What do boiled eggs, oranges, and bananas have in common, on a boat?
Boat superstition! That’s what!
We were travelling into a head-sea, and had gotten 5 miles off Maputo, past Xefina Island and nearing the turning channel buoy, when caotain of the good ship Joker Bino Nordine shouted – “What’s to eat?”
I readily hollered back – “You want a banana?”
The boat nearly came to a dead stop as Bino hauled back the throttles, eyes widened with dismay.
“Bananas!, Where are they!”, he cried.
I jumped forward and got my food bag, and before I could react, Bino had my hand of delicious finger bananas, and threw them overboard! In a flash!
His expression came back to normal. Julio Rito, guest on the boat – was on his back, rolling with laughter. And there I stood, gobsmacked.
“Very bad luck bananas bru! We never take bananas!”, went Bino as he grabbed a cheese roll and smashed it.
And so off we went, and had a great days fishing!
Now down in the Cape, I know that boiled eggs are out. And on some boats in Natal – oranges. But wondering what other forbidden fishing fruit or food might be on the list, I did some research.
Bananas are definitely out! Boiled eggs do get a mention. Oranges turn out to be good luck. But bananas take the cake.
Turns out that in days gone by, of sail not steam, bananas were a logistical challenge for maritime personnel, to say the least. They were the first to ripen and therefore could hasten the ripening of other fruit on the ship. They stink when they rot. They carried poisonous spiders in the bunch with them and bit the crew, sometimes fatally. When a ship sinks, all it’s bananas float to the top, so when other seafarers come across a wreck site, all they find are the bananas suspiciously in amongst the flotsam! And then the dedicated banana boats – as they were termed, had to go really fast, and so could never put a line out to fish. Hence if you worked on a banana boat, you never caught anything!
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