Last week’s commotion aboard the Sea Hunter did little to faze Nine, the Sea Hunter’s feline mascot.

The cat has been aboard the ship since 2008, when the crew found him abandoned at a gas station near where the ship was undergoing renovations in New Orleans.

It seems a squabbling family had stopped at the gas station and, by the time they departed, their cat had been left behind – the mother’s way of making a point to her daughter.

Sea Hunter deckhands Alex Bezkorovainy of Framingham, Mass., and Dave St. Cyr of Portland, upon finding the cat waiting forlornly for its owners, took it back to the ship.

”Somehow they managed to slip the cat past two guard dogs (at the entrance to the dock) and onto the boat,” recalled deckhand Julie Cote of Portland. ”The next morning, when we all came for breakfast there was this little cat running around – he was about a third the size he is now. He was just so teeny.”

He hasn’t left the ship since. And in case things get rough, he even has his own life jacket.

And the name?

”There were eight of us aboard the ship at the time,” Cote explained. ”So he made ‘Nine.’ ”

 

LET THE RECORD show that Sea Hunter volunteer Rick Woodbury of Scarborough was the first to catch a fish at the ship’s anchorage off Miami’s South Beach.

It wasn’t easy.

Since arriving here late Wednesday, crew members have tried a variety of baits on the dozens of fish – including frequent schools of yellow snapper – clearly visible in the 30-foot depths just off the side of the ship.

They tried bread balls. They tried bacon. They even lowered a chum bucket filled with partially thawed moose meat – it attracted plenty of interest, but proved futile on a hook.

Finally, late Friday evening, Woodbury landed a decent-size false albacore, aka “perfect baitfish.”

What was his secret?

“A genuine Maine mackerel jig,” Woodbury said with a smile. “The only thing that works.”