Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Oatmeal is the standard fare for breakfast when we’ve been underway. Eggs and bacon, and grits if we have them, take a while to cook so I’ve only served them when we were at a dock. We didn’t have any grits left so yesterday I had gotten some raisin bread for tasty toast instead to go with this morning’s eggs and bacon.
Last night I realized there were needed a few more groceries, bearing in mind that we had an additional crew member on board and that we would be arriving in Fort Myers most likely on Sunday. Bill wanted to go with me again as he wanted to get some shrimp bait to fish off the dock with. When I came up on deck there was a new face examining the boat.
“Are you Scott?” I asked.
“No I’m Roger,” he replied. “I’m the crane operator.”
Another Roger. Talking to the guys on shore was someone else I didn’t know. I walked up to him.
“Are you Scott?” I asked.
“Yeah.” He said.
“Hi! It’s good to finally meet you,” and I extended my hand to shake his. Instead I got a hug.
This was Captain Scott Hooper, a good friend of Hugh’s. When he’s not living on a tug boat, based out of Morgan City, he spends a lot of time in his home city of Destin, FL. Hugh had called him and told him about Appledore V’s arrival in Mobile, did he want to come see the boat? The two of them have spent a fair number of hours on various schooners and other sailboats. Yes, he’d be at Turner’s in the morning. And here he was, with climbing gear and all ready to help us rig Appledore V.
“You’re welcome to eat lunch with us and if you’re still around at dinner time, we’ll have a plate for you.”
“I look forward to visiting with you, but right now I have some errands I have to go do.”
Bill and I went off to the grocery and bait store. He had hoped to find a cheap fishing rod, but there wasn’t anything that fit the bill.
“I’ll just use the carpet thread and hook I have. But let’s stop at Lulu’s for shrimp bait.”
On the way we passed a convenience store that advertised Krispy Kreme donuts.
“Let’s take some back!”
There were large buckets of ice with dozens of bottles of beer in the tiny store’s aisles, but no donut counter.
“Do you have Krispy Kremes?” I asked the owner.
“No, we’re sorry,” he said, “they took them away because we didn’t sell enough.”
Back in the car I said to Bill, “It’s a good thing we didn’t promise the guys donuts.”
“Yeah, then they’d really be disappointed.”
We slowed down as we passed the creek where Bill and Rex had spotted the crocodile the day before.
“There he is!”
We parked on the shoulder and walked back to the bridge and looked at the ten to twelve foot monster. Soon he began making his way into the water, he had gotten a whiff of the chicken neck that was being dangled in the water. A local guy was fishing for blue crabs with it.
We stopped at the bait shop, even though it wasn’t called Lulu’s and talked with Patty and admired the egret that hangs around while Bill got $2 worth of shrimps. He was determined to catch us a fish.
Even though we had been gone only about ninety minutes, the masts were back in. “Take two” obviously went smoothly. Too bad they hadn’t gotten the truck crane the day before. The guys were scrambling around the deck, port and starboard, attaching rigging to pin rails and shrouds to the rail. I wanted to help but with the addition of Rex and Scott, who helped Andy aloft, there really wasn’t much for me to do. So I leisurely put my groceries away and fed them snacks.
“Take two,” I said and passed a bowl of No Bake cookies around for the hungry guys.
As I stood on shore, I had the privilege of answering on lookers’ questions.
A man walked by, obviously admiring the schooner.
“I’m new to sailing and we’re thinking about buying a sailboat,” he said. “I have a question for you.”
I was afraid he might ask how much a schooner cost, with the idea that he might buy one. If he was new to sailing, I knew a schooner like Appledore V wasn’t the best option for someone’s first boat. To my relief he asked, “What are those things?” An pointed up to the mast.
“Oh, those are giant Amazonian caterpillars.” I said with as serious of a face as possible.
He was perplexed.
“They are actually called baggy wrinkles.” I then proceeded to tell him their purpose.
Not two minutes later a woman approached me.
“I have a silly question,” she asked.
“What are those fuzzy things?” She pointed up high on either side of the foremast. “And what do they do?”
I paused a moment.
“Those are giant Amazonian caterpillars.”
She didn’t know what to say or do. She wasn’t sure how serious I was. I waited a few moments for it to really sink in and then answered, “Those are baggy wrinkles.”
Again she didn’t know how to respond.
“Seriously they are called baggy wrinkles and help protect the sail from chaffing.” I informed her.
We chatted a bit about sailing, and menus and one pot meals. That reminded me that I had water trying to boil on the stove so I excused myself and went below to prepare lunch.
“Lunch is ready!” At 12:30 we gathered in the breezeway of the marina for a nice lunch of pork and pasta.
By 2 PM most of the rigging was in place and we moved Appledore V back to the wall where we were originally tied up. The guys were working on lacing the sails and Mike was working away below. He quickly became our resident electrician when he crawled into the top bunk in the captain’s cabin and started reconnecting our lights, VHF, horn and radar.
There wasn’t much for me to do so I took the opportunity to stroll the dock yards and boat slips.
“You’re on Appledore aren’t you?” A guy working on his sailboat asked.
“We’ll you all are invited to dinner on the breezeway tonight.” He said. “My wife likes to cook and she’d cooking up a big pot of soup.”
“Okay.” I was surprised. “Does the captain know?”
“Yeah, we talked to them earlier.”
“Oh, thanks.” I said. No one had told me. It’s a good thing I hadn’t prepped the fried chicken I had been planning.
“Julie, Scott wants to get a bunch of shrimp for us for dinner.” Hugh told me.
“Okay, sounds good.”
“This area is the best place to get shrimp,” Scott said.
I had no objections. I’d been looking for some fresh fish or seafood, but surprisingly had not seen any available.
“I’ll ask around where to get some,” Scott said.
“Ya’ll going to run errands?” Rex asked.
“Yes, we’re going to get some shrimp.” We had decided to do shrimp as an appetizer and then wander over to the soup potluck at the appointed hour of six.
Rex wanted to go with us and go to Walmart to get a rain suit. Although he has his own sailboat, a 27 foot Cape Dorey, and knows all about foul weather gear, he didn’t pack any. I had asked him yesterday if he brought some and he had replied that he hadn’t but he’d be okay. He must have had second thoughts and realized that it might be worth spending a few bucks for even a cheap rain coat. So off to Walmart we went then Mudbugs, the local place to get fresh fish and seafood. It was closed on Mondays, hence my not noticing it yesterday.
When we got back Mike was still working away on the electrical. He’d spend the next three hours working on it. The wiring of the lights was perplexing him — lots of wires to connect in a tiny spot. At least there was time in the morning for him to finish, hopefully. Everyone else was doing a little of this and a little of that. I heard water sloshing on deck and scrubbing as I steamed the five pounds of shrimp and seasoned it with “Slap Your Mama” cajun seasoning that Scott had bought.
We munched on shrimp and smoked tuna dip, cheese and crackers compliments of Scott, when all tasks were done. We were so full of shrimp that when we finally got to the potluck none of us were very hungry. That night we enjoyed getting to know others who were at the marina and swapped stories. Scott decided he’d drive the four hours back to Morgan City in the morning, so we pulled out the starboard bunk in the saloon for him. That night we sat around listening to Captains Hugh and Scott talk about tugs, sailing and other adventure stories.