Ocean Station Charlie

by Capt. Ken Kahn

Navigators often obtained weather information from ships stationed in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for that purpose. Each one was identified by a letter; e.g. Ocean Station Charlie.

On a trip across the Atlantic, the captain was PJ (Practical Joker). As explained in another story, he possessed great situational awareness and was very perceptive at detecting the slightest hint of gullibility. The navigator was CN (Clueless Navigator). He was as lacking in situational awareness as PJ was superb at it. CN once spent two hours trying to find a restaurant with his GPS-equipped car.

The navigator's station was at the left rear of the cockpit. It was enclosed by a curtain that allowed the navigator to work at night without his lights disturbing the night vision of the pilots who usually kept the rest of cockpit dark in order to see out. CN was at his station, with his headphones on, trying without success to contact Ocean Station Charlie. Capt. PJ realized that CN's microphone was selected to the intercom position and that CN was talking only to the airplane. PJ quickly set his own microphone to the intercom position and the ensuing conversation went something like this:

CN.  Ocean Station Charlie, Ocean Station Charlie, this is Seaboard 100.

PJ.  Seaboard 100, this is Ocean Station Charlie.

CN.  Seaboard 100 requesting the winds aloft.

PJ.  Roger, Seaboard 100, the winds are .......

CN.  Thanks, Ocean Station Charlie.

PJ.  Seaboard 100, can I ask you for a favor?

CN.  Sure, go ahead.

PJ.  I've been out here for several week and I'd really like to send a message to my wife. If I dictate a letter to you, will you mail it to her when you land?

CN.  I'd be glad to, go ahead.

PJ proceeded to dictate a long letter, getting more passionate and intimate. CN finally smelled a rat and peeked out from behind his curtain. He didn't find it as amusing as PJ did.

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