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BigRed56 01-22-2002 11:19 AM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
Ahoy you sailnet groupies , have a care and lets hear tell of ye best snake story for big Red to hear. Aye I''ve got me own and up in Jeffs neck of the bay the be sure but ye go first and I''ll top ye all wit a laugh and the truth of it. Avast there knaves ye captain''s a waiting! Big Red 56 the Pirate of Pine Island.

Jeff_H 01-23-2002 02:49 AM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
I have owned boats for most of the time since I was 14. Except for very brief periods I have almost always had free or nearly free slips to keep my boats in. When you rely on the ''kindness of others'' (to quote Blanche DuBois), the so-called slips that are available are not always very desirable. In many cases, they were a bit shallow, or were just spots on docks not deemed to even be a slip without a bit of ingenuity, imagination and perhaps the addition of a pile or two.

Such was the spot that I was given to keep the first boat that I owned in Annapolis. The pier in question was ''Tee'' shaped and I was permitted to tie up between the end of the tee and the part of the pier that went back to shore. The boat in question was a fixed fin keel, C&C designed 22 foot daysailer, overnighter. She drew about 3 feet or so and the slip was deep enough for her once she was in but there was a small hump at the end of the tee that blocked me from getting in at low tide.

One day at very low tide I decided to do something about this hump. Using a pile jetting rig and a bucket, I walked out to the hump and began blowing out pieces of the hump and putting them in the bucket to be carried ashore. For those of you who are not familiar with a pile-jetting rig, the rig consists of a gasoline engine driven portable fire pump and a length of hose with long piece of galvanized pipe at the end. In this case the pipe was probably 16 feet or more in length.

So there I am up to my waist, or so, out in the creek and I look over to one side and see the water moving in this strange pattern and while I am looking I see this snake head rise a little and realize that I am looking at 4 feet or more ling snake. Without even thinking I turn the end of the pipe and blast the snake maybe 15 to 20 feet away.

I was new to the Chesapeake at the time and had not seen or heard of Chesapeake Bay''s black snakes. Nor had I heard of their strangely social behavior in mating season. Black snakes are quite big snakes but pretty docile and beneficial to the environment. Coming from Georgia at that point in my life, I had not heard of black snakes and in fact, I had been told that almost every snake that swims is venomous. Black snakes are not.

So after blowing the snake near back on to the beach. I watched to see what it would do and sure enough it came my way. I waited until the snake was just about in range and raised the pipe to blast it only the snake side stepped (so to speak) the end of the pipe and headed straight for me.

I dropped the pipe and ran for all I was worth out of the creek shouting "Sh*t Sh*t Sh*t", as the snake turned and seemed to follow me until I was safely ashore.

Once I was ashore I looked up to see Miss Liz and her two little girls picnicking at the top of the Bluff above where I was standing. It was through the kindness of Miss Liz and her husband Mike that my boat was tied up at the dock for free, and it was Mike''s pile rig that I was using. Miss Liz was a very proper ''Christian'' and who went to great lengths to raise proper young ladies. I was sure that they must have heard my profane utterances as I ran from the creek.

I shut off the jet pump and climbed up the Bluff to apologize. Miss Liz was up there wondering about why I had retreated from the creek so suddenly. I explained what happened and apologized for the profanity. Miss Liz was very gracious and said that is was perfectly OK since the jet pump''s little gas engine was so noisy that they had not heard a word of what I said.

With that the four-year-old says, "Mom, I heard what he said." and then paused long enough that both Miss Liz and I looked nervously at her, as she said "He said, ''Snake, Snake, Snake''". And while that was not exactly what I had said it was sure close enough.


BigRed56 01-31-2002 12:11 PM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
Ahoy me matey Jeff_, ye be a good lad to humor dis old salt wit yer tale. Ye be most helpfull in given me an answer to me own hump(namely my slip) and I be rigging a device for me dredging operation from the simple and effective tool you described. Avast there ye other swabs have it out wit yer story I be anxious to tell ye mine. Big Red 56 the Pirate of Pine Island.

EtherCat 01-31-2002 01:09 PM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
Well, this isnt a sailing story, but here goes:

Back in my younger days, when I was but a wee lad of 14 or so and just beginning to have adventures, I was involved with a group of rogue scoundrels known as the Boy Scouts.
While galavanting about the countryside in the Pennsylvania Appalachian Mountains with this band of ne''er-do-wellers, I harkened to a call of nature of the variety which requires what we affectionately called ATP, or All-Terrain-Paper.

Deciding that a crevice between two rocks was a suitable locale, I assumed the position. Not a moment later I heard a most unnatural sound, not unlike that of a drugged bullfrog. Turning my head slowly, I discovered thats exactly what it was, the largest bullfrog Id ever seen, most of the aft end of which was in the mouth of the largest water moccassin Id ever seen.

The frog stared at me with a glassy-eyed expression, the snake stared at me with an expression of pure purpose, and I stared back at both with an expression which must have belied my thoughts that its only this half-dead frog which stands between those venom-dripping fangs and my awkwardly balanced and completely exposed posterior.

After a moment of contemplating the wonders and mysteries of life, and deciding the farther away from that snake I was, the longer Id be able to continue such contemplation, I ran back to camp as fast as my pants-around-the-knees legs would carry me, and opened my handy Scout Manual to read about how to dig a cathole.

Its only at moments like this, I reflected later, that one feels truly and completely alive... especially when one comes to the sudden realization that this isnt necessarily a permanent condition.

BigRed56 02-01-2002 11:45 AM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
Ahoy ye scurvy knaves,bildge rats, deck hands and the like ere''s the story I promised ye so sit back and believe;

Tis a story of old I now tell ye all, twas the time when wood ships stilled sailed with the fleet, nary a rollerfurler nor boom vang was needed for windward beats. Of slick plastic ketches, double cabins there too, This tale not of ships, be it Dickerson''s they were, all six swung at anchor for the night was to fall. Not ships but the harm that befell, one simple young seamen, born red as hell. Bellies full, soon the stoves fires put out, Senior captains were called with wenches in tow,to partake of the rum, planning next morns passage, down the Potomic then home. Young sailors so banished to the old Bugeye they rowed,for a few rounds of cards, while the captains laughter arose. Twas somehere after ten bells when the shout of alarm twas screamed out, "Man bit by a serpent on board the Bugeye", seems the vicious creature under hatch he had hid, twas disturbed or injured when the hatch it was slid, his attack was twice had before the hand could draw back, then slithered in sight on cabin top, filled with delight. The captains now lifting thier heads from the brew, did reply " A portion of rum for the lad ought to do" , thier roars of high prof laughter echoing in the night. "Did ye kill it" came next joke casted his young way. The young sailor not amused at the disbelief of thier tone, snatched boat hook in hand , with malice indeed, put an end to the serpent,with many a swift blow. The sound of the boat hook biting into the deck,echoed loudly his reply,back into the night. Captains now awakened, the truth had for all, Surgeon though aboard, twas beyond him to treat, Blood flowing freely now , soaking the teak. Swift rowers were summoned, dim light from yon shore shone the way, a watchman aroused, a fast carriage brought around, loaded the poor lad now white , took off with a bound. The attendent was afraid of all serpents she said , as she tried to soothe the boy, "No worry from this one" the young sailor croaked out, holding up his grim prize to remove any dought. Poor lass she did fainted dead away, and alone in the back the young sailor lay. Tis true I not lie, believe it or not. The town of St. Mary''s gave comfort that night, in the wee hours of morn, he returned to his ship. "ye be not dead then?" the captains relieved, poured a tall rum for the lad, toasted him that they did, "Cheers for him that kills wit a hook" they all cried , slapping his back. Next day a new belt tied at his waist,the patch on his eye came much later e''re tell, snakes poision did harden his nerve, became as vicious as any, Big Red they now call him, mean as they come. Tis the truth I did tell ye, believe it or not!

The moral of this true story is take the snake with you so that the proper treatment can be made quickly. If it''s already bit you, send it to hell, you very well could be following it. How the snake came to be on the Bugeye Ketch is still a mystery.I call it fate. I was about 12 or 13 at the time and the annual Dickerson cruise had anchored in the St. Mary''s river off the Potomic. The College of St. Mary''s security guard called the ambulance(cell phones were not invented yet). I have lived a charmed life to this day.!!!! Big Red the Pirate of Pine Island.

halyardz 02-03-2002 12:36 AM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
Bilge rat here. Only one snake story and not as much of a good read as the above. There is an abandoned CG station on the Hudson and basically its now home to a bunch of rattlers and copperheads. And many years I''ve seen some boat, apparently without local knowledge, tie up there, which is verboten. Not that grilled rattlesnake tastes bad.

SeaPeach 02-19-2002 06:00 PM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale

clayton 02-20-2002 11:22 AM

Snakes!! A Pirates tale
There was a rattlesnake named Hector,
He loved a gal named diamondback Lil,
And every night at the top of the hill,
You could hear him sing to her:
That you should care for me"
"sssssssssssssawful nice"
"that we should feel this way"

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