Friday, October 2, 2009

The endless Day Four, concluded at last

Shown above is the approximate site of my anchorage on Day Four. If you use the control and zoom in, you will see an immense mooring buoy nearby, trailing massive cables visible even from outer space in the shallow Port Jefferson water. (You can also zoom out, of course, and get a sense of the geography).

My anchorage was maybe 100 or 150 feet from this monster buoy, and I hoped devoutly that no barge would be brought in to moor at it during the night, a hope which was, fortunately, fulfilled.

One gets very superstitious on a boat, and thoroughly pagan and polytheist. I'm constantly saying little prayers to wind gods and sea gods, anchor gods and outboard gods, and I'm absolutely convinced that the Scapegrace herself is entirely sentient and taking close note of what I say and how I act -- more than that: I'm convinced she can read my mind. When I swear at something -- which is frequently -- I always add a mental footnote, which I'm sure Scapegrace can hear: "That wasn't aimed at you, darlin'."

Just to be sure, I often say it out loud, too.

Once the anchor was down, I lit my goofy third-world knockoff of an old-fashioned rural kerosene lantern. (I don't like to use the electric cabin lights, particularly since my battery seems to get drained very quickly.). Below, an image -- very blurry, alas, due to the long exposure -- of the Scapegrace's cabin by lantern light:

... and I started pottering, whipping the ends of lines and so on, when I hear a voice: "Cap'n! Cap'n!"

(I love the way everybody calls you Cap'n -- or sometimes just Cap -- on the water. Everybody, that is, except the oafish thugs of the New York City police department, who demand "ID" and then call you "Mike" if they call you anything at all. But that's another story.)

This particular voice, it turned out, belonged to the skipper of a nice homey-looking modest-sized motor yacht anchored nearby. He had come round in his dinghy just to be sociable. Let's call him Will. Will invited me over to his boat for a drink, and I didn't need to be asked twice. I extinguished the lantern and piled into Will's little inflatable dinghy -- much like my own, except that the outboat was working.

We crossed the hundred feet or so of quiet water to Will's boat and spent a very pleasant hour or so exchanging observations about this harbor and that. Will was -- is? -- a librarian in a Connecticut town, and if I understood him correctly, he was making a circumnavigation of Long Island, and was going to pick up his wife in a day or two, somewhere in Connecticut, to make the next stage or two of the journey together. He used to have a sailboat, but now has the "trawler" -- as many motorboat guys seem to be calling their boats these days -- because, let's face it, it's just so much easier.

I could see his point. He had more space on his boat than I've had in some of the apartments where I've lived. He had an ingenious little crane which enabled him to pluck the outboat off his dinghy and clamp it to a wooden block on his stern rail, which of course makes the dinghy tow a lot more easily.

We sat on lawn chairs -- lawn chairs! -- on the afterdeck and sipped thoughtfully at complicated drinks Will had made. There was whisky in them, but I couldn't tell you what else, nor do I remember what they were called. Rusty Scuppers? Sacrificial Anodes? Something nautical-sounding, as I recall.

Finally we both started to yawn. Will gave me a lift back to the Scapegrace, where I soft-boiled a half-dozen eggs -- not having eaten anything all day -- and ate them ravenously with the last of a not-so-fresh baguette, and then tumbled into my sleeping bag and slept very very well indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment