Friday, September 24, 2010

The F/V Judy Ann

I'm not sure what mountains these are. They may not even have a name, I don't think most of the mountains around here do. They sure are pretty though. They aren't too far from False Bay. Whenever I see them I know we don't have too much further to go. You can see the blue sky in this photo. Totally unlike the a normal September as I mentioned in my last post. Today is more typical- it's blowing about twenty five with rain coming down in sheets. Thank God things are returning to normal. If we kept having all that good weather who knows how many people we'd have living here. On our way out to False Bay a few weeks ago, shortly after we left the pavement, we passed the remains of two more fine old wooden boats. The green one is the Judy Ann. It belonged to Terry Shepard, a little gnome of a man who calls himself the Hobbit. He looks the part. Just over five feet tall with a full grey beard and a walking stick, he called the Judy Ann home for years. When I first met him the boat was purple. I asked him about it and he said it was the result of a compromise. His daughter wanted it to be painted pink. He didn't feel that pink would be a good color for a fishing boat, however, purple was a majestic color and he liked purple, and apparently so did his daughter, so purple it was. It was only in the past eight or so years that he changed the color to John Deere green. I happen to like green and it made it easy to tell where his boat was when you saw him in the distance. He used to have a plastic stork and a lawn chair on the top house. I don't know if he ever sat in it or not. I did an interview with him several years ago for a book that hopefully I can publish soon. He's quite a fascinating fellow. When he was fishing he only hired women for crewhands. He hired one gal who came from a rather aristocratic family and she never had to do any domestic duties. He said when she would make him a tuna fish sandwhich, she just opened a can of tuna and dumped it on the bread. No mayo or butter or anything. Same with soup. She'd open a can of, say, mushroom soup and put it on the stove- no water or milk or anything. I think she's the one whom he said liked to steer the boat all the time. He would come in from pulling or cleaning fish and he had to practically beg her to let him steer his own boat, she didn't want to relenquish the wheel.
The other boat is the Chappy. I remember fishing up in Glacier Bay years ago on the Miss Valerie with Bob Clark. We were catching king salmon like crazy when the Chappy showed up and if I remember correctly he called in some of his friends on the bite. Bob wasn't too happy about that. It had a different owner then. The last owner wasn't so illustrious of a character. He and his father came to town years ago and were always quite a mystery. They were real reclusive and you never really knew what to make of them. His father passed away a few years ago. He lived on the boat until he got into some trouble with the law and moved away suddenly. I guess the boat wasn't in good enough shape to salvage, with the exception of certain parts.

I don't know why the city tows the boats out past the airport now. Probably some environmental regulations in case there is any fuel residue or oil left behind. They used to just run the old boats up on Graveyard Island across from town where they could die a dignified death, decomposing naturally at the hand of the elements. When they take them out the road people throw rocks at the windows and smash the wood or take whatever may be left of any value. It's like overnight what was once a valuable asset is junk. How can that be? One day it's worth something, providing shelter and comfort and the next day it's hauled away to be picked apart like a dead persons estate. I hate to see that. I hope that for as long as I own the Bonnie J I can keep up the maintanence and turn her over to someone who can use her for many more years. I don't want to see her hauled off and dismantled like something of no value. She deserves better than that.

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