• Little Miss Judy Believe It or Not - Miss Jerry!

    This is the only picture that I have of my father’s wooden boat named after my mother “Miss Jerry!” And as you can see he did paint it “no passing lane yellow!” I know this for a fact, because the highway department gave him a 50 gallon drum full of this “no passing lane yellow paint!” In this story I talk about the top of my father yellow boat being painted emergency orange. This picture was taken before he painted the top with emergency orange. If anyone out there has a picture of my father’s yellow boat, please contact me 912 429 7671 (Captain Judy Cell)

    My first lesson on the importance’s of color!

    When I was very young and just starting out in the charter boat business I had a lot things that happened to me. There was fog of which I never thought was a problem until I had to navigate in it without the aid of my father. By the way, back in the old days we didn’t have any chart plotters or radars to aid our navigation mounted on our dash. Believe me it was surely “navigation by the seat of your pants” at least in my case. My father just seemed to know exactly where he was at all times. In fact he even knew when a ship was passing. I never saw a ship I just heard it go by. They were always to close for me especially in the fog. It’s funny how experience makes you more aware, because back in the old day’s awareness surely didn’t play a part with me. I just went fishing to catch fish. All that other stuff like fog and high sea conditions were just plain boring. At least until I was forced to consume some badly needed experience.
    I will never forget this day as long as I live. This happened during the time while our boats were still tied up a Walsh’s docks, which is located in Lazaretto Creek. (Tybee Island Georgia) My father had a charter this particular morning and he asked me to take it. I was happy to take it, because I loved to fish. It was a two part plus for me. I would also get to run his boat the “Miss Jerry,” which was big 40-foot yacht. The only thing I didn’t like about his boat was the color. He had painted it “no passing lane yellow!” And as if that wasn’t enough loudness, he finished the top of the boat off with the emergency orange color.

    After loading up the passengers, off I went to deep blue sea for a wonderful day of fishing. We arrived at our destination point, which was the “Old Black Fish Banks” and started our day of bottom fishing. As we all fished I noticed that cloudy conditions were moving in, but I never gave it a second thought. At least not, until what looked like clouds had moved right down to the water. They weren’t clouds at all it was what I would long remember as an unbelievably thick hovering “’FOG BANK.” I watched as it moved toward us. Upon completely covering the boat we couldn’t see from one end to the other. I immediately told everyone that under the current conditions I wanted to head back to the dock. I pulled the boat around, got my compass on a 270 degrees heading and proceeded to the dock. Right before I left I turned my marine radio on so that it could warm up. After all during this time all radios still had tubes and it took minutes to get them ready to properly transmit.

    As I approached what I thought was the coastline of Savannah Beach I started seeing lots of sea birds and close wave action off to my starboard. Unfortunately when returning home from the “Old Black Fish Banks” there wasn’t any shallow water at least for a good 10 nautical miles. At this moment I knew I was in trouble, because I wasn’t where I thought I was. The thought of running daddy’s big boat aground was making me a little sick. So I decided to pick up the radio and make a call to coast guard. As soon as I made contact, which was in seconds, I felt better. However, I had to wonder what they could possibly do. After all the visibility was less than 50 feet. They asked the normal questions, which consist of how many on board, boat size, color, and where I thought I might be. That latter one was a great question; because all I knew for sure was that I was seriously off course.

    Upon relaying that transmission my soon to be savior told me to exactly what to do, which was to take an immediate heading of oner-sixer-0. This means that I need to turn and head 160 degrees, which I did straight away. After a few minutes, the welcomed voice came back over the radio and told me to change my heading to two seven “0.” You guessed it. My new heading of 270 degrees was now back to normal. Once again the voice inside the radio said, “Pull back, hold your heading, and slow you speed.” I quickly pulled the throttle back and started idling in said direction. At this point I started wondering how they knew exactly where I was. So I asked. According to the coast guard voice over the radio they could see me just fine from a top of the lighthouse! I never joked again about my father’s yellow boat with the orange top! I was around sixteen year old when this happened.

    Thanks for reading! Captain Judy