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The Barge
A Sea Daddy Story


We had been plonking along, maybe 11-12 knots for the last three hours on a 90 foot open decked work boat, when the barge hove into view dimly, through the rain. It had been raining since we left the dock. The boat's crew were heartily sick of us: drinking all their coffee, eating anything not nailed down, tracking water into the galley and leaving puddles where we stood. A bunch of drowned rats, but highly trained rats, and waterproof. Born to get wet.

The squall we'd been following out began to leave us, and the barge started to come into focus as we eased up onto its stern. It was lit like a city, and glowing in the mist. Seas were 3-5 feet as we backed in, the barge and our boat on seemingly incompatible tangents: the barge rising and falling like a leviathan, while our boat bobbed like a cork. We backed on in, thrusters howling, and butted our stern into the barge, the fender tires squawking against the barges' hull and timbers. A small davit was there, with a length of knotted 1 inch line dangling. The idea was that you grab the line, back up some, then swing across to the barges' deck, landing there as it began to rise, drop the line and let the barge hands drag you in to safety.

You throw your bag across to the barge hands first, to see and feel it out. Be in the first three, at the head of the line. When you see the rise, and imagine your swing, you do it without forgetting there's no room for you down between the barge and boat. The barge hands catch you and it's done.

This doesn't happen much in US waters anymore. Too many lawyers. There, it's a helicopter or you're lifted off in a basket with a crane. Out in the world though, this old-time shit still happens, because it's cheap, and it reminds you how cheaply your own life is held. Each outrage you live through makes you stronger, and you simply outlive them.

-Sea Daddy

http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/

Masculine Axis: A Meditation on Manhood and Heroism

https://www.amazon.com/Masculine-Axis-Meditation-Manhood-Heroism/dp/1976016479/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1505657109&sr=1-1

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