Good Night Ginger Lee

“The fog will clear. I’m sure of it,” I said, glancing toward the western sky and the expanding brilliant blue.
“The seas should be less than one foot. We got radar and AIS, so we’re going anyway.”
It’s early morning in Wareham Massachusetts. For the last time in the 2016 boating season, the XO drops the mooring pennants into the chilly waters of Swifts Neck. I slowly back the old Trojan away, then turn her bow toward Wareham Harbor. We need to pump out the holding tank at Zecco’s Marina, and empty our fresh water tanks as well, lest pipes will freeze and burst over the long, cold, winter. It’s that time of year again when we make our annual pilgrimage to New Bedford Harbor, and put Ginger Lee into hibernation at the Moby Dick Marina in Fairhaven Massachusetts.

The Hurricane Barrier.

The trip usually takes between 3 and 4 hours. Today we are lucky. Flat seas and a gentle pushing current brought us to the New Bedford Hurricane Barrier in three hours and fifteen minutes. But the trip is far from over. The marina is at the farthest end of this huge harbor and there is a swing bridge to wait for. I contact the bridge operator on channel 13.
“New Bedford Bridge. This is motor vessel Ginger Lee approaching from the Hurricane Barrier. What time will you open Sir? Over.”
“Ginger Lee. We will open at quarter past the hour. Pass through the western channel behind fishing vessel Justice”
“Solid copy Bridge. Ginger Lee out.”

The swing bridge.

At exactly quarter past, a siren sounds, gates come down across the road, and the old bridge slowly swings open. The bridge operators voice crackles over the radio.
“The New Bedford Bridge is now open to marine traffic.”
F/V Justice moves through and I follow. There are no other boats in line. When clear I key the mic and announce it.
“Ginger Lee clear. Thank you Sir. Have a nice day. Over and out.”
“You too Ginger Lee. Bridge out.”

Barge and tug.

We Traverse the dredged channel, take a right around Riverside Cemetary, and slowly approach the Moby Dick Marina face dock. It’s shallow here, probably mid tide. The XO has a concerned look on her face as our props kick up goo and mud. I pull it a tad to starboard and the mud stops swirling. Always an adventure docking here after mid tide. The XO has a line cleated to the bow and run along the port side gunwale, and a stern line coiled and ready. She is standing on the swim platform. When I bring the boat near, she simple steps off onto the dock with the stern line in hand, cleats it, then walks up the dock to the bow, grabs the line from the gunwale, and cleats that as well. Easy peasy.
“We’re in,” she says over my headset.
“Alright hon. Shutting down.” I answer and turn off the diesels for their six month rest. They’ve earned it.

On the face dock. Note how shallow it is.

That’s it. That’s all she wrote for the 2016 boating season. Thank you Neptune, for not claiming our boat, and for keeping us safe another year.

Good night Ginger Lee.

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