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Grapevine : July 2011
and partially empty bottles were dumped into the sea just before arrival. Upon arrival, the captain in- structed a brand new sailor to start the fire pump. For some reason, he cranked the steam on the standby pump, which was only supposed to be used in an emergency. The crushing explosion of pistons de- molishing bottles was so loud, it was heard across the entire ship. The captain was on the bridge when he heard and phoned down to the engine room to see what the hell happened. When told his stash of whiskey had been destroyed, he was so furious I thought he might jump overboard. After docking, customs re- ported over 100 cases of whiskey missing. Every single bottle of that cargo had disappeared. Some time later, back at sea and our ongoing Scrabble game, I noticed the captain was sober for the first time, though his hands were visibly shaking. He told me that for some reason, after that last trip with the whiskey bottles, he had felt that some Higher Power had given him a message and he'd gone ashore to attend an AA meet- ing, where he found an empathetic sponsor who started him on the Twelve Steps. Bill W. Lowell, Fla. Many empty and partially empty bottles were dumped into the sea. 40 July 2011