The story (see “Live-aboard deemed illegal”) began as every piece of investigative journalism should: with a mysterious phone call. It seemed that a source, we’ll call him Deep Bay, felt that there could be trouble down around Filucy Bay. Having already dispatched all of the more competent reporters elsewhere, my editor assigned the story to me.

Everybody knows everybody on the Peninsula, which is why Deep Bay wanted to meet me near the Longbranch Cemetery, rather than down by the water. I arrived early, so rather than hang around the cemetery, I drove down to Filucy Bay.

It was a cold rainy day and my windshield wipers made a regular slapping sound as they hit their stops. I decided to park in front of the old mercantile store, confident that I could see the boats in the marina from there, as well as the houseboat anchored beyond.

For some reason, the locals turned to stare at me as they drove by. Perhaps it was the sight of a strange vehicle, the huge pair of binoculars, or the fact that I accidentally honked the horn while trying to reach for my coffee.

Once I took a look at the houseboat, my first reaction was one of surprise. While a bit messy, it was a far cry from the total eyesore I had expected to see. In fact, it was kind of picturesque. Still, I told myself, don’t forget that you could be dealing with a serial polluter! A man who, if the rumors are true, would just as soon poop in the bay as look at it.

My resolve stiffened, I scanned the bay with renewed determination, and was almost immediately rewarded. Because there, pulling away from the shore, was a large skiff. A dog stood in the bow, snout to the wind, while a figure dressed in nautical attire hauled on the oars. He wore a cap with a short bill, what looked like a pea coat, and seemed impervious to the steadily falling rain. Could this be the man I was looking for? Judging from the way he headed straight for the houseboat, he was.

Anyone who has ever made the transfer between a dinghy and a larger boat knows how potentially embarrassing such a maneuver can be. But the man in the skiff made the move look easy. He had already stood, and stepped up onto the houseboat, when I realized that he was equipped with an old-fashioned peg leg. Which, combined with the nautical clothing he wore, made him look like a character from a children’s book. He went inside a few minutes later.

What then, I wondered? Would he read a book? Stare out across the bay? Or sit down before an easel? One person told me that the man is an artist, and pointed to the well-executed compass on a local dock as proof, so perhaps that’s what he does with his time. I would gladly ask the man himself, except that he has thus far declined to be interviewed.

Whatever the case, and whatever the truth regarding the accusations leveled against Mr. Kapp, one thing is for sure: He has a mysterious past, lives on a floating castle, and is surrounded by a salt water moat. People like that help keep life interesting — and for that we should thank them.

On troubled waters: Live-aboard deemed illegal
Coyotes on the Key Peninsula