The Boy, Me, And ‘Captain Hook’

It was the boy, me, and Captain Hook and we… no, no, let’s start from the beginning…

After some days with rain, finally we had a lovely Saturday, yesterday. My daughter Ingrid wanted to go to the roller rink to try out her new roller skates that she got for her birthday. My dear wife was willing to take her, so it was left for me to come up with an idea to entertain her little brother Anders, 5 years old, for a couple of hours.

Unbelievably as it sounds, this summer I have been too busy to go for an outing in one of the rowing boats they have at the Boat House at Mystic Seaport Museum, so I thought that might be something for us to do. I did not have to do a lot of persuading, Anders was ready and out the door before I even was done with the sentence: “How about we go rowing on the river this afternoon, dear boy?”

At the Boat House, two nice ladies suggested a fine looking, sleek ‘skiff’ with the name Captain Hook. Anders immediately liked the name, being interested in pirates and recognising the name from Peter Pan. I put Anders on the stern thwart, put the rowlocks in the holes of the gunwales, the oars, without buttons, (collars), went in the rowlocks, and we were all set. One of the ladies gave us a gentle push and we were out on the Mystic River. It was really a nice day, and I was surprised by how few boats were out on the river. After a while I even got used to sitting still, having no sliding seat to help me get longer strokes. Anders was a good look-out and told me ahead of time when the steamboat Sabino was approaching her dock after she had been downriver by the drawbridge in downtown Mystic.

We rowed along the Shipyard area, downriver, till we came to see the mighty barque C.W. Morgan, the last wooden whaling vessel in the world. She was built in New Bedford in 1841, and she is now being restored by the skillful shipwrights at Mystic Seaport. She is a ‘must-see’ if you ever are in this corner of New England. The Morgan is resting in a dry-dock, but museum visitors are still welcome to go aboard her, but although Anders has been onboard her several times, he looked at her with big eyes, as we now saw her from an unusual angle, from a rowing boat on the river.

I turned the boat around, and started to row upriver. We passed the visiting vessel Amazon, with homeport in Malta, went round the Lighthouse bend to get a closer look at the Joseph Conrad, another vessel in the museum’s collection of slightly more than 500 watercraft. The Joseph Conrad is a little full-rigged ship, built in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1882. Then, her name was George Stage, a training vessel for Danish cadets in the Merchant Marine. In 1934, she was bought by the Australian seaman and writer Alan Villiers, who gave her a new name after his favorite British-Polish author, Joseph Conrad.

I steered Captain Hook’s bow towards the Boat House, where we were received by the dock attendances. Anders threw the line in his best cowboy style, and while the ladies were kind and tied up the little boat, Anders and I were happy being back on the dock again. “That was fun, Pappa,” he said, “Let us do it all over again, next Saturday.”


  1. There is nothing like rowing as part of a crew in a fixed seat boat. You need to try a pilot gig – there are many clubs in New England.

  2. Hej Göran, nice to read and to see you with your son! All the best from Malmö / Kenneth

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