It started off as a pretty great day. After breakfast, Cap pulled me aside. She’d worked it out so half the crew could take Saturday morning off and half the crew could take Sunday morning off, but that I would work both those days in order to have Tuesday morning off. As it turned out, the bus/train schedules wouldn’t enable me to take a train back from the city on Tuesday morning anyway, but I was pretty impressed that she made the effort to work it all out.
Then I learned out that lunch was going to be catered by the godfather of this town, and that he was also buying us dinner at the Clam Bar across the way. So I did what any sail-loving cook would do: I turned off Ol’ Dies’ to give her a rest and went out to play with the crew.
I polished a little brass. Shammied a little wood. Then I changed into the period costume, thereby becoming an official deckhand for our sail. And I sucked at it.
My twenty seconds of deckhand-ness
Smith would call out an order, but it sounded like she was speaking Greek. I would try to coil the lines the right way, but I was consistently doing something wrong. Most of the time I felt awkward, in the way, and totally at a loss of what to do or even how to do it when asked. So when Smith said, “Go count the sandwiches,” I happily disappeared. Then I made Eve a special vegetarian lunch. She hustled in and quickly ate it, as we’d apparently lost our depth sounder during an electrical safety test the day before and she was mad at work trying to fix it.
While the deckhands hustled around on deck, I made next week’s menu and researched recipes. Before I knew it, the sail was concluding and I was called to help out with the fender.
During that short time, however, the winds had kicked up substantially. Cap tried several times to dock at our former spot, but the wind and the current thwarted us. At her call, we all hurriedly began re-rigging all the fenderboards to go along the opposite side of the boat. But while all the deckhands were busily retying lines, Cap had brought the boat around and was nearing the end of the dock. It seemed to happen in a split second: one moment we were turning away from the pier, and the next moment we had spun around and were heading straight for it. Cap had slowed the Marlin down in anticipation of docking, but we still hit the end of the pier with some force and it split a piece of wood used to hold some of the rigging in place under the bowsprit.
Cap backed her off and we did it again, this time successfully. It was a bit hairy. Then calmly walked off the boat to make the necessary phone calls.
For the first time I thought about what it must be like to be in her shoes – with the pressure of docking an unwieldy, multi-million-dolllar vessel in high winds and messy currents. I would be stressed out of my mind.
New Orleans frittata with leftover gumbo and gouda
Grits, my way: with siracha, gouda, salt, pepper, milk and mayonnaise
Sandwiches from a nearby deli, except for Eve, who got a quesadilla
Oysters, clams, squid, mahi-mahi and generally seafood deliciousness