It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


A lonely climb, non-writer [LF2021]

page: 1

log in


posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 01:05 PM
Part 1

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 Hill.
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 Pier3.

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,
“Sea Trek”.

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, any where.

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

posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 01:08 PM
Part 2

Carl has no idea what they weigh but he is sure their weight is measured in tons, and what about when they are full of the rocks he’s heard tell about?
Shaking his head over all this Carl shivers and thinks, these things can hold A LOT of rocks!

Suddenly a guy appears out of nowhere directly below Carl all covered head to toe in oil, grease and who knows what other kind of Filth.
He smiles up at Chris and turning his head he yells out, hey Skipper, the shore engineer didn’t leave me any raycors or filters for the main, I gotta run to the Co-Op, I need rags too.
Ray yells back, make it quick and taps the head of a deck hand who is bending over near him with wrench in hand, working on some part of the mammoth Scallop Drag.
Go with the chief Arnie barks, he needs filters.

Without a word the guy tosses the wrench on a hatch cover and climbs off the boat like a monkey off a jungle gym. In two leaps the dirty guy that smiled up at Carl is standing a foot away from him.
Sticking out his hand he says, I’m Phil the engineer, I’m going to be the one trying to keep you from killing yourself this trip.
With a big smile and a teasing kind of twinkle in his eye he turns and trots off up the dock with the guy sent to help him in tow.

Lost in a kind of day dream Carl gets yanked back to Earth for a moment when Arnie hollers up at him, Get your gear down forward while pointing to that hatchway just in front of the mast. Cookie will get you squared away with a rack, he’s down below storing the grub and fixing a meal. Make up your bunk and when your gear is stowed come back aft, meet me up in the wheelhouse.

Carl doesn’t react right away because he’s thinking again.
What am I doing here? I feel like I’m getting ready to leave the planet.
I’m leaving to go to one of the most dangerous places on Earth for 10-12 days with 11 maniacs who can barely speak english. What am I doing???
Carl was trying to decide right then and there wether he really wanted to go through with this mission his editor had sent him on.

Arnie, a seasoned Skipper must have seen it in Carl’s face because he didn’t say another word. Carl had to work this out for himself. This is something that is seen playing out alongside boats that are ready to sail all the time.

Carl was snapped out of his dream state as Phil came back with the supplies.
When Phil asked Carl, you coming or what it must have burst his bubble of doubt because he yells out, Hell Yeah!
Phil jumped to the deck and said to Carl, hand me your bags and those boxes.
When it was all on deck Phil tells Carl, I’ll check with you in a bit I got stuff to do.
Go forward and find Johnny, I talked with him about you, Johnny’s cool he’ll steer you right! He’s a hell of a cook, hope you like breakfast!
With that the chief disappeared into the beating heart of this fishing machine.

Grabbing his bags Carl stumbled his way forward around the hatch and across the deck trying to avoid bumping into the men doing their work. Not a single one even glanced at him until he set a bag on the forward hatch and came face to face with the First Mate, Paul.
Paul had been in the galley with the cook and when he popped up on deck with a scowl and that shiny bald head Carl’s heart froze. Without a word Paul went around the other side of the hatch and disappeared back aft. Phew, leave the mate be! No problem Skipper!!!

Looking down the hatch into the Foc’sle from the bright daytime deck was like looking into a black bottomless pit. Carl was very happy when a smiling face appeared at the bottom, it was Johnny the cook.
Johnny said welcome aboard, hand me down your gear, I got a rack all set up for you. It was after Carl had climbed down the ladder that he realized how much his heart had been pounding.

Carl was amazed how much fit into this little triangle space.
There were 10 bunks that lined the sides of the V shaped bow. Between them was a triangle table that had folding edges that could be lowered and the benches running along the bottom of the lower bunks doubled as storage.
Behind and to the left and right of the ladder was the galley itself.
To the right facing forward was a very large flat top grill and oven where all cooking got done.
The galley stove also supplied the heat to the Foc’sle during the cold months of the year. There was a rather small refer/freezer of to the left, a full length mirror on the wall and also a single tiny sink with mirror where guys washed and shaved.
Directly behind the ladder was a large double sink and counters on each side.

Johnny pointed Carl’s rack out to him and he tossed his bags in it. Looking around he asked the cook, where is the head and shower?
Head, shower roared Johnny?!?!
There’s no head, just a ####er back aft and if you want a shower use the deck hose. Pointing to the tiny sink he said, that’s were you can do your face if you want. Carl aghast, Johnny laughed till he cried.
This ain’t no cruise my friend, cookie roared between lungful’s of air as he tried not to choke or piss himself while laughing.
Carl got his rack squared away with some advice from Johnny and remembered Arnie telling him to come to the wheelhouse.

Just then Carl heard a loud roar and a deep rumble then passed under his feet and with bug eyes he looked at Johnny half panicked, what the hell was that?
Johnny was again laughing so hard he could barely speak.
Phil fired up the main was all he could get out and with a grumble Carl left him there to cry/laugh as long as he needed.

Later on in the trip Carl learned from the chief that the Main Engine was a V16 399D Caterpillar engine with 1,100 shaft horsepower and it had no problem guzzling 1,000 to 1,300 gallons of 2-oil per day. Alongside the main were two V8 60 KW Caterpillar generators, etc. A typical engine room aboard a big trawler.

The gang had cleaned up much of the deck but the drags were still hanging as Carl climbed the Starboard ladder to the wheelhouse. Arnie was hanging out the window so Carl just stayed on the top rung to chat with the Skipper.
Arnie asked him if he was settled and if he got seasick. I don’t know answered Carl, I’ve never been on so big a boat and I’ve never been on the open sea.
Arnie chuckled as he pulled his head back in the wheelhouse to check his charts and Carl heard these words come from inside, “You’ll be pukin”! followed by hearty laughter.

Carl wondered how much he would be laughed at over the coming days.
Oh well he thought, it’s better than making people cry. Carl wondered if he’d be the one crying.
Carl wandered around looking here and there discovering things he’d never seen before, things he could not begin to fathom, neither what they were for or how they worked.
He was intrigued with where they shucked the Scallops, it seemed simple enough as he looked over the long boxes that held all those clams.
Cutting the meat out of the Scallop and tossing the shells and the rest of it out the windows that sat in front of the box seemed simple enough.
Carl was wrong, it was not so simple.

a reply to: PiratesCut

edit on 08-19-2021 by PiratesCut because: words

posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 01:36 PM

off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


(post by SecretKnowledge removed for a manners violation)

posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 03:03 PM
Well, you've got me intrigued. ..hook, line and sinker. Would like to read the rest of the story. Mind your P's and Q's and membership here isn't in question.

posted on Sep, 26 2021 @ 08:22 PM
a reply to: SecretKnowledge

Check your PM's Please...

edit on 9/27/2021 by JohnnyAnonymous because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 27 2021 @ 03:33 AM
Any MOD, please delete this OP.

Thank You!

a reply to: PiratesCut

posted on Sep, 27 2021 @ 07:32 PM
a reply to: PiratesCut

Don’t know what happened here- I really enjoyed your story; I feel like there is a part 3? If you got discouraged; please don’t be....

edit on 27-9-2021 by Onlyyouknow because: (no reason given)

new topics

top topics


log in