It's the nature of being "on the account:" The pirate will go from ship to ship, wherever there's room, work and a captain worth sailing under. Blue Lou has been from thecuriousman.com to Tribe to MySpace to Facebook. Now he's actually gonna try a real blog. Why?
Yesterday, something happened that felt significant. For several years, I have volunteered at the Center for Wooden Boats. I have gone from wandering the docks and manning the jib on Sunday Public Sails to passing SailNow! training and becoming "Pirate Lou," the guy in costume who tells tales of Blackbeard and scares small children. Last July at the annual Festival, I tore an anterior cruciate ligament, because a 40-year-old loaded with pistols and blades thought he could take a shortcut across the docks...and was very wrong. I was absent from the Center for several months, which felt like, well, not having rum. I hate not having rum.
A few weeks ago, I came back. The first person I ran into was my old buddy, Martin, who was working on the sharpie Betsy D. A sharpie is a flat-bottomed boat originally designed for oystering in the Northeast, but this versatile style, with its large sail area and shallow draft, has become popular from Connecticut to Florida and the West Coast. It also become the inspiration for two Seattle-made boats that are central to the Center's fleet and especially the Public Sails that were my introduction to the Center.
My involvement at the Center was, to be honest, rather fair-weather. Martin, however, suggested I go to the formal orientations of both the shop and the livery. I did the former two weeks ago. Kyle, who manages both, showed me and a handful of volunteers around tools, supplies and projects. For the first time, I started understanding the wood of wooden boats; they ceased to be just vehicles. Shortly thereafter, with Martin's say so, I became part of the "boat keeper" crew for the Betsy D.
Yesterday, I went to the livery orientation. "Livery" in this parlance simply means that part of the Center's fleet that is available for the public to rent or borrow. I had been a livery volunteer for a long time. Fact is, I felt like I was second only to Kyle at this orientation in terms of knowing how to tie knots, identify our boats and assist with arrivals and departures. It was an ego boast for someone who had not grown up in this environment. Afterwards, I joined Martin on the Betsy D to help sand planking so he could put on fresh paint and make her pretty. I was soon covered in paint dust. The sun shone for the first time in weeks, and the even ripples on the water told the sailors it was time to be underway. Perfect.
So, Blue Lou has started a full-on blog because there's something to blog about. That, and my wife Zanne has launched Zzyzyx Road Kitchen Chronicles about her passion, cooking. It didn't take much urging to get me going again. So Logan's ship is back in view. Here be tales of the pretend pirate and the real sailor...and probably no small amount of distractions and diversions. Keep a weather eye open, mate.