End of Chapter One, Beginning of Chapter Two

On a sunny (hot! hot! hot!) Sunday afternoon, we finally arrived at the boatyard in New Orleans. As we drove across the dusty gravel yard toward Cayenne, our new home, a tired, dejected fellow slouched his way across our path, hardly lifting his head to see who was about to run him over.

I was out of the car before we’d stopped, launching myself into a big sweaty happy bear hug. Just a few days before the one-year anniversary of his haulout, Brian’s crew and reinforcements had finally arrived.

The boat sat where I had last seen her in February, looking bigger than I remembered. Red on the top, gray on the bottom, she loomed over us. Bold white lettering on the bow proclaimed “Cayenne,” new since I’d last seen the boat.

It’s been a couple of days now, and I’m getting used to the rhythm here at the yard. The place is full of dozens of boats, some being worked on and some just sitting and waiting. At any moment, someone might drive up, jump out, and suddenly start working on a boat that had seemed abandoned.

The boat lives in an environment of air, water, and land. The land is gravel and dirt and pathetic grass, with boats and trucks and tools everywhere. A couple of hungry yard dogs wander about looking for handouts and the best place to lie in the shade. The water behind the boat is like a driveway, with regular visitors. This morning’s arrival was a houseboat owned by a couple from eastern Washington that had just come down the Mississippi. A few hundred yards away, on the larger, deeper canal, we watched the departure of the Atlantis, the vessel that discovered the Titanic. Our airspace was plagued this evening by a 737 doing touch-and-go landings, over and over. More pleasant were the huge flocks of migrating birds that swirled upward on thermals and then launched themselves across the sky to the next updraft.