Liberty Bay Sea Stories

Living close to any body of water nets a supply of stories that continue to swim in and out of our conversations for years. My son remembers the stench of the gray whale he saw close up from a small boat when he was about eight years old. I remember watching an eagle on East Bay of Budd Inlet kill and tear apart a gull on an otherwise beautiful and festive Thanksgiving Day. People in Kingston will be telling the floating cow story (described in my May 5, 2012 post) for years.

When former neighbors visited from Minnesota last fall, I couldn’t resist asking Harry to tell Jim, another neighbor, and me the story of the first day they moved into their rental house on the water, right next door to Jim and his wife, Lorraine. That evening one of Harry’s friends who was visiting forgot to set the emergency brake of his Volkswagon Squareback when he parked in the sloping driveway.

You guessed it–it rolled into the bay. Midnight. Harry says that at the time television ads claimed that Volkswagons floated in water, but, he added, “only for a short time.” Jim and Lorraine were celebrating a family wedding with a big party and a houseful of guests when Harry knocked on their door.

“Jim loaned us a thick rope to stabilize the car until the tow truck came. The tide was going out and three of us guys had all we could do to keep it from going out further.”

Jim chuckled as Harry concluded the story, “That was quite a party!”

The “Live-Aboards,” those hearty souls who live on their boats at a nearby city marina, always have stories to share. Years ago, we attended an “open boat” party to celebrate Gary and Judy’s big new sailboat. Madeline, another guest sitting next to me, told me the story about the night that Judy’s folks made a surprise visit to the new boat. It was a moonless night, and Judy’s mom, with her arms full of grocery bags, strode down the dock and walked right off the end of it and splashed into the water.

“She came up after what seemed forever,” said Madeline, “and you know, she never let go of her bags!” She broke two ribs getting out of the water and back onto the dock, but once in the boat, she proceeded to lay out and dry her food coupons.

What’s your sea story?

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