in The Navy

USS RigelWhen I was young(er) I spent a number of years in the United States Navy. during that time I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit many ports of call all over Europe. Among them were Istanbul Turkey, Bremerhaven Germany, Portsmouth England, Naples Italy, the French Riviera, and Rota Spain. By far, my most favorite port of call was Palma De Mallorca. Palma De Mallorca is an Island off the east coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Ocean and is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Should I ever decide to leave the United States, that is the place I want to go.

Palma De Mallorca has beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water. When out on the water, one can see straight to the bottom. It is like looking down into a well-kept aquarium from the top. On one visit there, my shipmate and I had rented a small paddle boat and were enjoying the sun and the ocean swells as we paddled around and drank a few bears. At some point we ran out of matches. We noticed that it was closer to go to a luxurious yacht anchored in the bay then it was to paddle back to shore. It was decided to approach the yacht and request a pack of matches. I am sure, in our beer induced fog we assumed we would be welcomed with open arms, and even possibly invited aboard to be wined and dined and who knows what else. After all, we were American Sailors.

That is not exactly how it went down. What did happen was, as we approached suddenly there appeared on deck several armed men with shotguns, and they were pointed at us. We were instructed to leave the vicinity of the yacht at once. We discovered the true meaning of “back pedal” that day. And that is exactly what we did, with haste. We had no idea who owned the yacht or who was on board. Later we found out that the yacht was owned by Aristotle Onassis and frequently was occupied by Jackie Onassis. I did not see her, and I do not know if she was on board, but I do know we were not welcome, American Sailors or not.

One side note, it was discovered while there that Palma De Mallorca is to Swedish College students what Miami is to American college students during spring break. And it was spring break. That was truly one interesting liberty.


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Tom Lind

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