Leaving the States

Leaving the States

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Up a creek with a broken paddle

Well i suppose it was only a matter of time...
I was marooned yesterday.

 I stood alone, helpless and bleeding on a beach and watched as CaptainK and First Mate Tina drifted away in the dingy....... :'( 
Haha Ok, ok. It was only for about 10 min and i wasn't bleeding that badly. 

You see, yesterday we arrived in Key West. Hooray!! We were all very excited to anchor the boat and then motor on in with the dingy so we could jump into all the fun of the island and even MORE excited to go buy some fresh produce! --i fear i am begining to risk scurvy if i dont get some freshies soon. 

We were all set, crew in dingy zipping along, bouncing across the quick currented channel toward the designated dock about 2 miles out. All of the sudden i hear the buzz the 2stroke outboard quickly hush to a low drone then sputter out completely. "What's wrong?" Tina asked. We both expected that Ken had seen something curious and wanted to take a look or continue cautiously...? "Motor's dead" CaptainK stated in his matter-of-fact tone that i could tell was covering some shot nerves and deep frustration. 'Sigh, stuck in the middle of the channel now like sitting ducks...and me with no hat..' i thought. But in fact we were not "sitting". We were moving, and pretty quickly at that. It took me a moment to realize that our situation was actually far worse than just not having a working motor. We were in the channel's 7knot current, being sucked right into the mega cruise ships' departure path and about to hit a little section of rip tide blocking an entrance -the LAST entrance- to a jet ski dock. "Quick! grab the oars!" CaptainK and I start paddling our way through.

Now, Ken actually happens to be a very experienced kayaker (as well as an all around Adventurer) but even for him it was a struggle to maneuver us through before hitting the sharp,barnacal encrusted dock piles. --Although, my somewhat out of sync strokes were probably not providing much assistance. But, c'mon. When have i ever drilled to be prepared for a random rowing emergency?! (I have since added this to the list of skills i must aquire) Anyway, 'Phew!' Out of the way, but not in a place we could tie off. Just then a jetskier zoomed up to inform us, "Hey dude, uh, you know you can't actually dock here." ..ummm....*face-palm*  :| 'good grief! is he being serious?' i asked myself, not being able to catch myself from a brief moment of cynicism. We explained our situation quickly and he was very kind to tow us back up the channel a short ways so that we could at least pull the boat up onto a small beach patch (even though this wasn't a legal docking point either. but i digress...).

There was a small, algae covered, concrete ramp under the water that we pushed to dingy up on. Ken popped the top cover off the Yamaha engine and began to fiddle. "Sounded like it flooded" He shared. "Was the choke out?" i asked...  After an ameture analysis, and some sufficient fiddling, she started back up again. We decided that it would be best to try running it around a bit right near the coast to make sure it was sound. "Tina, you come with me in case it dies again and we have to row" Ken suggested (obviously he had noticed my lack of proficient rowing skills as well) "And Brittany, you should stay here and watch the stuff."(mate=demoted back to swab)

I hopped to and grabbed the supply bucket in one hand, backpack in the other and went to walk back up out of the water so they could push off. However, I had forgotten about that damned ramp. You rememeber though, the one covered with algae slicker than snot melting down a mexican mudslide during a jello-rain? Yeah, that one. I found it with my bare foot, not but two back-steps away from the boat. Trying to catch myslef from what would have been an incredibly wet landing on my rear, i nearly dropped the supply bucket. Well, 'nearly threw' would be more acurate. The contents- phones, chains, sm anchor, etc.- all bounced up and crashed back into the plastic bucket making an attention grabbing "Clang!!"  Fortunately, i have been blessed with some pretty great balance and cat like reflexes. --I think it was God's way of sustaining me from the dangerous incoordination and clumsiness i have also been blessed with-- I regained my footing but not before slicing my foot up in two places and shaving a decent bit off the top of one toe, in addition to providing a very commical performance for the multitude of on lookers i might add. 

Once i was stable I -very casually- walked up onto the beach. There i stood, watching them ride off in the dingy, leaving me alone and bleeding on a beach full of stunned and oggling KeyWest Vacationers. "Well, um...I'll just wait here then!" I shouted out to my crew, even though they were already out of earshot but not knowing how else to handle the very ridiculous social setting i now found myself in. It was a pretty pathetic 10 mins...

As you imagined, they did come back to get me. We decided it would be foolish to press our luck with the motor now that the sun would soon be setting and it wouldn't be likely that many more Bro-Skiers would be jetting up to tow us out of Carnival Cruise's wake of doom! I jumped in and off we went to get back to our boat. 

It really should come as no surprise to me after 24 years of being a 'Roberts' that i actually have no luck to even try to press.. The engine stalled out again. This time we had nothing around to paddle to except a very small island bit just in the mooring field and oh so close to our boat. The current was hopeless though! No chance of us being able to fight against the STRONG wind and quick current to get back.

Long story short, we were able to flag down another passing dingy and hitch a tow back to the boat. "Which one is yours?!" The kidnly stranger shouted back to us above the wind. "The one without a dingy!!" Tina shouted in response as we all pointed in assistance. I always get a good chuckle out of her morale boosting jokes. "Wow, Ken! It's a good thing you've got us women with you otherwise you'd have been stuck on that island forever trying to catch someone's eye." We all could laugh about it now.

We have been on the boat ever since.... And today stuck inside due to an unrelenting rain.
I tried to make the most of it though... lol
Tomorrow a spot at a marina should open up so we can get our motor to a shop and -for the LOVE of limes!!- finally buy some fresh produce!!!


Attn. The bottle of rum was a joke by tina to depict how i was "getting through' the storm And not an accurate representation of my current sailor status.


  1. Loved the blog! Could have started today's events with "just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. .."

  2. Loved the blog! Could have started today's events with "just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip. .."