Sea — April 2005
By Capt. Bill Pike
The Scrump and Me
|And there were all the quieter, less dramatic times the Scrump and I joined forces...|
Then there was the time back when B.J. and I were living in Connecticut and my brother Mike and I got caught in a bad storm on Long Island Sound. What a scene—eight-foot seas on the beam, the Scrump’s 200-hp Mercury wailing like a banshee, and Mike wincing nervously every time I pulled back on the throttle to maintain control, both of us petrified we’d somehow lose power in the midst of the watery melee. Ultimately, though, the Scrump blasted us to safety through Milford jetties with monster seas bearing down, and we zoomed past Milford Yacht Club at a speed so extraordinary it caused the martini drinkers inside to choke on their olives! A proud day for the Scrump? Oh yeah, and for me, too.
And there were all the quieter, less dramatic times the Scrump and I joined forces—that especially gorgeous and unforgettable afternoon we spent flycasting in the neon-green shallows that wash the western tip of Alligator Point in the spring. That long, sad Halloween night we spent cruising below the fiery stars of the open Gulf while my wife was temporarily living in New York City, working on a struggling business project during the grim days following September 11th. Those peaceful, plentiful hours spent on maintenance projects—applying bottom paint, waxing topsides, replacing engine filters and fluids, sanding and varnishing the louvered companionway door that leads from the Scrump’s wheelhouse down into the security of her little sleeping cabin.
On the way back from Dog Island, although it was getting late and shadows were lengthening, the Scrump and I sped right past Mullet Mansion and headed up the twisty Sopchoppy River. I knew exactly where I wanted to go, and I also knew my Garmin plotter would get me safely back if I tarried too long. The trip took more time than I’d figured on, but eventually, after negotiating miles of riverine pine flats and sawgrass marsh, I came to my most favorite, paradisiacal spot in the whole world, pulled back the throttle, shifted astern to take way off, and tossed out an anchor. I then deployed a folding chair in the cockpit, sat down, and put my feet up on a covering board. I briefly toyed with the notion of jointing up the eight-weight saltwater flycasting rod I keep stashed onboard but quickly nixed the idea.
I was here for a different purpose.
The still, late-evening air felt cool by north Florida wintertime standards. A gibbous moon hung high, lending to the swampy, woodsy banks the stark otherworldliness of a Magritte painting. A fish jumped in the reeds. After a bit I got up and went into the wheelhouse to turn on the overhead light so I could occasionally admire the cozy looks of the place through the open door. Then I went back to the chair, turned my coat collar up, and sat back down.
And I sat. And sat. And sat. Until, at last, the night got so damn dark and cold and solemn and late that we simply had to go home...the Scrump and me.
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This article originally appeared in the March 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.