This is a contradiction, isn’t it? What’s so happy about a day that is cursed with bad luck? Well, I beats me. I was just trying to be optimistic.
Vince doesn’t believe in bad luck and thinks these superstitions, like the ones I mentioned in last week’s blog, are hogwash. Then Vince accidentally kicked his shower kit and broke a mirror; 7 years bad luck. That same day, he broke his toe (possible the same one he kicked the mirror with). How can he still claim that superstitions are hogwash? I don’t know either.
We are sailing down the east coast this winter, trying to get to the Bahamas. Currently, we are stuck in Stuart, Florida. It’s a nice enough town and all. Folks are real friendly and helpful, the marina is very nice, but the water is cold and brackish and we want to go snorkeling. We planned to come here for a week or two to get some work done on the boat then keep heading south. That was a month ago. And we still don’t know when we are going to be able to leave. We just keep getting held up, we wait for parts, we fix one thing, another thing breaks, then the weather turns, etc. You name it. It looks like the wait is finally coming to an end and we should be able to leave here in the next day or so. But, despite how badly I want to get going again, we can’t leave port on Friday. I won’t do it. Especially, Friday the 13th. We can go as late as 11:59 on Thursday or as soon as 12:01 on Saturday. But. Not. On. Friday. Do you know what boat left of Friday and sunk? Yup. The Titanic.
Which brings me back to why fishermen are so superstitious. My theory is this. Commercial fishing is unpredictable at best. There’s no real denying that. So, you are careful as can be, then just hope for the best. And while a lot of being successful has to do with skill, a lot also had to do with dumb luck. See, there it is again.
I mean, sometimes, your net is just in the right place at the right time. And you load up, for no reason that you can reasonably take credit for. I over slept one morning, my ass dragging behind me. I stumbled down to the docks, got aboard my boat and ran out to the fishing grounds, late. The beach was crowed, as it usually is 10 minutes before an opener, so I kept running east to get on the other side of the fleet. I stopped when no one else was to the east of me. I thought, this is ridiculous, I’ll never catch anything out here. But, the opener had started and if I’ve only learned one thing from fishing, it’s that if you net is not in the water, you don’t catch anything. So I set my gear. I had 300 my first set (which is a really good set!) Dumb luck. It doesn’t take skill to be lazy and over sleep.
Which brings me to my other point. There is just so much about fishing that is out of our control. I mean, you get yourself a good boat, the best you can afford, take care of it, get yourself some nets, some fowl weather gear, a survival suit, and the rest is up to chance. The weather is out of your control, so are tides, tsunamis, other boats, and the amount of fish you catch. All these things can and have sunk boats. Men have died on perfectly calm, blue bird days.
Its only human nature to try to control something, anything, when we have no control over what happens to us. So we don’t whistle on board or we’ll whistle up a storm.