Technically it was his knees. But, I don’t know if you know this, your knees are part of your legs, so technically I didn’t lie to you. Frankly, I’m concerned that you think I would lie to you. We should work on the trust levels in this relationship. If we can’t do trust falls then what are we even doing here?
None of this is the subject of the blog for today, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t get lost in the story.
Of the four days we spent at Santa Cruz Island, we only went ashore one time. Craig got off the boat one additional time when he went swimming like a crazy person in 60° water. Otherwise we were trapped on the boat as it got tossed around in absurdly high winds. I hate to admit this, but I started to feel seasick. To my credit, the boat was heeling more at anchor than it usually does when we are sailing. And that’s just insane. I already told you about one boat dragging anchor while we were there, but another boat also drug anchor during our stay. To say that I am glad we spent a lot of money on a Rocna anchor and that we have all chain rode is an understatement. We were regularly checking our bearings and the anchor didn’t move through the entire windstorm. (If anyone who works for Rocna wants to pay me for this endorsement – I accept.)
Going ashore is basically the entire point of cruising. If you think about it, adventure and exploration is pretty limited if you stay on a boat. I don’t know about you, but that option sounds miserable and claustrophobic and boring and I want no part in it. To get ashore, we have to take Zubie. (Unless someone wants to sponsor us and get us a kayak?) Most of our cruising experience has been in locations with a dinghy dock. We love dinghy docks. You just zip on over, tie up your boat, and walk away. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. When there isn’t a dock, we aim for a beach. This option is generally less enticing. At this point in our cruising career, most of our beach landings have been in places with zero surf. We get the dinghy as shallow as possible, gracefully hop out into the water, and pull Zubie onto land above the tide line. And you just do that in reverse order when it’s time to leave.
Those are the dream beach landings. If you didn’t already guess, we did not have a dream beach landing on Santa Cruz Island. My life feels predictable at this point.
The options for getting Zubie to shore are rowing or motoring. We had a serious debate on the options and I won because I am the Admiral and I insisted on using the motor.
We picked a day that had relatively light winds and calm conditions. We stood on deck, staring at the shore, devising a plan. The plan was to motor over and time the approach during a lull between the sets of waves. The plan was to get as shallow as possible, turn off the motor, lift the propeller out of the water, jump out and pull Zubie up onto the sand. The plan did not work.
The water was murky along the shore so we didn’t realize how shallow it was and we ran aground much sooner than anticipated. A wave came in, turned Zubie sideways, and nearly flipped us. I jumped into the water and pulled the boat further up onto the sand while Craig frantically tried to turn the motor off. The kill switch was, of course, not working. This means that the engine was running and out of the water so it wasn’t getting cooled and would overheat if we didn’t put it back into the water or get it to shut off. Craig still couldn’t get it to shut off which forced us to push the boat back out into the surf so the propeller and water intake could be below the surface.
It took at least several minutes to get the engine to turn off while we tried to keep Zubie stabilized in the surf, even after removing the fuel connection. It was concerning and the outboard moved its way to the top of the maintenance/repair list.
Unsurprisingly, we came in at low tide so we had to carry the boat (and the outboard) up the beach so it wouldn’t get carried away when the tide came in. Without a dock to tie to, we found some drift wood and tied to that instead. Then we piled a bunch of rocks on top of it since drift wood also doesn’t feel too secure. As it turns out, a beach landing is basically a soggier and sandier version of a CrossFit workout.
Our time ashore was spent walking along the trail toward Scorpion Anchorage and pretending like I was Maria from The Sound of Music. Let me tell you – those hills were alive with music. We hiked and saw people and made friends with a (pygmy?) fox. No Big Deal.
When it was time to head back to Small World, we stood on the beach staring at the surf, in heavy debate about the best method for getting back through the breakers. If we motor, we have to push the boat out pretty far to get it deep enough for the propeller. If we row, it’s not quick to get started and we aren’t convinced that we can make it through the breakers before we get flipped.
Somehow, despite my objections, we decided on half rowing. Like, using the bottom half of the oars and paddling as if we were in a canoe. Suddenly we were getting covered in waves and nearly getting flipped. Again. We were shouting, “Abort! Abort! Abort!” as we retreated to the beach.
“I am totally shocked you didn’t make it,” said no one.
At this point, Zubie was full of water, we were soaked, and Craig stripped down to his underwear. We regrouped, had a little pep talk, and switched to motoring.
After starting the engine, pushing Zubie into the surf, and timing the sets of waves we aimed for the breakers one more time. Craig attempted to jump aboard and fell into the surf but waves were coming so we look at each other, shouted, “GO! GO! GO!” and still went for it.
The propeller was dropped just enough to get it submerged and get us to safety. We’ll be sure to use that strategy in the future. Maybe then Craig won’t fall and scrape his knees and have to shave his knees to avoid bandaid hair removal.
Either way, we put on a great show that day. For free. We thought another boat was going to have a similar experience so we grabbed the binoculars. We don’t have TV or internet so this is the peak of our entertainment. There we were, staring at the other dinghy from our galley, expecting to see them at least make a splash – and they totally killed it. Made it through with no apparent issues.
Consider it a lesson learned.
Beer Bulletin with Captain Craig
Brewery: Golden Road
Beer: Point the Way IPA, 5.9% ABV, 60 IBU
Summary: This was a hard earned beer. Let me list the ways
- First hike since leaving the San Juan Islands
- Massive blood loss on the beach (Mom – it wasn’t that bad you can calm down)
- Public humiliation
- An unwanted 60°saltwater bath
- A slightly warmer freshwater rinse in the cockpit
- Fighting with a runaway outboard motor
- Shaving my knees
- Cleaning my wounds (alcohol wipes are tear inducing, despite their size)
This beer is okay. It seems to be missing some citrusy notes that I associate with an IPA. I would probably label it a full bodied lager rather than an IPA. If they had called it that, I would rate it as excellent. But I bought an IPA, for fuck sake!
Bottom Line: Would purchase again at a discount.