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Featured Article Photography by Travis Caldaro Lauren C. Moore The Saltwater How the Saltwater Cow J22

3men on the boat: Captain Red, second-mate Clark, & Timmy McBride. They traveled with 2 or 3 other vessels. It’s a 51- foot stone crab fishing vessel, mostly deck. They didn’t pull traps that day, just waited 10 to 12 miles offshore unseen until 2 to 3 hours before sundown. That’s when they would run to make the call sign that they’re approaching to unload the boats with the last bit of daylight. Since we’re talking no less than 20 tons of product— sometimes 30, 40, 50 tons—the boys were waiting for that telltale stink of burlap and pot on the sea breeze. This was the Ten Thousand Islands, a 40 year-old island operation, passed down from fathers and uncles into 3 generations of hauling. The bounty would be unloaded into a totally gutted house, to be stocked back to front—kitchen, bathrooms, living rooms, wall-towall completely FULL—and then into the house next door if necessary. Making way toward a vessel as it came into sight, this seemed like an ordinary job they’d done countless times—until Red handed Timmy the binoculars saying, “You gotta check this out, man.” It was a cattle boat. They were all on the top of the ship behind a rail. Then through the binoculars, Timmy boat, I thought to myself, Holy shit! Is this really happening?” Alongside another crabbing boat, they pulled up to basically ask the captain of the vessel, “What the HELL are you doing?” The captain looked down at them from 10 or so feet above and said, “Well we can’t get all this shit out below deck with all these damn cattle on the boat!” These guys made about a million a trip, transporting cattle from South America to the States—seemingly, the perfect cover for marijuana piracy. After a couple weeks, this same ship came back. Here they go again. They approached it, same things happened. This time, pigs, chickens, sheep and goats came along with the Cowboy boy Won the Wild, Wild War on Drugs Chokoloskee Island cattle. Not to mention spider monkeys. It was not uncommonfor monkeys to get on these boats. There would be military and navy vessels to look out for, so sometimes these boats would wait 3 or more days onshore waiting for a clear coast. And saw the stern gate open—and the cows being prodded off the back of the boat. “It was like a bovine waterfall,” he says, “They just all began falling—splash, splash, splash, splash! Hooves bangin’ against the hull of the the monkeys would drop aboard from the trees. The monkeys loved the shake and the seeds of the pot, so they would eat them up. Imagine being a super stoned spider monkey and waking up 40 miles J23

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