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Rated: E · Short Story · Animal · #1888962
A story of a new start, at sea.
      My adventure began in 1996, when I saw an ad in the paper;  "DECK HANDS WANTED; NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY.  $50 a day."  The ship  was called, "The Fantasea" .
That ad brought me to the first ship; a gambling ship that was starting up in the area, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. I called the number in the paper one day, after getting off work, from the yacht club, where I was working as a dishwasher. The ad was certainly something I had been looking for, a long time! After talking to the owner of the vessel, I agreed to meet him the following day. He and his son invited me aboard; then gave me a tour of the small ship. It was roughly about 160 feet long, about
30 feet wide, I believe. I had signed on as a painter, later working my way into deck hand. The whole operation was starting from bare bones. Slot machines had to be bolted down, mirrored tiles to be placed in the ceiling, carpeting needed to be laid down, and much painting yet to be done there, on board and off board as well. Buckets of paint and carpet rolls were laying up on second deck, waiting to be opened and unrolled.  It took from October to January of that year, to get everything together and running properly. Supplies had to be loaded from the dock, to the ship's stores, below deck. We got our ice from the Sea Harvest,
when the ice machjne  wasn't working .
    After most of the foundational work was done, there was "learning the ropes", literally. I was shown the right way to toss the
line on to the piling.  You could wrap your hand around the ship's lines and not touch your fingers. In these lines, there is a loop
on what is called the 'standing end' of the line. You take the loop, holding it open, with the line and toss it onto the piling, so that
it falls directly down over the piling , securing the ship. I became a fair hand at that, within about ten feet of the piling. But, you must first secure the opposite end of the line to the cleat, on deck, before throwing! (or, you look like a fool!) One of my first attempts happened just this way. In front of many onlookers, at the dock, I tossed the line right on the piling;  but neglected
to secure the other end!  Boy, was my face red! I really wanted to hide somewhere.......quick!
    The maiden voyage came, at last, in January. Not the best tine to go out to sea, for this ship. It was made basically for the
river, in Boston, Massachusetts. There were no water-tight doors on the vessel. Sliding doors were on the first deck, where passengers entered.  In January, the seas are pretty rough. The seas, being as they were, tended to come in under the doors.
The ship tossed, side to side as we headed  out to the three mile limit. People sitting next to their chsen slots ended up holding the machines back, from falling on them.  The captain then announced that they were heading back to the docks, due to the condition of the seas.  The Fantasea did fairly well, until local politics forced it to close down, in April, 1997.
Close of another chapter in my life!
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