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*~ The Night Darrell Fell Overboard !! ~*

was it Ernest Hemingway or Herman Melville who said that the
dignity of an iceberg arises from the fact that only one eighth of its
mass is seen above the surface of the ocean ??
the Old Man and the Sea........Moby Dick............and there were
others; Daniel Defoe with Robinson Crusoe, Robert Lewis Stevenson
and Treasure Island and many such sea stories by Clark
Russell.......the Sea Queen, the Frozen Pirate, Marooned, the Wreck of
the Grosvenor and Captain Fanny just to name a few ~*
it has been a close, humid afternoon and though it is getting late, the
thick, salty sea air hasn't cooled much.........the scent of rotting
seaweed floods my nostrils as I reach to open wide my bay
window.........looking out at the waterfront below, with twilight
turning the seaside dwellings, canneries and bait shacks of Herring
Harbor into dark, colorless silhouettes, my mind begins to drift
among the brackish, ebb tide scene..........Blue~Crab Wharf extends
like a long, crooked finger some hundred yards into Pirate's
Cove.........a lobster~pot laden Dory with a single mariner
rhythmically tugging at two lumbering oars fades into the
encroaching gloom as it makes its way to the far side of the
Cove......was that a foghorn in the distance??.......hard to tell with a
thousand gulls squawking wildly, jockeying for position around a
fishing schooner which sits at anchor in the middle of the quaint
little Harbor...........the Captain and crew have gone ashore to dine at
the Seven Seas Tavern.........only a lone able~seaman remains aboard
to stand watch..........ah, finally, a breath of air........a few wayward,
early autumn leaves brush against my window panes in a sudden
gust of the evening sea~breeze..........above me, the shredded clouds,
painted warm with the molten hues of dusk, drag across the
reddened, nautical sky..........gaining bulk, they begin to blot out the
last rays of the distended and bloated setting sun now completely
submerged into the sloshing, distant, wavy horizon..........an
equinoctial gale is approaching.........it will probably storm all night,
then turn to a blustery chill on the morrow................such moments
bring to mind thoughts of Baker Street...........as Dr. Watson
describes Sherlock Holmes sitting moodily on one side of the
fireplace cross indexing his records of crime while Watson himself
sits on the other reading one of Clark Russell's fine sea stories
becoming so engrossed in the novel that as the rampaging autumnal
gale lashing at the windows of 221B Baker Street rises in ferocity the
sound of the rain seems to blend into the long swash of the sea
waves ~*
Holmes playing his violin; the thought induces me to look across my
dimly lit chamber at my guitar ~*
why did I get that guitar in the first place ??
Holmes was quite an accomplished violinist and I rather fancy myself
a suitably adept guitarist yet why did I get the guitar ??
what need or indulgence does it satisfy for me ??
Holmes never performed publicly for acclaim or money and neither
do I, so what purpose do these stringed instruments serve for us
who keep our music to ourselves ??
why did I ever get that guitar??
as I stare at it across the room with it looking back at me from the
proper comfort of its guitar~stand I wonder what would happen if my
guitar turned into a fish and began to swim around the
room..................and what if the guitar fish then swam into my head,
into my brain and started swishing through my mind ??
what affect would the guitar fish have on my thoughts as it swam
through my mind nonchalantly perusing my neural net in search of
whatever it is guitar fish search for when they swim through minds ??

are my synapses firing ??
does my continuous brain activity mimic the vast and rolling sea with
incessant perturbations and psychological cyclonic cycles ??
is this what it means to have a brainstorm ??
what would a brain hurricane be like ??
is that what a genius has ??
the rest of us have brainstorms and a person who is a genius has
brain hurricanes ~*
Hurricanes.........the Gulf of Mexico........deep water.........there's a
place in the Gulf of Mexico called the Sigsbee Deep........it is said that
this Gulf Abyss is anywhere from 12,000 to 14,000 feet deep !! ~*
as far as we humans are concerned, that is an infinity of deep, dark
water...........no telling what's down there.........no telling what lies
down where light cannot even penetrate at the bottom of this Gulf
within a Gulf in the southwestern quadrant of the Gulf of Mexico ~*
it reminds me of one moonlit night out on the Gulf of Mexico when
Darrell fell overboard..........the moon was so big and bright and full
and glowing with a ghostly pale aura somewhere between flake white
and Naples yellow with a bit of heavy atmosphere muddle about it
blurring the spectral luminosity to that of a candle flickering behind a
frosty glass......deck~hand Darrell was aged in the vicinity of 40
years.........he had dark brown curly hair and mustache, was rather
over six feet in height, of medium build with a bit of a protruding
pot~belly and legs, so it seemed, that were disproportionately longer
than his torso.......on this night at sea, he was attired in Bermuda
shorts and one of those button up Hawaiian shirts which can be
purchased at the surf~shops along the Beach.........his ensemble was
complete with crew socks and a brand new pair of white tennis
shoes firmly velcroed to his big, paddle~like feet.........Darrell wasn't
the brightest chap but he wasn't really daft either.......I liked him
when I knew him.........he was a friendly person........ he was friendly
on this night ..... he had been consuming copious amounts of
alcoholic beverages so that, apparently, the liquid courage had
convinced him that he could climb along the side rail up to the bow
of the little 24ft cuddy~cabin while I was making a good 13kts headed
for a shipwreck reef to do some grouper and snapper fishing ~*
I had reef fish permits and the Federal Government requires that you
catch a certain number of reef fish each year in order to keep your
reef fish permits active, or is it every other year ??
oh well, I have since sold the permits but back to the night of our
salty sea story ~*
as I mentioned, the boat we were on was a 24 foot cuddy~cabin.........I
named her Medusa..............I would have preferred that she had bow
which sat somewhat higher above the water~line but she was a
sturdy vessel just the same...........and a fine fishing boat at that, for
though at 20 years old she was beginning to show her age, she
brought us back from the Gulf with many a high~dollar pound of
Grouper and Snapper........sharks too......there are always
sharks.......and remoras.....Medusa was powered by a 6 cylinder, 4
stroke, 200 horsepower turbo~charged marine diesel with
after~cooler, reverse gear and counter~rotating duo~prop so that she
would make a swift 29 knots at top speed...............the roof of the
cuddy~cabin lay low and people were forever clunking their heads
against it........the double berth in the bow provided a comfortable
rest, however, it did have occasion to drip water upon any sleeping
occupants when it was raining hard or when the seas where high
enough to wash over the top of the bow~deck.......as a matter of fact,
the other deck~hand was in the berth sleeping as we made our way
out to the shipwreck..........now it was in the middle of the night and
even though the full moon was shining brightly and there were some
running lights on the boat, it was still night and therefore darkness
was a factor where vision was concerned........on the outside of the
cuddy cabin there was a narrow tread space along the gunwale of
about six inches or so and a smooth, round, slippery aluminum grab
rail on top of the cabin and I think Darrell even had a beer in one
hand...........well sure enough, right outside my helm window and
about half way from the cockpit to the bow he slipped, slid and went
right off the side of the cruising boat into the dark, salty waters of the
Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the night..........it sounded as though
someone had dumped out a heavy sack of potatoes onto the deck of
the boat..........my, how he must have been clambering to hold on for
dear life, struggling in vain to keep from plummeting into those dark
depths.......... I never will forget the gurgling sound he
made............the wake of the boat must have slapped him right in the
face just as he attempted to blurt out 'MAN OVERBOARD!!'...........it
wasn't much of a blurt.......he choked the words out as best he could
and of course I had already pulled back on the throttle.......since he
fell off the side instead of off the bow and since we were making a
good 13kts, the water pressure at that speed would naturally have
kept him from washing up under the boat and so away from the
props and out of that danger, but what of sharks??...........I could see
his head bobbing up and down in the swells........the moonlight was
so beautiful shimmering and reflecting off the surface of the Gulf and
there, right in the middle of the liquid moonshine, was Darrell's
helpless head bobbing up and down like a cork in the middle of the
Gulf of Mexico in the middle of the deep, dark night ~*
that was my perspective........I shudder to think what he must have
been thinking.......not knowing whether the person at the helm even
knew he had fallen overboard miles and miles out of sight of land
and fathoms away from the nearest shore............seeing the vessel
cruising on away from him while he vulnerably treaded water in the
middle of the dark waters of the Gulf of Mexico in the middle of that
full moon summer's night........what a frightful, horrifying and,
indeed, helpless feeling must have been surging through his
panicked mind piercing right through to his very solitary soul........as
I mentioned, when I pulled back on the throttle the boat hadn't
traveled too far from his location in the water.........I could see him off
the starboard stern and rather than take the chance of losing sight of
him in the night by making a U~turn, however moonlit the night may
have been, I simply shifted the throttle lever into reverse and,
keeping my eyes directly upon his bobbing head the whole time,
backed the 24 footer toward him with waves sloshing up to the very
rim of the bogging stern.........this had to be a great relief to
him..........to see that vessel slow down, then begin moving back in
his direction............waves, aye, sea~swells are tricky things.........you
can be a boat length away from something one moment then in the
next instant be right on top of it...........so when I was close, but not
too close, to where Darrell was bobbing up and down in the salty,
dark sea I again shifted the throttle lever back into neutral.........I let
him swim the remainder of the distance to the swim platform at the
stern.........I figured that he would be out of the sea in a flash, but to
my surprise, when he reached the swim platform he baulked..........I
asked him what was the matter..........he looked toward the bubbling,
foaming, frothing exhaust splashing up from the outdrive of the
motor and said he was scared of the props...........I assured him that I
had the gear in neutral yet he still wouldn't attempt to climb
aboard..........I had to literally shout with conviction a number of
times over and over that I most definitely had the props disengaged
and I even had to suggest to him the possibility of the presence of
sharks before he finally mustered the courage to take my hand and
place his foot on the outdrive so as to push, pull and drag himself up
onto the swim platform from whence he could then roll himself on
over into the boat...........once he was safely back onboard the vessel
he thanked me a number of times for saving his life........I reassured
him that all I had done was the common sense action which would
have been performed by anyone else but he still continued to thank
me in the most sincere and believable fashion..........the other
deck~hand slept through it all and, of course, the very next thing
Darrell did was rapidly guzzle several more cans of beer............this is
just how it all happened and though I am growing weary of typing for
this night, this true Gulf Story reminds me of another salty sea~tale
which I shall gladly share with you on another night very soon !! ~*
Thank You for reading and sharing in the experience of
Pier 8 Yvette's Gulf Legends !! ~*
Live Long and V8 !! ~*
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we'll swab the decks on the morrow !! ~*
for we talk of Salty Sea Lore tonight !! ~*
take ye a berth for the telling of the
swashbuckling sea shanty tales
of Pier 8 Yvette's Gulf Legends !! ~*
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