Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Ship of Fools



  I went out fishing on Sunday. It's something that I seldom do. However, the season is about to end, and this time of year there are frequent storms that pass through, making fishing somewhat dangerous. Unfortunately, most of the fish being caught are over at Homeshore, an hour and a half run across Icy Strait. The winds have a tendency to blow west or east in the strait and it can be a pretty miserable ride at times. Anyway, there was supposed to be another storm coming on Monday, so I went fishing on the only day that I had when the weather was good, if you discount the fog which was thick and lasted until after three that afternoon. While I was trolling around in the fog, keeping an eye on the radar and GPS, I heard a voice on the VHF radio calling for a boat named The Ship of Fools. I'm not real sure why anyone would call their boat by such a name, but it takes all kinds to make up this world. As I mentioned before in a previous post, I thought  the name on one boat being paged on channel 16 was the Wafflehead.  It wasn't. It was the Bufflehead. I still contend that the Wafflehead would be a more memorable name, although not nearly so much as The Ship of Fools. For a few years during the summer, back before everyone had cell phones and just called each other  to let their buddies know where the fish were, the VHF would always ring with the sound of a captain calling a boat named The Pickle Jar. Again, it baffles me why anyone would call their boat The Pickle Jar. Maybe it was green and had knobby protrusions all over the bulwarks, I have no idea. I once ran past a dilapidated grey troller that was fishing down in Kakul Narrows, near Salisbury Sound, close to Sitka. The boat was in dire need of repair or replacement, and it was aptly  named The Pits. Getting back to The Ship of Fools though, I started wondering, what if that were a charter or outdoor adventure outfit? Perhaps Knucklehead Alaskan Adventures- would you dare to go on it? If Ship of Fools was the mother ship, would there be sister ships, like The Barge of Dummies or The Raft of Buffoons? Perhaps the outfit would have a reputation for running aground on well marked reefs or finding itself in the middle of a pod of Humpback whales as they attempted to bubble feed. It's hard to say what grand adventures a person might have on such a vessel. No doubt it would be memorable. You could buy a T-shirt or cup at the souvenir shop that reads I chartered with Knucklehead Adventures and lived to tell about it! It would be a real conversation piece. You could mention being too close to a glacier as it started to calve, or being stranded on a mud flats surrounded by hungry brown bears waiting for the tide to come back in. I've had my share of close calls, perhaps I should be the one to start Knucklehead Adventures. I guess I can't make Ship of Fools my mother ship, that name is already taken, however Skiff of Incompetents might work. I'll let you know if I decide to pursue this. Meanwhile, keep  your life jacket on and the bear spray close at hand.

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