Tuesday, September 6, 2011

25° 05.1' N Latitude 80° 26.7' W Longitude (Key Largo)


For Labor Day weekend, we sailed to Key Largo! Eric’s dad, an avid sailor, joined us for our weekend getaway, which was great since I am still learning to sail (yes, you read that correctly. I live on a sailboat and I don’t know how to sail).

As we embarked, the sun was shining and the water was crystal clear. Unfortunately, the most important element, the wind, was against us--literally. As we headed south, we had a headwind, which meant we couldn't actually sail to Key Largo (the above picture was taken on our return trip, in which we were graced with 10 knot winds).

Although we couldn't sail, our motoring journey to the Keys was not without excitement. We caught a fish! And not just any fish... As Eric helped his dad reel in the catch, the two men began shouting "It's a King!! It's a King!!"

Sadly, upon closer inspection of the fish, we noticed that its teeth we extremely large and vicious looking. This fish was no king mackerel; it was a barracuda! We returned it to the sea.


Finally, we made it to Key Largo. It was evening by this point, and little Moishe needed to pee. Since Moishe hadn't mastered his on-board pee pad, we needed to go ashore. We were anchored in between Rodriguez Key and Key Largo, so we had two options for land. By the time we hoisted the dinghy into the water and got the engine started, it was dark (except for when the sky was illuminated by some rather fast-approaching lightning). Although I pointed out to Eric that Rodriguez Key appeared to be a mass of tangled mangroves and not actual land, "we" opted to take Moishe there since it was closer and we didn't quite trust the dinghy's engine.

Hastily, we ushered Moishe aboard the dinghy and headed to Rodriguez Key. As we approached "shore" my mangrove theory was confirmed--there was no soil, just a mass of knotted roots. Additionally, the water near Rodriguez Key was shallow and filled with seaweed. To protect the engine, Eric tilted it at an angle, so the propeller wouldn't get choked by seaweed. This would prove to be a mistake (although a well-meaning one).

As we made our way back to Sea Gem, the engine began to sound like a car about to stall.
Krissy: Why is the engine making that sound?"
Eric: "Its locked at an angle and I can't get the propeller all the way in the water."

--Eric, using his hand as a tool, begins hitting the engine--

Krissy: "What are you doing? You are going to hurt yourself!"

--Eric continues hitting the engine--

Eric: "It's stuck! I can't get it in the water."

--Eric shifts his weight to the back of the dinghy in an attempt to submerge the locked engine's propeller."

Eric: "Ugh, we'll just have to putter back with it half submerged."

Krissy
: "That's fine. Let's just get back."

--We move 3 feet and stop--

--Eric frustratedly resumes beating the engine--

Krissy: "What are you doing?!?!? You just said we'll putter back!"
Eric: "The engine can get damaged if its not in water."
Krissy: "It was working! We can't be out here!! There is lightning!"

--Eric continues beating the engine--

Krissy: "ERIC, you are going to break...."

--The engine stalls--

--Several failed attempts to restart the engine--

--Silence--

Eric: (nervously) "Hee hee...sorry."
At this point, we were halfway between Rodriguez Key and Sea Gem. Lightning was all around, and of course, we didn't bring oars. Since there were also jelly fish in the water, we couldn't swim back or use our feet to manually propel the dinghy. In a last ditch effort, I grabbed my life jacket and began using it as a paddle, while Eric served as the dinghy's coxswain.

I so wanted to yell and scream, but the situation was far too comical to be upset. I kept imagining what other people would think if they could see us--two lunatics using their life jackets to paddle around the ocean in a dinghy with their strange-looking dog. I could barely breathe I was laughing so hard. Thankfully, unlike earlier, the wind was in our favor and helped push us back to Sea Gem.

We went through so much trouble and yet accomplished nothing. Poor little Moishe still hadn't peed, and now that the dinghy's engine didn't work, there was no way to get him ashore. With no other options, once on board, I brought out the pee pad. I placed it on the front deck and walked Moishe to it. In my most authoritative voice, I said, "Moishe, go outside," and I pointed to the pee pad. Shockingly, he obeyed! Little Moishe walked directly to the pad and peed! It was a joyous occasion.

With the exception of a few jelly fish encounters, the rest of our holiday weekend was relaxing and fun. We even got the dinghy's engine up and running (without the use of force). Although Moishe has refused to use the pee pad since that first evening in Key Largo, now that I know he can, pee pad training has resumed. Suggestions welcome!

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