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The Graduates

What do you do when you’re eighteen years old, have seven friends from high school, all of whom have just graduated, and one of them has chartered a 44ft catamaran in the Virgin Islands? First you go to the liquor store, buy gallons of vodka, bottles of double proof rum and cases of beer and hide them, along with that of your seven shipmates, in your cabin. Then you tell your captain (in this case, Charlie) you want to sail directly to the floating bar, Willy T, to start partying.

That’s how it started, explained Charlie. On the short sail to Norman Island rum and vodka were being consumed as thirst quenchers. The rap spewing from speakers had distasteful lyrics and mind numbing monotone – it was the most repulsive noise imaginable.

A quick dinner of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches accompanied by chips and dip and sundry bowls of cereal and milk was consumed and didn’t change in consistency much when it was later spewed up in various places on the deck. Then it was off to the bar for more hedonism.

In the morning a naked zombie emerged from below with pastel colored rings on both chest and back. Charlie looked up from his coffee and stared in disbelief. Was this the new tattoo craze? Had the party bar come up with a new gimmick? Then it dawned – Fruit Loops!

Charlie peeped into the cabin where another unconscious teen was prostrate. There were two boxes of flattened breakfast cereal on the bed, their contents scattered and crushed into the mattress. A pack of trampled cigarettes added to the mess. Grunts and groans preceded a slow and staggering walk to the trampoline on the bow where a much needed rest began. One by one the crew emerged, shaking and disheveled.

“How was the party?” asked Charlie,

“Awesome,” was an almost unanimous response.

The dishes piled up all week, and then the cleanest dirty plates were used over again. There were moments of snorkeling and back flipping off the deck but for the most part the charter appeared to be a competition of who could consume the most poison and still remain upright and conversant.

Awesome, perhaps. Desirable? Charlie thinks not – but then he’s been there and done that.

Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.

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