05 June 2013

iPhone and Boat Docking



I love Montauk but … .

It’s June 1st, raining, cold (we have the heat on), wind is blowing 20 knots gusting to 30, small craft warnings are posted.  We sit home by the fireplace.  The fish, of course, love this weather.

But even before the storm, the fish were on strike.  Not sure why.  I certainly am feeding them. Of course,  like so many other things in life, the offered goodies have a hook in ‘em, but do the fish know that, y’think?  Boy, do I love being outsmarted by a critter with a brain smaller than a grain of rice.

Okay, the good people at the Gone Fishing Marina have uncovered, bottom-painted, cleaned, buffed, and relaunched Stella Maris, and transferred command of the vessel to her lawful Captain.  C’est moi.  Who does not love being called “Captain” on the VHF?   (How many of you remember the joke that goes with the punch line, “Yes, boychik, but by a keptin are you a keptin?”  No? Well, perhaps another time then.)
Bottom line, being called a Captain is easy. Being a Pilot is hard.

I am determined to get my boat out of her slip without banging into something. Failed that test the first two tries this year. All that technology and they haven’t yet developed a boat that turns properly? I mean, c’mon: Google has developed a driverless automobile, yet the marine industry is still building boats designed so that when you are going forward and turn the steering wheel to the right, the boat moves to the left?  Huh?  Worse still, it’s the back of the boat that moves!  Who looks backward when driving forward?  No wonder I keep hitting things. The only thing I can’t figure out is why this seems to happen only to me. Does everybody else’s boat have some technological advance mine lacks?

Back in May (for some reason, this year May made one think of Spring while June seems to be heading back to April) I was awakened by bright light at 5:30 ayem. Gasp, the sun rises earlier here at the eastern edge of the time zone.  The flag was actually hanging limp on the flagpole  and I was determined to get out there and put some salt on the windshield. (Actually, I hate when that happens. Can’t see a bloody thing, and the wipers just smear it around and make things worse. Sort of like cleaning your eyeglasses with vaseline.)  So I boogied down to the boat, cast off the lines, and caromed my way out of the marina (right turn, left turn, right turn) and spent the day catching lots of fish who accepted my bait only because they damn well knew their season was closed until July 15, when, of course, they would stop biting.

By noon, the tide ran out of steam. Me too.

Whereupon I returned to picturesque Montauk Harbor, bounced my way back through the marina maze, put Stella into her slip, tied up all six lines (two each of spring, breast, bow) and put technology to work at last: I sat in my cockpit chair, swiveled to face the sun, and deployed my new iPhone to assure Pinks of my safe return.  She worries when I go to sea alone. (Mermaid Phobia?)  

To show off my techno-savvy, I decided to send her a text message. (I know, I know, the children have been doing this for years, but I just learned how to do this last month.) Texts and emails are a challenge to me on the iPhone because I find it painfully slow to type on that little screen. So I use the microphone icon at the bottom to dictate into text. Not perfect, but still impressive, and much easier for me than fussing with that organized collection of oversize dust motes Apple calls a keyboard.  

What I dictated to Pinks was: “Tied up at dock. All is well.”   Sigh, Google may be able to deliver Google Glass, but what Apple delivered was, “Collided at dock. All is hell.”

I can not decide whether my iPhone is, like me, simply a klutz, or it is some creepy artificial-intelligence superspy.  Whatever.  Next time I tie up I am using the marina payphone.

A bientot.