(June 1983, Canada) This one is for the ladies. I was the
Commanding Officer of a 75-foot Navy Diving Tender, YST 10. Our
mission was to train future naval officers to navigate the Strait of
Georgia, northwest of Vancouver. It was a lovely June afternoon, with
clear blue skies and gentle breezes.
A trainee spotted a flicker of fire on the horizon, where there
should have been nothing but water. We immediately turned toward the
fire, and turned up the radio to listen for distress calls. As we
approached, the flicker turned into a small pillar of fire.
Then came the distress call.
Two businessmen had decided to give their wives the vacation of a
lifetime, and they rented a sailboat. Their plan was to explore the
Marine Sanctuary and watch for whales.
The previous day, they had sailed from Vancouver into a stiff
breeze. Both ladies got very seasick and demanded an end to the dream
vacation. But by noon the second day, the ladies had recovered, and
decided that the vacation might be as wonderful as their husbands had
They created a Baked Alaska to surprise, and perhaps to show
forgiveness to, their husbands. Unfortunately they decided to light
the Baked Alaska on the ladder to the cockpit, right under the
mainsail! The flicker that turned into a pillar of flames was the
sail catching fire.
They were rescued by helicopter.
We tried to salvage the yacht, but it burned and sank.
Darwin adds: I am designating this an At-Risk Survivor, instead
of a Personal Account, because the source is trustworthy--a
lieutenant in the Canadian Navy--and it is plausible. If anyone can
confirm this story, please Contact
DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2012
Submitted by: Lieutenant David Swan of the Canadian Navy
Confirmation of this story:
Mike Stevens says, "Dave Swan is definitely a real naval
officer, possibly retired now, since I couldn't find anyone that
knows him personally and we are a small Navy. One man said he'd
heard the story before. The vessel YST 10 has been YDT (Yard Diving
Tender) 10 for many years. In the 90's I was in charge of a group of
tenders including YDT 10. Sorry but I couldn't find any direct
supporting evidence for this story, but none of what is claimed is
unreasonable so there is no reason to doubt its veracity."
Attorney at Law, says, "I'm friends with the people in The Baked
Alaska incident, and it deserves to go in the Darwin Awards. They are
a bit... mentally scarred, one might say. The likelihood of one of
the ladies EVER getting on a boat again are very, very
Heller: "Baked Alaska may be a myth. None of the recipes
I've seen involve flaming. It's just baked meringue over ice cream,
on a base of cake.
Kristen: Marc is
correct about the cake base, ice cream, and meringue, but incorrect
about the absence of no fire. A flame comes into play when you brown
the meringue tips. Martha Stewart uses a propane torch, but most
people just stick it under the broiler.
Whittaker says, "To flame a Baked Alaska you pour heated brandy
over the meringue and light it. I have seen recipes that call for
placing half an eggshell in the top before you pour the heated
brandy. This will burn until all the alcohol is gone."
Alex: "Anyone who's
been on a cruise knows that the waiters often bring out flaming Baked
Alaska. They pour drinking alcohol over it and light it. When they
turn out the lights and twenty waiters come out, each carrying a
flaming dish, it's quite impressive. Maybe that's what the wives
were trying to emulate."
Kevin: "Many people
put a cherry or Amaretto liquor on it, and then light it on fire. The
alcohol burns off, but the flame browns the meringue and leaves a
nice flavor. It's popular at weddings. The flame can be quite large
when first lit."
Kelley: Sailcloth is rather heavy, usually wet, or at least
damp. For it to go up in flames from something as minor as the flame
off a Baked Alaska sounds far fetched at best.
Dae Won: "I was on the stinking boat when it
went down. I was on the toilet and i heard a loud bang. I heard
people yell "Get off of the boat!" Needless to say, I didnt get to
finish and was questioned by the life savers. I explained and got a
big laugh out of it. I didnt think it was funny!"
Clarkson says, "To confirm the dangers of a Baked Alaska flame, I
report an event that occurred to close friends of mine almost 40
years ago. In those days, Birmingham, Alabama was devoid of
interesting restaurants. Then The Luau opened. My
college chums, blessed with more income than I, decided to make an
evening of it at the new eatery. They told me they had a marvelous
dinner, and chose a Baked Alaska for dessert. The meringue-covered
dish was borne to the table in the outstretched arms of one waiter,
while another toted a bottle of brandy and a lighter. At the table,
the liquor was poured over the meringue. Perhaps because he was
unsure, the waiter then poured another splash, and then a third.
When he lit the the lighter, the explosion of the alcohol so
frightened the bearing waiter that he screamed and threw the flaming
concoction into the air -- bright conflagrations of meringue arcing
everywhere. A desert to be remembered! And, indeed, dangerous in
the wrong hands.