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Paintball

By Bronwen Livingston and Doctor Victoria Adams

It turns out that, somehow, amidst all this tropical splendour, ancient Pacific culture, way of life in an age of sail windjammer and stark Second World War history and its remains, our crew found a way to extract themselves from all these things and to engage in a “Paintball Battle of the Watches.” Senior management neither condones nor condemns this activity (except to say, “it’s all very fun until the crying starts…”).

This Captain’s Log reflects the intensity we all brought to the Extreme Paintball match in Santo and captures the immense sense of competition and pride both watches feel. Several such arguments have occurred since the game and undoubtedly more will come. While this log does not reflect the opinion of all players, it does give a fairly good representation of both sides.

It is 22:00 and Vicky stands in the galley. She has a hot water kettle in one hand. She turns toward me, a hint of snarl on her upper lip and continues our argument from earlier, “A fairly even match apart from the fact that you recruited an Australian military-trained sadist psychopath. The first game I will admit that you won, through sneakiness – as we hadn’t yet found our feet. The second game was ended in a serious toilet related incident (TRI) to one of our team members (“Sabotage!” whispers Meredith through the open door on her way to do something a deckhand would do) and was therefore null and void. During said game your Australian psychopath went into action and took out four of our team and repeatedly shot us once we were dead. After a huge show of heroism by our injured member Taia, we continued and entered once more into the battle having found our feet as a lean, mean fighting /defending machine. With Meredith and Georgie up front taking out the enemy and Jet Bracken and Adrienne flanking them with stealth and courage we had a dream offensive combined with a seriously strong defence. Bracken took out Paula and Mr Mate with one bullet before coming to an untimely and sticky end courtesy of Johanna. Ali and I defended base camp acting as excellent lookouts for the sterling defensive sniping by Dave, David and Jan…”

I interrupt to say, “Stirling defence team? More like underhanded and sneaky cheating snipers. Jan clearly hit me at point-blank range – foul play I say. Foul play.”

Vicky continues as if I have not said anything at all, typical for 4-8, big talkers they are, “Nobody knew where Shawn was – perhaps an undercover spy? Georgie died a hero’s death being, shot at one metre. We came out with five remaining soldiers while we had exterminated the entire 8-12 watch! The final score was 2:1 to us with one invalid game due to cheating by 8-12 while we were attending to a casualty.”

Now, it is my turn. I pour the freshly brewed coffee into the thermos, biding my time, making her sweat just a little.

“We were the underdogs from the start. You and the rest of 4-8 believed with all of your hearts that we stood little to no chance of beating you. And you were wrong. I understand that that fact is hard to accept. You were the self-appointed winners before we even stepped onto the field, and that cocksure attitude ensured your swift demise. We did recruit another player, but only because we were short in numbers. But rest assured that even without him we would have fought as strongly and still come out triumphant. Under the stellar leadership of Mate Mike we devised our plan. Our plan was simple. To win at all costs. Communication is the key to success and so we invented codes for manoeuvres, “Set the Spanker!” “Let go!” Sorry if they confused you. That was the point. Our highly skilled offensive team included the Australian sadist -as you refer to him- Mate Mike, Paula, Liam, Robert H, Joh, Katelinn, Cheri, Davey, Niko and me. Oh, wait. That’s everybody. That’s because we didn’t need defence. Because without glory you have nothing. Because we weren’t afraid like you. Because we were willing to sacrifice it all. With Niko (Cupcake the distracter) running and jumping through the underbrush, Mate Mike providing cover, Katelinn and me on our bellies through the underbrush, Liam and the Aussie making a sneak attack distraction, Paula, Joh and Cheri and Robert H on the front lines, Davey was able to capture the flag – not once, but twice. It happened quickly I know, so I forgive your inability to grasp reality. That and the fact that you were hiding in the relative safety of your base the entire game and probably didn’t get a clear look at the battle. Now to take away our second victory because of a TRI is not entirely fair. It was only after the match had ended that you realized your team-mate was down for the count. And you a doctor…tsk tsk. The third skirmish was close, but 8-12 will concede that you won, because we are honest. However, the 4th game, while perhaps you ‘technically’ won in the end, cannot truly be classified as a victory since a) we allowed you to have the better base for the second game in a row (to end your whining and begging) b) we were down three players and c) you hid like the cowards you are within the base while we valiantly and courageously stormed the field. So, the final score was 2:2 but your weak win makes us the true winners. We are the best at being winners and the best at being modest.”

The coffee was ready for the 12-4 watch and Vicky and I stood in the galley house at a stand-off. She would not concede easily I knew. Furthermore the watches had changed since that fateful match. We now stood together on 8-12 – and she is fraternizing the enemy. Awkward for her, satisfying for me.

It is unfortunate for Vicky and the entire old 4-8 watch that the powerful write history. Therefore I (Bronwen) declare 8-12 the victors of Santo Extreme Paintball. We would like to challenge 12-4 to a match. Let’s say in Bali, sometime late November?

*Thank you to Paula for contributing photos this log.

4-8 watch readies for the battle
8-12 was born ready
Mate Mike, Paula and Joh- in it to win it

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