October 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Best Summer Job Ever: Schooner Bum

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My name is Aiden Ford.  I am a junior this year and this past summer I had the incredible experience of working on the schooner Isaac H. Evans.  It’s very hard to describe to anyone other than someone who works on a boat just how much work is involved with this job, and after I’m finished listing just a few of the jobs you might wonder why on earth someone might want to do this.  Working on a schooner entails sanding, painting, varnishing, sanding and painting again, cleaning cabins, a galley (kitchen), and the dock building, scrubbing the deck, the hull, and the sole, polishing the stove and brass, painting, sanding, painting, oiling, slushing, tearing, scraping, anti-rusting, cooking, setting up, taking down, washing dishes, putting away, taking out, fixing and tightening, disinfecting, dusting, and degunking, not to mention all the physical everyday lifting like hauling lines, hoisting, raising and lowering sails, raising anchor (yes, it’s manual), raising and lowering the smaller boats, catting the anchor, flaking chain, coiling and moving lines, furling sails, and tacking the boat to actually make the whole thing move.  If this is hard to get a grip on, think about doing it in all kinds of weather; rain, heat, cold, wind, dark, light, sun, and hail.  It goes without saying that mass amounts of caffeine were consumed throughout the summer.  Imagine a floating hotel and entertainment center in a campground on the water.  This is the life of a “schooner bum”.

You may ask why I do this, why I put myself though lack of sleep, work for eighteen hours a day every day for three months, for not even a third of minimum wage.  Well, it’s hard to say.  Is it the incredible and indescribable sights that nature lays out before me like my own magical museum that lets me enter the paintings?  Sights like the entire sky being flooded with red and speckled with blue cotton candy clouds, waking up at three in the morning on a sea so calm that it mirrors the starry sky perfectly so the boat looks like it is at anchor in the sky, swimming at nine PM in Clam Cove while the water is lit up with plankton that glow so you are swimming in glitter.  Or is it the close family bond that develops within the crew?  Maybe the intense calmness and wisdom of the schooner itself?  Who knows.  All I know is that I am truly in love with it and will do it until the end of my days.  It’s rare that a high schooler finds their passion and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to get out of school early to do this.  It is not only the best summer job, it’s becoming my whole world.

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