Short Stories of the Season

Michael Wiring Mastlight

     The idea was to go to Marco Island and do charters since The Flying Dutchman had established a winter business there.  The Gulf War was started that winter and the tourist industry had taken a hit.  No one was doing any business which gave us alot of time to play.  It was a double edge sword.  Rarely time and money ever jive.  So we lived on the edge financially.  Living on the anchor had its’ advantages. There was no dockage to pay.  When we needed water we would pull in to a marina for the night, fill our water  and fuel tanks and we’d be set for another week.  Groceries got to be an issue during one of our dry spells and I learned of another side of my travel companion, Michael.

  In order to get provisions we had to take our small boat to shore and tie it up along the docks and walk to the store.  We also had large D Cell batteries that needed maintenance and we were taking them to the nearby  boat shop.  A few items were purchased at the store such as peanut butter  ( because it sticks to your ribs) and crackers.  As we were headed back out into the river,  Michael gunned the outboard on this little Boston Whaler.  The batteries (which weigh as much as a dead cow) slid off the nose of the boat and down into the area where the groceries were, crushing the box of crackers.  I remember shooting Michael a look of discust.  He had a side that liked speed and I was amazed after listening to him talk about how much sailing slowed him down.  Until we had our next charter, we had to eat peanutbutter and crackers, this time is was with a knife, dipped into the jar and then back into the crushed bag of crackers.  We made a joke about how we were eating peanutbutter and crackers, corn dog style. Even tho times were difficult, we made the best of it. 

     The boat didn’t care that money was scarce and it still required its usual maintenance.  This was another opportunity for Michael to display his knowledge in electronics.  I had taken on a job at a near by boat repair facility and had received a call on the VHF from Michael, that we had a charter scheduled in an hour.  He had been working on the electronics all morning and was unable to use the starter to start the boat.  When he called,  he advised me of the time of the charter and the manner of which  I was to meet him and the charter on the docks.  He said he would be approaching undersail and that he was to throw me a line and I was to take a wrap on the piling, to slow him down enough to pick us up.  My heart sunk at his plan, but thought  “If he thinks I can do this, then I’ll  attempt to give it a try”.  Sure enough, I arrive at O’Sheays docks at 11AM.  Standing on the docks were 6 people ready to go for a sail. 

As I look across the river I see Michaels head pop up out of the interior of the sailboat as if to start the motor, shake his head, then back down below, then back up top.  He moved quickly to the bow, hauls up the anchor and chain. Moves quickly to the back of the boat, reaches the starboard sheet and pulls out the Jenoa Sail.  Reaches over to the Main Sheet and pulls out the Main Sail as well.  Jumps down into the cockpit, grabs the wheel and begins to tack up and down the river until he makes his way over to where we were standing on the dock.  The wind was on his side for his plan to work.  Only I wasn’t counting on the wind to be blowing so hard.  My adrenaline was pumping.  The people in the charter were commenting on how pretty the boat was, sailing up and down the river and I didn’t have the heart to tell them that was their boat.  Michael threw me the line.  I had one chance to chatch it.  If  I missed, he was going to have to tack around again and wouldn’t be very happy about it.  Luckily I caught the line, wrapped it around the piling as he made a wrap on the deck cleat.  The boat moved forward, on the length of line, and then began to slide, side to, to the dock.  We were ready to board.  Michael greeted the charter with his big smile and “Hi How Is Every One Doing?”  He helped all of us on board, we untied the lines and went sailing.  Everyone had a fun time and they never knew that we were having mechanical problems.  At the end of the “two hour tour”, once again,  he tacked in the river until he could approach the dock , side to.  I tossed a loop around the piling, pulled the boat in and tied her off. We collected our fee and went to lunch.   Just another perfect day:)

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3 Responses to “Short Stories of the Season”

  1. Quietpaths Says:

    I am so glad you left a comment on my blog a few days ago. I’ve really been enjoying your stories and the slide show makes me long for the ocean. I think if you sail you will always have a good tale… Greetings from Montana.

  2. Lynn Says:

    another fine day in paradise for michael and shannoon!

  3. Shannon Scott Says:

    Awfully good to see you Miss Lynn!. Hope you are having “Fine Day” in Paradise. This is the time of year to be in South Florida.

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