copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

The rays of the morning sun warm her skin as the steady drone of the engine lulls her to sleep.  She dreams of warm tropical nights and icy pina coladas.  A smile flits across her sleeping face as she imagines herself dipping her toes in the warm gulf waters, and listening to the birds squawking overhead.  The birds, however, circle closer and closer, the squawking getting louder and louder.  She starts to run, unsuccessfully trying to elude the harsh squawking of the birds.  Finally, she drops to her knees in the sand, desperately trying to blot out the ear-splitting sound.  Is it a scene from a tropical remake of “The Birds”?  By now you should realize it’s just Day Seven of The Sailing Vacation From Hell!   

Yes, morning dawned bright and sunny as we continued to make our way southward through Big Spanish Channel, headed toward the ocean side of the Keys.  I thought it was going to be a relatively calm day, so I headed to the front of the boat to enjoy the sunshine and take a little nap.  I hadn’t been asleep for more than five minutes when I was jolted awake by an ear-splitting noise.

“What the hell is that?” I yell to Moby Dickhead.

“The boat is overheating, I need to shut the engine down,” he yells back over the din of the alarm.

“The filter’s probably clogged,” I say.   “There’s a lot of grass in this channel.”

Moby Dickhead looks at me as if I have two heads.

“What do you mean, the filter’s clogged?” he asks.

“Don’t you remember when the nice lady at the marina told us about the filter getting clogged and showing us how to…never mind,” I say as I head below deck.

Lesson # 8:  Yep.  You guessed it.  It’s the one about men following instructions.

Moby Dickhead follows me down the ladder, and we take off the cover to the engine area.  I point out the filter, he pulls it out, and yep, it’s chock full of sea grass.  Following my instructions, he cleans it out, puts it back in, and off we go again.  Of course, we have to repeat this process several times, but we finally make it to the ocean side of the Keys. 

We sail along for a few hours, miraculously avoiding lobster pots, submerged piles, and fish with big teeth.  As the sun starts to get lower in the west, we pull out the chart to select a suitable spot to anchor for the night. We settle on Jewfish Cove, a cozy looking spot not too far from where we’re at.  As we lower the sails, Moby Dickhead informs me that he’s just going to cut across the open expanse of water to the left of us to get into the cove.

“We can’t,”  I inform him, “there’s not enough water.  It’s only 2-3 feet deep.”

“Bull shit,” he says. “There’s plenty of water there.”

“That’s not what the chart says, and we are not cutting through there!”  I say tersely.  I shoot him a look that would stop an elephant dead in its tracks.  He realizes there’s no point in arguing, so we take the long way around, just like the chart says.  And so ends Day Seven.