Monday, 13 March 2006

Boats - 2

<![CDATA[ My previous post on this subject had a tragic undertone, which was required following the Right of Passage thing. However, similar stories abound in the Western Isles and one came to mind that happened 14 years ago elsewhere in the archipelago.

It was in the era of flitboats, and those in the island concerned will recognise this. For those unfamiliar with the situation: some islands had piers that could not be reached by the large Calmac ferries. In days gone by therefore, a little boat would come out to ferry passengers from the large ferry to the island. Changing boats was an interesting exercise, particularly in a force 6 wind. Passengers being chucked over like sacks is an abiding memory.

One day, I was the only passenger leaving the island. The wee boat was put-putting up the channel as the big ferry loomed up from the general direction of the mainland. Suddenly, with the main ferry still some distance off, the engine of the flitboat fell silent. The skipper of the wee boat started faffing about with his controls, only to end up cussing the previous user of the boat. He then went on the VHF: "Hello [boatname withheld], this is the [island name withheld] ferry. We've run out of diesel. Can you please back up and meet us, rather than we meet you?" This being on the radio was heard for miles in the distance, and all at sea were falling about laughing. As the big ferry pulled alongside, there were some red faces on board the little boat, which was not helped by the mate's leering comment: "Now, let us discuss terrms for this diesel". ]]>

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