P.O. Box 91
Gloucester, North Carolina
Notes from the Field - "Cherokee" Huckins Restoration Project
May 8, 2003 Top five reasons the Cherokee
will be launched within weeks, not months - Five: the construction insurance runs out mid June. Four: several people hope she makes the splash
before they die of old age. Three: FishDoc's running out of
cutesy animated webpage-toppers. Two: we've dodged two hurricane seasons and don't want to chance a third. One: Julian Brown
set the pilings and declares her ready to go! The words of the week are: paint and prepare! The hull has been sanded, primed, and painted
with the final coat by Bruce Mallard and crew from Dockside Marine Services. "Fighting lady yellow" suits Cherokee well - can't wait to see the waterline
Pre-Paint Prep - Wetting Dust, Bruce Mallard Setting Waterline
After the paint crew sanded and primed the hull, Fire Chief Blake found an effective dust-wetting
system, getting everything drenched and making a lot of noise in the process. The next day the crew
painted the hull to perfection. One tiny bug was stuck to the side by two legs, but was released unharmed.
The painters will paint the waterline last; for now they're prepping the deck and upper sides for white
and grey paint.
Spray-Painting "Fighting Lady Yellow"
Painted Hull with Port Lights
Julian Brown, dredger, fisherman, and philosopher, has been seizing every non-rainy day moment to scoop
out the channel. He dug up lots of old stakes and parts of long-sunk boats, but in his whole career has never found
any bones or signs of foul play. He recalled working with a now-deceased Marshallberger named Ham Bone who was
content to live simply. "He told me he'd always be happy because he didn't want anything. He said, 'Julian, you'll never be
satisfied.'" But Julian is satisfied for the time being with the pilings he set, because they'll secure the Cherokee just
fine once she's launched, and meantime he can tie up his dredge there.
Julian and Glen Drivin' Them Pilings!
Jeanette and Chris are busy below installing hinges and trim. Paul, Kerry, and Bill Davis are working
away on finish work, and Leonard is bending and glassing Divinicell for a flybridge seat.
Leonard Fiberglassing Flybridge Seat
Follow the cricket noises and you'll find Tom Parker happily working on galley cabinets. Whether drumming
for bands with too-loud guitar players or working a noisy skill-saw, Tom always wears ear
Tom Building Cabinets
FishDoc stopped by Skeeter Saunder's house in Atlantic and found him sewing a net on
his front porch. Skeeter was nervous and excited about a trawler he just bought from "across the
sound." Why is he nervous? Because he's always been captain of Luther Smith and Son's ocean-going
trawlers, and this year he thought he'd try "retiring" into a smaller trawler of his own and go
independent. "I've had to pour more money into her than I expected," he said. "I'm hoping for
a good shrimp crop like they had last year, but I don't know." We drove down to Atlantic harbor where
trawler after trawler waited for nightfall. The first thing you see when you step out onto the dock is
a sign that says "Welcome to misery." Skeeter's new boat was larger than most of the trawlers in the harbor,
and what a beauty that vessel was!
"Don't you want to take a picture of her engine room?" he asked. Of course I did! With the high
price of fuel and the low price of shrimp, it's no wonder Skeeter is apprehensive about leaving his
company boat. But he sure did look proud standing in the wheel house of "Miss Cookie", named after
the other "she" in his life - his wife! Signing off for now, Barbara "Fish Doctor" Blake
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