Posted by: First Mate | April 12, 2010

Who do you trust?

In general, My captain and I are very trusting.  We donate freely and try to help people out.  I am more suspicious than he, but we both get conned on occasion.

Our most recent mishap involved our boat and access to it.  Advice I often give my friends is “never trust the person who first befriends you in a new situation because they always have an angle.” I should have heeded my own advice.

Upon bringing our new boat into port, lots of hands were ready to catch lines and welcome us.  Fantastic, we enjoyed this as we became accustomed to the fixed docks of our new harbor, our wide beam, high freeboard and visibility in a busy harbor with commercial and recreational vessels.  One “salty dog” with lots of experience was also willing to help out with other projects that we really wanted assistance with: dealing with a head problem (who doesn’t want help with this), rewiring and adding some electronic equipment and keeping an eye on the boat when we are away from it during the week.

Everything seemed great.  Weeks pass, I had done all the laundry from the crossing, cleaned out everything but still couldn’t seem to get that sweaty “man smell”  from our forward cabin?  My 5-year-old doesn’t smell like a man and neither do her stuffed animals?  I find work boots in one of our closets?  Hmm, must have been left from the crossing?  Should donate to a homeless guy in the park near our boat.  All or most of our rum is gone every Thursday or Friday we show up – along with some wine?  We are not big drinkers but take notice when 1/2 gallon of rum disappears in a week?  We reprimand our “salty dog” care taker and demand he replace the rum.  Salty dog is out of money so my captain pays him in advance to complete a job with our new expensive lines.  Then our food and beverages start slowly disappearing. Not enough to really notice but little by little – so I think it is me going nutty.

On a day when we have a tsunami warning and have to leave port – we rush out to buy extra diesel, fresh food, fill our water tanks and head out confident we have food for weeks.  I even gave the guys in the tourist boat next to us a bag of oranges and a dozen power bars knowing we have plenty of stored food on board.  When I finally do review our food storage to find only a few cans of dented beans, a can of peaches, some dried beans and rice, I am bewildered.  What happened ???  Oh well, off to Costco I go as the tsunami adventure dissipates into old news.

Over a period of weeks, my captain and I get into the “why did you leave the — on?” or where did you put my favorite soap? Who left this out? and the grossest and most dangerous from a medical-clinical perspective “what did you use my razor on – it is destroyed?”  But the straw that broke the camel’s back for me was Captain Bligh screaming at me about toilet paper… toilet paper again!  If you have read this blog before you know I am very careful about how much toilet paper I use!!  Captain Bligh was convinced it had to be our daughter.  Nope, she is more conservative about toilet paper than I.  A head is again clogged and the captain is forced to clean out the clog with his hands.  Another glamorous boat duty completed.

Rewind a few weeks: “salty dog” who often helps with our boat was living on and restoring an older, larger sail boat for an owner who lives out-of-town.  Owner arrives one afternoon and is furious – says “salty dog” destroyed his boat and did lots of things without his permission including allowing a homeless man and his dog to live on the boat.  When the boat owner approaches us we stand by “salty dog” and mention that during the tsunami his boat was taken out of port when the “salty dog” had the opportunity to take out other boats under his watch.  More chaos ensures, including some sort of arrest and my captain and I are shocked that the boat owner seems to be trying to destroy this hardworking salty dog’s lively hood of working on boats around the harbor. He drinks too much but has been good to us.

Weeks pass, I find small bits of dried sandwich cheese around the corners of our tiny galley.  We have a few more – “why did you do this?”
“I didn’t. ”
“Someone did and it wasn’t me,”  before my captain decides we will carefully collect our key without making a fuss.  We head over to the boat on a Thursday afternoon around 1:30.  We contact “salty dog”  via cell phone and let him know we forgot our keys – can he let us in?  “Salty dog” says he dropped his keys in the harbor but is having someone come dive for them. He also tells us how we can break into our own boat.  (danger Will Robinson – my daughter’s college fund is not so secure???)  Turns out we don’t need to break in – the doors are unlocked.

No one is on Air Bender and the floor mat inside the door is wet.  I take it and close pin it up on the boat lifelines while the we wait for “salty dog.”  Salty Dog arrives but key diver does not.  Mysteriously, captain finds keys and we leave after securing the boat.

We come back two days later to find the doormat inside the boat, an outer compartment unlocked with the lock on the deck, the toilet clogged and orange oil sprayed all over the wood on the inside of the boat and on the PERGO laminate flooring making it like a slip and slide.  Now my captain is furious: salty dog has taken advantage.  My Captain asked how he got on the boat – salty dog says “through an open hatch.”  Salty Dog is clearly told to not come on the boat anymore under any circumstances.

We will keep you posted.  And I still have those boots.



  1. Anne, your story is more common than you’d think. Boats are easy to break in to – I teach people how to protect their boats. The Salty Dog isn’t. He’s a typical alcoholic wharf rat. He’s a user of hospitible people. He’ll be harder to get rid of than head lice. For very little money, set up a motion detector camera and watch out. By the way, don’t tell anyone about the camera. The DVD’s will be needed in court later. By the way, he see’s your boat as the Waldorf Astoria – which is better than the beach he’s used to. Cynical? You bet your ass I am. Capt. Ron

    • Anne, WOW! What a story. Love the motion detector camera idea.

  2. Harbor rats!

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