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Cruising the Big Muddy at the End of the World

Cruising the Big Muddy at the End of the World

The deck of the Stavenger. Photo by Fowell Dunbar

Happy World Ocean Day! Our history with the sea is constant and complex. So goes she, so go we. In this excellent piece from ViaNOLAVia, writer Folwell Dunbar hitches a ride on the Stavenger, a container ship the length of two football fields, to move down the Mississippi and see what’s at the end of the world. – Editor

“Very few people ever see this,” said the captain excitedly in a thick Italian accent. “There are no roads down here. We are at the end of the world.”

The captain and I were both taking pictures of the disappearing shoreline near the mouth of the Mississippi River. “You see that lighthouse over there?” said the captain. It was built before the Civil War. That one over there was built in 1871. And that one on the other side is new. It was built after Katrina. It is amazing, no?!”

I was riding on the Stavanger, a container ship the length of two football fields. It was built in Cyprus, but it was owned and operated by a company from Germany. It was transporting American grain, corn, soybean and wheat from the Midwest to Mexico. The captain was from Sicily, his crew was from the Philippines, and their bar pilot was from Folsom, Louisiana. Fortunately, they all spoke English. “It’s the language of the sea,” said the captain.

Read more at Via NOLA Vie

About The Source

Fowell Dunbar, Via NOLA Vie

ViaNOLAVie is an innovative non-profit/academic partnership between NolaVie and Tulane University. It serves as an online digital archive with a focus on education and mentoring emerging writers. Folwell Dunbar is a New Orleans educator, artist and survivor of many things, from roaches to German U-boats and heartbreak. He is compiling a collection of short stories and survival tales called ‘He Falls Well.’

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