Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sailor Mouth Saturday: Loggerhead

Ahoy Brethren! Saturday is upon us once again and, even if it is that unfortunate Saturday where most of us here in the U.S. are forced to "spring ahead", it is to be enjoyed. The gentleman (or lady as the case may be) pictured above looks like he is having a glorious time.

Loggerhead (or logger-heat) is a seaman's tool that was so named long before Chelonia caouana the turtle was given that nickname. To describe it (since for the life of me I cannot find a picture of the thing), a loggerhead is a ball of iron attached to a long handle usually made of wood. The handle has an iron hook on the end for pulling the ball out of the fire or stove where it has been heated. The ball is then submerged into a bucket of tar in order to make the black goo workable for tarring rigging and so on. Interestingly, this device was also used to pound cocoa and coffee beans aboard ship.

The heavy tools were also crippling when used as weapons. When you are boarded by an enemy, as you may well imagine, anything to hand is fair game for striking, cutting and bashing. A heavy iron ball on a long handled hook can do a great deal of repeated damage that a flintlock cannot. Brains all over the deck and so on.

The problem is the opposing party might get ahold of one too. They're not hard to locate when in use. And then there you are. At loggerheads. First guy to lose his ball better have a backup handy. That flintlock comes off rather well at that point because other than a pike, nothing is going to be longer than the loggerhead's handle.

The topical turtle, well known in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean in the days of buccaneers, pirates and privateers, was called a loggerhead because of its, well, big round head. It was also considered quite tasty and its shell could be made into lovely tortoise shell goo-gaws for your sweetheart back home. Nothing wasted.

I'm rather fond of turtles, though, so I think I'll have more of yesterday's boucan instead and let our charming friend enjoy his (or her) swim.

Happy Saturday to one and all. Come back Monday when the Carolina General meets the Creole Captain on Rodriguez canal in January, 1815. Or so the locals like to say.


steveeas said...

i looked high and low - no logger heat.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, steveas! That is exactly what I am saying.

Timmy! said...

Ahoy, Pauline! Remind me to avoid being at loggerheads with you... But I am in agreement with you on the boucan, Pirate Queen.

Pauline said...

Ahoy, Timmy! Good call on both counts.