I’ve been told that Lake Superior is very chary about giving up its secrets. So when the video and photos of the schooner barge Atlanta emerged the other week, It got me started thinking about lakes, seas, oceans, and sailors.
I’ve always found the Lakes to be a little bit intimidating and strange. Large enough and ( at least in Superior’s case) deep enough to qualify as an inland ocean but classified as lakes. It’s always seemed different in its inimitable way from the seas and oceans I’m familiar with. A lake is a little thing. But Superior? That’s a small sea. So do you pour a libation to Neptunas Rex, and does Davy Jones have charge of all items sent into its depths?
Much depends on the answer, do the same sort of superstitious behaviors of the sea thrive in sweetwater versus salt? – is it still unlucky to whistle up a wind? Are bananas onboard still unlucky? Is sailing on a Friday still a bad thing? Or are there other rules that we should follow in the sweetwater realms of the Great Lakes versus the saltwater depths of the Atlantic and Caribbean? Unfortunately, a browse on the internet brought no answers to this question.

It may not seem a necessary set of questions to have answered to the lubberly. But like having good foul weather gear that protects you in a blow, knowing that going twice widdershins around the mainmast is a bad idea, or stepping onto a vessel with your left foot is unlucky. Damn it! These things are essential!

5 Replies to “Essentials”

  1. I love this along with all your water-based stories. I’m most happy on the water. I’m always amazed by all the legends and lore you get into your writing. Here in Norfolk in the UK, we have lots of little lakes called Broads. I’ve sailed on a few and would love to try the Great Lakes too.

    That word ‘Widdershins’ s great olde world word, isn’t it? An author called Alan Garner taught me that in his fantasy tale ‘the Weirdstone of Brisingamen’ wonderful read.

      1. It is. I think word of the day had it once a while ago as a prompt. Its the perfect word to conjour up a pirate era boat or a 1600s farmer or fantasy setting I think.

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