Farewell party

Carol has rented an office space on Fish Island here in New Bedford, so she has a place to show the composting toilets she imports from Sweden. The office is in a small building that sits just a few feet from the water, so Carol has a phenomenal view of the working waterfront: barges, tugboats, and other boats are often moored right outside her windows, and she has an amazing view of the waterfront from Kelley’s boatyard on the Fairhaven side, to Palmer Island lighthouse, to the ferry terminal on the New Bedford side. Because of the fantastic view, we’ve taken to calling the office the Fish Island Yacht Club.

Tonight, the Fish Island Yacht Club (FIYC) hosted the farewell party for Tugboat Captain John, who will be heading back to Haiti on Tuesday at the helm of the tugboat Chicopee. As the official chaplain of FIYC, I blessed Captain John’s journey, calling for smooth waters and fair winds all the way through the Caribbean. There were toasts, of course — another member of the Chicopee’s crew offered a toast, and one or two of John’s landlocked friends in New Bedford offered toasts.

After the toasts, John said in his singsong cadence, “I’ve been here four — no! four and a half months. I walked up today into New Bedford, and looked at how beautiful it was — the trees, all yellow.” Conrad from the salvage yard, who moved up here from the islands twenty years ago, said, “If you stayed for winter, mon, you wouldn’t think it was so pretty!” We all told John that he was leaving at the best time of year, when New England is at its prettiest, before it gets cold and miserable. “No,” he said, “I wish I came up here now, and stayed for four and a half months over the winter.” We all got kind of quiet at that; we’re going to miss Captain John.

Anyway, Annie, who owns the building up the street from us, gave John a big hug. Davison cooked up grilled vegetables and salmon and sausages on the grill. Mystic, who works on a swordfish boat, said he wished he had brought over some swordfish, but there was too much food as it was. John got in a long conversation with Dave, who works at the sewage treatment plant, while the rest of us stood outside on the deck watching the harbor change color as the sun set and the sky grew dark.

Farewell, Captain John; and I mean it about the smooth waters and fair winds.

2 thoughts on “Farewell party

  1. jmelissab

    I understand Captain John’s fascination. I was in the Worcester/Northborough area a couple of weeks ago. Without any time to drive and see the area, I could only admire places on the Massachusetts map that I wanted to see. New England in fall is spectacular. Winter there must be even greater still.

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