It was in 1975. I was a Sea Scout then, before the mast and just learning the ropes, cruising to Canada aboard the ol’ schooner “Truant”. Well, we got to Saint Johns NB and tied up at the government pier to wait for slack water in Reversing Falls. The rest of the crew decided they were going into town to check out the new movie “Jaws” at the local theater. Well that wasn’t for me so I decided to stand watch aboard.
Some time later, the skipper comes on deck and espies me sitting at the wheel playing my harmonica. Now, Capt. P.T. Harling was not the most pleasant skipper in the North Atlantic, nor was he in any particular good humor at that moment.
“Where in the hell is the rest of the crew?” he growled.
After I informed him of their likely whereabouts, he barked at me to go find out what time we should make through the falls. I threw myself below into the aft cabin and located the tide chart. I looked at the time for the falls for that day and reported the same to him.
“Well, go get them the hell out of the movie house and back here on the double”
“Aye, aye sir!” and off I scrambled! I met the crew coming down the pier and told them all that we needed to go, in a hurry and soon we were all back aboard and getting underway.
Yet, something was bothering me as we motored toward the falls and by the time I figured it out, it was too late for Truant’s motor to pull her out against the current.
Perhaps I’d forgotten to take into account Daylight Savings time or didn’t figure the time zone change into my calculation. Likely both. Either way, as we came around the turn and squared away for the falls, it looked as if we were going over the edge of a cliff!
White Water rafting in an ancient wooden Grand Banks fishing schooner! If you’ve never tried it before, I strongly recommend it! No amusement park ride could ever come close to that adrenalin rush! In fact, the only thing that ever sucked my nads further in was the lashing I got from the skipper afterwards!
Fortunately, we all lived another day, a bit wiser for it all.
"Who would go to sea for pleasure
would go to hell for pastime."