Oscar! Oscar! Oscar!

Tara and I were asleep when we hear a loud deliberate voice say “Oscar! Oscar! Oscar! Starboard Side!” from the loudspeaker inside our cabin. “What the hell was that” I said. The time on my smartphone was 4:45 in the morning. I tried to find out what Oscar meant in maritime vernacular using Wikipedia to no avail. About 10 minutes after the first announcement the same voice said “All Crew to Their Muster Stations!” We learned what muster stations were the day before. It’s the place we had to line up in front of the tender boats during the emergency evacuation drill. Tara said “OK, this is it.” We put on warm clothing and grabbed our passports. My adrenaline was pumping but I was trying not to panic so I could think clearly. We were placing our lifejackets over our heads when the voice from the intercom made an announcement. This time in French, then Spanish and finally English. ”This is Captain Samuel Ferrat from the bridge. There is a man presumed overboard!” Tara and I looked at each other and took some very deep breaths. We were relieved the ship wasn’t sinking. The captain made another announcement “Stay in your cabins please so we may perform a head count.” You could hear men arguing in French in the background during the announcements. The view from our cabin window was still pitch black, but we felt the ship making a sharp turn. Finally the captain announced “Dominic Williams Carroll report to your cabin”. Two minutes later he repeated “Dominic Williams Carroll report to your cabin”. After sometime the captain said the American Coast Guard was on their way with a helicopter and speed boats. I knew it was possible, but I couldn’t imagine anyone surviving the rough sea after 45 minutes, especially if alcohol was a factor.

Later that morning the mood at breakfast was somber. Everyone was quiet and had serious faces. It was a stark reminder of our own eventual demise. The whimsical, fun environment the ships employees are trained to create was absent, no one even tried. 7 hours later the coast guard gave our ship’s captain permission to leave. It was never announced, but understood that the man was never found. Rumors spread through-out the ship. Some said the man jumped after losing a large sum at the ships casino. One person said he was handing out money to everyone at the casino which would make one think it was pre-meditated. Another rumor said a crew member saw him jump and threw a lifesaver that he never grabbed onto.

The next day at lunch there was a moment of silence for the man. The ship is pretty much back to normal now. Life goes on I guess. There was a feeling that you better make it count this time because there may not be a next time. In other words don’t be a dick.


  1. Great adventure began!!! I guess the fear of death on any voyage is always a possibility and the death of this man makes it feel more real I hope the rest of your trip is filled with love and light many Blessings Katya Bill

  2. What a scary experience! How sad it is that someone will end his life like this. Hope this tragic event will not spoil your positive attitude on the joyful adventure. Keep us posted. Sending you love...