Thursday, October 25, 2012

SEAMANSHIP in a Nutshell


SEAMANSHIP in a Nutshell
An Apocryphal Story
A Naval Yarn
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Once upon a time there was a famous sea captain, a veteran sea dog.

This renowned captain was very successful at seafaring and for many years he guided ships all over the world.

Never did stormy seas or pirates get the best of him.

He was admired by his crew and fellow captains.

However, this captain had one idiosyncrasy.

Every time he came to the bridge of his ship, the captain used to do a strange thing.

He would take out a small envelope from his breast pocket. 

From this envelope he would take out a small card.

He would stare at the card for a minute.

Then he would put the card back into the envelope and thereafter place the small envelope back into his breast pocket. 

After this quick ritual, he would take charge and go about his command duties on his ship.

For years this went on and on and became a legend.

His officers and crew became very curious as to what was written on the card their captain read every time he came on the bridge.

Was it some naval formula? Was it some secret code? Was it some religious verse? Was it some inspirational quote? Was it some secret code? Was it a treasure map? Was it the name of his long lost love?

Everyone speculated about the contents of the strange envelope but no one dared ask the awe-inspiring redoubtable captain.

One day the captain collapsed on the bridge and died at sea.

After laying the captain’s body to rest, the first mate (curiously watched by the crew) took out the small envelope from the captain’s breast pocket.

He opened the envelope and took out the mysterious card. 

As he looked at the card the first mate was dumbfounded. For a few moments he just stared at the card in shocked silence.

Then he showed the card to the curious officers and crew.

Just Four Words were written on the paper in red and green – two lines, with two words on each line, written in capital letters, as shown below:

PORT LEFT
STARBOARD RIGHT




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