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On days when the boat is tied up in its slip for maintenance or waiting for calmer seas, I sometimes get to meet some of the characters that gravitate to the harbor, as they seem to do in harbors everywhere.

An entrance to the aquatic world, the docks are gateways to the unknown, the wild, the exciting. The regulars down at the docks always include a broad range. There are boat captains.   There are deckhands. Commercial fishermen. Tourists are there too, dreaming of “things beyond.”

Then there is Pete.

There is an air of mystery about Pete. He is ubiquitous. A statue. A ghost. He rarely makes a sound. Pete is well-groomed in formal black and white and with his signature long shock that curls up in the back of his head. A crest. A plume. Red eyes speak of late nights and a devilish soul. Pete never tells.

Pete is the name given to him by the dock people. It is short and sweet and easy to remember. It is a name that conveys membership in that unofficial fraternity of working folk…the “regulars.”

Things get confusing and mysterious once in a while. Your gaze may find Pete sitting on a near boat, you blink, and he’s on a boat far at the end of the gangway. Blink again and you realize what you have here is a two-Pete situation. There may actually be a dozen or more. Who knows?

Pete is definitely a character. Look around for him next time you visit the harbor.

Bob Perry Condor Express

Pete. A black-crowned night heron.

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