Christmas 1996 (?)

July 9, 2015 | Mark Dewey

It was Christmas morning and blowing a gale. The barometric pressure was near a record low. The Robert Noble was lurching at the dock on the Island. The crew was myself and Erik Foss. Arnie Foss called the office and asked if we needed another deck hand. I said "sure!" Dick Purinton said "I haven't seen it like this since the day the Edmund Fitzgerald went down. Well, might as well give it a try." We left the dock and by the time we got to the tripod we were really rolling. We tried to stay in the lee of Plum but were catching blue water over the bow and the pilot house windows were freezing up with spray. I went on the upper deck to try to scrape the windows so Erik could see. Arni was keeping me from falling over the railing in the swells. When I went back into the wheelhouse, Arni Richter was on the radio asking how it was going and were we going to turn around. I asked Erik. He said "what do you think?" I was a newly minted Captain and knowing that Erik was one of the best the Ferry Line had to offer I said "if you have to ask me then, yes we should turn around." So we did. When we got back to the Island dock, the few cars we had on were covered in ice and the occupants had no idea at which dock we had landed. Although it was Christmas, and the passengers had family to visit, no one complained that we were unable to make the crossing. They were just happy to be on dry land!

<< See all stories