Day 364: This Is A Drill

30.12.09:

Yesterday’s little incident was soon forgotten and we were now making our way pell-mell towards the Suez canal – possibly the most famous canal in the world. You know the Statue of Liberty? It was originally intended to stand at the Mediterranean entrance to the Suez canal – TRUE!

I mooched around the ship, making mischief and chatting with the Cook, the Chief and the Boson. I was summoned up to see the captain at one point, and I thought oo-eck, am I in trouble for yesterday’s little misunderstanding? But all was groovy – he just wanted to let me know there would be an emergency drill later today and what to do when the alarm sounds.

The drill was really cool – my job was to head up to the bridge (and not take the lift). Oh yes – I may have failed to mention that the MV Turquoise (being brand spanking new – only one year old) had a lift inside, just like the Starship Enterprise. But the best thing, the BEST thing about this lift is that, unlike your boring old Otis/Schindler contraption, it actually had an emergency escape hatch on the ceiling JUST LIKE IN DIE HARD! I always thought emergency escape hatches were urban legends and, like phone numbers that begin 555 or cars without rear-view mirrors, was just Hollywood pulling our legs. But I guess there are no lift engineers available in the middle of the ocean, so you just have to make your own way out of the trapped lift scenario.

But I digress.

After dutiful reporting to the bridge, Captain Elbishbishi (looking more like Tim Curry than ever) suggested I head down to the muster point and check out what the guys were doing. So down I went (using the outside staircase) and found the men having a lesson in what to do in a medical emergency. If I had known what they were up to, I would have offered to play the injured sailor, but I was content to just stand and watch as we raced down to the engine room and the guys had to work out how to stretcher up a unconscious engineer out of the din of below-decks.

That part was fun – what wasn’t fun was when it was explained how the emergency fire suppression system worked – by flooding the engine room with toxic levels of nitrogen, which would kill any fire, but also had the nasty side-effect of making the air unbreathable within about 30 seconds. Not much time to get the hell out of there!

That night I sat with the Chief and we watched Filipino Big Brother followed by The Philippines Have Talent on DVD. I’ve never laughed so much in my life, although I have to say, the girls in the Big Brother house were hotter than anything our British version have ever coughed up – and that included the ladyboy.

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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