Their reunion was everything Michael had hoped it would be. Dana thought it would be fun to explore the greater Boston area with him, so they took a road trip. Their first destination was Salem, MA.
Tall ships, anchored in Salem Harbor, caught Michael’s attention immediately. It was late afternoon and the harbor’s tourist office was closed for the day. They read a note taped to the inside of the door’s window. It said: small boat builder’s monthly meeting tonight. Auditorium. 7 pm.
At the end of the meeting Michael stood up and introduced himself to the boating enthusiasts. He asked if anyone there knew how to build Irish canoes called ‘currachs’. No one did, but then an old man said, “I know a man who built one. His name’s Ed and his workshop’s next to the lighthouse in Hull.”. Michael asked Dana, “Where’s Hull?’ She smiled and squeezed his hand. This was his first lead.
Michael drove to Hull early on a dark and rainy Saturday morning and found Ed. He introduced himself and asked him if he knew how to build Irish currachs. Ed said he’d show him the boats he built after finishing his Saturday morning English long boat rowing lessons. He asked Michael if he wanted to row with the group. Michael agreed, even though he had absolutely no interest in English long boats.
Three hours later, while drying off in the workshop, Michael listened as Ed explained how he had found the plans for a currach in Wooden Boat magazine. He told Michael that if he could find the magazine he ought to be able to build one also. Michael had never built a wooden boat before. He didn’t know how to read boat building plans either. He wanted to learn to build a traditional currach from a master boat builder. He thanked Ed for his time.
As he was leaving the workshop Ed said, “I know of a man, named Mike, who knows a currach builder from Ireland named Johnny. They used to work together at the Boston Globe. I don’t think he builds currachs anymore though. He must be quite old now. Here’s Mike’s telephone number. You’ll have to talk with Mike first to talk with Johnny. Good luck.”
A thin ray of hope brightened Michael’s spirit. He had to return to Pennsylvania the next day for work. And he wanted to visit Dana again, as soon as possible.