It is a breezy day, winds solid in the low teens with gusts above 20. It is also overcast and gray with cool temperatures and rain closing in. It has rained a lot since we have been here. There are friends here with us now, friends we may not see again for a long time. Soon we will be heading north for a week's visit with Daughter Middle and Grand Kids Five. With them will be Son-in-Law and his folks, who are good friends that we miss as well. All in all good reasons to have been in Stuart for lo these many days.
Still, I must admit to being a bit restless. This is not my favorite anchorage. The water isn't very clear. The weather has been less than stellar. Last night was yet another where much sleep was lost to blowing winds causing the boat to slew around and pull hard on the anchor snubber, which provokes loud moans of protest that echo through the v-berth. There is very little wildlife; a stray dolphin once in a while and a few birds is about it. There are train noises and bridge noises and sirens, power boat wakes, jet ski antics and, today, a crazed fisherman.
As mentioned, Kintala's deck monkey has been feeling a bit confined. So early this afternoon, trying to fend off a growing boredom coupled with a bit of a headache due to too little sleep and too much motion, I settled onto the settee and popped a newly acquired CD of ALIEN into the Dell's drive. Just as crewman Cane was sitting down to his last meal a loud “clunk” shuddered through Kintala's hull and past my ear buds. (The Admiral, also boat bound, does not care for ALIEN.)
"What the hell was that?”
It didn't sound particularly destructive so I hit the “pause” button before scurrying up the companionway. And there, drifting inches from our port bow, was the pontoon boat that had just bounced off of us. In its bow (Front?) stood the only occupant, fishing pole still in hand. What the hell?
"Sorry, I am trying to land this fish.”
Trying to land a fish? The wind is blowing to 20 knots and this wanker drifted through an obvious anchorage and whacked into a 42 foot sailboat because he was trying to land a fish? If the fool hadn't been standing just feet from me, still wrestling with his line, I would not have believed anyone claiming to be that stupid.
"I didn't do any damage.”
This he offered now drifting away from our stern on a course directly at the boat anchored down wind of us. He would have made it two for two if Deb had not pointed it out to him. Me? I was still muttering something along the lines of, “You bounced your 'tuner boat off my anchored hull in 20 knots worth of wind while trying to catch a fish?”
Now I wouldn't want to disparage all fishermen. My Grandfather was an avid fisherman. So was my Father-in-Law, who was also one of my favorite people as well as being a Dean at Pittsburgh University's school of Electrical Engineering. So I know, as a rule, fisherman have an IQ much higher than that of the wet, wiggling things they are trying to catch. But today the exception that makes the rule was out, unsupervised, blundering around the St. Lucie river, and clearly off his meds. (Or on the sauce, not sure which.)
Pole still in hand he fired up his outboard and moved just far enough across the wind to miss the second boat. Then he shut down and went back to his Santiago-like tussle with his marlin-like fish. In his misfiring mind he must have thought he had a catch worthy of Hemingway on his line, right? One would have to be an epic kind of crazy to bounce off of anchored boats just to land a six inch perch. By this time I had shaken out of my daze. Deb jotted down the boats registration number just in case we need to track down an insurance company, then watched through binoculars as he drifted clear of the anchorage and out into the channel standing, once again, at the bow. Boats went by him, port and starboard, completely unheeded.
It is my experience that most displays of pure idiocy (not counting Presidential elections) are short-lived. This guy though, was clearly in a class of crazy all of his own. After bouncing off of us and just missing a second anchored boat, it took nearly another 20 minutes of drifting through a busy channel for his catch of a lifetime to spit his hook and swim away. (Or maybe a shark ate it.) Then, amazingly, he motored back toward Kintala.
The fish took a turn? Shit happens? What? Am I supposed to think the fish pulled his boat into mine? That it was, you know, just one of those things that could happen to anyone. What color is the sky in the world this guy inhabits, and how did I get dragged into it? But it got even better when I asked for his name and phone number.
I am Dr... phone number...
Doctor? This lunatic is a Doctor? I ended up just staring at him, defeated. Before me was a mountain of inanity so massive as to be beyond my verbal climbing abilities. Clearly, nothing I could say would ever penetrate a skull so thick. Sixty plus years I have walked the planet, spared, fought with, insulted, been insulted by, and traded barbs with knaves, fools, imbeciles, and rouges, only to be rendered speechless by a Doctor who crashed his 'tuner into me because he was trying to land lunch. I may never recover.
I went below and returned to the much more rational universe of a nearly naked Ripley crawling into a spacesuit to blow an acid dripping alien out an airlock.