We moved to the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina in June of 2017. On one side, we have great neighbors – a couple with two little girls. He is in the military and she’s a nurse and they homeschool their children like we do. They’re live-aboards, too, so we can always count on each other if anyone is in need. (I.E. “Do you happen to have any tomatoes? I didn’t make it to the store.” or “Um, is that your high water alarm I hear?!” or “Rhonda! Come quick! Donnie’s having a seizure!!”
On the other side lived a large, lonely, vacant sailboat, sitting idle and bored most days, and helpless and alone against the elements when storms blew through. When Hurricane Irma hit, we did what we could for all of our absent neighbors, including the unknown owners of the ghost boat. We secured lines, checked for loose objects that might fly away, and took any other safety measures necessary to ensure nobody’s boat sank on the dock. And, only one did.
One night during a storm, a halyard came loose on the ghost boat and it was clanging VERY LOUDLY at bedtime. I sent Max over there and he hopped onboard to secure it. That’s perfectly acceptable on docks. Nobody minds if a respectful neighbor jumps on their boat to fix something that’s broken.
When Tropical Storm Alberto hit, we noticed the marina had installed a pump on the ghost boat. It was taking on water in all the rain. Also, over the months, it had grown a lovely coat of green algae on the sides. We didn’t care. We’re not picky about how our neighbors’ boats look. However, it was sad to see that poor vessel being neglected.
We often wondered who owned it, and asked ourselves why somebody would pay monthly marina fees for a boat they never used. Once, we found a new hose on the dock by the ghost boat. Somebody had come by, but hadn’t introduced themselves. A few weeks ago, the algae on the boat disappeared. Poof! It was clear the ghost boat had a ghost owner…that nobody could see!
Then, yesterday, I was sitting in the floating home office, tapping away on my laptop, when something caught my eye through the port. I looked up and that ghost boat was RIGHT NEXT TO US! I mean REALLY CLOSE! My first thought was, “Holy (bleep)! We broke loose from the dock!” But, before I even had time to jump, I realized the ghost boat was MOVING. Our loud air conditioner in here was drowning out any outside sounds.
I bolted to the port, and stared as the ghost boat pulled out, turned south, and motored around the end. And, they didn’t return.
Never met ’em. Never knew ’em. But, we were happy to babysit their boat while they were gone.
I hope they have amazing adventures and I’m certain their beautiful vessel is very happy to be back on the water. We no longer have to feel sorry for that beautiful, lonely lady. She has her blue water life back!
Got an update on the ghost boat. They just moved her one dock over. Pfffttt!!!
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Angela Hoy lives on a mountain in North Georgia. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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Could it be a stolen vessel?
It sounds like a John Grisham novel I read last year.