A week ago, Hale Kai , Kindred Spirit, and a transient red trimaran all departed – 1,2,3 -- the same morning southward ahead of strong northerly winds, islands bound. It is John’s maiden voyage and Bill’s seventeenth.
This week, the wandering crew of Ullr returned, stopping at their favorite marina on their way south from summer in Maine. Our dear friends on Celebration heaved to at Town Dock (vacant for the first time in weeks) for several hours to catch up, to enjoy an evening of M&M’s Music Night to which they introduced us almost five years ago, and to bid us farewell. They have sold the boat after ten years living aboard her and are delivering her to the new owners in Florida. Over the holiday season, they will visit family and friends before joining another couple for a two and a half year circumnavigation as part of a Jimmy Cornell rally.
Boats stop and tie up. Crews rise soon after the chill of autumn dawn evaporates with the fog, and they leave. Friendly conversations are brief. There is too little time to spark lasting friendships.
My Dream escaped for some quiet time and fishing in South River. Chet is going to crew with Mark to take Katkandu to Florida; he thinks they will embark next week.
Days shrink and night are cold. October is nearly gone, but the surrounding pine forest boasts no jubilant colors like the maples, oaks and poplars in the mountains.
The blues move south like the sailors, inciting a shark feeding frenzy off Cape Lookout. Sharks going south get hungry too.
But our cove is barren of fish because commercial gill netters sweep it clear every week, hauling a hundredweight of fine sea trout, flounder and more. Banned in most states, indiscriminate over-fishing is legal here.
Gill nets kill simply by drowning anything they snare. Gill nets kill without regard to size or species or even edibility. Whatever the gill netter does not want to keep, he discards over the side. Dead.
Rays sometimes become entangled and fight to free themselves, heaving and rolling and fouling the net in the futile hope of freedom. The rays want no part of the net. But the fouled and knotted net angers netters, so they bludgeon the rays as they remove them and toss them aside. Dead. The netters kill the rays as if the rays fouled the net intentionally and as if killing the rays will deter them, which death certainly does.
Meanwhile, recreational fishermen casting with rod and reel for a free meal and a peaceful evening have fewer fish to catch. A line cast into our deserted cove returns only wet.
Autumn is perfect outdoor weather with bright and breezy days and cool to chilly nights; “…the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherized upon a table.” Autumn mornings wake with warm light and soft mists gliding over the river. “The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,/…made a sudden leap,/ And seeing that it was a soft October night,/Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.”
Time and southbound cruisers pass us by. “I grow old…I grow old…/I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.”
I am J-A-P.
Excerpts from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
By T. S. Eliot