I spent the weekend, wondering how I could structure the stories I had on my 6-month getaway back in early 2016. Riding every day, meeting new people, doing cool shit, and I thought …. Nah, let’s start with the basics.
The place that got it all started, the place where I had sex in a monsoon delivering a lawn tractor on a Lobster Boat more aptly named the “Vomit Comet” – The place with the Ghosts, Lovers Cove, the Vegetarian Pelicans, Blackbeard’s Hidden Gold, and blood thirsty Indians in a fishing Village named Gosport. A place ready to burn to the ground, giant chests of delicious meat burning just right, so everyone knew we were savages – Cute little muskrats, because nobody wanted to admit we had a rat problem, and a VERY busy Jack Russell Terrier.
Where Sea Roses were a death sentence, drinking alcohol was forbidden, despite the fact the cases of beer outnumbered suitcases for our crew, and why the toilet sparkled green when flushed at night. You see, eight miles out of Rye NH Harbor is … THE ISLE OF SHOALS.
So, this may take a few postings, actually more than a few, so I am going to categorize them under STAR ISLAND. It’s been more than seven years now, and the statute of limitations has run out – that being said, I’m pretty sure if the Universalist Unitarians caught wind of my return, they would burn the dock down to the waterline (I mean *I* would)
To start, I belonged to a small group of guys and girls named the LRA (Liberal Religious Adults) – Yes I am NONE of those ^^^ things. My buddy asked for help with the computer systems on the Island back in 2000. The Universalist Unitarians ran a Conference Center out there, and in reality, it was open to anyone. The joke UU meant “anything goes” was pretty much true – but super nice people.
The LRA was the Adult Conference, but early each year before the Oceanic Hotel opened, a small group of us would go out in early June, fix all their equipment, help with whatever was needed, spray toxic weed clearing mixtures from jugs with skulls on the sea roses, widen the paths before anyone accused us of destroying nature (because look at the wavy grass – so pretty filled with snakes and ticks – waaaaavy grass, look how wavy, so pretty) Jesus, just fucking shoot me.
We would freeze our asses off in our unheated cottages, and steal all the blankets from the surrounding rooms so we didn’t drop dead overnight from hypothermia. We generally stayed a long weekend, and just before Island Management saw the damage (I didn’t know that was a tulip bed I ran over with the mower), we were back on the boat having cocktails.
This went on for years, and in many ways I’d love to go back, but I’m sure the Island Manager never forgave us for the liberties we took – que sera sera – or Joe screaming across the dinner table, that it’s not dinner unless it had a face – good times.
The first year gave birth to the work group getting a formal name …. Hmmm LRA ZERO? We came, we saw, we mowed? Sounds legit – it would eventually become “We came, we saw, we torched” – no comment. Phil Stanway, would perch over the bow of the ship with his Bud Light, sailing into Gosport Harbor looking all Pirate-y and such, glorious to behold actually, to the chants of the Pelicans.
Now the Pelicans were the “slightly more conscious than a bowl of pudding” crew who worked the Island Staff while on Summer Vacation from College (i.e.rich kids)
So what about that chant? You see, there was a tradition based on superstition here, and once you read all there is to read, you may want to go explore this haunted little gem yourself (yes it was featured prominently on Ghost Hunters).
When coming in to dock, the rope handlers will chant “S,T,A,R,S,T,A,R you DID come back, you did come back, you did come back” and with that the ship will return the chant saying ‘S,T,A,R,S,T,A,R We did come back, we did come back, we did come back”.
When leaving the Island it was a little different – the ship would chant “R,A,T,S,R,A,T,S we WILL come back we will come back we will come back” and the dock personnel would return it as “R,A,T,S,R,A,T,S you WILL come back you will come back you will come back”
Why the chant you may ask? Well legend has it Blackbeards Wife, Mary Ormond would walk the rocks near East Rock at night, calling out to sea “He will come back’ – of course he never did and she was left abandoned. At that point in time Captain John Smith had declared the Isles of Shoals as the “Smith Isles” and his monument? At the top of the original obelisk were three carved faces, representing the severed heads of three Turks that Smith lopped off while in mortal combat during his stint as a soldier of fortune in Transylvania (now really, I want to party with this guy) – Blackbeard? He was in deep shit for capturing two French Ships full of sugar and cocoa. The Governor of Virginia, who wasn’t a gutless turd, ordered Blackbeard (Edward Teach) captured and took his head. On moonlit nights on Star, Mary is still reportedly seen walking the rocks in white, waiting for Blackbeards return.
In any event let this serve as the primer for the stories that follow – from working with Stone Tools, to using the hot shower in the Nurses Station (because screw that cold, collected off the roof out to sea water – shower in it you peasants, but the Nurse is letting me use her private shower and I’m not saying no – at least my soap foams up in this water) It was nonstop hilarity with a serious purpose. Just file it under ‘Someone had to do it’ – more to follow …
Did I mention we had a Radio Station?