Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Elettra: Final post

January 15, 2005
1426, Dropped anchor in Tampa Bay
27º37.9’N 082º43.17’W

The Red Tide is an oceanic condition in which all organisms, from fish to algae, die. The stench is nearly unbearable when you notice it. A couple of days ago Mate Andy smelled it. He explains that there are no explanations for this phenomenon thus far.

Looking back, the Red Tide might have been a premonition for the storm that was to hit the Bounty night before last. Lightning spread instantaneously and blinded. It wasn’t rain, but hail that pierced the eyes when looking up aloft. I was at the helm when the conditions worsened.

Nicole was mate and everyone cooperated putting the ideal of teamwork to shame.

Yesterday Cindy and I parceled and served a line, slabbing stinky oil on a wired line then mummifying it with cloth (parceling) and finally, serving it by wrapping a tarred marlin around it.

In a previous post I mentioned bearded John when actually I should’ve said Joe. Joe is a redhead with long hair pulled back in a ponytail (sometimes covered with a fish patterned bandana), a long red beard and an elongated face. Instead, Bearded John is another character that dances like nobody’s watching him, especially when he puts on his favorite song, “Shout.”

So Joe came by during our work party, while serving and parceling, and commented on the smell. He is familiar with it because he rides Harleys and occasionally fixes them up with some buddies. He told me a story about a woman who came one day to the garage and just loved the smell. Then, as he walked off, he made a half-comment on the kind of woman she was.

Although the smell of the oil was indeed quite weird, the consistency was similar to Dulce de Leche- goopy and shiny. The consequent serving as if wrapping an oozing wound and finally wrapping it with a line as if cutting the circulation off, made the whole process very macabre. The serving was especially tricky since it was necessary to maintain a careful balance of tension. The line wrapped around the hammer that we would swing around the wired line, snapped twice and we had to restart the wrapping of the line. The need to restart a snapped line originates from the fact that it wouldn’t be as strong of a ‘stay,’ or the final product.

The stay however, looked magnificently perfect, each line in equi-distant linear adjacency with the next.

The snapping of lines has evolved into a joke on board the Bounty. Any time that someone makes a clever, smart ass comment on someone else, anyone who hears them or catches the joke, says ‘snap’ or ‘shnap.’ The next come-back will also be followed by someone saying ‘snap.’ This is probably a joke commonly found in young social circles in the United States, but on a ship it is even more ironic. A line that snaps is no good sign. Such as when the anchor was being pulled up and the line that was holding the tackle snapped, and hit Jamie, one of the crew members, right below the eye.

Elettra