In 1963, my wife and I set out on a round the world cruise with over 500 undergraduates in an old tub converted to a floating university. We approached Alexandria, Egypt in a storm so nasty that all the other ships were sitting out at anchor waiting for the waves to abate. But we were under great pressure to get into port to meet a scheduled tour of Egypt. The captain called for a pilot who came out in a small boat. But the seas were so high, the pilot could not board and so he abandoned us.
Shortly after we watched the pilot boat retreat, we heard a horrible crunch and felt a lurch. Our captain had attempted to enter without a pilot—and ran the entire ship aground on a sandbar. He throttled the ship violently forward and backward to get us off, tearing a huge hole in the hull. The ship jerked free, but suddenly began to take on water. Suddenly it was an emergency. All the men formed a human chain to rescue the luggage in the hold. We actually docked just as the ship was sinking.—Dan Feldman of San Diego, Califoria was a top-ten finalist in the 2010 World’s Unluckiest Traveler Contest, from TravelGuard Insurance, beating out some 800 other tales of woe.