Carl is sitting on a bench looking up at the extra tall, three story building of the Whaling Museum just across the cobbled street of Johnny Cake
Behind him sits The Seamen’s Bethel and next door to this old sailors church sits The Mariner’s Home.
A well known Seafood Shanty is also behind Carl, but to the right and down the hill, just there on the corner and he gets the heavy scent of Fish n
Chips being deep fried.
Is that Beef Tallow he smells?
OMG, that smells so good!
New Bedford and The Seamen’s Bethel
were front and center in the beginning of Herman Melville’s book Moby Dick written in 1851.
Once the age of whale was over, the city and church finally began to become famous again as people started to flock to New Bedford once Gregory Peck
had come to town 104 years later in 1956 to make the smash hit movie, MOBY DICK taken from the pages of Melville’s book.
Initially Moby Dick the book, was a failure and was already out of print by the time of Melville’s death.
The phrase “Call me Ishmael” would not itself become famous until the 20th century.
Carl had managed to spend an hour looking at the antiques and memorabilia on display from the
by-gone age of Whaling that lays within the museum.
A tremendous skeleton of a Hump Back Baleen Whale hangs on display in the foyer and it still drips oil from it’s massive jawbone onto the floor
which gives the huge room an unfamiliar, dank and pungent smell that many first time visitors pinch their nose against and hurry off to another part
of the museum.
From the foyer Carl rather hurriedly moved through the rest of the museum glancing at this or that because he wanted to stick his head in the
Seamen’s Bethel before he had to meet his contact.
Still gazing up at the museum he noticed the The Widow’s Walk, a cupola atop the roof where wives could scan the sea for countless hours waiting for
their men to return from a trip at sea.
Carl wondered if he would be allowed up there to gaze over New Bedford’s waterfront. Continuing to daydream he thinks of the whaling trips that
lasted as long as four years during the last decades of the doomed whaling industry and how a great many vessels of all types never returned.
Lost in thought Carl jumped when someone in a deep, husky voice yelled, “you must be Cahl”.
Their it was, his name pronounced without the letter R.
Neither a State a Mainer nor a Swamp Yankee uses the R when talking, except maybe for the word Idea.
They all pronounce it Idear.
The term Swamp Yankee is a derogatory term which is proudly accepted by locals.
This term got it’s start from others who looked down upon the Yankee’s who lived here nearly surrounded by Cranberry Bogs in this, the deepest
corner of swampy Sou’east, New England.
Carl turns and see’s a rugged, heavy set man of maybe fifty wearing black boots, torn jeans, t-shirt and quilted flannel over-shirt with a blue and
white pin striped hat on his head.
A hat you’d more expect to see atop a train engineers head.
This intimidating man extended his hand with a dark eyed and wide but serious grin.
Billy told me to look for a square head up on Johnny Cake Hill at Noon and your the only one in spitting distance.
Square Head, asks Carl?
Yeah, it’s what we call Norwegian’s around here, I’m Arnie the Captain, I’m Norwegian too.
They shake hands and Chris feels like his hand was just lost in the vise like paw of a Grizzly.
Arnie was obviously a powerhouse and Chris had just received his first of many lessons about Fishermen.
The lessons to follow will make his head spin.
Arnie asked, that all your gear? Seems a bit light, grab it and let’s go. Arnie walked off leaving Chris a bit bewidered.
Arnie had made no offer to help him with his stuff. Shaking his head Chris grabs his bags and trots after Arnie down the cobblestoned hill towards
Chris asks, So Arnie, what has Billy told you about all this?
As Arnie begins to speak, Chris can just make out the sea of masts over and around the Fishermen’s Union Hall further down the street.
Arnie stops and rubs his eyes.
Well, he told me you are writing a story for some big Washington newspaper and I’m to take you Scalloping and show you the ropes.
They begin walking again and Arnie continues talking, you can find a rack down in the Foc’sle with the boys, I use the other rack behind the
wheelhouse where I bunk for all my gear.
The chief’s name is Phil and he sleeps behind the engine back aft in the fiddley and he’s gonna be the one to look after you.
Arnie stops and glares into Chris’s eyes. Stay the hell away from Paul and the wheelhouse when he’s on watch!
Paul is the Mate and is not one to make enemies with. He’s a good man from Bah Habah way but superstitious and doesn’t trust strangers. Just leave
him be. You got any questions you bring em to me or the chief or talk to the boys.
The cookie, John is ok and friendly enough but I’m warning you now!
Leave the Mate be!
With a bit of a nervous lump growing in his throat Chris is amazed as they near Pier3 and all it’s bustle.
There are trucks everywhere, men loading things on and off boats. One man is yelling from the top of a mast to turn the running lights on.
On another boat it looks like the men aboard it are swinging baskets full of fish from an overhead boom to a box truck where two guys grab and steer
the heavy basket as it lowers to an old beam style scale. Chris hears 126 yelled out from the truck and someone on the boats yells back, 126 aye.
Everywhere Chris looked it seemed like pure pandemonium.
Nearing a big wooden boat Carl see’s the boats hull is painted a dark green with black trim and the wheelhouse which sat at the back of the boat is
painted white as is the masts and rigging.
There are two masts, the main mast is just behind the bows where a hatchway seems to lead down into the boat.
The other, shorter mast is just in front of the wheel house and there is a thin wire stretching between them from their very tips. Looking at the
stern Chris see’s the name in large block letters painted white over the green hull,
Carl notices that a truck parked next to the boat is full of huge blocks of ice which are being slid down a ramp to a gas engine ice grinder that is
chewing up then blowing the ice into a large hose which disappears into the boat. The whole thing sounds like a jet engine at full power. Arnie
see’s the look on Carl’s face and tells him, they are icing the hold, we are taking 75 tons.
When they get along side Carl drops his bags and looks around.
There is so much going on it is overwhelming his ability to digest what he is seeing. Never before has he seen anything remotely similar at any time,
As Carl gazes down on the work deck he noticed the men working on the Scallop Drags glancing at him now and then but no one is really paying him any
mind. He hears the ice grinder start to wind down and thinks, at least now I’ll be able to hear my own thoughts.
Carl then focuses on the two steel monstrosity’s hanging, one on each side of the boat that the deck crews are working on.
They look dangerous enough while the boat just sits calmly tied to the dock.
What’s it going to be like when the boat starts moving and rolling and these things start swinging around as they get hauled on and off the boat?
edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: words