Then there’s the one about not starting a cruise on a Friday, which
supposedly comes from the fact that Christ was crucified on that day.
However, my good friend, Father “Fishin’ Magician” O’Reilly—better
known around the neighborhood as “O’Really?” due to his
penchant for telling exaggerated fish stories—has a remedy for that
one. He advises his marinized parishioners to say the proper novenas—especially
those to St. Francis and St. Peter—and all will be just fine. “As
for the Hebrews,” he said as we shared another wee Bushmills, “well,
they can set out any old day they wish.”
How can nature’s perfect food be bad luck on a boat? Well it seems
back when iron men sailed wooden ships, many a vessel put into tropical
locales for reprovisioning, and among the foodstuffs taken on were copious
amounts of bananas. In these were all sorts of bugs, spiders, and snakes
which, once aboard, often lived just as happily among the victuals, bunks
and bodies of the crew, and even called many a captain’s cabin home.
Soon fevers and sores spread throughout the ship’s company and eventually
to ports of call, including home. When the irate masters finally figured
out the source of the scourges, word spread lickety-split that any form
of bananas was prohibited aboard ship. To cement the edict, they deemed
the fruit bad luck.
Today this is all bilge water, so there’s no need to deprive yourself
of nature’s perfect food aboard your boat. But if you feel the need
to dispel any chance of bad mamma jamma coming your way, simply throw
the peel into the water—not to worry, tree-huggers, it’ll get
eaten—while balancing on your right foot. Never the left. And make
sure you’ve finished the banana before tossing the peel.
THE RIGHT FOOT
And speaking of the right foot, getting on and off a boat with your left
foot first is a no-no. If you happen to make this podiatric faux pas,
merely retrace your steps backwards exactly until you are either dockside
or deckside. Take off your shoes, sneakers, flip-flops, or whatever and
switch them to the opposite foot. Then step on or off the boat—right
foot first—after which you can put your whatevers back on the proper
If you’re one of those unshod boaters—go figure anyone with
a splinter/hot-deck fetish—perform the same maneuver. Do the reverse
shodding thing, and get on or off. Right foot first, please, or you’ll
have to do the whole thing over again but this time twice. Once ashore
or aboard, feel free to unshod yourself if you must.
There are legions more superstitions to deal with, but this is all I have
room for in this installment. If you have a spell that needs dispelling,
drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do. Hopefully I’ll be
able to help you free your boat of any bad mojo that you may have unwittingly
conjured up. In the meantime, don’t leave any hatch covers lying
upside down on your deck, and if a redheaded person boards your boat,
always speak to them before they speak to you. And never, ever mess with
Now, if I can find that Fijian talisman my good friend Capt. Bill Pike
gave me, I just might be able to go fishing this weekend.
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