Friday, November 24, 2006

Coast Trip Story

I heard a funny story. Second hand, of course.

Three guys went on a trip to the coast. On the way, one carried a giant cooler. When asked why the cooler, he replied “I’m bringing back some shrimp.” “How much?” they asked. “One hundred pounds.” was his answer.

They planned to kayak and camp for four days, but a cold front brought off shore winds that shortened their trip. Having an extra day in town, they arranged to stay overnight aboard a local friend’s boat. Moored at the city marina, the 40 foot sail boat was nice accommodations for the three.

On the way to pick up the shrimp, the other two were curious and asked questions about where the shrimp came from, how much they cost and such. “Well,” he said, “they still have their heads and they were $1.50 a pound.”

Great price, but they still have their heads? “Who’s going to de-head them?” one asked. “Oh, it won’t take long to pop their heads, it’s real easy” … Shades of Tom Sawyer, they had been had.

After hours of shrimp head popping, made even more fun by the biting of "no-see-ums", they returned to the sail boat. “Let’s make coffee in the morning.” said the shrimp buyer. They decided to get the coffee making setup that night so it would be easier in the morning. Although they had camp stoves, they noticed the boat had a galley and a stove.

The first tried the stove and said it didn’t look like it was used much and that there were problems lighting it. The shrimp buyer took a second look and caused some liquid to run from the burners, but couldn’t get it lit. They discovered it was an alcohol stove and that’s what had run out. They messed around and found the pressure tank, pumped and it and tried again. More liquid came out but would not burn. “Never mind.” said the shrimp buyer. “Let me try.” said the third.

Trying harder, more liquid came out, he tried to light it and finally it did. But not the burner, the stove! The liquid had pooled around the burners and had finally caught fire. The fire was catching and starting to flame up through the four burners of the stove top. They had caught the boat on fire!

The first guy, standing nearby, had picked up the fire extinguisher mounted above the stove. The fire flickered, almost going out but caught back up and promised to grow bigger. He gave a small squirt of the extinguisher, hoping to put the fire out without causing a big mess. But the fire roared back, encouraged by a blast of air and little actual extinguishing. The other two started scrambling for safety, the shrimp buyer being pushed up the ladder by the third.

Whoosh! He hit the fire with a full blast of the extinguisher. The interior of the boat suddenly turned into a white cloud, all vision obscured. Quickly the cloud thinned enough to see, the fire was out but a snowy landscape covered everything in sight. It was particularly thick in the galley of course, but the whole cabin was filled. Remembering to breath, their breath was caught by the thick powder that hung in the air. Scrambling up the ladder to the stern, they were relieved that they were safe and the fire was out. They sat there, under a starry night in the harbor, staring alternately at each other and the smoke filled cabin, in disbelief that they had nearly burned up a boat!

Fortunately, they had extinguished the fire before any damage was done. After a long night and next day of cleaning everything, no sign of the fire remained. Well, except for the empty fire extinguisher.