24 Nov What’s in a Name Part II
What’s in a Name Part II
My hitchhiking friend has turned into a constant companion. How he hangs on out on the pulpit with webbed feet I can’t figure. It looks as if he’s here to stay.
If he’s going to be on a boat, he needs a name. I entered him in the log as PJ. Named after Pierre Joseph Floribert Blais. Pierre was a classmate of mine & a fighter pilot. Not just any old fighter jock, but Canada’s East Coast Air Demonstration Pilot. It was his job to show off the capabilities of the CF-18 Fighter over eastern N. America. Pierre was the best of the best in the Canadian Air Force.
His namesake aboard Seaburban would do Pierre proud. I watched him practice his carrier landings until he had it down cold. Crosswind, downwind then upwind legs, flaps full, gear down waiting & feeling for the arrester hook to grab the cable. It’s a thrill to watch him get it right, even with the boat pitching & rolling like mad and spray everywhere. When he did miss, his feet would beat the air In frenzy & then, full afterburner to go around again.
A sudden change in things brought me on deck last night at 0330. Winds to 30, beat headed up & pounding, foredeck covered in heavy spray, PJ gone. I heard a quack & there he was flying low just above the radar. I jumped below & turned on the spreader lights and before I got back in the cockpit, PJ had made his perch on the pulpit. Smiles all ’round. It’s not the takeoff but landings that are the hallmarks of a true fighter pilot. It’s the hunting & you would have to see PJ and his like with your own eyes to believe what they can do to nail a flying fish in full flight.
When he sees something worth chasing, PJ floats off & hammers the throttles wide-open. Within seconds he is full speed & inches off the water right on the tail of dinner. He skims it off the surface & then soars straight up, gulping whatever it was that didn’t see him coming. I’ve seen a few head-on passes that were successful as well as some full deflection shots but nothing so entertaining as PJ on some unfortunate flying fish’s six.
When he first arrived, I wonder if I would see him eat. It seemed all flapping and no food. Now, I wonder if I will ever see him stop.
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