S.O.B.S. – Stuff Old Boat Captains Say, Post #1

They’re well traveled. They curse a lot. They’ve had to rescue people, pets and watercraft. Some have even been chased by modern day pirates.

Welcome to the world of SOBS – Stuff Old Boat Captains Say. I get to listen to their tales on a daily basis, now that I live with a semi-retired yacht captain. I say “semi-retired” because I know, if the right job came along, he’d rather be out there on the Atlantic than stuck on land.

The only reason Captain Crusty is stuck on land is because his significant other, me, cannot make up her mind on which boat to buy for our “let’s go to Bimini for breakfast” urges. We’re Boatless on the Bay, with an empty slip staring at us each morning, wondering why we haven’t filled it with a vessel of some sort.

Today’s morning chat with Capt. Stash (Crusty’s best friend, who sports a giant, Sam Elliot-style mustache) involved whether to use RainX or regular car wax on one’s car windshield. Captains know their cleaning products the way surgeons know their knots.

Crusty said “Yep, car wax lasts longer and makes your windshield bead up better when it rains.” I didn’t hear Stash’s response. Then they talked about the new ban on public marinas and boat ramps in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Large boat gatherings (like at our nearby Haulover Sandbar) are violating the “spirit” of Coronavirus containment efforts, politicians say. I certainly agree, after seeing news coverage of the massive Spring Break parties throughout the state of Florida which can only make the spread of the pandemic much, much worse.

So we are back to our daily habit of online boat shopping. We’re looking for a vintage Cigarette boat, 35 feet or smaller. For years, Crusty has touted the superiority of Mercury engines. He makes snarky comments on an almost daily basis about Yamahas, shouting stuff like “If it’s gray, take it away” or “If it ain’t black, take it back!” He doesn’t care who gets insulted on the boat docks. Of course, it’s hard to insult one guy’s engine choice when you don’t even have a horse in the race.

Crusty needs to lay low until we actually get a boat. And then he’d better hope we don’t break down on the way home because our Yamaha-owning neighbors sure as heck aren’t gonna offer us a tow!

New Beginnings

How many unexpected paths life takes us down. A friend texted with news of her engagement. It’s her second time around, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The last time we tried to get together, I was steeped in grief over the accidental death of my boyfriend. I was in Boston, utterly paralyzed by the deep wound of sudden loss. This was six years ago. I had no idea where life was going to take me, or if I had the will to hang on for the ride.Waterfront on Biscayne Bay

Biscayne Bay

Now I’m with a very special man. An adventurer, a sea captain, a teller of tales, a kind hearted ‘tough guy’ who raised three kids by himself.

How lucky I am! We wake up to the magic of waterfront life on Biscayne Bay every day. Sunrises, wild dolphins, manatee sightings, fancy yachts and powerboats whizzing by, and more birds (it seems) than the whole Everglades.

As Auntie Mame quipped, “Life’s a banquet — and most poor suckers are starving to death!”

Winter Fishing

  Lately Miami has had me frustrated. Traffic, endless construction sites on Miami Beach, tourists driving mapless — and hapless — around my ‘hood. All testing my patience.

Time for a reboot. Time to go fishing!

We headed out east of Haulover Inlet, looking for sailfish. After a couple hours of three- to five-foot waves, the sea laid down as flat as a lake. The sky was bright blue, and, thanks to a Miami “cold front”, there were very few boats out.

My boyfriend, a fishing captain for more than three decades, showed me how to rig a ballyhoo. It was more intricate than I’d imagined. Twisting the wire around the tiny ballyhoo’s bill, getting it balanced so that the bait “swam” just right when it went into the water to lure the big fish.

We had five rods ready to go. I munched on tortilla chips and salsa, trying not to dump the salsa over in the pitching waves. My boyfriend watched the baits bouncing behind the boat. We followed a line of seaweed, knowing that a weed line attracts fish.

There was no catch of the day, but it didn’t matter. The cool ocean breeze, the views of the Miami skyline and the bliss of being out on the water were more than enough to change my state of mind.