Out For A Walk At Low Tide


I'm delighted to discover the nautical origins of words and phrases we commonly use and rely on. 'To tide me over' is from the days when a sailor or fisherman ashore needed to borrow some money until the tide came in and his ship could go to sea and he could earn some posh. My friend Neil, Ordinary Seaman, sent me this:

"Don't know why but made a list of all the nautical words that I could think of that are preceded by an a.

   Thought you might get something out of the muse.

    If I could send along a smell to accompany these words it would be the unmistakable odor that exists in all bosun's lockers. I remember it as :

     Marlin ( a tarry twine used for binding splices )  mixed with a hint of mold, and a dash of turpentine. 

Like pine needles baking in the sun ...one whiff and I find it splits my consciousness ...I'm in the past and the present simultaneously.

Aweigh.... as in anchor.; Alow ...work on deck; Aloft ...working in the rigging; Ahead...;

Abeam....A line drawn perpendicular to the keel from midships; Abaft......anything  aft of that line

Astern...; Aback ....sails blown back against the spars; Athwawrtship ...perpendicular to the line of the keel ; Alee ...anything not to windward; Avast ...stop what your doing ; Adrift; Aground; Ashore; Awash; Ahull....to take down all sails and drift with the prevailing winds; Aboard; About...to turn , as in come about; Rudder commands: Hard a-starboard, Hard a-port, Rudder a-midships."


 To which I humbly added one of my favorites: Ahoy!

Just the other day the  smell from  someone’s fireplace, took me back to Peace Corps, Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja, black beans and scrambles eggs (beans with eggs??!) 1981. Aqua and Fuego— the hot volcano, loomed over the town.   Ahoy, memory, long forgotten friend!