"Uh, uh, it's um..." I might answer.
"Too slow. You're dead," he
Turns out there was an extinguisher right outside the doorway to the head. Funny how I still remember that, though decades have passed since Peter announced my untimely demise.
His point was, there was no one to save us out there in the middle of the ocean, except ourselves. So he drilled us, and drilled us again. In addition to fire drills (the extinguisher-location trivia game and the unrolling and setting up the fire hoses) there were person-overboard drills, and abandon ship drills.
The person-overboard drills were especially chilling. We used a large fluorescent orange float, meant to represent a person's head, although it was at least three times bigger, and, well, fluorescent orange. One of the mates would throw the thing overboard, and if you were the first to see it go, you'd holler "Man overboard!" and then become a human compass.
|Hey, it might be better keep both feet |
on the deck, Patty.
Nothing like watching that thing disappear into the bountiful blue behind the ship to convince you to watch your step on deck.
We had abandon ship drills as well, meeting on the upper deck where the lifeboats were stored. My strongest memory of those drills was Peter telling us not to decide for ourselves when to abandon the ship. We were to stay aboard until he judged the time to leave; wait for his order to launch the lifeboats. It was an interesting demand to make of a bunch of unruly, hard-headed, strong-willed Greenpeacers, who might anticipate making their own decisions when it came to a life or death matter.
But Peter knew that ship better than we ever would. And I would've stayed aboard until the waves lapped at my knees, if Captain Peter Willcox told me to.
(Want to read more about Greenpeace days? Click on the "Search this Blog" box to the right and enter the word Greenpeace.)