Cruising

THE MARINE SERPENT

Ocean cruising is a very popular activity.  Many people love to get on a luxurious cruise ship and set sail for beautiful Caribbean, the Mediterranean, or some other fascinating area. On the ship they are treated to an unending feast of  delicious food, theatrical performances, and a great variety of shipboard activities.   They arrive home fifteen pounds heavier and immediately collapse on their couches to begin planning for next year’s excursion.

The COVID epidemic has ruined this pretty picture for the moment, but the cruise business will soon resume again.  Are you ready to embark? 

I remember my first cruise very well.  Along with about 3,000 other GIs, I boarded a troopship in Seattle.  We were packed into the small vessel like sardines. Most of us were bound for Korea by way of Japan.  The ship was named The Marine Serpent.

Immediately upon exiting Puget Sound the ship found itself in the midst of a North Pacific gale.  The storm tossed us about like a cork in a flood, and keeping one’s feet was very difficult.  The upper decks were impossible.  No one had an opportunity to adjust to the wave action, and approximately 99% of the 3,000 soldiers on board became seasick.  It was an absolute mess.  I had considerable experience in small boats, and thought myself immune from mal de mer, but when fellow soldiers thew up next to me in the galley I became queasy and headed for my bunk. 

I believe it is true what they say about seasickness.  The first day you are afraid you will die.  The second day you hope you will die.  And the third day you fear you won’t die.

By the fourth day we had come out of the storm, and two and a half weeks later we dropped anchor in Sasebo Harbor, Japan.  Some of the passengers were ready to kiss the ground in gratitude

I waited sixty-five years for another ocean trip.  In the summer of 2018 I set sail on a Norwegian cruise ship in the Mediterranean.  It was almost like sailing on a lake, and the accommodations were excellent.

What a difference!      

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