020520_golden ray

The Golden Ray sits on its side in St. Simons Sound.

Time is running out for you to see the Golden Ray, a least half of it. Soon it will be reduced by an eighth, then another eighth and so on until it’s all gone.

I hear the floundered cargo ship loaded with cars will be gone by June. I’ll believe it when I don’t see it.

And it could go longer. DonJon-SMIT has filed suit in federal court asserting the U.S. Coast Guard was wrong in selecting T&T Salvage as the company that will remove the ship. The wheels of justice can grind slowly, so June may pass with the Ray still intact and on its side.

Meanwhile, we’ve let a crisis go to waste. If you go to the Jekyll Island side, you can see that big red hull halfway out of the water. It seemed a natural place for some big white, block letters inviting everyone to “See Rock City.”

And because it’s the right shade of red, would it have killed anyone to write “Be My Valentine’’ on it?

Ted Dougherty, who lives near New York City, knows what I mean.

“If you were in New York, someone would have painted all over that thing,’’ he said.

Perhaps we don’t have as many graffiti artists here or maybe the local gangs don’t have boats to get out and tag it. Or maybe they’re too busy with railroad cars. In New York it would be subway cars.

He and his friend David Adams were at the pier looking at it Wednesday. Adams is from Delaware but spends February in Fernandina Beach.

Dougherty saw pictures of the Golden Ray before he saw it in person.

“Up there,’’ he said of New York, “it was front page news. I said, ‘Wait a minute. That’s were we go.’

“I’ll probably send some pictures back to my neighbors.”

Adams made it through the Naval Academy and served as an engineering officer on a cruiser and a carrier off Vietnam during the war.

Asked if he had a theory on why the Golden Ray keeled over, Adams said, “As a Navy man, I have no opinion.’’

That was a stunning response because everyone on St. Simons has an opinion on everything from golf carts to roundabouts to …..

I found a nice website called vessefinder. It showed the Golden Ray between St. Simons and Jekyll Island on a heading of 199.7 degrees and a speed of 0.0 knots. It showed no destination and no estimated time of arrival. That’s amazingly accurate.

I wonder if I’ll ever again fill out an entry form with the question “cap size” without thinking of the Golden Ray.

You can even taste a Golden Ray IPA at Barrier Island Brewing on St. Simons.

Owner Blake Merrill says Golden Ray has been a good seller.

“That’s probably going to be our flagship beer,’’ he said. “We can’t change that name. We’ll always brew that beer.”

There was a new batch of the New England IPA fermenting Thursday in a tall, stainless-steel tank that would be ready in just over a week, Merrill said.

The process makes the head spin a little as Merrill explained about the three hops that go into the Golden Ray.

“After fermenting, we add more hops to it to give it the bitterness and the flavors,’’ he said.

Granted, IPAs aren’t for everyone because they tend to be too flavorful for some.

I have a friend who won’t drink these craft beers preferring “grass cuttin’ beer,’’ which he defined as light stuff that can quench a thirst. Beer is like cereal, there are a lot of varieties. That said, you have to figure there are at least three kinds of grass cuttin’ beer, push mower, riding mower and landscaper.

With push mower, you need something really light so you can throw down about three while you’re still in a sweat sodden T-shirt after mowing a quarter acre. If you ride a mower, you can drink something heavier because you probably haven’t even ridden up much of a thirst. As for landscaper, you were in your temperature controlled office while someone else was cutting your grass and should probably wait until after 5 p.m.

For those who want a longer lasting keepsake of the floundered ship than a beer, there’s always the T-shirt.

Craig Ross of Pelican Market said his first iteration of a Golden Ray shirt said simply “Ship Happens,’’ and sold fast. Now he has one with a picture of the ship that says, “I got shipwrecked on the island.”

Some of the buyers are people who worked on the ongoing job of salvaging the Ray.

“They wanted to send one home,’’ he said.

One woman who stood on the pier Wednesday said, “It’s kind of sad.’’

She’s right. It is, and it looked especially sad Thursday as a black cloud came from the southwest with a strong wind. The Ray lay on its side as it has for months, powerless as the waves lapped against its hull.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s most famous poem, “Crossing the Bar,’’ was about death.

“And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea,” it began.

Tennyson ended it with, “I hope to see my pilot face to face,

When I have crost the bar.”

The Golden Ray never made it the bar under its own power and, if it does cross, it will be in pieces.

I think we’ll miss it.

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