Saturday, October 31, 2015

Water Spouts

I was working on a shrimp boat that was out to sea. Unbeknownst to me, most of the coastal shrimpers just go out for the day. For reasons unknown to me, our captain took us way the fuck out there. I think he said something about trying out new shrimping grounds.

Anyway, we were heading into a storm (turned out to be a cat 2 hurricane) and the boat was rocking. We got our rescue hear I and waited for the inevitable. It never came, but none of slept that night. It was eerie passing through the eye. Totally calm, while everything else raged around us. We had all made our peace. The next morning we had either gone through it, or we came back the way we came. Either way we were on the edge of the storm. The captain was tired so we "took the day off." The first mate and I sat on the deck for a fair bit of the day watching the last of the hurricane and the start of a new storm.

We thought we had this smaller storm beat. We lowered the boom masts again, and braced for heavy seas. The first mate brought along a bunch of weed, and taught me how to roll a joint in your hand, and how to smoke it. By this time is was getting late in the day and the storm was getting more energetic. Lots of thunder and lightning. We could see the reflective light and hear the thunder so we knew it was at least 10 miles out. The first mate who was pretty stingy otherwise rolled me a big ole' fat joint and told me to enjoy it. Of course I was in hog heaven. It never occurred to why this skinflint was sharing all this with me. He absolutely didn't have to, hadn't before, and wouldn't afterwards. At some point it dawns on me. So I ask why now, and not last night when I was wholly terrified in a life vest and high vis ocean survival suit thing.

He points off in the distance and I see a little itty bitty funnel cloud. Looks like a tornado. In the open water they're called water spouts and they're just as dangerous. So I get kinda worried. The first mate laughed and said look around. There were at least 13 water spouts within a few miles of us. The first mate wasn't watching the storms. He was watching these water spouts pop up every so often, getting a little closer each time. By now the captain is awake, and we're booking it anywhere but where we were. By the time all was said and done we had gotten passed by three different spouts, got a rain of sand dollars, jelly fish, and a load of other ocean goodies. We had one go directly over us and touch down 10 yards from the deck. I was scared of the hurricane, but these salty dogs were totally and completely terrified of the water spouts.

No comments: