Fifteen days on a battered tramp steamer en route from Charleston, So. Carolina, to Bremerhaven and back to New Orleans--via pungent but skimpy sketches of the captain, chief engineer, cook, radio operator, and others of the luckless, half-crazed crew. Where, on this itinerary, is Bamboola? Well, it's a dangerous but nowhere port more or less misnamed after Bermuda; in the world of the Columbianna, it could be any of hundreds of ports. This is a ship that has twice rammed utterly helpless vessels by accident (including a Coast Guard cutter), that is patched all over from wounds received around Suez, Da Nang, Korea, and other hotbeds. Equally scarred--literally and otherwise--are the incredible misfits that make up the crew. During a change in deck-plans, a wrench and some ball-bearings were left in the captain's ceiling; whenever he lies down, he hears them slide and roll from bulkhead to bulkhead--and this is his hundredth crossing! Toya, the 50-year-old Puerto Rican chief cook, is regularly in d.t.s and has a rabbit-gut implant, or graft, for his ulcer (""Dey put me tree feet of locking rabbit duwadeno""). Ghastly facial and body scars, and poor plastic-surgery jobs, are common. Shore leave in Bremerhaven is an orgy of disasters. There are gales and typhoons, tales of manic depressives and paranoiacs--all of which, tumbling out, makes for pretty lively but also pretty thin reading.
Pub Date: April 5, 1982
Page Count: -
Publisher: Congdon & Lattes--dist. by St. Martin's