Back when I bought my sailboat and sailed it to Kodiak I pulled into Ketchikan and quietly went about my business. I suppose the first order of business was to buy myself a beer.
Lord, my mind is getting weak. It might have been Sitka but it was in Southeast Alaska. Yeah, it was Ketchikan.
Anyway, most boats in Southeast are fishing boats and come summer there are a number of people that come up the Inside Passage in their recreational boats, mainly sailboats. Most of them are pretty laid back cruiser types that accept the local customs and fit right in.
Of course, no party would be complete without the arrival of a total jerk that thinks the world revolves around him.
The harbormaster was pretty kicked back and probably should have raised cain with me for not checking in before I went up the gangplank for a beer but I was only gone a short time so he said nothing when I popped in to let him know I was there.
I hadn't really noticed the diesel of a floating fish processor out in the channel as things like that are pretty much backgrund up there. The processor was anchored out in the channel somewhere far enough so the diesel wasn't too bothersome. It was actually kind of a nice background noise to sleep by as it ran 24/7.
I popped in and let him know I was there and I registered. I don't think the fees were very high as most are not in Alaska. The municipalities there realize they make ther money ashore from the fishermen and make things easy for them. My sailboat, Karen Lee was registered as a fish boat so I could take advantage of the discounts available to the fishing industry. I fished her from time to time to keep this bona fide.
Anyway as I was doing business with the evening harbor officer someone came in griping, and outright demanding that someone go out to the floating processor and make them shut their diesel down.
Now I saw that the harbor cop looked a bit uncomfortable with the jerk and I took an instant dislike to him. The poor harbor cop told the jerk that he couldn't shut the processor down.
"They don't allow that kind of stuff back in Shilshole!" he said. "I want to talk to the harbormaster!"
Something about this idiot seemed to bring out the nasty side of me. I had been a fisherman before and had delivered salmon to floating processors like that before. I knew that shutting down the processor would cost some poor fishermen some serious money. I decided to step up to the plate.
"Hey, A$$hole," I said. "That processor out there is the reason a lot of locals go fishing for a living. If you shut it down some fisherman won't have a place to drop off their catch."
"They don't allow things like that back in Shilshole!" he said. Shilshole is a marina in Seattle.
"This ain't Shilshole," I snapped back. "This is Alaska and if you don't like it go back to Shilshole."
"That's the way it is, huh?" he asked.
"Yeah. That's the way it is. Get used to it. Now go back on your boat, tie her loose and set sail back to Shilshole it that's the way you like things," I said. "Now beat it! I have business to attend."
The term 'tie her loose' is a Cajun term for letting the lines of a vessel go. It means to sail her. I recall using that term that evening. I had picked it up a few months earlier from a southern born skipper I had fished for.
He walked back to his boat and all the time the harbor cop said nothing. He was surpressing a smirk as he wrote me out a reciept and I noticed that he made a couple of mistakes and didn't charge me as much as he was supposed to. He handed me my reciept with a grin. "Just right," he said and I knew then and there the mistake he made wasn't a mistake.
It was late and I really wasn't in the mood to go party or raise any hell. Besides when I had grabbed the quick beer I had noticed a definite shortage of available women. I needed some sleep and headed back to the boat. On the way I passed the jerk's boat and heard him bellyaching to his wife about how they don't allow things like fishboats in Shilshole. They were sitting in the cockpit, tied up to a dock that was there only for the benefit of the commercial fishing industry.
"So go back to Shilshole, a$$hole," I said. "I'll bet you have pissed and moaned at every single dock you have tied up at since you left Friday Harbor ot Point Roberts! People like you suck. You go somewhere to see something different and want it to change back to what you left when you arrive and see it's different. People like you live in a totally vanilla world and think it revolves around you."
The next day sometime he left and when I saw the cop that evening I commented to him that he was gone. "He's likely looking for another place to make trouble," I said. The harbor cop grinned.
"Likely," He said. "Some people..."
I have never figured out why someone would go somewhere when he just has to know that people do things differently there and complain when he finds out that they DO do things differently there.
I swear, we have a pretty good collection of idiots in this country that would go to, say, Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Israel and complain that they can't find a decent North Carolina pulled pork barbecue sandwich there. I never have been able to figure people like that out.
The next day I set sail headed north.
I'm going to have to get my log books and old charts out and write about the trips I took on the Inside Passage. I had a hell of a good time.
To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: http://piccoloshash.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-feminine-side-blog-stays-pink.html NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY