Fishermen, Mariners and Barfights

Gory, on the isle of Jersey, is a fishing town settled beneath a castle.  Last time I was here 10 years ago someone had pulled the plug on the harbor and all the boats were high and, well, damp.  Today they were all floating, but not for long.  Jersey has a 40-foot tide range, and we are here on a full moon.  Chains run across the floor of the harbor and boats hook lines to them in low tide with buoys attached when the tide comes in the buoys rise.  Then folks attach their boats to the line as the buoys rise with the tide.  Buoys and boats rise and fall, secure if they have enough chain and if the buoys chains are not too close together.  If so, I suppose they could tie themselves in knots with the tidal currents.  Lines of tenders, mostly Zodiacs, lay in what look like giant toast racks to take boaters out to their boats.  In the restrooms I found liquid Lifebuoy soap.

Aside from tourism and money laundering, (things also common in New Jersey) seafaring Is a major old Jersey occupation.  It’s demonstrated in the Maritime Museum. A well laid out museum with lot of hands-on displays, like fans and sailboats that can teach the theory of tacking, knot tying, and wave tanks that demonstrate the Beaufort Scale.  There is a Hurdy Gurdy juke box that plays sea shanties and lots of things to pull and push for kids.  It was an upbeat counterpoint for the kids to the Jersey Tunnels.

Jersey is also a party island for holiday makers.  There is even a place called “Jersey Shore.” Our hotel was Saturday night party central with live music until 10:30, disco until midnight followed by bar fights. (This is another way Old Jersey is similar to New Jersey, at least the New Jersey where I grew up.

In New Jersey Nick a couple of weeks cousin Nick and I talked about a famous bar fight, my uncle Billy called them recreational bar fights, at Cahills Pub in Jersey City.  Grandpa broke it up by singing the National Anthem and shouting “Vance, Bill, you’re veterans goddammit, stand up and sing” When the cops arrived everyone was standing and singing.  My Aunt Edith who had recently joined the family, had retreated into the Lady’s room for protection, shouting to my uncle “Daddy, it’s time to go home.”  Legend has it that my grandfather started the fight.

Here is a gallery of more Isle of Jersey shots.

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