Friday, February 24

A Perfect Storm

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Growing up on the Eastern Seaboard meant many travels through fishing towns when I was in High School and College. I have always enjoyed those travels most of all. It inspired a passion in me for travel. It inspired the need in me for the ragged coastline that I called home for so many years.

The little bars along the shoreline are always full of fishermen. Not like Navy sailing men, the ones I knew at home, not even close. These are men who work the docks unloading fish, crabs, and the men who have the job of actually going out catching swordfish, tuna and shark.

If you spend time in these bars, if tales of fishing adventures and shipwrecks are one of your passions, as they have always been mine, then these are the places you enjoy going for your weekend retreats.

My favorite song of all time.
By the Irish, artist, poet, lyricist Van Morrison.
Into The Mystic
Van Morrison
We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won
as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly
into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows
I will be coming home
And when that fog horn
blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
Then magnificently we will float
into the mystic

And when that fog horn blows you know
I will be coming home
And when thst fog horn whistle blows
I got to hear it
I don’t have to fear it

I want to rock your gypsy soul
Just like way back in the days of old
And magnificently we will float
into the mystic

Come on girl...

The stories of the 'longliners' as these men are called, are always very fascinating. Understanding their need for the ocean is not difficult, but the dangerous nature of their work never ceases to amaze me. The Grand Banks, George's Bank, the Sable Islands (The Graveyard of the Atlantic), and in the more cap prone northern Canadian waters places like the Flemish Cap, those areas reaching into the Sub-Polar Gyre are the places these men know well. Their stories never fail to excite my imagination. Stories of storms at sea, gales, Nor'Easters and friends lost at sea. Tales of ships that went down and their own close calls have always fascinated me enough to sit for hours listening, rapt in their tales. Fishermen are the best story tellers.

I spent many weekends with my best friend Paige visiting these tiny fishing villages. Both on the Eastern Shore and traveling through Canada.

As the cold winds continue to whip here, carrying Winter's chill in the air, I am lost in the memory of those tales knowing that the best season for the bravest of the longliners has just passed, and knowing that some ventured out, against the advice of friends and loved ones, to risk the Winter seas in hopes of bringing home the big catch.

They did, and will continue to, venture further and further out in search of their pelagic harvest. I'm sure some did not return.

My thoughts tonight are with their families, their mothers, fathers, wives, husbands and children. My prayers also go out to all of the men and women floating tonight on the turbulent Atlantic. As Bobby's mom told him in the movie 'The Perfect Storm', "The Grand Banks are no joke in October."
The Grand banks are 'no joke' any time of the year.
I imagine tonight must be brutal.
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Fisherman's saying...
'In the offing'

Today if we say something is in the offing, it is about to happen.
The origins of this phrase are definitely salty. The offing is the distance a ship at sea keeps from the land because of navigational hazards etc. It is generally in waters too deep for anchoring. If inconvenient, or dangerous to approach a coast, a ship waited in the offing, or just out to sea, and was visible from the land.

Here is one of the more interesting places I would like to visit.

A while back a friend of mine introduced me to the BBC Shipping Reports that you can listen to on-line. She used them to lull her restless thoughts to sleep. I am afraid that I am also addicted to the reports and the radio announcers voice is now my only remedy for a sleepless night.

You can listen to it on-line here.
Scroll down the right side bar and click the link in the green section.
It will open up the shipping report in RAM.