The Eastwind Association

USCGC Eastwind
WAGB-279
"Knows No Barrier"


Honoring the memory of a great ship and the men who served their country in her presence.

"Skunk"— a Worthy Mascot

Ship's mascots are legendary, and those which have graced the decks of the Eastwind  are noble contributors to the lore. Never obviously sanctioned by command, many a captain allowed that, if they were taken care of and contributed to the morale, they would not be disallowed. Never listed with the rest of the ship's compliment, and never officially "owned" by any one person, often it was a few key people who saw to their daily needs. In keeping with their popularity, their companions and caregivers were basically everyone on board.

Pictured below is "Skunk", enjoying the fresh air on the fantail, estimated at some time around 1947. Skunk is said to have enjoyed the high points of both ship-board activities as well as liberty, nearly as much as his shipmates.

One yarn has it that he regularly accompanied George Seeley, both aboard and on liberty. As the story goes, when George went ashore, Skunk went along. While he would accompany others on their rounds, it was usually George that was his untethered escort.

And sometimes of course, Skunk escorted George.

When it was time to 'heave to' for some liquid refreshment, it was George who insisted that, as a member



Skunk's 'duty' post . . .
. . . has been identified as the top of the port capstan on the fantail.

The geography in the background, however, is a little more demanding. The view is basically north, and consensus has the location somewhere not very far south of Thule, Greenland, perhaps in the southern reaches of Baffin Bay or the northern reaches of Davis Strait. (See maps ['coming'])

Note: The time of day is estimated at late morning, not by the sun angle, but more by the understanding that this is the time of day when most hangovers begin to lift. Skunk clearly seems to be recovering well, enjoying the quiet location, and perhaps even anticipating a little solid food.

 

of the crew and honored shipmate, Skunk was to be treated with "all the rights and privileges that appertain thereto," and thus he was to sit right up to the bar, right next to him, on his own bar stool. In a crowded place, this often brought comments to the contrary, but once that issue was settled, the call went out: "Barkeep! A beer for me and one for my friend!"

Reportedly, it was George who first refused to drink at any bar if the bartender refused to serve Skunk. And not only that, the brew had to be served in the same kind of vessel (glass, stein, or mug) as George was served in or Skunk wouldn't touch it.

Fortunately, most bartenders would allow themselves to be humored and went along with the fun.

Skunk was no tea totaler, either. When George stepped out to wet his whistle, it was at least two drinks, and

oftentimes, three or four. And Skunk is said to have kept right up with him.

It is well known that 'drinking buddies' of the maritime variety often support each other (sometimes literally) on the way back to the ship, and after a number of ports of call, begin to know each other well enough that they begin anticipating one anothers needs and even adopting one another's mannerisms. Some shipmates report that, when it came time for George and Skunk to 'way anchor', the two of them, without a perceivable signal between them, yet in perfect unison, would quietly slide down off their respective barstools and amble out the door with a clearly synchronized nautical sway.

The time and circumstances of Skunks demise have not yet been uncovered. Considering that the Eastwind  spent 70-80% of its lifetime underway, it would be reasonable to presume that he was buried at sea, and certainly, with full honors.


Other mascots served the Eastwind  from time to time, and their stories will be added as they are located. However, it should be noted that, in traditional Eastwind  fashion, Skunk seems to have set the bar high.

Any who may have contributions (or perhaps 'clarifications') they would care to share are invited to do so by contacting the webmaster at the address shown on the home page.

Site Design and Hosting by Richard E. Webber, Deep Freeze '67
Last Update: 9 October 2007