Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Captain

    Somewhere along the way we came up with this sort of romantic idea - which is still alive and well today - of the sea captain going down with his ship, or at least being the last person stepping off of it as it goes down in bubbles and sinks forever out of sight.  I guess I always sort of thought of that as bullshit, because I am sure that a lot of sea captains are the first ones into the lifeboat.  But then again maybe not, because you have to be at sea for a lot of years before you can become a sea captain.  But I digress.  The noble sea captain being the last off his ship as it is sinking was the image that I had running through my head as I watched some poor guy's boat sink out from under him the other night.
     It was not a particularly spectacular boat.  And he was the only person aboard, but it was still his boat and he was The Captain.  The boat was as follows: a 14 foot aluminum rowboat with a late 70s era 7.5 hp Mercury outboard motor.  Sweet ride, I know.  My Baby Doll and I saw the guy out fishing somewhere on the lake and all seemed to be well.  We were on the way out for a day of sun and fun and whatever else and he was doing just fine.  When we came putting back through to the boat landing he was still out there tooling around somewhere.  but when Baby Doll took the boat out a second time it was a totally different story.
     She saw The Captain in his boat in some major trouble.  He was sinking in some pretty deep water.  Sinking from the back.  He was being towed by and supported by another boat containing three fishermen.  They were leaning over the side of their boat and holding The Captain's boat out of the water and dragging it slowly along.  So at least he had someone coming to his aid.  I mean, I sure as hell wasn't.

Imagine this on a much, much smaller scale.
      I was able to see The Captain a short time later at the pivotal moment, the captain's moment like you always see on TV.  The little rescue flotilla had reached the boat landing and The Captain's boat was manoeuvered alongside the dock.  The Fishermen Three were in their boat, The Captain was in his, and I watched as he stepped from his boat into the rescue boat.
    At that moment, The Captain's boat finally went under.  He stepped off and the stern sank under with the stately bow raised high in the air, and then it slowly rolled over to port.  Or to the left if you aren't the seafaring type.  It was a sad, sad scene but it was what brought all that "captain last man standing" business into my head.  So I did what any bona-fide American male would have done while watching that scene: I peeled out in my giant, V8-powered, four-wheel drive truck and sped off.  I had places to go.
     We did, however, cruise back through the landing a little while later and The Captain had his boat up on the trailer.  And he was walking around and doing okay so I guess that all's well that ends well.  Except that his boat sank.  And it was probably from some sort of catastrophic failure of his vessel - like the rivets on a seem popped or he hit a stump at cruising speed.  Oh, and when he tries to start that motor again it probably won't be well since there is water everywhere in that thing.  But that is for another thim.  This captain - The Captain - lived up to the romantic idea of the chivalrous seafarer.  And for that I salute him.  Someone should buy him a new boat...

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