Life — June 2003
|Part 2: Needless to say, we were out of our reverie in record time.|
At that very moment, what should appear out of the mist but the little boatyard referred to by the no longer quaint but now suspicious sign a mile or so back river. Hailing the yard on the VHF brought no response, so limping over on one engine, we made fast to some slimy, tannin-stained pilings.
Luckily the yard had a TraveLift sufficient to yank a 42 Grand Banks out of the slipway. After waiting three days for parts to arrive to get the lift running, we found our boat comfortably swinging on the straps and us uncomfortably looking at the bent running gear, trying our best to look poor, which at this point didn't require much effort.
We decided to make the best of it by getting the shorepower hooked up so we could fire up the blender. With drinks in hand we retired to our bridge loungers and began to take a more relaxed stock of our surroundings. As the sun and the contents of the blender began to get a bit lower, our appreciation of the locale began to rise. The yard was separated from the main channel by a small island, giving it a pleasant sense of isolation. Our world had stabilized. And then the elephant came walking out of the woods.
Needless to say, we were out of our reverie in record time, and I think I said something to the effect of "Billie! Camera!" Not exactly the height of exposition, but my point was clear, and a good thing. For although elephants appear to move slowly, their stride is so large they actually can cover quite a bit of ground in a short amount of time. In fact, by the time I had camera in hand, the pachyderm was nearly out of photographic range. Luckily for me, the person astride the creature leaned down and whispered something in its massive ear, whereupon the elephant stopped in its tracks, neatly came-about 180 degrees, and gave me a number of perfect broadside shots. The gesture was quite nice, considering had he not done so, my only photographic record of the meeting would have been of the stern of this great, gray land ship. And just like that, the elephant disappeared.
You probably think this was the high point of our visit, but you're wrong. We turned in early, and despite the eventful day, we slept soundly. Then as first light seeped out of the purple eastern sky, we were awakened by the sounds of howling monkeys, guttural feline growls, and an assortment of other exotic animal noises, emanating from a patch of woods a few points off our starboard bow.
Deciding to get to the bottom of this dark-continent-in-Dixie mystery, I set about following the unmistakable wake-up growl of a Bengal tiger. I came to a stream that was not wide but certainly big enough to accommodate an angry hippo. At an impasse, I returned to the boatyard, where the mechanic told me what was going on beyond the woods. He informed me that I had happened upon a nearby farm that specialized in training animals for motion pictures. Knowing that movie stars slept late, I considered heading back to the stream to see if I could get a photograph. But I've never been much of a star-hound and, not wanting to get a reputation as a paparazzo, I decided not to. Besides, there was that Bengal tiger.
So the next time you're cruising the ICW--bored out of your skull--look for that beat-up old sign and a little canal just after it, a short way from Myrtle Beach. And make sure you're ready with a camera, a stiff drink, and maybe a bag of peanuts, too.
Craig Anderson splits his time between Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Mount Desert Island, Maine.
This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.