Just Keep Swimming….Just Keep Swimming

Sunday September 11, 2011

Last night when we got to the marina there was some work that needed to be done on the new dink before we could make it to the boat.  Matt was going to work on getting the wheels attached so it wouldn’t be so much of a pain for us to bring her up and down to the water, even though it was only about 50 feet.  My job was to ink her with her new registration numbers.  We decided against sticky or glued on pieces of fabric in case she was ever stolen from us.  Those would be too easy to rip right off.  So instead she was going to get tatttooed with a sharpie.  I had the stencils in my hand and I was all ready to go.  Unfortunately for Matt, the epoxy he used to fill the initil drill holes the day before (after a previous failed attempt last weekend too) was not fully hard and would have to be redone.  I’m sure I was good entertainment for him while he sat and watched me work for 30 minutes while I colored.

It was still decently early when we climbed aboard Serdendip, but my vigorus workout of keeping my arms at a 45 degree angle had built up quite an appetite and I was ready to eat.  Earlier that day I had gone to my favorite butcher shop by our old house to pick up NY strips again, this time in their famous home seasoning.  Knowing I wanted my steak to come out med-rare while Matt prefers his med-well, I made him throw his on about 10 minutes before mine.  Being the ‘steak-expert’ I now was from spending five months working at Outback, I could judge the temperature by of the steak by poking my finger at it to see how firm it was.  I announced to him that it was pretty close to med-well and he wouldn’t want to leave it on much longer or there would be no pink at all in the center.  Poking a finger at mine I was afraid it would be a little brown on the outer edges and begged Matt to take it off.  Forcing me to leave it on another two minutes he said he coudn’t bear to watch me eat an undercooked steak.  When i was finally able to get it off the grill and onto my plate I cut it open to find it was still purple inside.  Back on the grill it went.  Guess I’ll have to work on my finger poking skills a little.  Matt’s came out medium but agreed it was good enough to eat, and waited the two minutes for me that my steak was cooking and I was convinced it was burning again.

The rest of the night was quiet.  We both remembered to pack our e-readers this time and settled into the settes.  I started out reading something knowledgeable by Dashew and Dashew, but my concentration quickly drained and I was quickly on to the next Harry Potter book in the series.  When 10:30 came around I didn’t care that it was so early.  My eyes were drooping closed and I was ready for bed.  What the hell is going to happen to me when I hit 30?

The next morning we woke up and everything outside the hatch looked a little hazy.  I knew I couldn’t see perfectly without my contacts in, but I didn’t think my eyes were that bad.  Climing out into the cockpit there were blankets of fog covering the water.  It was a very pretty sight, so serene and calm.  But also a little disappointing since my friend Bri was coming out and I wanted it to be a sunny beautiful day she would enjoy.  After hearing about the great times Jared and Jeff had out with us (we’re all mutual friends) I wanted to be able to deliver the same to her.  For an hour or two the sun couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, it would burn up the fog and then new patches would roll in.

So serene

This cycle went on about 5 times and when Bri called in saying she was getting close the sun looked like it was winning the battle.  Waiting at the marina for her car to pull in we started talking to a few fishermen pulling their boat out of the water.  They mentioned they had just come in from the big lake where the fog was incredibly thick  and the temperatures were very low.  Not what I wanted to hear since that’s where we were planning on spending our day, but I figured it was becoming clear on Muskegon Lake it would soon on Lake Michigan too.  Bri pulled into the parking lot a minute later and we were all on our way to the boat.  Deciding to take our chances on Lake Michigan we made our way to the channel where we were still in sunny skies.  About half way though it we went from clear to slightly foggy to ‘I can’t see 50 feet in front of me’ by the time we hit the breakwalls.  Guess the fisherman were right.  We opted to be adventurous and keep going even though we couldn’t see where that was.  Our eyes were peeled as we left the channel figuring if there were any other boats out there, that’s where we’d be most likely to run into them.  After we were clear into open water we were able to let our guard down just a little and somewhat enjoy our day outside.  The temperature did definitley drop and there was tons of moisture (duh) in the air to where you could see the whisps in front of you and inhale the thickness of the air into your lungs.  All of our lifelines and stanchions were beading with condensation.  Even the bottom layer of my hair had become soaking wet.  After spending 30 minutes like this we quickly realized this would not be the most enjoyable way to spend our day and turned around to go back to the small lake where we knew the sun was shining.

Into the fog

Fortunately Matt had the GPS on ensuring we would not end up beached at the State Park.  On our way in we could hear the motor of a nearby power boat but could not see through the thick fog to tell it’s direction.  Then through the air we heard the loud blast of a fog horn and determined the boat was coming at us.  Another loud blast put it on our starboard side although we still had no visual on it.  Being prepared with our fog horn out I gave a loud blast, scaring the crap out of Bri in the process, and hoping it would give the other boat a good bearing of our location.  A few moments later we finally saw it come into sight for a starboard to starboard pass.  Not proper rules of the road, but I was just happy not to have a collision.  Bri and I made our way up to the bow to be on ‘look-out’ in case other boats we may come up on don’t have radar like the last one did.

Matt did manage to get us on a path directly to the channel but by the time the lighthouse was visible we were right on top of it.  Directing him toward the center we called back fishing boat sightings and were soon in the clear again.  I honestly have to say I’m surprised at how smooth the whole thing went considering you couldn’t see 100 ft in front of you and we were still operating without radar.  All of us agreed that we would like to go swimming at some point and since the water near the mooring was not a pristine bathing location we made a beeline for the dunes where all the other boats were hanging out.  Knowing that we might want to make a swim to shore we anchored much closer than last time, but still a few hundred feet away since there was so much other traffic.  Opening a fresh bottle of rum we hung out in the cockpit chatting and watching other boats in the area.  A few of the powerboats had anchored very close and rafted together creating mini parties.  There were a few groups of ‘boat buddies’ around us and we were beginning to get jealous that we did not have one of our own.  Feeling a little silly we would call out “Boat buddy?” to any other sailboats that passed us by, but no one acknowledged us to take us up on our offer.  There was eventually another boat that dropped anchor not too far from us but we thought we’d be polite and leave them alone for the most part.  Although when the guy on that boat started up his grill for lunch we were automatically quizzing him about what he was going to make.  It was a pork tenderloing and sounded so much better than the french bread pizzas I had brought for us to heat up in the oven.  So twenty minutes later when we had enough liquid courage to jump into the chilly water, our neighboring boat offered us some tenderloin as we passed by.  Matt was already almost to shore but Bri and I stopped by for a bite.  They guy handed us each a slice and Bri ate hers while dangling from the swim ladder and I enjoyed mine while treading water.  The food given to us was some of the best pork tenderloin I have ever tasted, juicy and moist, and marinated with a bacon-pepper flavoring.  Ther was no way I could let Matt miss out on this.  Saving half my piece I began the swim to shore holding the tenderloin above my head with one hand.  We had gone about 20 feet and Bri started struggling with the swim a little.  I told her we were still close enough to the boat to go back if she wanted.  She declined and we pushed forward.  Another 30-40 feet and she was struggling still, making gasping noises as she swam.  By this time we were half way, so I encouraged her to keep going forward.  I was starting to think she might need rescue, but that would mean letting go of my food.  With constant praise I kept encouraging her to keep going, ‘just a little bit further!!’.  Coming up on the powerboats anchored just off shore, they started to notice Bri’s troubles as well.  Or it could also be that her gasps started to sound like noises that belonged in the bedroom and was starting to draw a bit of attention to herself.  One very nice (or curious) man tossed a flotation device to help with the last bit and soon we were both to shore.  Bri didn’t drown and my pork didn’t get a drop of water on it!   (For all you that probably think I’m a terrible person, I offered to assist her in and she declined)

Not even letting Bri catch her breath we dragged her to the top of the first dune were we layed on a towel (brought over in a dry bag by Matt) where we had a beautiful view of Muskegon Lake and all the boats out that day.  It looked like a scene from a postcard and I was happily snapping away with the camera.  When everyone was rested up a bit we did some exploring further back into the dunes.  The sand was still warm on our feet and it was one of those days where you fully take in your surroundings and appriciate them because you know it might be eight months before you get to experience it again.  The sky was a brilliant Michigan blue and just popped off the color of the sand.  Finding another tall dune to rest on we sat for awhile just taking it all in.  When we decided it was time to get back to the boat we raced down the dune and took a shortcut through some trees leading us out to the shore.

With Bri being a little apprehensive about getting back in the water we filled the dry bag full of air so it would act as a mini flotation device and let her hang on to make the swim back.  I’m starting to think I shouldn’t make my friends swim to shore anymore for fear of eventually losing one of them.  Might be a good spot  to take enemies though…..  .  All of us were starving by the time we got back onboard and I threw our pathetic little french bread pizzas in the oven.  While we were waiting for them to bake we broke out the dominoes to play in the cockpit.  It wasn’t the easiest thing trying to spread out all our tiles on the  cockpit table which does not offer a lot of space, but someone would always win the game before we ran out of space.  The first win was surprisingly mine, but I was harshly punished after that by ending the next game with about 9 tiles in my hand.  We continued on like this for ahwhile, just enjoying what  was left of the sun and eachothers company.  Annoying what few boating neighbors we had left, we blasted some LMFAO from the speakers and introduced Bri to ‘The Wiggle Song’ which she had never heard before.  As the sun dropped lower and lower in the sky we realized we were the only boat still  anchored.  Although I could have continued to stay out all night we needed to get Bri back for other engagements she had and Matt and I had work the next morning.  I don’t know how many more nice days we’ll have out on the boat this year before temperatures drop and don’t go back up, or how many  more evenings we’ll be able to enjoyably waste in the cockpit, but if this does happen to be the last one it was a great note to go out on.