Atlantic is an ever-shifting sand bar, making entrance to the river
impossible for deep-draught boats. Many losses of rudder or propeller
have been sustained by the shrimpers in attempting to run the bar.
The Fortuna was now closing with this hazard, and the sun now
above the horizon, picked out the waves of the shoals in a myriad of
colors. After a few minutes of cautious navigation the ship was over the
bar in safety and the relaxed skipper bawled for coffee. It was brought
on the run by the Negro cook, Arnold. One thing only could be said for
the coffee-it was strong and scalding. De Cruz downed his in a single
gulp. Again be bawled for a "mugup" and again the black fluid
vanished. I toyed with my cup awhile, finding its warmth grateful to my
hands, and made the timid remark that the wind was chilly.
"Not cold," De Cruz said, "You should been wit me an odder
ship. Every time they put by bunk over ice locker for to keep ice for
shrimp. It took two pints to make the trip. One to go and one to get
back. Dis trip we got enough pints to fish on iceberg."
The column of boats are now breaking formation and scattering
out upon the swells of the Atlantic. The bright paint on many of the
hulls was badly weathered, but with the net-festooned booms, the fleet
offered a pictorial inspiration to the most jaded artist. As full day made
objects more discernible, names of the craft became readable. Old Glory,
Betsey Ross, El Duce, Liberty, and Mass Portugal indicated the patriotic
sentiments of their owners. The little trawler Peace