Ok.... my own truly embarrassing sea funeral story….
In my 20’s I worked weekends skippering water
taxis and pilot boats in Vancouver.
Quite often we would be asked to do Sunday morning ceremonies at Pt Grey where the family
and friends would spread the ashes.
So after a particularly busy Saturday night running drunken crews and the working girls back and forth from English
harbor, we had a last minute order for a funeral early in the morning.
Taking our biggest boat out with the family
to Point Grey, I shut the engines off and drifted with the tide near Spanish banks, watching from the stern with the passengers.
It was for an old sea captain
who had died of lung cancer and as the family made their toasts and took in the beautiful early morning on the water
, everything seemed almost perfect as they spread his ashes on the water.
That is… until I noticed that my conscientious, but sleep deprived deckhand
, who had been cleaning
up inside the cabin
after a busy night of crew runs, automatically dumped a pail full of cigarette butts collected from the ashtrays… over the side!
The rest… seemed to happen in slow motion… as the filter tips swirled down amongst the dearly departed and the tears from his widow/daughters turned into wails.
That with the murderous looks from the men
and their minister was something I would rather forget.
Suffice to say, it was a quiet and somber run back to the dock
while we all reflected upon the dangers of smoking….. (especially my deckhand)