The Caretaker's Concern for 3/2/09
No photos today.
Part two of the Caretaker's Journal entry from 8/20/2005
If you missed part one it can be found in the blog archive it is dated 2/26/09.
...It was a good breeze blowing, the night was warm, a touch humid, rather pleasant sail back to the Island except for the racket from the jib, it was bringing down my good time, it was time to bring down the jib. Being my usually foolish self I gave a holler of "Down with the Jib!"
To drop the jib I needed to turn into the wind.
This would prove to be the beginning of my boat's undoing.
The mainsail was off to the starboard side and the jib was off to the port side. To keep a full run the boat was headed for the channel between Three Brother Islands and the mainland, to go through the channel would eventually leave me with no wind, to avoid that I had to pass on the Eastern shore of Three Brother Islands. With this in mind I pushed the tiller to port thus jibing, had I pulled the tiller to starboard none of the rest that follows would have happened. Coming through the jibe a gust of wind came up and took the mainsail forcefully to the complete other side of the boat. During my run I had been sitting down in the hull on the floor of the boat providing little to no counter weight to the sides of the boat, when I went to jibe I forgot to move to the side of the boat, when the wind took the sail over to the other side of the boat a large wave also hit the windward side of the boat. The wind pushed the sail down into the water and the boat capsized. As it was going over I scrambled to climb over the side of the boat to get on to the center board to keep the mast level with the water, I did not want the boat to completely turtle. My plan was to grab a line, stand on the center board and lean far out over the water to keep the mast at the water line. Unfortunately I was too far back in the boat and could not make it to the center board in time, the boat completely turtled. The inner hull began to take on water through the back hatch, the hiss of air escaping from the hull as it was displaced by water was not a good sign.
It took me a while but I managed to fully right the boat twice but the inner hull was so full of water that the boat would not stay right for long. I'd get the boat and mast to come up and out of the water from one side only to have it continue over to the other side and roll back to a full turtle. After the second time this happened I realized that fully righting the boat was not an option. During the first righting of the boat my air horn had come out from the boat and off its lashing. Seeing the air horn I left the boat to grab it. With only a headlamp at this point I figured the air horn would come in handy if I needed to alert a passing motorboat to my presence. When I reached the air horn I quickly stuffed it in between my chest and life vest so I could have free use of both hands to try and right the boat again.
After the second failed righting of the boat my head lamp came off my head and began to sink. I made a quick reach down in the water to grab it but missed. WIth one hand on the hull of the boat the other one down in the water missing its mark I had to make a decision, let the light go and be left on the water with no illumination for motorboats to see me, or let go of the hull and try diving down into the water to swim after the light. To do so would take my eyes off the surrounding dark night and thus I wouldn't be able to see if a motorboat was heading right for me. I decided not to dive for the headlamp. Clutching tightly to what was safe in my one hand, letting go of what was not in my other I watched the light from my headlamp as it sank until it had gone so deep that its light was no longer visible.
My life here on the Island has always been full of either great company or great solitude but when I watched the light of my headlamp slowly slip away to the depths of Lake George it was the loneliest I had ever felt in my entire life.
Here I was in the water with a fully capsized boat that I could not get right, it's a dark and windy night and I have no lights to keep motorboats from hitting me. All I have is an air horn.
After the Lake swallowed my light and the water went dark again I picked my head up. I was on the finest of lines between emotion and reason. I could feel the panic welling up inside my chest so great that I knew that if I gave into it I would have given over what little reason and sense I had left. I would have been left there in the water doing nothing but screaming for help to nobody. I wanted to cry. I wanted to let go of everything. I wanted to be out of the water, far far away from the Lake. I wanted to be home, my childhood home, I wanted to be safe.
Thankfully reason won out. I knew that if I gave into panic I would have probably drowned myself. Once I made this decision I accepted my situation and began to workout the safest thing to do with what little I had left, but I oh so wanted that light back.
After this ordeal came to an end, upon further contemplation the following day I realized that letting the light go was most likely the best thing I could have done. At the time it didn't occur to me but if I had swam down in the water for the light I could have gotten tangled up in the rigging of the sailboat, preventing me from coming back up out of the water.
Part three of the Caretaker's journal entry from 8/20/2005 will be continued the following day or the day after. The cold, snow, and wind have been such today that the Ghetto is only at about 42 degrees Fahrenheit and frankly the Caretaker's fingers are too cold and sore to do any further typing. He was supposed to pick up more propane when he was on the mainland on Saturday but totally forgot so he has to conserve what he has left, if all goes as planned he'll get more tomorrow.
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3 years ago