It’s a weird thing when waking reality interferes with your dreams, one minute you may be chatting to a non-descript person the next your name is being called out over and over again to the point when you suddenly realize you’re not dreaming after all – you are being hailed and that panic in their voice is actually real panic.
And so that’s how the day started, the day I was officially branded a ‘Pirate’……
The strain and the panic in the shouting of my name made me awake so urgently, I shot up in my forward berth and crashed my skull on the ship boards above. Stars whistling around, I pear out of the hatch to pin-point the calls for help….”Over here, Mike come quick, we can’t hold this bloody boat from crashing onto the rocks”…At first I thought someone had anchored far to close to the shore – perhaps for the purposes of unloading (now that the official dock had be smashed to pieces by hurricane Floyd). But then I realized I could just make out two bodies leaning at over at 45 degees trying to push-off a huge wooden Schooner?? What the hell?? (I thought to myself) “what are are you trying to do?” I shout, “the boats broken off its mooring in the channel and it will smash up on the rocks if you don’t come with your dinghy” shouts Rick and I can see Suzanne leaning like a pillar, just about holding off the 100 year old Schooner – Mobjack.
As usual, my dink is always ready for just about anything, and this morning, I was over towards the shore in a few seconds. We tied off a line and I reversed the 15hp engine (the only way a dink will pull anything!) heaving this huge and really heavy wooden Schooner into deeper water. Rick and Suzanne had scrambled aboard a beautiful old boat called ‘Mobjack’ – Rick, an experienced Captain searched for an anchor…as we slowly moved over the relatively calm waters of White Sound, Green Turtle, he inquisitively holds up this absolutely huge fishermans anchor?!! I had never seen anything so big, but the schooner was after all – huge and must have weighed many tons. He and Suzanne heaved the old fashion anchor over the bow and it dug-in in about 12 feet of deep water (deep, by White Sound standards) and at last ‘Mobjack’ was secure.
The necessary shouting, the various commands, Rick’s directions and my retorts, woke a lot of onlookers in many of the waterside houses. Heads were all looking our way as we took charge of ‘Mobjack’, we walked over the decks checking the lines, made it secure and dinked away. I could see Chris had spotted us and we waved a ‘good morning’…..Rick and I had been joking about ‘Salvage’ because the rules of the sea suggest that if anyone rescues a boat without a Captain and freely drifting, salvage can be claimed. I wrote a note stating that “We the undersigned claim all rights to this vessel” and pinned it in the galley.
Some time later in the day, I was helping Chris to unload crates of beer, various kitchen doors and cupboards which had been brought over by ‘Sea Fari’ from the ‘States. The toil deserved a cup of tea and Chris and I went back to ‘Sea Fari’ to gain the char, not one second passed as I climbed aboard when I heard Don (the Captain) shout “get off my boat you!!” – me, I’m looking over my shoulder for the miscreant he seems to be annoyed at….”are you looking at me? Are you serious?” I ask, “Yes, you, you bloody pirate, get off, you are not welcome on my boat” Stunned at his anger, I look over to Chris and we exchange a shrug with an upside down scowl, and without further explanation I back-pedal back into my dink.
Turns out. Chris had misinterpreted the JOKE ‘salvage’ claim, told Don (the local Commodore of the Sailing Club) who had made his mind up that I was scurvy scum and to boot – a pirate.
Some days later, Fred Wincham, the proud owner of ‘Mobjack’ – his pride and joy – came over to ‘Daze Off’ and handed me a bottle of best Rum, with a ‘thank you’ I will never forget, for as he confirms “without your help that morning, ‘Mobjack’ would have floundered on the rocks and would probably have sunk by the shore. Thank you so much, and enjoy the rum your note demanded, it is fare payment for a gesture of goodwill” he also said that he was wending his way over to ‘Shootin Star’ to give Rick and Suzanne the same lubrication.
I think to this day, Don has me down for a real ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ and that’s rich coming from a smuggler*!!!!. (*allegedly)