Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"What is a Massive Hiding?"

Was "Sheherazad and the 1001 Arabian Nights" the Original Blog?

To understand the story about the massive hiding one must first hear the one about how Yuri Masloboev - extreme traveller from Siberia - while on watch on the night of 14 March 2011, observed strange green lights emitting from an unknown source in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  He made a note of the tri's coordinates at the time and in the morning discussed the phenomenon with his crew mates. 

Feeling that they had a responsibility in this regard as the green flashes may have been sent out by a vessel in distress, the team asked Tempest to make enquiries:  were there any vessels missing in the Atlantic?  Could these signals have eminated from a wreck of some kind?  What should they do?

After consulting with the Durban branch of the National Sea Rescue Institute Tempest contacted the Hout Bay branch where the staff had previously offered support to the trimaran and the crew had in fact named one of their volunteers "the best man in Africa".  The leader of this team referred Tempest to the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Center based in Cape Town.  The information about the green flashes, the tri's coordinates and the concerns about a possible vessel in distress were relayed and we awaited feedback.

The MRCC responded swiftly and efficiently, providing Tempest with a wealth of information about the military base at Ascencion Island and saying that the crew could expect to observe more similar green flashes of light until they leave the area.

Relaying all of this information to the team did not seem necessary; in the 160 characters allowed by Iridium - and because of speaking different languages - Tempest simply reassured the team that no action was required on their side and to inform them in general terms about the source of the green lights that Yuri had seen.

And that should have been the end of the story.

However, the team had had a slow day.  They complained about having seen only "water, water, water" and, one would assume, the same bearded faces the whole day long  :) 

So one can picture them that evening, the trimaran scooting happily forward in the light wind, chatting companionably while enjoying their borscht - and in the process forging their wicked plan ....


They had already said good night to Tempest with assurances that all was peaceful, happy and fine so it was a shock to receive - later that night - the following message:

"2 helikopters and 1 submarine attacked our tiny nut"

"What the ... " thought Tempest, there can be nothing left of the flimsy trimaran after such an assault! 

And in the light of all the information supplied just hours ago by the Marine Rescue Control Center (and since then, other contributors to the blog), she went on immediate alert.  First:  Confirm if everyone was alive and unhurt and what they heck they meant with "tiny nut".  The message went out on Iridium.

Tempest waited - no response. 

What to do, what to do...  Had anyone else received this message?  How can one check?  Who could help?

During the last few weeks the team's land-crew had consissted of mainly two groups: the tempestsailing blogspot visitors and the Fordak newsgroup crowd.  If anyone had knowledge about attacks on the trimaran, they would be found there.  So Tempest sent an Alert to the blog and the newsgroup:

"Alert.  Message just received from the Energy Diet trimaran: 

2 helikopters and 1 submarine attacked our tiny nut" 

Awaiting further information"
Still no response from the trimaran. 
Nothing stirring in the newsgroup or the blog

What to do.  What to do ...

In the course of the conversation with the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre earlier that day, Tempest had given them details about the trimaran's course and the objectives of the expedition.  So they had some backgrround, they had coordinates and they would be best placed to immediately launch a rescue operation. 

Tempest's hand was reaching for the phone when a message from the trimaran came in:
"it is joke follow night green light nut is our boat all okay no sharks no birds no ships"


Fate has a way of providing us with insight in a very subtle manner. Carl Jung referred to it as synchronicity:  seemingly unrelated events occuring together in a meaningful way.  One can accept the opportunity for insight that the synchronistic events offer or you can laugh it off as a coincidence.  Possibly there are four guys - who had spent the rest of that night taking turns to painstakingly pump up a ruptured pontoon, a bird circling overhead throughout - who will in future think twice before they cry wolf.   

Tempest, of course, was morbid with relief, livid with anger and disappointed that her credibility as a blogger had been destroyed because of a silly joke - unless she could remove the Alert messages from the newsgroup and blog.  She did so, but not quickly enough.  Early the next morning, she had to face the music when a sharp-eyed commenter wrote:

"And what about the two helicopters and a submarine that attacked tiny nut??? "

Tempest promised to tell the story once her blood-pressure had settled down.  That took a while - and in that time many angry messages went to the team so that Iridium was literally burning.  Initially the team apologised, explained how they were just messing around, tried to calm the waters but that just made it worse so in the end they thought it prudent to just go and hide shamefacedly behind the mast.  Eventually and after having told them exactly what was going to happen to them if she should ever see any one of them again, Tempest's fury subsided. 

Hours later the rather timid message arrived:

"What is a Massive Hiding?"


So there you have it - another event in the chronicles of the "Crazy Russian Sailors and their Flying Machine".

This one, of course, is NOTHING compared to the time that they almost got trampled by three rhinos ...  


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous16/3/11 08:39

    After such a joke joking usually ask: "Where you take this herb?"... Or maybe it was not quite a rose - that he gave in Africa? ... And they did not gave it to Napoleon. And just smoked?

    (My wife, too, I've always said that I have a silly joke :)))