Wednesday, January 20, 2016

‘North Pacific Deckpecker’

Most Crackerjack Yarns are legends, wearing truths disguise… just deep sea blue embroidery, and some are downright lies! But I'll tell you a true sea story, just the way it happened to me, on a windswept gun deck not far from the open sea!!!

In November of 90’, I found myself posted to H.M.C.S. Huron, just in time for work-ups prior to going to the Arabian Gulf! Following an interesting two weeks of the usual fires, floods, and famines, we returned to our homeport of Esquimalt where a not-so-young bubblehead with an attitude joined us!! Mister Scarecrow (obviously not the name his mother had given him) was a typical know it all product of Ventures' Naval Officer Training Program!! Predictably, within twenty-four hours of boarding the ship, he succeeded in offending ninety percent of the lower deck and the wardroom was not far behind!!!

One day, he paid a memorable visit to the foc'sle as Smitty and I were carrying out routine maintenance on our five inch main armament! Wandering about, he complained about the state of the non-skid, scarred with rings exposing the metal below!! Listening to his tirade must have caused us both to momentarily throw discretion to the wind as his next comment set us off...

"Whatever could cause these unsightly rings?"

Smitty and I explained that it was the work of the North Pacific Deckpecker! The Deckpecker is a very large, dark grey bird with nocturnal habits!! It flies about the sea, searching for ships to land on at night!!!

This particular bird feeds on the parasites which burrow into the ship's paint! The parasites in turn live on the cordite residues which accumulate about the gun decks!! The rings on a warship’s deck are caused by the birds pecking about their feet before moving to another position. Because of the bird's unique habits and dark colour, it is very rarely seen!!!

As we described the Deckpecker, he became more fascinated at each revelation! Eventually, Smitty even demonstrated the bird's call… a raucous sound which drew more crew members about to listen as we contributed further details and corrected each other over minor points!!!

When our impromptu lecture had come to a close, he looked about at our rapt audience and said…

"You know, I read about this somewhere."

Within the hour, everyone from the lowest, greenest Ordinary Seaman to the Captain knew the story! Of course, you know that the real cause of the deck rings is the expended casings from the gun striking the deck!! But the North Pacific Deckpecker lives on in good ol’ Crackerjack mythology!!!

When every crewmember was a deputized bullshit artist… except that one guy!!!


  1. SPG-60 Transmitter switch tube somehow became a Flux Capacitor capable of handling 3.3 Gigawatts. Proper setup extremely important to avoid temporal shifts. DivO didn't talk to us for a week. The Old man was much amused.

  2. Lmao. Way better than a BT punch.

  3. Lmao. Way better than a BT punch.

  4. Anyone remember the sea bat prank?

  5. Anyone remember the sea bat prank?

    1. sure do recall the sea bat. got my ass busted with a broom. also busted a lot lAter on

  6. Got kicked pretty hard due to falling for the sea bad story.
    But after the same guy who kicked me got transferred I made sure he got blamed for everything that came up missing. When he came back a few months later to visit, the Gunner wanted to rip his head off for all the things he had stolen.
    Pay back is a witch.

  7. I need a goddamned bucket of steam! Go talk to MM1 Salty Bastard and bring that to me yesterday, NUB!

  8. Loved sending new firemen to the O-11 to get an air sample in a zip-lock bag so we could calculate boiler fuel-air mixtures. It was rough on them when a clutz in the oil lab would fumble it and let the air leak out requiring them to get another sample.

  9. We had lookouts reporting to the bridge that a GU11 was off the port side or a b1rd was off the starboard. The OOD was never amused.

  10. Installed a panic button on #1 generator switchboard. First guy to use was an ensign