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Paying Back Capt. Joe Gale

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Old 04-23-2008, 03:15 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: I presenbtly live in Covington , LA.
Posts: 673
Default Paying Back Capt. Joe Gale

Greetings From New Orleans ,
Over thirty years ago , in another time and on another boat , Capt . Joe Gale extended an unrequested favor and act of kindness to me that only now I have been able to repay . One early morning on the Str. Mississippi Queen , in shut out fog , high river , and after having worked his entire watch , Capt. Gale came back on watch to keep me out of trouble and to get the Queen to Natchez , Mississippi for her early morning and luctative shore tours . Unfortunately , this repaid favor was not to Capt . Gale but to another " green " pilot that I am sure was just as nervous as I was on that foggy early morning of long ago . Last night , I sailed a an 800 foot , 100 thousand ton tanker out of the Exxon , Baton Rouge refinery and had ordered a south bound pilot change just past half way to New Orleans , at the Grandview anchorage , river mile 147.6 . Well , as luck would have it and just as unexpectedly heavy fog came in just before the scheduled pilot change at 3 am in the morning . The pilot that was scheduled to relieve me was one of our new pilots and after speaking with him on the cell phone to discuss the worstening weather conditions , I could tell it in his voice and having been there myself , it was time to pay back Capt. Gale . I simply told him that it was not worth the risk for him to come out and to take charge of this ship under these conditions so just head back home and enjoy what was left of the night . So , in the shut out fog and the river running at 6 knots , and on radar I was able to round that ship up by walking out the port anchor to one shot of chain ( 90 feet ) so as to drag it on the river bottom , inorder to turn the ship around on a left helm and eventually go to anchor in the Grandview Anchorage . The essence of this story is certainly not about me or the other pilot I told to go home but for Capt. Joe Gale who taught me a lesson long ago on how to take care of your partner . Hopfully , that act of kindness that was started by Capt. Gale will be repaid to others from then to forever and hopfully also it will be extended to others on the other side of the levee as well .
Smoothe Sailing !
Ted Davisson
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