Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns

Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns
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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sailboats fair and fine#14: Read oldest posts first

Sometime in the morning I awoke to the slap, slap sound of waves hitting the hull. I raised on one elbow, pulled the curtain aside on the elongated port light to see what was going on. The sun was not up yet but there was the morning greyness all around, with just the faintest touch of gold in the eastern sky. Then another work boat came by. It was a local water man named Talmage. I started to get up but eased back instead to my bunk and was off to dream land in a hurry.

The next thing I knew it was light inside the boat and I could hear and smell coffee brewing and bacon frying. Georgene was setting on the stool at the stove reading a book. I lay there a few minutes watching the intentness with which she read. I remember thinking one time that every young man that wants to mess around on boats first needs a young lady. Not just any good looking gal but one that likes to read. Don't matter whether she likes boats or not. She needs to be a good sport and like to read. During those moments when you watch a calm sea, a seagull diving or swooping along a wave top she'll be reading You may even be listening to a dog bark on a somewhat distant shore, she'll be reading. If you take the girl along that doesn't read she'll be talking. Oh yes give me the girl that reads every time and all the better if she likes to read to you. Nothing makes a man feel more like a king then setting in the cockpit of his boat sipping coffee or a sundowner while being read to in the softness of a feminine voice. So sweet!

I made my morning trip to the head for a quick pee. That's the trouble with an Anchorage where you can't pee off the stern because there is houses everywhere. Shaking the thing over the transom is every bit as satisfying as cutting down a tree to my mind.

I took my coffee out to the cockpit and studied my world. In a few minutes my eggs and bacon was handed to me with buttered toast made over the stove.

In about an hour I started up the engine went forward with the engine idling in forward. I took in the excess anchor line as we motored over top of it. I made the anchor line around a cleat and said Georgene she looked up from her book and I waved my hand in a circle with three fingers sticking up and pointed the direction I wanted to go in. The boat came over the anchor and pulled it out and I held up my hand and pointed out and a round to head out as I then started pulling the anchor in. I grabbed up the boat hook and laid the anchor over the hook under the Bow sprite. She ran the boat out of the creek and headed out to the bay. I went below and got us another cup of coffee and we were on our way to the old town of Urbana on the Rappahanock River. We motored along slowly at about half throttle. We dropped over a couple of spoons on our fishing rods and trolled them along. It was a beautiful morning the sun was high enough to not be right in our eyes. As we rounded stingray point on the wrong side,a thing we could do with our shallow draft we watched a Menhaden ship with its accompaniment of open boats take in a what must have been five tons of fish. The old ship was one of the last world war one Submarine chasers still left in the fleet. She was really handsome in her own way . Long and slender and built for speed. She was painted Grey that to me seemed so very fitting. We motored along slow and finally in early after noon we went under the Rapahanock River Bridge. Just about that time we snagged a fish .and I reeled him in. He was a late blue fish. I took in the other rod as one fish was all we need for tonight's supper. I would guess he weighed seven pounds. I put him live in the cooler.

A slight breeze cold and moist came in from the east so we hoisted sail and was soon sailing along about three knots. There was a wall of fog rolling in behind us that looked to be about a thousand feet high. As we sailed west we could see that it was slowly catching up. We put on heavier cloths and hats. It wasn't long before I went below and put on long underwear. We were just out of summer and I guess our blood was thin. The dampness didn't help any. In a few minutes Georgene came out with long underwear showing around her collar and foul weather gear on and she was carrying mine. We changed into boots and gloves next. The temperature was in the mid to upper forties and that's cold when you still wearing your summer blood. We fired up the engine again in a vein attempt to stay in front of the fog. Before we got to the creek it caught us. I had taken a bearing on the harbor mouth and we headed for it. We took down the sails and motored very slowly using the Loran and the boats tied in their slips along the west shore. They are easy to follow as the white hulls make them more visible than the brush and trees on the east bank.

After a bit I figured we were in the middle of the creek right off ED Hurley's marina. A spot that held a little romance for me. This was the spot where I had back in the 1950's moored my Hershoff 18 for about five years.

We dropped the hook and started making coffee. In a few minutes somebody said hey “Wolftrap, Wolftrap I wouldn't anchor there.” Georgene, half shouted, “Look come here look.” I had no idea what she saw but when I looked aft there was the gas doc ten feet behind us. In a very short time the waterman would be coming in to unload at the dock With the fog they were most likely coming in the creek now. It wasn't a problem because they wouldn't likely run over us but I sure would be embarrassed to have them catch me anchoring right in front of the dock. We got a way and re anchored just as five boats came to the doc. And four others circled around. One of them came close by and yelled, "Hey Doug don't ya know no better'en to anchor on top the dock."

"How'ed you know," I yelled back.

"Ed called out on the radio and told us to be careful cause some yachty was anchored almost right on the dock."

When the time would come to go back to Deltaville I knew I was going to catch it, because the story would be something like I anchored on the dock and couldn't start my engine and half the fleet had to circle around for an hour in the fog.

That blue fish was good. Didn't have any lemon so we poured a little jigger of white wine on him when he was frying. Holy cow! Was that a meal?

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