Baiting for Cod
The northern Atlantic is a risky body of water to sail in October. The threat of hurricanes and furious storms are a constant fear and cause for anxiety.
Salty slept soundly the first night. Sleep never evaded him.
Salty awoke about a half hour after sunrise. He brought to the deck two coffees and two biscuits and they sat on deck together warmed by the early morning sun.
“I had a good night,” Rich said. “I wrapped in a blanket and dozed off a few times. I probably won’t need much sleep today.”
“Have you given thought to how long you want to stay in Bermuda?” Salty asked.
“Maybe a couple of days,” Rich said. “I really don’t know how well organized the people who White and Smithson are associated with. Franklin Stafford is a friend of White’s and I met him once. I was at a gathering at his place on the Cape. He’s a federal judge and I met a lot of influential people there – quiet and old money types. They talked about people as if moving boxes around. They don’t think of people as people. I don’t even think they think of themselves as people. I was very uncomfortable and said to myself I never wanted to be like them.”
“I know the type,” Salty said. “I’ve had to work directly for them, repair their boats. It’s a funny thing, they squeeze the lowest price for your work and add a couple of dozen things beyond what they wanted to begin with and expect you to do it for the same price. You work on their boat and they bring by a friend and they act like you’re their old friend. It’s like they’re saying ‘look at me I have working class friends and they respect me.’ That’s one reason why I moved to Monhegan. Hardly anyone knows I live there.”
“I’m going to take a reading and see if we should adjust our course,” Rich said.
Rich obtained a reading and spent some time at the chart table. He came out on deck.
“What are you doing?” Rich asked looking at Salty carving into a slimy squirmy mass.
“I got a squid,” Salty said. “I wrap this line around the squid and hook. You like cod?”
“Yeah,” Rich said
“Well, cod like squid,” Salty said. “I toss out the line and let it down about 50 feet and I catch us a cod for supper.”
“Burnt cod,” Rich said, “I can’t wait.”
“I catch it and clean it, you cook it and clean up,” Salty said and tossed the line from a six and half foot rod into the water.
“I’m going to turn in now,” Rich said. “I’ll be in my bunk in the forward-quarters.”
“Sleep well, captain,” Salty said.
Sleep did not come willingly to Rich. His thoughts were about White and Smithson. “How motivated are they. Am I clever as I think? Will Smithson or a lackey be waiting in Bermuda for us? Does Salty really have the stamina for this trip?”