Friday April 3, 2015
We got jobs!! Ok, maybe not so much jobs as one paying gig, but hey, it still pays. The two of us are going to spend five days as sailing instructors. This story starts with a knock on our hull and is paused with me attaining a pretty nasty injury, but let’s go back to the beginning.
About a week and a half ago we got a knock on our hull early one morning as we were just making our coffee and popped our heads out to see Ben standing below. He told us there was a couple that had just purchased a boat at Indiantown and were looking for a couple of experienced sailors to take them on a shakedown cruise with their new boat to the Bahamas. At first they had gone to ask Ben and Hannes, since who in the marina hasn’t heard of the Germans that have sailed their boat all the way from Australia, but the guys are so busy getting ready for their American Tour that they don’t have the time to do it themselves. Cue us as the next viable option.
Wandering down to the docks we got the full scoop on the situation. Joni and Bob had just purchased a Brewer 42, and aside from only having taken ASCA course a few years ago, were a bit rusty on their sailing. They were bringing the boat to the Bahamas and back and would love to have the company of a few experienced sailors along with them instead of paying the outrageous hourly charge of bringing a certified instructor. Just someone to watch over as they did most of the work, give a few tips, and let them know if there was anything they weren’t doing correctly or could be doing better.
After mulling it over for a few hours, having another conversation with Joni, and agreeing on a set price to hire us for 5-6 days of sailing with them, we readily agreed.
This whole conversation actually happened a few weeks ago, and yesterday the Brewer was in Stuart with it’s rigging getting installed and about ready to go, so Matt and I traveled to the marina in the Jeep that Joni and Bob had left in Indiantown when they motored their boat to the coast.
Our plan over the next 5-6 days was to spend one day motoring down to Lake Worth where we would anchor and sleep until about 3 am, then leave out the inlet in the early hours of the morning and motor or sail to West End Bahamas, hopefully making in there in the early afternoon. The following day would be a fun and relaxing day in the Bahamas to just hang out, and the morning after that we would leave to get ourselves back to Lake Worth and spend another day or so motoring back up to Stuart. Job done. Fun had by all. Easy peasy.
Only, when we got out to the marina in Stuart at 11 am we were notified that the riggers were behind schedule because of a fire that had broken out the previous day at a biodiesel plant, causing explosions and shutting down everything within a mile radius…including the shop that was doing their rigging. When the riggers were able to show up a few hours later we were all hopeful that even if we couldn’t get out that day the job would be finished that evening so we could get going first thing the next morning. Running a few last minute errands and having a nice dinner in the cockpit we all settled in for the night and Matt and I lavished in all the room the v-berth offered and the fact that we had our own private bath. This Brewer 42 was spacious and even Georgie was loving all the extra room to move around.
The next morning we enjoyed our coffee…and sat and waited and waited and waited for the riggers to show up again. Trying to be as patient as possible, we kept sending messages to the company to see why the person that was supposed to arrive by 9 am wasn’t there by 10, then 11, then 12:30. It wasn’t until we were sitting down to lunch that someone finally arrived, but we already knew by that point that any chance at departure the same day was completely shot.
Checking the weather forecast for the next few days we saw that the winds filled in somewhat heavily from the east and not only would this mean motoring straight into them, but into sloppy seas as well. We put the trip on hold until things looked to settle down again in about four days. I spent the next 30 minutes or so packing up most of our belongings again (crazy how scattered they can get after one night) and Matt went over a few areas of the boat with Bob of things that would be good to address before we leave since we now have the extra time.
I had just thrown all our items onto the dock along with a Pepsi for the road and was trying to angle myself to get on the dock as well. The issue that we’d been having in this spot for the last 24 hours is the tides must have been ridiculously low due to the full moon because the deck of the boat was sitting about three feel below the cement dock we were tied against. Getting on to the boat meant positioning yourself with a good hop, but every time you wanted to disembark you’d have to place your hands up on the dock and put your foot on a conduit pipe that was running the length of it while pushing yourself up onto your hands and knees on the dock. I, in my last attempt for the day, got a little cocky and thought I could do without the extra foot help up.
Big mistake! Placing my hands on the dock I went to push myself up by arm strength alone, but when I realized that wasn’t going to work it was already too late to stop what was happening. Although I had already raised myself up a considerable amount it wasn’t enough to get me all the way up and instead just left me with more room to fall. And not back onto the boat either.
Acting as a human Plinko chip I bounced off the dock, then the boat, and finally some barnacle covered pillars before crashing into the water below me. Coming up for air I grabbed the nearest thing to me, only to realized it was the pillars covered with razor sharp barnacles. Luckily one of the guys working the rigging on the boat had seen this all go down and was also a liscensed EMT. Having me hang on to a fender, he quickly fashioned a sling from some extra line, and between him and Matt pulling from above I was hauled out of the water and helped on the dock. Soaking wet and a little bit in shock I just remember repeating “I’m ok…I’m ok..I’m ok”. Looking down at my blood soaked foot I kind of laughed it off and mentioned I might need a shower.
The EMT mentioned to use lots of iodine on my cuts because of the nasty bacteria from the barnacles as well as whatever has been floating in the stagnant water here, we collected a quick medical kit from Joni before making our way to the washrooms where I was shoved into a hot shower, clothes and all. Everything was going fine for a moment as I washed and scrubbed and tried to make sense of every spot that the blood running down the drain might be coming from, until very suddenly I became light headed and had to sit down under the warm water.
This didn’t seem to be helping though as black spots still faded in and out of my vision, so I crawled onto the bathroom floor where I sprawled myself out on the cool tile and gained my sight back. Matt took a full inspection of me and found that on my way down into the water I had sliced my elbow and one of my toes pretty badly on some barnacles. He tended to those wounds until I felt like I could get myself back in the shower. Same thing though, as soon as I got in an upright position I began to pass out again and once more had to sprawl myself on the floor.
In addition to the obvious cuts I also complained that my butt and my side were hurting pretty bad. They weren’t bleeding however and it was deemed they were both just badly bruised. Trying to sit myself up again though the pain in my side was so bad that I couldn’t make it up on my own. It looked like I may have fractured a rib on one of the pillars during my fall.
By this point people were beginning to show up to the washroom to check on my status, including Joni and the general manager of the yard. Since we knew that a doctor couldn’t do anything for a broken rib anyway we waived off any offers to be taken to the hospital and decided that lots of rest and maybe some Ibuprofen was all I really needed. Instead of staying on the floor in the bathroom the general manager told me I could lay down in a conference room on the top floor of the office area, and once Matt had my cuts bandaged up we slowly moved ourselves there as I gently shuffled and tried not to move my midsection.
After a good 20 minutes on now carpeted flooring with the hope that I was over my dizzy spell, all I wanted was to get back to Serendipity and pass out on the settee for the rest of the afternoon. With every minute my side was hurting more and more and I wanted to make sure I could get myself home while I was still mobile. With a few grunts and tears I was pulled up off the floor once more and made the shuffle downstairs and out to the docks to say goodbye to Joni and Bob and to gather our things to bring back to the ‘Dip.
So now I’m back home, drugged up on Ibuprofen, and watching Titanic since this is one of the rare cases where Matt will actually let me play it without complaints. Although the cut on my elbow was deep enough that it might have needed stitches, we just put a few butterfly bandages on it and we’ll see how it’s doing in a few days. We’re still hoping to leave on the Bahamas trip on Monday or Tuesday and I’m just hoping my ribs and cuts will have healed enough by that time that I can easily move around.