The next day, both clear and warm, the trainees had an opportunity to man the helm of the Rose. While I was at the helm, the cook, fishing from off the taffrail, hooked a fine large catch. It shined silver, blue and green in color. This event was followed immediately by one of the most unusual ceremonies I have ever witnessed.
Having made a quick trip below, the Captain returned revealing a bottle of fine spirits (scotch whiskey, if I recall correctly). The cook held the big fish steady with its mouth pointed upwards, at which moment, the Captain promptly poured scotch copiously into the wriggling creature. A white bucket sat underneath the fish to catch the overflow from spilling across the quarterdeck. That evening, we enjoyed the fresh fish for dinner.
After all this time, I must admit, I still don’t know what that ceremony signified, but it was an A‑1 memorable experience.
Despite such an auspicious event as being at the helm when the big fish was caught, comfort conditions would drastically change for me.
copyright © 2002 Challen K. Yee