The shrieks and groans of steel crashing and grinding into steel came from all directions out of the impenetrable fog. Huge unseen engines roared like prehistoric beasts as two tugs moved gigantic mud barges. They had to disconnect their tows, rush around to the sterns of the barges and grind into them to push and pull. And nobody could see.
The closest I ever came to getting arrested was the time the Coast Guard guy came aboard for a “law enforcement check” and said he wanted to see my dewatering device. “Hell no” wasn’t the answer he was expecting.
First came the stunning shock as two torpedoes exploded into the side of the heavy cruiser Indianapolis shortly before the end of World War II. Then came disbelief as the huge ship split, rolled and sank in less than 15 minutes. Then the surrealistic reality that of the 1,196 men aboard, about 300 went down with the ship. Then the muted agony as the roughly 880 survivors found themselves suddenly alone in the vast, hostile emptiness of the South Pacific.
Spring hasn’t sprung yet. It’s still winter, and I’m still down south. I winterize my boat by sailing to lower latitudes and I like it that way. But I can’t help thinking about all of those boring “getting ready for spring” articles I’ve been seeing in boating magazines since I began reading them back in the ’50s. I’m already not looking forward to them.
I’ve got kayaks. I’ve got a 12-foot aluminum dinghy. I’ve got a 12-foot inflatable. I’ve got a 53-foot motorsailer. I’ve got a 20-foot Mako. I’ve got two sailboards. I’ve got some inner tubes. I’ve even got an 8-foot sailing dinghy that doesn’t sail very well after a tree fell on it and I tried to fix it. But, hey, it floats.
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