Watch­ing the World go by with ‘ Way­farer’ .

Evergreen - - Contents -

Ispent a bright week­end do­ing a lit­tle is­land- hop­ping. As much fun as be­ing at sea is, leav­ing port and ar­riv­ing back in har­bour are al­ways the most ex­cit­ing bits for me. At one dock­ing in par­tic­u­lar my ex­cite­ment seemed to be shared.

A lit­tle lad — maybe four years old — had ar­rived on the har­bour­side with his grand­dad, pre­sum­ably to see the big boat come in. ( It was a small ferry, but to a four- year- old…)

Lean­ing on the rail­ing I watched him point, jump ex­cit­edly, ask his grand­dad a hun­dred ques­tions. And he hap­pily re­turned my wave.

When the crew need to tie the boat up to the har­bour, they don’t just throw those big hawsers over the side. They start by toss­ing a light rope to the har­bour- work­ers — this one had a knot the size of a ten­nis ball on the end. They use that to pull the much heav­ier hawser over to the bol­lard.

This time the rope landed be­tween the har­bour- worker and the lit­tle lad. The man got the nod he looked for from grand­dad and he, in turn, gave the nod to the boy. The boy ran over, grabbed the knot­ted end of the rope and put it straight into the har­bour- worker’s hands. The hawser ( along with its com­pan­ion from the stern of the ves­sel) was pulled across and tied off. Winches on board the ferry tight­ened the hawsers and the ferry was pulled se­curely against the rub­ber pads on the side of the har­bour.

As the pas­sen­gers disem­barked I heard the har­bour- worker tell the boy, “Look what we did!” The re­sul­tant smile was won­der­ful and I can only imag­ine that the self- be­lief in­spired would take a lit­tle boy a long way in life.

Team- work! It is of­ten at its best when it in­cludes some­one the team doesn’t re­ally need — when it thinks as much of build­ing the fu­ture as it does about be­ing strong in the present.

Near the back of the har­bour a man had some fancy cam­era equip­ment set up. It was aimed along the coast at some rocks. I squinted to see what could pos­si­bly be of in­ter­est out there. He saw my in­ter­est and mo­tioned me over.

“Looks com­pletely black, doesn’t it?” On the dig­i­tal screen of his cam­era was a cor­morant, bask­ing in the spring- time sun. It did, in­deed, look com­pletely black.

“But, look closer.” He pressed a but­ton re­peat­edly for a much closer shot. There was a white speckle at the back of its head, an or­ange sec­tion on the side of the beak, blue on its breast, brown wing- feath­ers tipped with blue or black, and its eyes were like emer­alds.

“Like peo­ple,” he said. “One thing from a dis­tance, usu­ally very dif­fer­ent when you get a closer look.”

I thought again of the rough, burly dock- worker. Some­one I might have crossed the road to avoid if I had seen him ap­proach from a dis­tance, but who must have seemed like a real hero to a lit­tle boy who got to see him close up.

LISA GEOGHE­GAN

Cor­morants — more in­ter­est­ing the closer you get.

JOHN HUS­BAND

A ferry packed with sight­seers leaves the har­bour at Torquay in De­von.

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