Black Oak- En Cuba
por dos semanas, sin conexion a internet
Have to admit I skimmed much of it, except your entries Black Oak. I appreciate the paragraphs, makes it much easier to read. Your self-effacing narrative -- poking fun at yourself -- is pretty hilarious, and many of us can relate to some of what you're talking about, even if we experienced it at a slower pace or a slightly different version.
First time I went in 45 degree water
without a wetsuit, a fouled prop stood between me taking my kids
on a late fall cruise
. I had blown back out of my slip into the fairway only to find I had no power. I managed to make it over to a slip without too much fuss and then dove on the prop. It sucks down there when it is cold and dark, and does feel like a long way down. Your comments about only being a few inches below the surface are just beyond funny
. My kids
cheered me on as I kept going below for another pass at the indignant critters. BTW, make sure you wear good gloves while your down there. A guy in our neck of the woods had to amputate some digits after an infection from a simple barnacle cut on his hand. Don't lose any sleep over it though. Now I go below, year round, and it is just a basic boat chore. On a recent family cruise
I slurped up a crab pot in a channel and was dead in the water. I pitched out the stern anchor
, bumped it in reverse a couple of times, then grabbed a mask and a knife and cleared the prop when the reversing didn't do it. Just being comfortable with it meant I didn't cut myself with a sharp-ass knife getting in the water, remembered to put the ladder down, and watched out for boats that might throw some wake and crack my coconut. No special skill there, but having been under there a hundred times, and having rehearsed that scenario in my mind a few times, means much better outcome.
You may not have liked sailing had you eased into it, and maybe you saved yourself a bunch of time and money
figuring it out quickly. You sure did not waste any time getting out there, and yeah, you were lucky. Sailing takes a fair amount of planning to avoid problems, and an endless list of skills to to keep a boat running, particularly when you can't afford to pay someone to do it all for you. In hindsight, had your lessons come a little slower, a little less expensive, a little less uncomfortable, perhaps it would be more appealing. You need to have some perfect nights under the moon, eating oysters and drinking wine, or feasting on mahi belly meat, watching meteors and bioluminescence in the stream, hearing water stream past the hull
as your boat - powered by wind
- carries you to your destination. There is nothing like it, but unless you buy your way into it, there's no instant seamanship program. I mean buy a boat, a captain
, etc. It is a lifelong pursuit and not an option for mere mortals to get 600-800 miles offshore
without some significant experience really. Not being able to get fuel
to your yanmar
is bad news, meaning no batteries for communication, navigation
, etc. Of course there are backups to all of this, but they take knowledge and experience.
This past summer I was singlehanding
in the chesapeake, and made a run from the Annapolis
area to Portsmouth with winds gusting to 35+ knots on my stern. My chartplotter
and both my backup GPS
units failed. What are the odds? I took a couple of piloting courses early on so it was no big deal, despite heavy commercial
traffic coming at me all night. Because I was able to understand lights and use charts
, it made it an inconvenience. Had my autopilot
failed, it would have been even more of an inconvenience, trying to read charts
in 25-35 knots and a steep seaway. Not having a headlamp or waterproof cover can make or break you there. Nothing special about me or my skills, but a series of experiences, some really unpleasant, made it easy for me to decide to consciously put out to sea in those conditions and then solve the problems calmly as they arose. Five years ago it would have been much more stressful, but I did know more or less when I should not be out there. I guess anyone can jump on a boat and pull some strings and push some buttons and go here and there, and plenty do. Actually having fun at it and not endangering yourself or others is another story, and takes some real effort to learn it all.
I'm glad you posted, and wanted to respond. It is natural that you'll have some critics, I mean a ton of people have read this now. The nice thing about a forum like this is you can learn from others mistakes
too, but precious few advertise their mistakes
like you did. Good luck with whatever you do next. If you back off a little and adjust your expectations, you might have some fun at it. At the very least you've made some new friends and have some hilarious stories. My wife was nearly in tears hearing about you being a few inched below the water but feeling like you were surveying the bottom. It is funny
to her because she witnessed much of my learning first hand and a lot of it wasn't that funny at the time - especially for her.