Longer version -(the shorter version is below this post). The Captain of Comedy & the Escapade in Oman.
"How did I end up here?!" I wailed. "Where is he?!"
“He’s not coming back –it’s 3am now –the boat was meant to be here at 7! We’re abandoned! Alone!”
“I wish we were alone –the thousands of ENORMOUS crabs are really freaking me out! They must weigh a few kilos each!”
“They’re so fast…and they’re everywhere!”
“Well at least there’ll be food –if things get any more desperate…”
“For us or for them?!”
Thousands of luminous eyes scuttle around us, dancing devilishly around our surrendering campfire.
We know that we have no idea where we are, that we have no maps and, though next to the swelling, salty sea –we have no drinkable water. We know that we’ll be sweating in the scorching, sweltering sun tomorrow…
We know that there’s a secluded, solitary, Omani settlement nearby –formerly the haunt of smugglers- it now skulks, silently somewhere in the shadows. An equally-abandoned ghost village…
We know that we’ve climbed -clung to- the cavernous cove’s cliffs, cautiously avoided it’s carnivorous crevices and yet, having conquered it’s cruel challenges, continued to crave reception. No telephone connection. Denied redemption. Our hope a deception! God’s Rejection.
Yes we were feeling rather sorry for ourselves. And perhaps a little melodramatic.
As if sensing our desire for melodrama, we suddenly heard our captain’s whisky-laden speedboat whirring towards us, whipping the waves wantonly, when WHACK! He’d driven it straight into a round, rudely-protruding rock.
Wailing. Woe! “WAAAAAAHHH, WAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!”
Was he hurt?
We rushed to see.
Sensing an audience the man fell silent for a few seconds. And then fell into hysterical laughter. Giggling, cackling, chortling, snorting, wriggling with glee. He wiped the tears from his eyes and, still tittering tipsily, still convulsing with chuckles, fell out of the boat. Dramatically he waded, swayed, through the shallow water. The startled crabs, once bold & threatening, now stood still. Shell-shocked. A few timidly crept away! Collecting and crunching seaweed with each climactic step the Sea-Monster reached us at last… He stood still. After a compelling beat, and with dramatic timing that any trained actor would envy, he then sternly delivered his killer line:
“Want whisky! Where?”
Seconds of stunned silence. Finally one of our party recovered enough to ask:
“Where’s our dhow? You were meant to pick us up at 7pm! The beach BBQ was meant to end at 7 not 3am!”
The Captain looked at us with the blissful, innocent incomprehension of a young child.
“You know the boat –the Arabic boat –the dhow, we were meant to sail back to the hotel ages ago!”
A few more seconds of foggy incomprehension then our ‘Captain’ cheerfully smiled and told us:
“Sorry but nothing can solve now. Now we can drink. Fun-time, enjoy life. Tomorrow we sort problem. You have whisky?”
“Beer? What you have? Come we drink!” With these words, and with notable determination, he lurched and staggered happily towards the campfire. He then started rummaging through the plastic bags that had contained the long-since finished drinks from our beach barbecue. Unimpressed he petulantly threw the empty cartons and wine bottle out of the bags then, realizing that there was nothing left, fell to his knees and looked at us all both angrily and then imploringly. No receiving the response he wanted, he then directed these alternate glares and pleas at the sky.
It was then that the Captain remembered and suddenly gasped. He covered his mouth with both hands and winced before emitting a low groan.
The drunkard must have finally realized his mistake –well that was what we all collectively thought. And indeed he had -but not the mistake we were thinking of. Oh no, our clown-extraordinaire had another shock up his colourful sleeve. With his tone a strange mixture of defiance and sheepish contrition he blurted it out:
“Forgot anchor dhow!”
Now it was our turn for delayed comprehension. Suddenly manic our captain’s high-pitched shriek exploded into the air:
“Current will take dhow! If dhow goes out of Omani waters –if goes into Irani waters –cannot go there! Cannot get it back!”
Our group took this information in. I thought of all my filming and photographic equipment lying on the dhow’s open decks… I may never see it again! Now it was my turn to wince. It also struck me that this would have been great filming material. Everyone else was more concerned with more sensible things like, well, survival. Then, not one to be outdone, our comic Captain trumped us all once again with another killer one-liner:
“All my whisky on dhow!”
He then erupted into a fit –constantly repeating some Arabic word that must have been some particularly intense swear word. Meanwhile panic was also mounting amongst the group. It was decided that we would take some burning firewood as a torch and drive the speedboat back to the dhow –which hopefully would not have swept away too far by the current. We’d then bring the dhow back into the cove and anchor it.
There was hope at last. That is until we realized that the speedboat was broken. It’s antiquated, pull string motor had not survived the impact of our Captain’s dramatic arrival.
So now we had no speedboat and our dhow, our last link to civilization, was unanchored and being pulled out to sea by the unrelenting current. Pulled out into Iran’s unrecoverable waters.
After discussion, (aka self-pity, panic and moaning), we all decided that there was nothing we could do but sleep. However our attention-seeking Captain wanted to also deprive us of this pleasure.
“I must swim to dhow! I must swim now or too far away!!”
“No –you can’t swim now” we replied ‘”You’re drunk, it’s pitch-black, you’ll drown. It’s too far away! No-one can swim in this darkness!”
“I will swim! You will not stop me swim! I swim now.”
With theses words the Captain galloped towards the sea -we rushed to stop him. Eventually we persuaded him to sleep. Or we thought we had anyway. Not great at discipline our captain however kept getting up and trying to sneak into the water. Consequently we took turns to stay awake and keep an eye on him (two at a time since he was a stubbornly powerful, if drunk, man). As if he hadn’t caused enough commotion!
Not that the rest of us got much sleep anyway –the crabs lurked menacingly and the wind blew from rapidly changing directions meaning that sand was constantly being blown into your face. Of course our Captain also provided various noisy outbursts. Eventually the day came, the morning went and the afternoon came. Finally the police, alerted by our hotel, came. They however left us on the beach as soon as they heard about the wild dhow. Evidently we were of lesser importance however, eventually, after the dhow was found, we were collected.
The company who had organized the dhow trip was very apologetic –so much so that they offered us another free, identical dhow trip! The question is do I really want to go? The rest of the group I went with certainly doesn’t. If I do I’ll definitely take my filming camera onto the beach with me this time so that I can film any antics and share this man with the world! Move over Borat! Move over Manuel! The Captain is here!
The last trip had started like a horror and turned into a farce. What will the subsequent film be? Captain II. Without our rather unique Captain it will no doubt be just a rather placid, tourist video. I will have to insist that he’s our Captain again! The tour company might be a little confused. As might he –(not that that state will be anything new for him)! Lastly, I seem to be the only one in my group keen to re-live the experience so, well, I’d rather not wait alone with all those crabs/smugglers/whatever happens next time -does anyone want to come with me?
07507 829 341.
(If calling from abroad: 00 44 7507 829 341)
Facetime & WHATSAPP AVAILABLE ON BOTH Numbers.
Skype also available -please send me your Skype ID.
Please email if you don't get through calling -I may be travelling and your missed call may not register.