Buoy Stealing



Is it really “stealing when the buoys wash up on shore?

It certainly felt theftworthy as we dragged the 15-foot-long metal rod, buoys, a giant orange ball and a 40-foot tangle of rope, half a mile to the house.

And when I say we,” I mean Martin and Mike.

“Why are we doing this again?” Martin asked at the start.

“Because Jo found it,” Mike said.

“Ssh, be quiet… the Partridge family,” I said, ducking as we passed a bungalow nicknamed for its bright, blocky paint job, straight from the ’70s. It was nearly dark and through a dining room window, we could see the family eating as we struggled along the nearby path.

None of this was part of the plan. Initially, we ventured to the beach to watch the sunset — me and Mike and Martin. But cresting the bluff I spotted a florescent orange something bobbing in the surf. The guys laughed when I struggled to pull it from the waves — tumbling back and falling down twice. But they weren’t laughing when I announced we’d be carrying it back. “It” — the pole and dangling gear — over the dunes, past the Partridge house, across the road and up our drive.

“I found it and it’s mine and we’re taking it home!” I yelled, dismissing future transportation problems.

The guys, being good sports, (and all of us buzzing on cocktails) hoisted the load and trudged along. It was awkward, sweaty work, but that didn’t seem to bother them.

The issue was the smell. That dank, skanky reek of ocean rot.

“Ug, this is so foul,” Mike finally said. “I think this nastiness is coming off the rope.”

“No, it’s on the metal stake,” said Martin, lugging the heavy end. “It smells like it was stuck up a whale’s butt.”

I couldn’t deny the rankness. By the time we reached the house, we smelled like ocean decay.

And when I say “we,” I mean Mike and Martin.



Posing days later — after the stink diminished.


The next day, while running errands, we noticed that we weren’t the only ones hauling runaway fishing equipment from the sea. Several driveways were marked with stakes, buoys and markers, which were lashed to entry gates and mailboxes. Apparently, the tide carried lots of commercial lobster and fishing gear to the island’s far end.

Once sobriety and commonsense kicked in, I announced that we’d be leaving my great find behind, in the hopes that the homeowners would appreciate it and find a practical use. The guys gave me that “all that effort for nothing?” look. But I’d moved on to another souvenir: a skimboard, also coughed-up by the ocean at sunset.

The skimboard is cool-looking and it fit easily into the car. More importantly, it was just sandy.

It didn’t smell anything like a whale’s rear end.