Move over, Captain Phillips

Not only did aquatic weed-control pro Rick Hatton allow photog Craig Sanders and I to ride along on his “hyacinth harvester” today, but he let me drive the darned thing back and forth across the Deep Water Ship Channel.

People on the shore stopped to stare. Not sure if they were wondering about the strange-looking paddle-wheel vessel, or its white-collared, red-sweatered captain, who was not exactly dressed for a day on the water. (I never know when this kind of stuff is going to happen.)

The bottoms of my khakis got wet, and the paddles flicked spray into my face, but I didn’t fall in and I didn’t crash the boat. Rick, in fact, was surprisingly unperturbed as I skillfully maneuvered toward a hyacinth patch nestled between the docks at the Port of Stockton and the bow of a massive marine-highway barge.

What can I say — I’m a natural. Thanks Rick!

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