Thursday, August 11, 2011
Saiboat Adventure Story, part 3 of 15
Cutting back along the inside of Galliano Island, I began to prepare the oysters. Attempting various means of extraction, eventually settling with a thick and solid plank of wood, two work gloves, a hammer and a strong chisel. Skills from my time as a line cook at a seafood restaurant prepared me for the experimentation, being free in the open water with a full set of tools perfected the skill. A small oyster knife can't compare to the rapidity and ease of a hammer and chisel. Propping the oyster with the nerve ending facing upward, a swift knock would crack the seal; thrusting the blade around edges with a turning motion unhinged the shell without damaging it the body. Wipe away the broken bits of shell, cut the attaching tendons and scrape the flesh into a clean bowl. The first few were fried straight in oil, delicious, then we realized the leftover sour milk pancake batter would be perfect. The recipe kept evolving as I went along, always scrumptious, the perfect ones were dipped in milk, then flower, then a spiced batter and fried in hot oil deep enough to submerge the whole thing. With a honey mustard sauce they were incredible, gifts from the goddess. Frank pulled up in his 56 foot racing sailboat, the Amber. His approach to sailing was more structured then Danny's. As I was tying the boats together, he briefly went into hard-ass instructor mode, and describing the proper way to use a cleat. The rope goes once around the bottom, once around one end, then lock it off on the other end. I appreciated the lesson, often in life there is one logical, primary way to do something. Now I had a skill for life. We cruised along slowly, boats parallel, and munched on deep-fried oysters.
Pulling into the small bay where the tiny Dancer was tied up, steph took the wheel and cautiously backed and the Be Fuller in next to the Amber, with assistance from the older guys. There beside us was the famed Tiny Dancer; it was a steel boat painted green, with large dents, speckled with rust. The mast was down and the boat was ugly, but Steph was bursting and couldn't wait to get on board. The hull was water-tight and it felt stable, but there was certain sick and dark energy aboard. As we descended into the cabin, the chaos had progressed far beyond the state of the Be Fuller. It was dark in there; there were some portholes but covered with green dirt and slime. Scattered everywhere were hints of being gender transition, sticks of insens and all kinds of spices were scattered about; hypodermic needles, mostly in the packages, covered one corner of the room. Along one side was a bag of clothes exploded in a pile, in another section was cooking stove long since burnt out. A skateboard sat next to a dirty bong, more needles and random garbage seemed to grow out of the depths. My skin was crawling in that space. I think of sailboats as escapes, and maybe it was, but there was a hellish, tortured feeling in the air. I took the electric clippers found sitting on the floor; I was getting pretty shaggy at that point and needed a buzz.
Onto the Amber we brought instruments and all the food we'd rescued the day before, this meal was all about chopping, lots of veggies, a bunch of sweet potatoes, a big wok inspired the stir fry. We sat in Frank's relatively spacious dinning area, sipped and drank away. We attempted to watch a hitchcock movie, it was the first time I'd peered at a TV screen in some time. We grew tired of an Englishman poorly attempting an Irish accent, so we broke out the instruments. That was the first night I'd played much guitar for my new family, a skill I've been enjoying for a decade, and they quite appreciated it. We played and ate and drank and smoked in utter merriment as the night wore on, big yawns coxing us to bed.