On our way down the dock to practice for the upcoming International Dory Race, I noticed two of the dories were half sunk with about 100 gallons of rain water from the last two days of heavy rain. I commented to my dorymate, Capt. Rick Miles, “Somebody should bail those boats”, knowing that if they remained that way, they would absorb more seawater and be heavier for whichever unlucky competitor drew them next week.
“Let’s do it!” he replied, even though we were laden with thwarts, tholepins and oars.
I thought, “Damn! Shoulda kept my mouth shut!” We were on our way to do wind sprints, where we row so hard in bursts it induces nausea. So I tried to get out of it, “Let’s do it after practice.”
“Come on!” he says, “I’ll take this one, you take that one”, and he jumps in one of the dories and starts bailing. I had no choice. Being the competitive fool I am, I start bailing for all I’m worth, so I can finish faster and gloat about how good I am. Just as my back was stiffening, when I had about another 25 gallons still to bail, my dorymate says, “coming in.”, and jumps in my boat to help. I couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling that my dorymate had just taught me ANOTHER very important lesson.
Fifteen minutes later, as we turned North in our dory, ‘rounding the Coast Guard Station to head up into the North Channel to do our wind sprints, there was a fishing boat coming in, way out in the Outer Harbor with its long outriggers up. “Is that the ‘Midnight Sun’?” Rick asked. We could tell it was blue but couldn’t read the name yet.
“Can’t tell yet”
Well, we did our wind sprints and on our way back toward Harbor Cove I looked over my shoulder and there, dead ahead and directly in our course, was the boat that was coming in, and I could clearly read the name now, in bold capital letters: “KARMA”
One minute later as we were coming by the Maritime Heritage Center, here was good friend, Capt. Tom Jarvis, just pulling away from the dock in his beautiful Friendship Sloop, “Resolute”, and he hailed us, “wanna go sailing? I’ll pick you up at the Town Landing!”
One hour later we were completely engaged in idle talk of boats and weather. Totally present. Three Gloucestermen. Our ears filled with every sound: the surf pounding the Magnolia coast, the waves lapping Resolute’s hull, the occasional luff of a sail, the Groaner. The setting Sun illuminating everything: Sails, Spars, Ten Pound Island, us in particular. Our nostrils full with sweet, salty sea mist with just a hint of seagull guano from Norman’s Woe. Our very skin and hair telling us the wind is out of the Southwest. The temperature had already dropped 10 degrees, even though the Sun hadn’t quite set, and the three-quarter moon had risen a half hour ago.
We were one with everything around us, in our element, fully aware we are blessed to be part of this special place and time.
James Tarantino (Jimmy T.) is an exemplary outdoor enthusiast who heralds his love of family, friends, and his passion for all things Gloucester.