Special Story Hook at Great Bridge


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August 2nd 2012
Published: August 2nd 2012
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Sabrina - Dockside FishingSabrina - Dockside FishingSabrina - Dockside Fishing

Terrific to meet a talented story-teller.
Tidying up below decks yesterday, I heard someone tapping or hammering persistently on the wooden dock at Great Bridge. Boaters usually investigate every odd sound that might mean trouble or an opportunity to chat.

When I popped on deck, the only person to be seen was a well-dressed young woman on her hands and knees, working on some ropes going into the water. I decided that her very high heels must have caused the rapping sound as she arrived.

“Are you a fisher person I asked?”

“Well sort of,” she answered. “I’m just checking my crab pot, but I’m really mad because someone has stolen it. I thought this place had more class but I guess I was too optimistic. I just had the pot in my truck from moving and I thought I would give it a try here.”

“Well you are the best dressed fisher I’ve ever seen. May I take your picture for my blog?”

“Sure,” she agreed, posing agreeably but still scowling from her recent loss.

“Why are you dressed like that?” I asked innocently and then the wonderful stories began.

She had just lost the lease on her horse
Ken , 30 year CruiserKen , 30 year CruiserKen , 30 year Cruiser

Another champion story-teller and chin wagger.
stable and is desperately missing the horses plus the wide open country life. I brought out all my information about boarding horses by asking a single question about hay quality. She replied generously with a wealth of knowledge and passion that was amazing. I was touched by her love of these animals and her sadness at being separated from her work with them. Moving to a small apartment has also been a big adjustment for her and her family, so she spends a lot of time at the park and dock.

The clothing issue was now dealt with. She must return to her old employment of waiting tables. She had just come from an interview and got the job, starting today.

“Congratulations! It’s been a lose and win day for you.”

From there we launched into a typical dockside conversation, typical in that they are all atypical. This was one of the better exchanges I can remember because this woman is a gifted storyteller.

I soon discovered that as well as being an avid fisher, she is also a motor boater AND a sail-boater, as well as a sometimes coastal cruiser. My admiration grew as I
Welcome Dave & Ben in CBWelcome Dave & Ben in CBWelcome Dave & Ben in CB

After a 5 day passage from Savannah and Charleston
realized that this person has fervently explored realms of land and sea. Most of us have trouble getting a handle on one or t’other. She immediately came up with a full blown, late night, sail ripping, anchor dragging, running aground, rescue story that is stock for all boaters to prove that they have paid their towing dues. I was amazed that her technical sailing terminology and animations were so smoothly integrated to enhance the action of her story. Personally, I seem to drop the jargon ball when working on the movement of the tale.

Frank emerged at some point and was quickly brought up to speed of our exchange. Next our captivating acquaintance shared a few points on her map of personal comedies and tragedies, as strangers sometimes do when they are building a framework of a memory. In the midst of an important conversation, we were still keeping an eye on the fading afternoon light and mental chore lists. Looking for resolution, the conversation swerved through areas of social, economic, religious and cultural concerns. With alarm bells ringing, as we sang the hymn, “What is the world coming to?” and it’s companion song, “What are ‘they’ thinking? What
Lisa and Boo, River Forest MarinaLisa and Boo, River Forest MarinaLisa and Boo, River Forest Marina

Our lovely host with her fuzzy French Beagle.
shall we do?”

We all implicitly realized this avenue was draining vital energy from a generally upbeat exchange. I offered a weak few gambits about our blog and our trip, but our dockside hostess had much better plan to cap the flow of conversation and move us to departure. As an animal lover, she knows the near universal appeal of a heart-wrenching puppy story that begs and howls to be told. Here’s how Sabrina established herself permanently in my mind as a great story-teller.

Matey, her 5 month old white lab, was included on a recent fishing trip. What could be more irresistible to an inexperienced pup than a wiggly squid on a hook? She swallowed it down in one gulp, leaving everyone staring in horror. The line was cut because the hook was obviously irretrievable. Thankfully the pup did not seem to be in distress as she was rushed to the vet. The judgment of Matey’s fate was based on a $200 x-ray, which showed the hook floating in her stomach. Choices were a $2000 ‘hookectomy or Matey could be euthanized to forestall a painful death. Other experts were quickly consulted and a more charitable, $900 stomach
Nice Live-aboard FamilyNice Live-aboard FamilyNice Live-aboard Family

The Averys at Belhaven
surgery was scheduled, despite an empty kitty.

Fortunately back channel, folk knowledge was offered a third option. Feeding a dog a few balls of cotton-wool might encapsulate the hook and let it pass by a miracle. Six small cotton balls dipped in broth were immediately administered and round the clock poop patrol established. As the fate sometimes smiles on puppies and empty bank accounts, Matey effortlessly produced the swaddled hook a few hours before her impending surgery.

A better, happier ending I have not heard at dockside in the past three years.

I pronounce Sabrina to be not only the best-dressed fisher but also the most versatile, top-notch story-teller of the cruising world, in my experience. We thank her for sharing her stories, wishing her and Matey health, prosperity and fair-winds in all their future cruising adventures.

Another talented cruiser and humorous storyteller caught our lines earlier in the day at the same dock. Ken, a fellow we have now crossed paths with three times, also stands out as a cruiser with interesting tales. At age 75, after 30 years of living on his boat he is a treasure trove of usefull hints, delivered with in
Gayle, Bill, Frank at CoinjockGayle, Bill, Frank at CoinjockGayle, Bill, Frank at Coinjock

Pilots, sailors, scientists and storytellers.
a cheerful joking manner. Hailing from Detroit with a background in industrial auto projects much of what he references connects to my hometown of windsor and background in industry. the funniest part with Ken is he has speech patterns and the wily humour of our dear auntie Margie in Michigan. The further you goes, it seems, the closer to home.

As we look at the photos of our recent contacts we see our new friend Ben emerging as a cruising minstrel and full time web-working person, who already has stories that can stand up to any of the hair raising tales of the old timers. I can hardly wait 'til Ben, a cool songwriter and guitarist starts turning some of the stories into sea shanties that we can help him belt out. After all, we do have authentic
Bahamian Rake n Scrape training.

The rest of the folks here are every bit as willing and able to turn a tale or spin a yarn at the drop of a line. Given a few minutes together, it is inevitable that cruisers will regale and entertain each other with stories. I'm guessing it's part of how we learn, relate, process and remember all the crazy things that happen to us in the space of day. Sabrina is in good company and has found her peer group, for sure.

For me it is mostly the people and their stories that are the centerpiece of my cruising experience. Well, the beach and stillness are great pleasure too, but they don't seem to happen with such regularity.


Maybe a good order for our pictures is like the noun classification: Person, Place and Thing. Our pictures this time bring you again from Carolina Beach to Beaufort, North Carolina and on to Great Bridge, Virginia. We had a terrific time at the River house Marina in Belhaven, north of Oriental. I think half the village turned out to explore Melodeon. Of course when we get excited we forget to take pictures. Thanks to our generous hosts, Axson and Lisa at their gorgeous, historical resort and marine facilities.

We did stop in at Oriental but the town is thriving with fishing boats and local business so we retreated farther north to an anchorage, sadly missing visits with special friends.

We were getting so far behind in our blog it seemed a good time to grab a free dock compliments of Great Bridge, Chesapeake City and free wifi, from cross channel Atlantic Yacht Basin and lay some picture down before moving on.

Weather is humid and often stormy but not daunting, usually in the afternoon or evening. A little wind and rain seems to cool things into the 70’s for sleeping.

Hope the pic captions convey enough info. I’m trying a different chronology, past to present. I know this isn’t a scientific or historical expedition but if it makes any difference to readers, please let me know which works best for you.

We will let you know what’s next when the plans and weather are discussed. Would like to jump out at Norfolk to Cape May. We shall see if we shall to sea. : )


Additional photos below
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3rd August 2012

Special Story Hook
Keep the blog and pictures (in any order) going. I feel like I am right there enjoying everything with you. Loved the stories, especially the fish hook expulsion one! Fair weather.
3rd August 2012

Great stories &pix
This might just be your best blog yet. Loved every word...it feels as if you're sharing a cup of mint tea from the garden and sitting beside me!
4th August 2012

From the Mayor's table in GB
Enjoyed reading your blog! Some day you'll have to spin your travels into a book for those of us that can't make the journey. Wishing you calm seas and fare winds.
7th August 2012

Great, super great !!!!
I had two blogs to catch up on. Been down watching whales in the St. Lawrence and spending time in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea. The two weeks were spent camping with Niece and Nephew. I would have rather been boating; but camping is good too for meeting interesting folks and story telling. Cheers, M&M

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