Capt. Bill Pike's blog
We have winter down here in North Florida. And occasionally, like denizens of the snowy latitudes, we yearn for summers past—you know, when it’s warm enough to virtually live in one of the most comfortable, practical, and fashionable ensembles ever invented for subtropical temperatures: flip-flops, a t-shirt, and a bathing suit.
When I was about the age of this little girl (her name’s Reagan and sometimes she calls me “Uncle Bill” and sometimes she calls me “Captain Bill”), a great thing happened.
I recently had a job to do onboard Betty Jane that seemed virtually impossible. There are a couple of seven-foot-long cosmetic trim pieces over each of her fuel tanks and I needed to remove each of them so I could get at and replace the hose clamps on the fuel fills.
There are all sorts of ways a teak deck can be spiffed up. And all sorts of levels to which the spiffed-upness can be taken. I recently opted to exalt my Grand Banks trawler Betty Jane's woodsy pavement (both on her main deck and her flying bridge) to the highest level I could afford, both money-wise and time-wise. Check out the photo above. You can be the judge of how successful the month-long ordeal actually was.
There are all sorts of boating weekends, of course. Sometimes you leave the dock, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you cook a meal or two onboard, sometimes you don't.
Musta been last year, although DANG! it doesn't seem that long ago. I was helping deliver a Kadey Krogen 48 AE up the eastern coast of the United States, from Stuart, Florida, to Annapolis, Maryland.
I don't think I'd ever seen anything quite like it before. There was a light rain falling at the time--as there often is in the Pacific Northwest--and I was walking down the long dock at Skyline Marina in Anacortes, Washington. And the vision ahead seemed like pure romance, or maybe pure cinematic romance is more like it. I swear. Had Humphrey Bogart himself swung open the watertight door of the buff-colored superstructure and stepped out into the chilly air to study the sky and pull up the collar of his pea coat, I wouldn't have been a bit surprised.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’ve become a tad cynical over the years. So when the Deepwater Horizon exploded catastrophically on April 20, 2010, killing 11 crewmen, I cynically watched developments on TV, day after day, feeling steadily more dismal over the resultant oil spill and what it was gonna do to the Gulf Coast and, more particularly (and selfishly perhaps), Panama City, Florida, the place where my wife and I were keeping our Grand Banks trawler Betty Jane. Having spent several of my youthful years working on oil-field boats in the Gulf, a job that put me cheek-by-jowl with big oil companies like BP, I figured I knew the score. Everybody was gonna lose … except BP!