So, this post is about the breadth of knowledge I had picked up about boats in the last 20 years. I have always been a major fan of transportation. My uncle used to be a train conductor, and I used to ride along with him on cross state trips. We would come back and talk about trains.. But never-mind that, he also had the world’s best model trains set, that I would play with for hours. It wasn’t until just after that, when I got into planes- I would buy model planes, paint them and fly them around. Now, they have these super high-tech drones that I love to play with. Come to think of it, I never really got into cars (something that is very common with mechanics, auto salesmen and limousine companies)- Owners of those business’ love their cars!
So why am I talking about trains and planes when I am now into boats? Good question. The other modes of transportation got me into learning about transportation, which eventually led me to boats. I didn’t really get into boats until I went on my first one. I remember standing at the front of the boat and the feeling of the wind in my hair- there was nothing like it. From that point on-wards, I knew I wanted to be a boat captain.
It was at this point I started learning about the history of boats. I became deeply involved with, and wanted to learn about the Titanic. What made it sink? Why did some boats float, others sink? I decided to take many science classes off at college…I wanted to become a buoyancy professional. It fascinated me. I was able to convince 5 of my closest friends to come out on a boat that I was resurrecting from the dead (renovating), and my love for bringing people out to sea was born- I was age 22. In studying about the titanic, I had the opportunity to be aboard one of the research vessels and voyages out to dig up the remains. With the underwater robot Alvin and its incredible capabilities, I was able to meet Dr. Robert Balllard- one of my childhood hero’s. After the high of that expedition had worn off, I was able to get a grip of my ripe, old 25 year old life and finally figure out what I wanted to do.
I headed back home to Pushcott, Louisiana and stayed with my uncle for 6 months- to save up money for a boat. I was determined to do this- but then kept running out of money so quickly…Why? Too much beer and women! I decided it was far easier to become a captain of someone elses boat.So I applied for jobs.
Finally, I heard back from one. A management group, that was a part of the SS Tobogoan had gotten back to me, and said that they had a last minute deckhand position come available, due to seasickness. I jumped for joy, geared up, and boarded the next morning. This was quote the experience. It was on this vessel, that I met the love of my life- Alexandra Dumante. Aside from being my late wife (one and only) whom I miss dearly, and will see again someday- we had a blast! I remember that they always separated the boys from the girls at night as it was strict back in the 70’s. I was at teh front of the boat, alexandra at the back where the women worked. I would throw a towel out my porthole every night around midnight, and she would see it float by, that was the signal. I would “go to the bathroom and complain of minor sea sickness, she would as well”. We would meet near a mesh over-throw near the lobster traps and make love for hours, returning to our beds at 2 or so every night without getting caught! These we’re the good ‘ole days.. I remember them so well, and I miss her so.
But I digress- It was like my own Titanic story. It make me realize I loved boats, and her. She stayed with me through subsequent careers moves for the next 25 years, in working for the Navy, the Catamaran Cruise line, and my last 10 back home for the Bayou Riverboat Company. It was sweet times! Until later….