I am a smidge embarrassed. And I am not alone.
If you read the last few posts you might recall reading about the woman on the boat in the snowstorm? That post was about being extra vigilant when on the water and even more so in the winter. You may also recall the last post when I stated that Sal and I are even more safety conscious right now what with winter, my eyes, and all that. I also mentioned that we were going to pull prawn traps.
And I said the wind was whipping up.
And I said that we were going out anyway.
Sal has a small boat. Eleven feet four inches. It’s a mini Boston Whaler. Like a shallow bath tub. It has, maybe, 7 feet x 4 feet of actual ‘walking space….not even the size of a piece of plywood. We took on board two big white five gallon buckets (we are optimists) and a full size garbage pail for the line, plus a large plank with a mechanical prawn-puller on it. With me added to the mix, space would have been at a premium had there been any. We were packed.
The wind was piping up to almost twenty and a few whitecaps were showing on the windlines. We had maybe 6 inches of freeboard in a fast-moving, heavily rippled sea. But we were ‘just going a hundred or so feet from the front of the house……’
I suggested, “So…? Waddya think? Maybe not today? Maybe we should haul tomorrow, ya know……………..like, when it is less likely to drench us?”
“Oh, sweetie. Don’t be silly. We are just in front of the house and it will only take a few minutes. These gusts will diminish. Suck it up!”
Being out-machoed by Sal is par for the course, so I shut up and we got about our business. Seas splashed and lapped up the sides and over now and then. Not a lot. Just a little. But it was steady. And it began to rain. The occasional wave rolled over the little foredeck. Maneuvering room in the boat with two traps hauled up – each about the size of an ottoman – made the load and our ride even more tippy and unwieldy but we pulled up a couple and then went for the last trap. I noticed a lot of water swirling around the bottom of the boat. Surprisingly, about four of the six inches we had were filled.
“Hey, Captain Sal! We seem to have a lot of water in the boat. Maybe we should head for shore?”
“Yeah. Where is it coming from? I’ll head in………Holy Moly, we are going awash!”
Sally instinctively gunned the motor forward at the same time as the bow plowed into a wave and we instantly took on another 25 gallons. So, now the boat was even lower. And pretty much stopped.
And the gusts had piped up to over twenty plus. Wind lines were rushing across the sea and we were in what can only be described as wallowing conditions. Water was lapping over my rubber boot tops.
We looked at each other. This was embarrassing. We were only a few hundred feet offshore but it looked like we were going to get pretty damn wet pretty damn soon. The boat would be fine – it has positive floatation so it can’t sink – but we were going to look like idiots.
Which only seemed apt.
That’s when L waved to us from the beach. “Hi! Thought I’d drop in for tea….. you guys OK?”
“Oh yeah. We’re fine. Head on up to the house. See you in a minute or two. Just coming in.” Sal passed me a bailer and she grabbed a bucket and we began bailing the boat. Fast. Bailing is not easy when the boat is full of gear. But we managed. Got things noticeably more buoyant and then she dropped me ashore with the prawns while she swung the little boat around to the dock. She got it back to ‘dry’ while zipping to the dock. It self-bails when you can go fast enough.
So, the first lesson is ‘don’t push the envelope’. But we did. The second lesson is, ‘don’t sink the envelope’ but we almost did that. And the third lesson is, ‘if you are going to be that stupid anyway, at least don’t do it in front of the neighbours!’
We’re hopeless. It is embarrassing. Especially for Sally (she was the captain and it is not all gold braid and salutes, ya know?!).
I think the only thing I can promise is to stop making promises I have no intention of keeping!
Yes, even tho conditions are similar, we are going out today for the last trap.
It’s a cliff-hanger out here, eh? Stay tuned.