Monday, February 15, 2010

This Little Thing

It was a long time coming and maybe I lost my head a little along the way.My Merchant Mariner Credential upgrade finally went through and I'm none the worse over it.Seems that the wind was taken out of my sails along the way and looking back I should never have let that happen.Never accept what things are,anything can be changed.A simple to the point quote a captain told me the other day.I find myself playing musical boats over the last few weeks and I'm not complaining.The new MMD came in the mail in late December after I fulfilled the National Maritime recommendations.I didn't,pat myself on the back or anything along those lines.I told myself,this is just another rung on the ladder,keep climbing.So here I sit on the tug that turned my life around.After a few strange days dredging on a tug in the NYC harbor I was shifted to the tug that I went to Panama on.Funny thing is the crew on board was exactly the same guys I went to Panama with.I had never had a word with any of them in the last two years.Coming on board it was like I never left.The nicknames we had all given to each other and all the old jokes and pranks came back up.The camaraderie of this boat is how I imagined it would be five years ago when I decided to make a career in this line of work.I know there is a good chance this isn't a permanent boat change but it's nice to be back amongst some of the best American Merchant Seaman I have had a chance to work with.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Finishing off the Season the Right Way

Me and the brothers at Pinatail Point
A memorable hunt at the end of the season

The hometown road with a good coating of ice
This may be a bit difficult but I'll try.As many of you know I had my time off the boat and it was the last few weeks of waterfowl season.I tried to make the best of it.I missed the big push of migratory birds through my area in southern Virginia while I was on the boat.I honestly believe the birds were there when I got home a few weeks ago but they are relaxing on all the protected impoundments in the area.So as planned I headed up to Maryland to check out my brothers property on the Eastern Shore of Maryland he has hooked up for hunting.I couldn't possibly but together in words or pictures what we went through that 48 hours.No there was minimal alcohol intake and no one got hurt and broke anything.Just the experience of two waterfowlers who happen to be brothers and happen to have been given an opportunity to hunt some amazing property.The landowner and the few other hunt club members we met were a good bunch of guys and treated us as welcome.Everything from trying to get a 1/2 mile down the beach in a six wheeler with 4 inch ice rafts washed up on the beach to eating a damn good grilled steak when the "lodge" was temperature was still in the thirties.Ever try washing your hands with frozen dawn?Anyway as I said I can't explain what went down in words just that I really look forward to doing it again.I know next year will be different but if it's anywhere near this experience I won't miss it for the world.As my brother wrote on his blog we went to Pintail Point to complete the weekend and had a great time.His story will be better written then mine so read his blog for the details.I take the pictures he writes the stories it just works better that way.So leaving Pintail Point that Sunday my truck decided to throw a fit.

Long story short the truck broke down about sixty miles from home in the middle of the salt marsh.Thankfully my other brother was following me back down Virginia's Eastern Shore and helped me out with everything from getting a new battery to a ride home.Thanks again Nutty,I know that really sucked and I owe you one dude.Let's just say the next 24 hours were all bad.The truck got fixed five hundred dollars later,it was a forty dollar alternator fuse if you're wondering.Don't worry I have a brand new alternator,battery and serpentine belt now though!That entire situation now diffused I focused on the last few days of the Virginia waterfowl season.The weather was continually getting colder with a big storm forecast for the weekend.I finally hooked up with a fella that I know through another duck hunter,who is in Iraq, and our schedules finally came together for what will be a memorable hunt.I only ask for one good hunt a year and I got one this year.Going to one of "his" spots I found myself in the middle of Virginia duck heaven.Tucked into a random salt marsh only someone who drives the roads and waters everyday would know about.This is one of those spots I won't hunt again unless this good ol boy is with me.He found the spot and I respect it,I won't even tell anyone where it is.Setting up decoys with mallards and teal in the direct vicinity is an awesome feeling at 6 in the morning.Waiting for legal shooting time we had mallards literally swimming in the decoys.Some of the healthiest,prettiest birds I have ever seen in my area.A few hours later we were one mallard shy of our limit.A great shot and a great time,thanks Case.

So that storm I mentioned earlier in the write up,yeah it came.I watched the weather 5 days in advance thinking,if the snow will hold up until 8 am then I can go for a few hours.With only a two wheel drive truck and my hunting spots being thirty minutes away I was being a wuss.Sure call me what you want,I did plenty of hardcore idiotic things this waterfowl season that could have gotten me hurt or broken something.The evening before the hunt the weather man,the internet and everyone else in Southeast Virginia knew the snow would start around 3am.With around four inches on the ground by 8am.I didn't like those odds and even with the perfect "ducky" weather I called off the hunt.I just read what I wrote and I had to look at the ceiling,it hurts me to know that I missed one of the best hunting days in over five years.On the other hand my truck isn't at the bottom of the creek and I enjoyed the areas first major snowfall in over five years with some good people and a few to many beers.Hey I had to take my mind off of missing the hunt somehow.