Courageous Dives, Sharp Knives & Easy Money

Yacht Basin C. 1960s
Yacht basin shrimp fleet late 50s

Southport, NC, 1969. It’s summer and I’m ready to swim the Yacht Basin again, right behind what is now Provisions Company. But first I need to find a secure spot to hide my filet knife so I’m not relieved of it before the Idle Ons get back to dock around 4. Can’t clean fish without your knife and there are 3 full-day charters still out, so there’s potentially good money to be made. Hope it’s all top line action on the boats today. Cleaning bottom fish is good money but only half as good because bottom fish have to be scaled. Top fish don’t. But that’s all still 2 hours away so I’ve got plenty of time for a good swim with the other boys hanging out around the docks. My “Old Hickory” is stowed away and I’m up, so I shimmy to the top of the piling and stand. Now, it’s nearly low tide, so the dock is 6-7 feet above the water, the piling I’m standing on at the end of the dock 7-8 feet above that. Add another 5 feet to get to my eye height and the dark, basin water appears at least 20 feet below me. It’s a respectable drop for a 14 year old and it requires a shallow dive angle. But I’ve done it many times before so…… courageous dives, sharp knives, easy money and Sly and the Family Stone’s Hot Fun in the Summertime playing on the radio. So apropos!

2 thoughts on “Courageous Dives, Sharp Knives & Easy Money

  1. You describe it so well big brother. Makes me feel like I’m on the Crawdad fixin’ to head out the channel and drag Long Beach’s coastline to catch shrimp.

    Keep on writing it’s very captivating and best wishes on the tours. can’t wait to walk with you.


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