9th August 2009, 22:46
Any fellow crew members aboard the Motagua in early '71 (February, I think !) when we were caught in a hurricane off the Hawaiian Islands whilst on route from Ecaudor(?) to Japan? The ship suffered severe damage to the bows and we were forced to limp into Midway Island for emergency repairs, courtesy of the US Navy's engineers. We were there for about 10 days I think whilst they welded steel railway lines between the main deck and the bows which were bent upwards at an alarming angle. The ships sides by No 1 hold had cracked open and the refridgerators could no longer maintain the correct temperature resulting in the decision to jettison some 78,000 boxes of slowly ripening bananas. Each day the US Navy engineers came out in their Landing craft to work on the repairs and each day we loaded them up with boxes of bananas to take back with them. They told us that normally they never had bananas on the base and that as a way of thanking us, we were they're guests and they laid on boats to take us ashore every night and we were welcome in all the various clubs and parties taking place whilst we were there. We had a ball!! We had to leave our anchor and chain behind when we sailed as the hydraulics were US. We crawled across to Kobe in Japan ditching a trail of bananas all the way. We were flown home while permanent repairs were carried out.