Stephen Colbert Brushes with Death from Amoebic Dysentery On “Cruise to Bermuda”

Stephen Colbert Brushes with Death from Amoebic Dysentery On “Cruise to Bermuda”It was 2005 and Stephen Colbert was 777-miles into the Bermuda Triangle. He was all alone except of course for his sailing crew and the other competitors in the Charleston Bermuda Race.

But still he had to overcome tremendous odds in his first-ever sailing competition. The perils of ship duties nearly killed him.

“Though I grew up in a sailing community—Charleston, South Carolina—I am not a sailor,” Stephen tells Outside magazine (on newsstands April 12). “I wasn’t allowed to sail because I’m not waterproof. I have no eardrum in my right ear. As a child, I imagined that if the boat capsized, my skull would fill with water and down I’d go, bow first.”

Nevertheless Colbert was looking for something special in this particular journey. He explains, “There comes a time in every man’s life when he must ask himself, ‘What can I endure? Of what mettle am I made?’ This was not one of those times. I thought this would be a booze cruise to Bermuda.”

Boy was he wrong. There may be a lot of public urination on booze cruises but as Colbert points out “boat toilets … are floating Porta-Potties. Ours through an understandable oversight had not been emptied since the Carter administration. We tried opening a relief valve (provocatively called an “ocean cock”) – no go. It had to be pumped by hand. As a father of three, I was used to dealing with other people’s waste, so I volunteered, as did two other crew members … I now knew that I would not drown. I would die from amoebic dysentery.”

Thank god he was wrong again. But for some bizarre reason he wants to it all over again and he’s got some sort of weird hippy explanation for it:

“What endures is what I can’t rightly describe: Looking up at night to see the masts unmoving in your eyes but the stars dancing in synchronized figure eights…Flying fish slapping against the sail…Two ounces of gritty cowboy coffee. Eight friends together in a 45-foot world and alone at the center of a referenceless horizon. I can’t explain what that all feels like. I just know I want to feel it again.”


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