The Big Yellow Dumpster is back with some select examples of boats and the people who use them. Photographing boats started out as an exercise in stopping motion, but it proved so easy to do that it wasn’t much of a challenge. The pictures tell some kind of story about the boaters, so I saved them. They represent water-going characters in the Great Florida Novel.
A story you cannot see in the pictures I will tell here, about the two black men and the white guy in the fancy speedboat. This story takes place at the public pier on Orange Lake.
The black men were returning from their fishing trip on the lake. The shadows were beginning to fall a little longer across the water; it was time for the day fishermen to return and the night fishermen to set out. As the black guys neared the boat ramp, a big and shiny four-door pickup showed up. It backed into the ramp with the speedboat on a trailer behind. A guy jumped out of the cab and got into the boat at about the same time the black guys pulled up to the side to wait their turn at the launch. They’d just missed being able to use the launch and it seemed to me that the people in the truck might have checked the water to see if anyone were trying to return before they muscled their big rig down the launch.
The middle-aged guy who got in the speedboat didn’t seem to quite have the hang of getting the boat into the water. In the cab, two women shouted at him to straighten out the big Evinrude motor. He turned it the wrong way and then wheeled it back past straight. The women shouted again. Eventually he got it right and then boat slid into the water and bobbed about thirty feet from the launch. Then, the guy turned on the motor and steered the boat over to the side of the launch, next to where the black guys were waiting their turn to load up their own boat and go home.
The man who had been driving the truck got out and came down to the side of the launch and hopped into the speedboat, taking over from the first guy. The first guy got out of the boat and walked over to the truck and assumed the driver’s seat position, while one of the women got out of the back and walked down the raked launch to watch as the second guy, who was now steering the boat, brought it back to the launch and loaded it onto the trailer. This involved gunning the motor a bit to get it up on the trailer. This man was more in control of the boat than the first one had been, and his confidence showed; I was disappointed that he didn’t roar that boat off into the lake at a recklessly unsafe speed. He looked like the type who might do so.
As soon as the boat was winched up onto the trailer, everyone got into the cab and the truck pulled off the ramp and left. The whole elaborate display had been for a purpose unfathomable to an onlooker. Were they practicing for a later launch? Playing out a double-dog dare that the older guy couldn’t get the boat off the trailer and into the water? Trying to impress the chicks with a big Evinrude? I looked over at the black guys who’d been waiting to use the launch. One of them raised his eyebrow at me and I shrugged. He broke into a huge smile that showed gold front teeth. Both he and I had enjoyed the speedboat performance.
I snapped the rest of the boats at Crystal River, Newnan’s Lake, and Lake Lochloosa. The people in the pontoon boat and those in the pair of kayaks were looking for manatees near Crystal River Springs, an outing I am going to make myself as soon as I can find a waterproof bag for my camera. The silhouette of a boat was taken on Lochloosa and the others were at Newnan’s Lake.
We need a boat, Mr. B. said, and I agreed.
I kind of want Jack Riepe to narrate this photo. As this boat sped past, I thought to myself, That’s a Riepe-like scenario if ever I saw one.