, was sending a Namacurra (harbor patrol boat) to take the group on an orientation cruise along our two water frontages and also around the Durban harbor itself.

Their program for the visit was meticulously planned, starting with morning coffee and issuing of safety hats and visitor’s name tags. This would be followed by a debriefing session and an inspection of the various departments and lunch in our top class company dining room. The day’s events were to be rounded off with the harbor cruise.

(4) The Naval Inspection Group Arives:

The morning of the visit everything had been double checked and all was well. At 08:30am. our visitors had arrived and were escorted to our CEO’s reception area for the coffee, debriefing and issuing of hardhats and visitor’s I.D. tags. After coffee and my security orientation talk, we left for our inspection of the factory and yard. The size of the construction shed was large enough to accommodate 4, Strike craft ships in various stages of completion.



(5)Calamity Strikes:


The group had just retired for lunch, when I received a message to phone the navy base at Salisbury Island. I nearly went into a swoon when I heard the operations officer informing me that the boat trip had to be cancelled because of their Namacurra’s engine failure. “But don’t you have dozens more,surely it can’t be your only boat?” I said, in disbelief. He informed me that the other boats were about 15 kilometers off shore on a sea rescue exercise and were only due back after six pm.

I had to try and get the trip cancelled fast, and rushed off to see my SEO, where they had just sat down for lunch. I called him aside and gave him the news. He went noticeably pale and told me that I just had to make some plan, since this boat cruise was to be the highlight of their entire visit: “What about your “Rubberduck”? He asked. A Rubberduck was a slang name for an inflatable life raft commonly referred to as a Zodiac in the USA.

the boat in question was extensively torn and had failed the seaworthiness certification. “Sir”, I exclaimed, refusing to believe what I was hearing. “Surely you remember about the tears in the hull and pontoons and the failed certificate, and how can I get it serviceable in less than an hour sir?” With a grim look on his face, he pleaded with me to just get the job done for him as he had promised the Admiral that they would have a very memorable outing. That was soon going to become a complete understatement.

(6)Get The Rubberduck Ready:

I hastily got in touch with my security chief and told him about my dilemma. He was about to ask me whether I had gone out of my mind, when I cut him short, saying that the CEO was taking full responsibility, for what was about to become another Titanic voyage. With minutes to spare, my security manager reported that the boat seemed fine and that he had patched the three tears and was heading to the crane at the floating dock to launch the duck.

(7) We Are Shipshape And Ready To Sail:

I radioed my boss to come along and board the boat with his group. My security man was aft at the helm handing out life-jackets as one by one the visitors stepped aboard.
Soon the 80 horsepower Yamaha motor was purring like a kitten, and it looked like everything was going to be okay after all. The weather was clear and perfect for a harbor trip. We had just cast off from the floating dock and was heading along the eastern perimeter towards the front of our premises where the two slipways were situated, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed my security guy trying to get my attention.

(8) The Charades Begin:

Because of the situation at hand, he resorted to a form of charades, the rules of which only he knew. He kept rolling his eyes and turning his lips into a funnel shape. I started looking around cautiously to try and see what the problem was. We were about 100 meters away from our factory shoreline when he abruptly cut the engine and spoke: “ I just saw a Bull shark a few feet away, and we should rather head back sir”.

If he ever gave a wrong call in his life, it was at that precise moment, in the presence of navy personnel, some of whom were experienced marines and scuba divers added to the effects from the company’s excellent wine cellar at lunch. The remarks ran rife.

From statements like: “Just show me where it is, all it takes is a hard whack across the snout”. And Bull sharks are cowards at heart, all you need to do is stare them down, unflinching and they just swim off, tail between their legs.” A Bull shark, yeah, right, that definitely was the wine talking. A Bull or Zambezi shark was proven to be more ferocious than the notorious Great white.

I was a bit surprized to hear about the shark having never seen nor heard of one this close to our factory in 16 years, so I looked over to where he was standing. He distinctly winked at me while nodding his head in the direction of the floor of our boat.

Just then,I noticed that there was definitely something seriously wrong, in that the boat had started taking on a strange wobbling appearance, not rigid, as when we left the factory. The patches were holding out and it obviously wasn’t leaking from there. One of the senior officers asked us to head for the Naval base for a drive by. Panic was on the face of my security chief as the base was aproximately one and a half kilometers futher away.

Again my security chief spoke, this time I detected a higher degree of alarm in his voice: “The weather-office just radiod me with a storm warning, all light craft must head to shore immediately.”

Not a cloud nor a hint of a breeze could be felt! This time his remark had them howling and literally rolling with laughter, followed by a particular comment which I remembered all of these past years: “Listen sonny, do you think you have a bunch fairies on board?” I was born during a howling southwesterly wind, three miles off Simonstown harbour near Capetown in my father’s yaught I know all about weather conditions, my man.”

At that remark, my secrity chief just seemed to give up and shrugged his shoulders. I finally noticed what was causing him to panic, the duck was losing pressure through several telltale trails of bubbles coming from somewhere underneath the boat, we were sinking fast!

So far none of the inebriated officers had noticed that their wet bottoms, a natural occurrence on a rubberduck, were not due to stray waves, but rather due to the fact that their behinds were inches away from the surface. The duck had by then taken on a distinctly more pronounced wobbly appearance, something like a bowl of gray colored jelly.

(9) The Low Tide That Wasn’t

Just then, mercifully, they decided to call it a day. By now it was a full throttle race for the floating dock and It felt as though we were never going to get there. If it wasn’t for the fact that this could go horribly wrong at any moment, it was quite hilarious watching these sailors wobbling around as the, by now, the half submerged duck was rolling this way and that, causing these salty dog’s faces to take on varying shades of green.

Arriving at the dock we were met by another “strange” phenomenon, the dock appeared to have risen up out of the water, necessitating the visitors to make a concerted effort to climb up onto it. The following remark had caused many laughs among colleagues and friends over the years, as one of the green faced officers directed this very self assured remark at me: “My friend,I can clearly see, that the tide has run out somewhat.”

The exact opposite was in fact true, as we were experiencing a particularly high spring tide, due to a lunar equinox. The difference in levels were as a result of the rubberduck lying about 250 millimeters lower in the water and had nothing at all to do with the tide.
A good time was had by the group and was mentioned in a most cordial letter from their Admiral, In which he conveyed the group’s thanks and in particular, their admiration to my security chief for his masterful handling of a rubberduck and for his keen sense of humor and wittiness.

Moral, Just because Penguins have wings,doesn’t mean they can fly.”

Photos source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Navy

*Note: These incredibly sleek and sophisticated Strike craft have been De-commissioned in 2005 some of which were sunk as missile and gunnery targets by the S.A.Navy off the South African coast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_African_Navy


Http://www.militaryphotos.net/morguefile/

Do you you know a funny story? we would love to hear it right here on wikinut.co

Tags

Andre G Hartslief, Durban Harbour, Funny, Funny Story, Harbour, Humor, Joke, Jokes, Rubber Duck, Ship, Ship Repair, Shipbuilding, Ships, South Africa, Strike Craft, Tranquilpen, Zodiac

Meet the author

author avatar Tranquilpen
As Andre' Hartslief, I strongly believe, that In life, there are no justified resentments.”We the old legends will become relics and fade away, while new giants emerge in our world of sobering truths.

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Comments

author avatar Songbird B
20th Jan 2012 (#)

Andre, what a wonderful Star page article and such a great title too...This is pure magic my friend..In this instance, thank heavens for inebriation..! lol..Loved it!\0/x

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Really splendid to have your fine comments at the top of my article. It made my day. Indeed, I share your pun about inebriation dear Bev :-)) X

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you Johnny Dod for the star,

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
20th Jan 2012 (#)

Wow, what a story! You saved the day Tranquilpen. Great star page.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

This article was an attempt to test the water, if you will excuse the pun. Thank you Steve for your most enthusiastic and inspiring comments. Best wishes to Carol and your children.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Jan 2012 (#)

My hat off to you sir...what an amazing life:0)...Bath Maine, not far from where we live- is a shipbuilding town with a great history and I whole great respect for that field...what a delight to read and what adventures...love to hear more...thanks Tranquilpen....

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author avatar Delicia Powers
20th Jan 2012 (#)

not whole but hold...

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you for your most encouraging comments. I will indeed attempt to provide other similar memoirs about my 20 years in the shipbuilding industry.Thank you for reading:-))

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author avatar Ivyevelyn, R.S.A.
20th Jan 2012 (#)

I loved this story and you told it so well, Andre. Thank youj for lifting my spirits, and I could see in,my mind's eye all of you trying to deal with the situation and at the same time trying to cover it up from the passengers.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Reading that it had lifted your spirit, warms my heart dear friend and as I mentioned to Buzz, during the cold war, we were not permitted to write articles such as these, well, things have changed. The ships have been sunk and the company that built them has closed down in 1989. Bless you X

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author avatar Buzz
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Everyone's got to hand it to you, my dear friend. Really funny STAR page!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Hello Buzz, for years there were draconian security protocols in force in our country absolutely prohibiting articles such as these so since both the ships and the company that built them, no longer exist I decided to share this and some other amusing stuff if there is a need for this brand of humor. Thank you as always, for your enthusiastic comments, something I always look forward to.

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author avatar Sheila Newton
21st Jan 2012 (#)

Oh, so very interesting - and such a worthy star page, Tranquilpen.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
22nd Jan 2012 (#)

Hello Sheila, glad you liked it sheila, thank you for reading:-))

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author avatar richardpeeej
22nd Jan 2012 (#)

What an intriguing life you had working there in SA Andre. A great story my friend and well worthy of a star page...

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author avatar Tranquilpen
22nd Jan 2012 (#)

Hello Richard, sure had some good times back then, thank you for reading my friend.

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author avatar Retired
23rd Jan 2012 (#)

BRavo for your star and thanks for taking us on a voyage!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
23rd Jan 2012 (#)

Hi RDI glad you enjoyed the voyage, thank you for coming aboard dear friend:-))

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author avatar ittech
24th Jan 2012 (#)

Rather fascinating information.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
24th Jan 2012 (#)

Hello I Tech, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. Thank you

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author avatar Vernazoa
31st Jan 2012 (#)

What a treat, Tranquilpen. You deserved a star page for this one! I like reading your work or pleasure

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author avatar Tranquilpen
31st Jan 2012 (#)

Thank you Verna, I will be including more of these articles soon.

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author avatar Christopher James
10th Feb 2012 (#)

Hey, Tranquilpen.

I loved the bit about your security manager playing a game of charades that only he knew the rules to. A very engaging story, thanks for posting it.

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author avatar Tranquilpen
10th Feb 2012 (#)

Very observant Christopher, I am so glad you spotted that, which to me was extremely frustrating as you can well appreciate given the circumstances at the time. Thank you for reading.

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