We’ve been considering buying a sailboat so we took a three-day, two-night sailing trip with our friend Brian this week, who owns a 36-foot sailboat (which is why this issue was sent out so late).
Day One was beautiful! We sailed for about three hours until we arrived at Bird Key (a.k.a. Beer Can Island) in Tampa Bay. We anchored, put the dinghy in the water, and headed for the island. Our friend, Brian, first paddled the boys, and then me, over there and we all walked all the way around the island. Richard stayed with the boat for safety reasons. (What if the anchor came loose??? But, that never really happens, right?? Ahem…) Anyway, we saw hundreds of starfish…and one almost-naked sunbathing man. His naughty bits were covered by a teensy, tiny, dirty white rag. Yes, of course I took a picture! No, I’m not posting it. Do you really want to see a picture of a Santa Clause look-alike with no tan lines? I didn’t think so… If you really want to see it, holler at me HERE.
After our walk, the boys wanted to go back to the boat. Brian offered to swim there with them while I stayed with the dinghy. They all had on life jackets (because we frequently see stories about drownings in currents in Florida, even among good swimmers). Brian and Max were doing fine but Mason is very small, and was having a hard time fighting the current. He wasn’t going forward, nor backward. He was swimming hard but pretty much remaining stationary. He started to panic a bit. I was on a sandbar, but just out of reach. Brian was already on his way to get Mason so I stood there calmly talking to him, telling him he was fine and that Brian was almost there. He wasn’t in any danger and, if he’d stopped kicking, he’d have just ended up on the next shallow sandbar anyway. There were also several boaters “downstream” from him who were watching what was happening. Any of them would have been able to scoop him up but Brian was quickly closing in. He got Mason and pulled him to the sandbar I was on. We then walked to the dinghy and we all headed back to the boat.
Just past Mason, you can see the blue water line. That’s where it drops to a depth of 15 feet. As you can see, Mason was none the worse for wear after his little scare. That’s Max waving from the boat.
Richard cooked DELICIOUS gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for us and we were all sound asleep before midnight. Sometime in the night, the wind picked up quite a bit. All of us got up to check the anchor several times but we were still in the same position.
The next morning, Brian shouted to wake us all up. The swells were getting big and the anchor was dragging. Richard and Brian started pulling up the anchor while I manned the motor…in my nightgown. Yes, Max took my picture. No, I’m NOT posting that one here, either!
After several maneuvers, we had two anchors secured and we turned our attention to breakfast. That’s when Brian yelled yet again. And, I won’t tell you how many expletives erupted from his lips. The dinghy had come untied, and was slowly bobbing its way into the open bay.
Brian ripped his shoes off, caught the life jacket I threw to him, and dove in. He tried to catch the dinghy but the current was moving it fast and far. He stopped at one point, staring at the small white boat as it got smaller and smaller down the horizon. I could have sworn I heard him say, “Wilson! Wilson! I’m sorry!”
He turned around, and slowly made his way back to the boat. He was exhausted but he made it.
We then pulled up anchor, and launched “Operation Save the Dinghy!” The boys were excited!
By the time we caught up, it had traveled about a mile. The seas were 4-5 feet and the wind was whipping! I was on the motor and Brian had the boat hook. I wasn’t doing a very good job so we traded places. He’s a pro and the dinghy ended up right in front of me. I was able to wrap the line around the hook and the guys secured it.
Then, we had a choice. We could either go back to the island and get beat up all day, or we could head back to the marina, and only get beat up on the way there (about four hours). We opted for the latter.
Except for the huge swells, the trip was uneventful. We had a great time and, despite the wind and waves, it was a beautiful day! Once we got back to the marina, we took the boys fishing, and then we went out for burgers that night for dinner. The next morning, we were glad we were in a safe harbor because the weather had turned nasty and tornadoes were touching down nearby.
We’re back home now. Our next adventure? Boat shopping! 😉
**DON’T FORGET! Saturday, April 8th, is start-time for the Spring, 2016 24-Hour Short Story Contest! What will the topic be??? See: http://24hourshortstorycontest.com/
MORE PICS FROM OUR TRIP:
Brian, Richard and Mason. It was such a beautiful day!
A blue heron came to greet us. She had an injured leg. 🙁
We found several shark’s teeth on Bird Key!
Mason got hungry…
This wasn’t Brian’s boat but we sent an April Fool’s text to the older kids, telling them it was, and that we were on the island, patiently waiting for the tide to come in.
And, after they all panicked, I sent them this picture so they’d know we were safe. That particular joke was NOT well received by our daughter, Ali. Heh… 😉
And, finally, the rogue dinghy!
Angela Hoy lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, BookLocker.com, and AbuzzPress, and the author of 19 books. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
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