A winter day in January and I’m finally catching up on old news. But it really isn’t old news when you think about something from time to time. It can still be new and fresh when you reflect on those moments and conversations when you look back.
It was August 28, 2016 and the three of us were up at the camp for a birthday weekend. Sister #3 turned the big six-oh and we wanted to have some fun. An excursion was planned aboard the Mt. Washington around Lake Winnipesaukee. We hadn’t been on the big boat for quite a while so it was nice to have an excuse. It was Sunday and we got to Alton Bay at the time expected however we goofed. On Sunday’s they do not go into Alton Bay and we booked it to the Weir’s in Laconia to catch it there. Whew! We made it without a problem and had time to take a moment and enjoy the area.
We set sail in the afternoon and it was a smooth trip across this big pond. There was a lot of activity around with all sorts of watercraft zipping about. It was nice to spy land areas and mountains to try our brain at remembering what we were looking at. There was a wedding taking place and an area was roped off for this event. You just had to remember what stairway to use and where was fore and aft (front and back). I don’t know what everyone else came aboard for since many were not watching the scenery at all or were inside. Maybe they were seasick? Oh well.
We made it to Wolfboro to pick up people waiting for the trip back to the Weirs and I had a moment to speak to a crew member. My most recent book I’ve finished writing and have had edited takes place during the Civil War. There is much nautical terminology that I needed to use since ¼ of the story happens in and around a ship, boats, out on the open sea, in harbors and on and off land as a major portion of the story’s hook. I was looking for the right person who would be interested in giving me some much needed critique. When writing about events, history and unfamiliar topics I needed to make sure everything was referenced properly. I spoke to a crew member who graciously gave me the contact info of a Merchant Marine who he recommended but unfortunately was not aboard ship. This was his side job and he was needed somewhere else in the world.
As we headed back to our starting point I couldn’t help but notice what task each crew member was assigned and how the captain handled the ship. As we neared Paugus Bay I was shocked how busy this area was but more so when just as we turned to approach the docking area a cigarette boat literally cut in front of the Mt. Washington. The landing approach was smooth and we docked without incident. The wedding continued for a time as we disembarked. I really wanted to speak with the captain so the three of us meandered about until he was able to leave the ship. As we approached, I politely stopped him and mentioned the stupidity of the cigarette boat. Also in his estimation how many people out on the water have ever taken a safe boating class? He offered the fact that he’s been sailing the big boat for 25 years and basically it didn’t matter to him. They just needed “to get out of the way.” He’s seen it all. The one time he remembered when there could have been a catastrophe happened when two girls on a jet ski were way too close to the Mt. Washington and the rider fell off just as the big boat was approaching the dock. Time stood still. There was nothing he could do to divert what was about to happen. However the driver grabbed her friend by the arm, hung on, and blasted out of the way just in time.
It was a nice friendly conversation and before it ended, sister #1 asked if he lived close by. We mentioned the reason we were here for the day and the next thing we knew there was a common connection as he brought up high school sporting days of his Methuen Rangers playing our North Andover Scarlet Knights. We laughed and reminisced for a moment before we parted ways.
Danial Fairweather (how interesting a name and that he’s a seaman?) sent me an email with nautical questions but I can’t wait to actually send him a copy for his account of my story. Will it sail right on course or capsize – I’ll soon find out?