The Trouble With Mermaids

In reading the story over again, I realize that the last story was really a moment that you had to witness to fully grasp the hilarity of the situation, but this story, is one that leaves more to the imagination than anything. I once took a charter of people out for a sea voyage, and they had it in mind that they wanted to go out at night, to see mermaids. Now, I don’t know what kind of stories they tell in New York City, but these people were bound and determined to find a mermaid. So of course, I agreed to take them out.

As the boat made it’s way out to the wide open waters, they group proceeded to tell me all the things I needed to know about mermaids, I assume because these people were professionals, and I was just a guy who was out on a boat for the last thirty or so years. I learned that mermaids didn’t like lighthouses, and that we had to be out at a specific point in the evening, at the moons zenith to be precise, in order to spot a mermaid. Now, I’ve been out on the waters for decades, and haven’t even heard a story about a mermaid, but I’ll be honest, the earnestness in which these people were telling me about mermaid sightings, I almost started to believe it myself. Maybe a part of me hoped that I would be able to see something that I didn’t even know existed, so that was enough to keep me involved.

We were out on the water, engines cut and feeling a steady loll of the waters as everyone sat in perfect silence and listening to the waves tickle the side of the boat. After about an hour of doing this, there was a large audible splash about twenty feet off the starboard side. This cause a small panic among the passengers as they all strained their eyes against the darkness of the open water to see what happened. We sadly had some overcast that night which made seeing very far an impossibility, but the group assured me that this was the best time to spot a mermaid.

Whatever caused the first splash was elusive enough that we sat there for the next fifteen minutes staring at nothing, and I have to admit, I was looking just as hard as these people were. The group leader then told us, that if the mermaid wanted to be seen, that they would make an obvious gesture. The sudden and loud bang on the bottom of the boat at that moment couldn’t have been any more perfectly timed, or make me want to jump out of my skin any more. The curiosity turned to a bit of fear as we sat huddled there, straining to hear anything, and yet nothing. To this day I’m still not sure what made that sound, but I keep my eye out for mermaids now as I make my way out.

My First Shark

So I mentioned in my last post that there was a lot of stories involved in my work, and I suppose the easiest way to provide an example, is to provide an actual example, and one of the stories that always pops to mind first, was the first time a shark was pulled up into my boat.

It was a clear August morning, and I had a group of three guys together who wanted to get out on a day of fishing. A pretty typical scenario for the type of business I run, so there was nothing to worry about when we loaded up, got their bait and days supply of food and such on board and hit the open water. We had been out, and they had some luck for a few hours before the incident in question happened. They had been catching some smaller fish, and only one thus far that was worth keeping aboard. After the sun hit the highest point in the sky, they decided it was past noon and enough time to start working their way into the beer they brought, also not unusual for my line of work.

After they had polished off a good sum of alcohol, they started to pay less attention to the rod and reel, and more to telling stories about the last time they got drunk and fished. It’s always fun to be the sober one aboard and to watch the way people interact with each other when they have a few pints in them. After dealing with this comedic series for a while, one of the group had a noticeable catch on his line. This promptly snapped them out of the fugue and into action as they all gathered around trying to keep the rod in the boat. Fortunately they had the foresight to pack some fishing gear along with the beer, and had a harness aboard for just such circumstances.

Watching them fumble about trying to get their inebriated friend into the harness was fun enough for the day, but eventually they managed to do so. The struggle with the other end of the line lasted for a good 20 minutes, which I’m not sure was due to the strength of the catch, or the weakness of alcohol lined arms, but eventually they pulled it to the side of the boat, and around to the catch hatch, and pull it in…a four foot shark, that immediately hated being out of the water. The looks on their faces was priceless.

They all clamored over each other trying to get away from the shark, and I could tell they were contemplating whether or not to jump overboard. Rather than losing a passenger on a charter, I decided to step in at this point. Pulling the line form the sharks mouth, and pushing it back off the boat and into the safety of the water. The three immediately wanted to go back, I haven’t heard from them since.

I’m Sailing Away

yay-10130632-digitalI love boats, let me just get this out of the way now, because as soon as you figure out that part of who I am, the easier the rest of me comes along. I’ve always wanted to be a fisherman, and as much as I have the patience, I don’t have the ability to just sit there holding the rod for hours on end with no movement, perhaps because I’m too full of energy and constantly need to be doing any little thing with my hands in the down time. SO I settled on something that combines my two loves, and focuses on the one I’m best at, captaining a boat.

I had the fortune of my father leaving me his boat in his will when he sadly passed, it took some work and investment, but the boat was perfect for charter purposes. It was one I was familiar with, as the first time I took the wheel I was barely out of diapers. I know every last bolt and rivet in this boat, and it’s one of the reasons I love spending so much time out on the water with her.

I decided a few years after having her out and trying to fish that I would use her to ferry other, more competent fishermen to the areas they wanted to go, so having a charter was a great way to do so. I get to be out on the water, at the helm of my ship, and get to watch others do what I don’t have the patience to. It may sound a little boring, but when I’m out there, there’s never a lack of things for me to do. Whether I’m above deck cleaning, or repairing, or below deck working storage tanks or once again repairing, I always seem to be busy.

I know that by repeating “repairs” a few times there that it may seem like my boat is barely holding together, but the amount of small works that need to be done on a ship on a day to day basis to ensure that it stays afloat properly, is quite extensive. This is something that I do for the pure love of it, and so therefore don’t really have the funds to hire out a complete crew to take care of all the minor workings, so it falls to me. Which is good though, if you remember my inability to sit still, having a hundred different things to do in a day is right up my alley.

Even in my time that I’m not out on the water, I find myself with a need for something to do, which is what led me here, and to writing these pages. I figured as every fisherman has a hundred stories, perhaps the unsung hero behind the wheel of the boat may have some too, and maybe someone out there may be interested in hearing them. So I invite you to trawl along, and perhaps get to understand the world I live in a little better.