Jump and Deliver
updated 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/04/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT
The marine delivery system—one of just a few left in the U.S.—began a century ago when roads were impassable, says Neill Frame, who captains the mail boat. "Now it's more of a tradition."
Duerst and Griffing, 21, take turns making the deliveries, usually with a boatful of tourists cheering them on. But the drops don't always go smoothly. "When it's raining or waves splash up over the piers, you jump and all of a sudden you're on your butt," says Duerst, a senior at the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. Griffing, a junior at the university's branch in Oshkosh, admits to having occasionally dropped mail into the lake. And both have at times gotten delayed by deck furniture or a friendly dog and returned to find they'd missed the boat. Not a problem, since Frame swings back to pick them up. "I figure if something goes wrong," he says, "I've got to deal with their mothers."