Filipino Monkey

First night watch and it almost didn’t happen. Liz, who stayed up to read, promised to wake me up and, after spending 2 hours tossing and turning I finally dropped off at 2330, only to be woken up by Liz at one minute past midnight, a minute after my watch started. Turned out Liz had fallen asleep too!

We spent the first hour listening to the VHF, which was a real education. Having done most of my night-sailing around the UK and then across empty oceans, it was a new thing to learn about Philipino Monkeys. For those who don’t k now, all vessels should have their VHF radio on stand-by on the international channel 16. It’s used as a hailing channel and for emergencies but it can be open to abuse. ‘Philipino Monkey’, for example, so the story goes, apparently, according to legend, is a term the Arabs call the Philipinos and around the Med and the Indian Ocean (some claim around the world) you’ll hear bored night-watchmen and deck-hands abusing channel 16, hurling nasty nonsense, making noises and generally being dicks. Here’s what we heard in the space of fifteen minutes, many of them repeated over and over. Alone, at night, some of these sound quite spooky:

  • [Said in a high-pitched taunt] Filipino monkeeeeeeey!
  • Faaaaaaaaccckkkkkkk orffffffffff
  • [Whispered] I’m comin’ to getcha
  • Filipino monkeeeeeeey!
  • [Mutley giggles]
  • This is motor vessel ‘Spirit’. My position is zero thirty four degrees, ner minutes, blah blergghhhh arrrgghhhhh degrees east. Aaaaaghhrrr. Over.
  • Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaackkkkkk your mummmmmmmmmmm
  • Filipino monkeeeeeeey!

All very silly, but Most Entertaining Transmission of the Evening has to go to the Filipino who came back with this:

  • Does anyone know what IMO stands for? (It actually stands for International Maritime Organisation). [No answer.] Does anyone know what IMO stands for? [No answer]. No one? It stands for ‘Indian Monkey Organisation’.

And so on. Whilst this can be amusing I just wonder how these idiots would feel if it was they who were trying to put out a Mayday in amongst the idiotic transmissions.



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