Saturday July 9, 2011
I arrived at the boat around 5:00, exhausted from a hard day of being at a lavish bridal shower for my oldest friend where I was forced to drink mimosas and take a leisurely pontoon ride on a neighborhood lake during a perfect and sunny afternoon. I could hardly take pity on Matt after he spent the whole day cleaning the boat top to bottom and having been on it all week replacing hoses, painting the engine, and getting the windlass working. What a cushy life he has.
Shortly after he got me on the boat with all of our clothes, food, and beer, we received a text from our friend Mindy that her and Ken pulled in and were ready to be picked up in the dinghy. We hopped back in and shot over to get our friends. Just like last year we tried to squeeze about four bags, a case of beer, and four people into the dink. This time was much better however because joining us were two boxes of pizza and some breadsticks. It was the only item anyone was worried about accidentally going overboard. We managed to get everything to the boat safe and dry and it barely took two minutes for us to crack open a beer and throw the pizza boxes open.
West Michigan had been having an extremely warm week of weather and we were all sitting on the boat now with the sun beating down on us at nearly 90 degrees and not a breath of wind. We didn’t know what the temperature of Lake Michigan was, but we decided we needed to find out. On the way down the channel Mindy and I forced Ken to test out the new camera they had just purchased. There was a mini photo shoot going on in the cockpit and the deck where us girls would keep moving around saying “Take our picture here……now take our picture over here”. I’m sure he was very sick of us after a few minutes and quite relieved when we had cruised far enough into the lake to go swimming. That was of course until Mindy changed into her brand new swimsuit and more photos had to be taken. And just when he thought he had gotten rid of us after we jumped in the water, we forced him to take the camera out one more time to get action photos of us jumping off the side of the boat. Fortunately for him we were bored after two jumps and he was able to enjoy his beer in the shade of the cockpit while we hung out in the water, slowly drifting away and scrambling back. Girls, I tell you. They’re insufferable.
We could totally make the cover of Vogue
Once we had exhausted ourselves we collapsed on deck with frufru drinks in hand. The sun was still a long way from setting and since I rarely get to enjoy watching them on the big lake with a completely unobscured view of the water I wanted to make sure we stayed out for it. I suggested we hang out in the cockpit with a deck of cards until the sun slipped below the horizon. Mindy was eyeing the dunes on shore and thinking a climb sounded like a good idea. She asked if we could get the boat to shore and make it a possibility. Matt and I laughed a little and let her know this wasn’t the kind of boat you ‘beach’, and that we could take it into a depth of about 10 feet but the rest would have to be swam. The discussion went back and forth a few times with her saying she wanted to wait until the boat was anchored and then decide if she wanted to make the swim, and us telling her that if we went through the trouble of anchoring where she wanted that she would be making the swim whether it was her decision to go overboard or not.
Trying to persuade her I recalled the times Matt and I used to anchor inside the breakers near the pier and make the swim to shore, and though it took a few minutes it was never very hard. Once we made the decision for her and the anchor was down (with much ease due to the newly working windlass I might add) we had a dry bag packed with my far less expensive camera, t-shirts, a towel, and of course a few drinks. After strapping on our life vests and tying the dry bag on a long rope attached to my vest we leapt off the side and began the swim in. I’d like to think it was the life vest and the drag of the dry bag I was toting slowing me down because my pace was terrible. After close to 10 minutes of swimming Mindy hit shallow enough water to stand in and I was still paddling quite far behind her. By the time I dragged my butt on shore I was panting and quite thankful for the life vest that I had originally planned on not using.
Opening the dry bag we toweled ourselves off and cracked open our beers. Both of us were too tired to do any climbing so we just passed out on the beach. When our cans only had a few drops left and we realized the sky was starting to cloud over and there would not be the spectacular sunset we’d hoped for we decided we may as well head back. Only problem was the swim had been much longer than either of us anticipated and neither of us were in a rush to complete it again. There were a few small powerboats and jet skis up the shore and Mindy was just sure they would love to give us a ride. I was not up for asking, begging, or batting my eyes. I made it clear that she was welcome to ask while I stood 100 feet back. She then asked, begged, and batted her eyes at me that I at least stand next to her while she called on these so called taxi drivers. We gathered all our things and started walking up the beach going back and forth if we should bother anyone. In the end we manned-up and made the swim back ourselves. This time I made her strap on the vest with the dry bag dragging behind her, and she still kicked my ass on the swim. Guess I need to take swim lessons or start running 3 miles a day like Mindy just so I can keep up with her.
Just a little bit further from shore than I originally thought
After drying off, Mindy and I dove into a bag of Doritos like there was no tomorrow, adding back any calories we may have lost during our swim. It was still a beautiful night out with the sun going down and barely a hint of wind. Instead of pulling up anchor and going back to the mooring we decided to stay put. Plus without the wind whipping around it was a perfect environment for playing cards out in the fresh air. Switching up the couples I was paired with Ken and Matt and Mindy were together for a game of Euchre. Not my favorite game, and I was sure I would disappoint Ken with my continued lack of knowledge on it, but I was pretty good at getting Jacks that night and we destroyed Matt and Mindy. The next game we played required much less skill, the good old classic UNO. To be honest though none of us had played in over 15 years and we did have to go back and read the instructions. The sun had basically gone down by this point making things nearly impossible to see so we strung up our Davis Instruments Mega Light from the boom to shine a little light on our game. A very helpful accessory, but since we had in the dim bulb it made it very difficult to make out the green cards from the blue ones. We should have been playing Bullshit since a lot of the game was calling each other out on knowingly placing down the wrong color card and trying to get away with it.
In the middle of our reversing, skipping, and drawing 4, we seemed to get an invasion of creepy crawlers on the boat. The first one was spotted by Mindy with a bit of a shriek and crawling over Ken to get further out of the way. There was a nice sized spider dangling from the wheel inches from where her leg had just been. Being the only real man on the boat I grabbed a paper towel, scooped him up and threw him overboard. Our game resumed until Ken was taking a potty break by the stern and discovered another one under our solar panel. Apparently he was just as scared as everyone else and it was me to the rescue again. Pretty soon I was getting a reputation as a bad ass spider killer. And there did not seem to be a shortage of them that night. After the fourth random find we decided to go on a hunt instead of having them drop in on us unexpectedly. Pulling out a flashlight we started searching the cockpit. The few more we did find were centered near the stern and the solar panel. All the ones we had seen up until this point were a pretty decent size that would send most people running the opposite direction, and then we came upon the mac daddy of big spiders. This one was so big it could have it’s own zip code. It was big enough that I’m sure insurance companies would consider it our third crew member while sailing across oceans. I was contemplating keeping it so it could take one of the watches on night sails, but the consensus on board was to throw it over.
Mindy was getting very freaked out at the amount of spiders by this time and we figured it was getting late enough where we should pull up the anchor and make it back to the mooring. Moving the games below deck we spent the next hour with full glasses of wine and beer, playing dominoes until one by one we started to drop from exhaustion. No one had even realized the clock was creeping after two. My head hit the pillow and I was out. It didn’t happen to be the right one, and the next thing I heard was Mindy’s voice in a kidding and whining tone saying “Jessica’s on my pill-ow!!”. I was quickly ushered to my own and comfortably passed out for the night.