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Tales From The Sea


This page will show a collection of tales & short stories as told to me by ex-BM men about their time spent in the service of Buries Makes. Click on the links to take you to each story or tale. 

Donkey Panama 79

I'd like to start off this category myself with a short tale about "Feeding the Donkey's" along the Panama Canal. I loved going through the Panama Canal, no matter how many times you went through, the trip was different. I remember one trip was different to others because we had a "First Tripper" on board.

The La Cordillera had many jokers among her crew, but on this trip through the canal,"We" all joined forces to create a memorable sting.


Our poor first tripper was called Ray, a young 17 year old from Manchester. Ray had been the butt of many jokes in the two months that he'd been on board, from being sent for long stands to pick up some tartan paint from the Bosun's locker. In the weeks leading up to us heading to Panama, everyone on board told Ray that it was his job to feed the donkeys that helped pull the ships through the canal.


Ray was told that he had to collect potato & vegetable scraps from the galley the day before we arrived at the canal & be ready to throw them over onto the quayside for the donkey's to eat. Ray was really excited at this "job" & was ready with his bucket of scraps when we arrived at the first lock.


He was told that the first donkey was up at the bows of the ship, so Ray set off towards the front of the ship armed with an overflowing bucket of scraps. On reaching the bows the Bosun asked him what he was doing & Ray told him that he was here to feed the donkeys. The Bosun (in on the joke) told Ray that he had just missed it & it was now on it's way aft. The Bosun told Ray to go through the tunnel as it would be quicker, so Ray clambered down the stairway into the tunnel that ran alongside the hatches.


This was so he would not catch on that there weren't any donkeys on the quayside, not real ones anyway. The donkeys in question where in fact mechanical engines that helped pull the ship through each lock (see photo on the left). We managed to send Ray fo're & aft six times before he eventually caught on that he had been set up. The air turned blue & we all learned some new swear words that day.

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Please be aware that I have no log book records for any of BM's vessels or any personal discharge books other than my own. The information on this website has been obtained through my own research & is purely for nostalgic purposes only. The copying of photographs from this site is stricktly forbidden unless you have obtained permission from me & the owner of the photograph.