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There are limits to all things and so it is aboard a ship. Sir Salty McMay-Day had finally reached his. Finding him locked and tucked away in the forward cabin with the remaining grog and a dozen tins of tuna was too much. I ordered him confined to quarters, secured what remained of the supplies and set about thinking what needed to be done. How exactly Salty intended to open the tins I have no idea. Only one showed any evidence of an attempt to open being severely dented and generally mashed as if he had been hammering away at it with a flipper for hours.

Regardless of provisions or grog remaining, no sailor can abide another putting his own life and safety above all others. As captain, I knew it was high time to reestablish order and discipline lest the remaining crew and the ship itself fall into anarchy.

The question of what to do was straightforward. The question of how was another matter. The balance to be struck is to mete out just enough muscle to make a point and have a lesson learned and not so much as to engender resentment. As convoluted as Sir Salty’s antics might be, he seems to dislike labour the most.  Hard labour then I reckoned would get his attention and give him time to think on his transgressions.

Of all the mind-numbing, back-breaking, menial jobs to do aboard a ship, nothing compares to scrubbing acres of deck by hand on bender knee. Being urged on and endlessly scolded by a low-ranking senior or worse yet, a ship mate,  turns the task to torment.

So it would be with Sir Salty McScrubs-A-Lot.

Convening the ship’s crew at 8 bells this morning, I called Sir Salty forward, gave a brief account of what had transpired and ordered that he scrub the decks clean by 8 bells this afternoon under the unrelenting stares and to the satisfaction of Port and Starboard. Sir Salty’s eyes widened and his mouth gaped upon, but just as quickly he returned to staring at the deck and shuffling his flippers nervously. I figured point made.

Not wanting to tarnish a man’s record permanently, I went on to say that there would be nothing in the log on the matter and no mention of it on discharge papers when we make port. I noticed his back straighten slightly and his flippers stop fidgeting. I figured point made.

At 0815 this morning, I heard the brush going endlessly back and forth and the high-pitched voices of Port and Starboard pointing out spots missed and grime left behind. Sir Salty McScrubs-A-Lot was in for a long but deserved day.

On some happier occasion, I’ll have to ask how he intended to open the tins. Lacking a can opener myself, I might well learn something useful.

Follow my tracks in real-time:


  • BT
    Posted at 10:41h, 02 July Reply

    Bert, you are amazing! Following you progress and posts with great admiration for you courage and wishing / willing you success. You are on the downhill run now. All the best from an Aussie follower BT ( 2 degrees of separation from your Uncle Joe).

  • Sandi Lyon
    Posted at 03:20h, 06 July Reply

    That looks about right. When it’s hot out in the ocean, its foggy and wet on the Wet Coast. That means you’re on the right track, heading the right direction. Finally. Woohoo.

  • Anita Kuntz
    Posted at 00:10h, 08 July Reply

    Following you journey and am truly amazed.

  • Suzan Persons
    Posted at 15:43h, 09 July Reply

    What an amazing journey!!

  • Karin Hill
    Posted at 15:27h, 13 July Reply

    Been following you for a couple of months now. What an amazing journey! Your blog is insightful and humorous. Almost home. Safe travels!

  • MountainJack
    Posted at 19:52h, 14 July Reply

    Has to be an amazing feeling to be so near home, Bert.

    Have spent months at sea “steaming”, not sailing, gaining my sea legs with the constant motion just became second nature. Getting back to a stable platform at dockside or over on the beach left me wobbly for a day or two. Cannot imagine how you’ll feel after a year of hardly ever being stable. There is that other thing having been on your own for that long; the familiarity of constant aloneness , the feeling of approach avoidance, being forced back into humanity. Might feel as though you could just extend a little bit more and savor the experience just a little longer…naw, probably not.

    Welcome back home, Bert. You’ve completed one heck of a feat.

  • Arthur Oliver
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 July Reply

    Getting oh so close. What’s the ETA?

  • estelle C whiddon
    Posted at 02:58h, 16 July Reply

    Bert, your homecoming Saturday will be a joyous occasion! I have followed the voyage daily and hope your arrival home brings much joy.

  • Peter Jungschaffer
    Posted at 07:19h, 18 July Reply

    This has been so great. Thank you!!!

  • BT
    Posted at 09:50h, 18 July Reply

    Hi Bert, you are just a few hours away from home. We are cheering for your most successful journey. We are especially amazed at the sailing conditions below Australia and New Zealand, as we can have some very big polar blasts hit us at this time of the year. Cannot imagine what it was like to sail through that type of weather. Can only take of hats off to you I amazement. Hope that you make it to Oz for a visit. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished. /bt

  • Antonio Corbelletta
    Posted at 16:15h, 18 July Reply

    Congratulations! What an adventure! Well done. I have enjoyed tracking your voyage everyday just wish I would have know about it earlier, from the beginning.

  • Suzan
    Posted at 18:13h, 18 July Reply

    Yeahhhhhhhhh Bert!!! You have done it!!!
    Happy Homecoming – And stay safe!!!
    It isn’t the same world that you left!!
    I’m going to miss reading your travels and your adventures!! But thrilled that you’re home (almost) safe and sound!!
    Next trip around the world, hope that you’ll stop along the way and post your photos of the locals and the ports!!

  • Raegan Elford
    Posted at 19:23h, 18 July Reply

    Soldier who has logged more sea time than this Navy sailor.
    What an incredible accomplishment (the journey vice logging more sea time than I)

  • Marianne Scott
    Posted at 18:25h, 19 July Reply

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! I guess we will have to put up a plaque commemorating your voyage on the Victoria Harbour wall.

    Hope to see you this week.

    Marianne Scott

  • Tom Cory
    Posted at 07:40h, 23 July Reply

    Congradulations Bert from Annapolis MD. A Great Adventure.

  • Mark
    Posted at 12:24h, 29 July Reply

    I don’t think that anyone that attended Estevan Junior High could have imagined that this was in the future for one of it’s students. I checked in at different legs of the journey and was fascinated every time. Congrats!

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