On the Columbia River, just a bit down from our club is an old powerboat on the hook. I noticed this boat a couple of weeks after we bought Whisper, our Newport 30. After a few trips up to the club I began to look for this old beat up boat.
I’ve been watching it now for several years and it’s interesting to see the progress the guy is making. His first dinghy appeared to be several small Styrofoam ice chests, duct taped together and tied to the starboard side of what looked like a derelict boat. We knew by the soft glow of a lantern in the cabin that someone lived there.
A couple years ago we were surprised to find the boat gone. Our thought was that the US Coast Guard had told him to move. After all, he’d been on that hook for a very long time. We were a bit sad that he was gone, as we’d started becoming curious about his story.
Then suddenly he was back and on the hook in the same spot again. This time his dinghy is improved although it still looks like something he’s whipped up. You know, ice chest covered with tarp and duct tape.
The boat is cleaner now and in the winter sports a tarp over the cockpit. I’ve seen him in the summer and he’s not a youngin’. We’ve pondered his plight and I’ve wondered if he has a heat source on board. It gets pretty cold here in the winter.
Part of me would like to row over in our dinghy and chat. I’ll bet he’s an interesting story. Maybe he’s a burned out trader who lost everything. Maybe he’s very wealthy but fed up with the rat race and dropped out. Maybe he’s saving money to buy that blue water boat we all dream of.
Whatever his story, I find myself fascinated by him and his boat. I also find myself wanting to leave something on the shore for his boat, although I haven’t a clue what he could use….
Whatever his story, I wish him the best as a live aboard on the hook in the waters of the Columbia River.
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