Captain Reid Robinson, Renaissance Man of the Sargasso Sea

by Owen James Burke

The world needs more people like Captain Reid Robinson. Renaissance man and king of the sargasso sea in my eyes, he’s seen the ways of the world twice over and still clips humor from it all.

Reid left home on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina at the age of 14 to work in and live above a pizza parlor in Ocean City, Maryland. After various other stints including some time spent in southeast Asia, he returned to Ocean City, where he met my father. The two took jobs, perhaps a little worse for wear, in a popular bar and grille as cooks and bartenders.

After a few years they went their separate ways, and Reid returned home to Ocracoke. Among other occupations including private contracting and chasing down wild boars on his uncle’s hunting estate, he began work on a fishing charter. Slowly, as it goes with fishermen, he made his way up to captain, and finally bought his own boat.

Above: Captain Reid teaching the author how to make sushi, a lifelong skill for which I am continually and eternally grateful

A coalescence of Captain Reid’s exploits as a chef and a fisherman, along with his time spent in Asia, has brought sushi into his repertoire. He schooled me in the art about ten years ago–after however many vodkas I’ll never know–but ever since I’ve been making sushi with just about everything I can get my mits on.

My younger brother had to kiss Captain Reid for his missteps aboard the Devereux that day, granted this was his first trip offshore.

The many facets of life Captain Reid Robinson has encountered throughout his career have equipped him with the ability to humor and disarm even the stiffest, staunchest of company–a gracefulness that, in a world of lost and fragmented souls, becomes an increasingly appreciated yet all-too-rare social ingenuity.

The life of a charter boat captain may not provide for the most financially lucrative career imaginable, but the wealth of knowledge and awareness he’s come to embrace carry his heart and soul further than any hefty pocket ever could. A successful captain must not only catch fish, but entertain and enjoy any and all company (it takes all kinds).

Depending on a captain’s degree of self-discipline, one has a lot to show for being their own boss and making their own hours. And, at the end of the day, he’s got his own house, garden, a second boat, and the freshest of fresh sushi just about any night he pleases; it’s an array of wealth few can truly claim.

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