DANO QUINN fell in the water while crabbing at age 5, and never came back out. He grew up near Mystic, CT, and started his sea-going life in the passenger schooners that put out from there. He sailed on tall ships and sail training vessels for over 15 years, and met his wife Maho while in Seattle to help build a tall ship. He stole her away to sea and they sailed together for about 7 years, settling back in Seattle when their son was 2 years old. In his almost 40 years at sea he’s worked everything from the tall ships to research vessels, small cruise ships to yachts, and uses it all to help spin his yarns. Most of his stuff is humorous, and told in a rhyming ballad style. Dano came into the Fisher Poets Gathering under the radar, cuz he never was a commercial fisherman, but told a couple of fishing stories his first time there in 2006 and, like spawning salmon, has been coming back ever since. He’s won the Seattle Maritime Festival "Stories of the Sea" Contest four times, and has also won the Northwest Folklife Festival Liar's Contest... No, really!
You can see more of Dno's work on his Facebook page:
You can see more of Dno's work on his Facebook page:
I took a walk the other day, on the waterfront and docks.
The changes there are thick and fast; it's a real Pandora's Box.
The folks that thought the fleet so quaint when they moved into the ‘hood,
Now want those rusty hulks to move; “It’s for the common good!”
There's twenty different restaurants, and lots of little shops,
But no place to get your welding done or to fix a dinged-up prop.
I thought I’d found a little place where I could buy some bait,
But it’s just too damned expensive when it's called a sushi plate.
"Aha!" says I, when I spied the sign that read "Fishnets Sold Here!"
"At last I've found a working shop where I can get some gear."
I ran right in but got a shock, ‘cuz it weren’t that kind of store;
The fishnets there were stockings! And I slunk back out the door.
If Doc Freeman knew the Secret, he'd have sold some lingerie;
And then just like Victoria, he'd be in the pink today.
But Doc & Vic & Marco have all cashed in their chips,
And Seattle's working waterfront has slowly been eclipsed.
Goodbye to the Kalakala! To Wawona bid adieu!
Just get them old hulks off the lake; it's time to start anew.
We’ll make it all homogenized and chase the tourist bucks;
If folks want to taste the waterfront, they can go and "Ride the Ducks."
But we're losing local flavor when we ban the funky stuff;
When the city is plain vanilla, with nothing odd or rough;
Now, I know that change is constant, but it don't feel right to me,
When they’re building flash new condos where the boatyards used to be.
The Ballad of Beth Noel
It was ’99, we were fishin’ fine from the decks of the BETH NOEL.
Haulin’ ‘em in with a hoot and a grin, even Cappy got in a yell.
The fish kept comin’, the boat kept runnin’, and the work went on night & day
Tired and weary, our eyeballs were bleary, but we grinned as we guessed our pay.
We iced ‘em down cold and we filled up the hold til we just couldn’t take any more,
Then across the foam we headed for home, and the pubs and the pleasures of shore.
Then the sky turned mean, the winds grew keen and backed round into the east,
The waves they rose and they were right on the nose; we began to battle that beast.
Now good ol’ BETH had cheated death a hundred times o’er the years,
A stout wooden ship that took no lip from the storms that boxed her ears
She plowed on through and we all just knew that the old girl wouldn’t fail,
‘Til we heard a bell, like a sound from hell, the bilge alarm started to wail!
We tore down below to check on the flow of the pump, and what did we find?
An oily rag and an old plastic bag had jammed it up tight in a bind.
It eased our fear when we got her clear, we watched for the level to fall,
The pump got going, the water was flowing, but it didn’t go down at all.
Then some planks we tore from the cabin floor, we strained our ears and our eyes,
As we tried to seek the source of the leak, and the level continued to rise.
Our emergency pump was a rusty old lump; it hadn’t been tested in years,
But she gave a cough and then lit right off, that noise was a song to our ears.
D'y'ever get the notion that the whole damn ocean is trying to put you down?
That try as you might there’s no end in sight, ‘cept a watery grave when you drown?
Well that pump was gushing; the water was rushing, and flowing back into the tide,
But quick as it went, it was still hell-bent to get right back inside.
Cap gathered us round, we all sat down and he said, “Boys, it looks pretty bleak."
"Musta’ sprung a plank, and it’s under a tank, so we can’t get after the leak.
Now I’ve never been much on religion and such; why, I don’t even know how to pray,
But if one of you knows some Church type prose, you can stand up and have your say.”
We all just stared and I felt kinda scared, cuz it weren’t like Cappy to bluff,
And then young Joe said, “I’ll give it a go, I might know some o’ that stuff.”
“I grew up right near a church and could hear the stuff they said over there.
I never went in but could hear the din of what must have been their prayer.”
“They made lotsa’ noise and I’m tellin’ you boys, I never could figure it out;
Some folks would cheer, and others would jeer when the fella up front would shout.
I’ll give it a try, he said with a sigh, if it’ll help to keep us alive.”
And we all bowed our head as the young kid said….
"Under G, number 55… G55. B7.… B7"
Stan threw down his hat. “What the hell is that? You call that some kind of a plea?
You’re makin’ the call of a Bingo Hall as we’re sinkin’ here in the sea?”
Joe jerked up his head with a face beet red. But then his eyes grew wide,
And he gave a cheer, “Wh..what have we here?” And we followed his gaze outside.
Through the mist and spray of that hellish day loomed another fishing craft!
We all gave a shout and ran right out in a scrambling’ sprint to get aft.
It was Cap, ever cool (That man was no fool), who went to the radio mike,
He gave ‘em a call and explained it all in a voice just as calm as you like.
So, except for Beth, we all beat death, and made it to port once more.
The booze did flow, and we drank to Joe, for getting us safely ashore.
You see I can’t really say that he knew how to pray, but here’s the curious thing;
That ship that we saw, through the thickening maw… It was called the “BINGO KING.”
With apologies to John Masefield and his poem ‘Sea Fever’
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is an air conditioned ship, and an autopilot to steer her by;
So the wheel’s kick is never an issue, and the wind’s song is shown,
On a color video anemometer that records how hard it’s blown.
I must go down to the seas again, where the call of the running tide
Is displayed on my computer screen, in a program that tracks worldwide
And all I ask is a microwave oven and a Starbucks espresso machine
A video disc recorder and an HD television screen.
I must go down to the seas again, with my stabilized satellite dish
So I’ll never miss a TV show, a game, or whatever I wish
Now I get kinda bored on my Alaska trips, as I go back and forth
But I enjoyed a show that followed a boat on its inside passage North.