copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Pure unadulterated joy ran through her being as she watched the sun rise, a glowing orb ascending from the water.  Her heart raced at the thought of a new day dawning.  What was it about this day that made her radiate with bliss?  It was the last day of The Sailing Vacation From Hell !!!!! Oh yes, dear readers, I was dancing with happiness that morning, because I knew I would be getting off of this stinkin’ boat by the end of the day!  All we had to do was navigate out of our little cove, hit the open waters, and sail back to Windley Key.  Simple enough, eh?  Ha!  You should know by now that nothing is ever simple when Moby Dickhead is the captain.

After acquiescing to my wishes last night and actually following the chart when we entered Jewfish Cove the night before, this morning Moby Dickhead decides that he is infinitely smarter than the mapmakers.  He is not going to go the long way, he’s just going to sail across that expanse of shallow water and head right out to sea.  I once again point to the tiny numbers that tell us there isn’t enough water for the boat, and he just shrugs me off.

“We can make it, I know we can,” he says.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” I reply.

Well, things go rather smoothly – for all of a minute.  Yep, one minute we’re moving, the next we’re not.  We are firmly stuck in the soft, mucky mire that is the bottom of Jewfish Cove.

Lesson #9:  In many instances, dolphins and most other life forms are smarter than men.

“Well, expert captain, any ideas?” I ask.

“Oh, we’ll just wait for high tide to float us off,” he says, a dead serious expression on his face.

“I hate to tell you this,” I say, “but according to the radio this morning, high tide was an hour ago.  Any more brilliant ideas?”

“I know!’ he exclaims.  “There’s a flag in the drawer down there, let’s run that up the mast.  Maybe some other boat will see it and stop to help!”

I go below and get the flag; he runs it up the mast.  We sit.  We wait.  A motorboat goes speeding by.  We sit some more.  A sailboat sails by.  More sitting.  More waiting.  More boats going by.  After about an hour of this, Moby Dickhead decides on another course of action.  He is going to swim out in front of the boat with the anchor and line, drop it, swim back to the boat, and use one of the winches to pull the boat along the line.  Amazingly enough, it works.  Of course, he has to repeat this procedure about ten times, but we are finally free of Jewfish Cove once and for all.  The bottom of the boat is also finally free of all that nice new paint.

As we sail along on the way to Windley Key, we notice a few speedboats racing across the ocean up ahead of us.  As we get closer, we notice a few more.  All of a sudden, they are blasting across the water in front of us, mere inches from our bow.  It is then that we notice the lovely ESPN helicopter hovering over our heads.  Yep, we have sailed smack dab into the middle of a speedboat race, and we are wreaking havoc on the course.  Speedboats are racing across our stern and bow, trying to avoid us as we putter along.  I am sure if you go to the ESPN archives, you can view some lovely footage of us.

Finally, finally, we manage to get off the course and are heading down a canal back to the marina.  We pull in and tie up, and the nice couple comes out to meet us.  Do they ask us how our trip was?  Hell, no!  The first thing they want to know is why the quarantine flag is flying on the mast.  Moby lies and tells them he thought it was the diving flag.  Of course, it’s stuck up there and we can’t get it down.  He also wants to leave without telling them he lost the anchor and the boat hook. 

“Don’t you think they’ll notice there’s only one anchor left, you idiot?” I ask.

“I guess you’re right,” he says.

He heads to the office to tell them, and before we leave they manage to find a used anchor that will only cost us 125 bucks.  OUCH!  He never mentioned the boat hook.

We get back in the rental car that’s been parked for a week (a colossal waste of money), and find a motel for the night.  Moby wants to drive back to Miami the next day, sightsee, and take me out to dinner for my birthday.  We end up driving all over the Miami area, mostly in parts you don’t want to be in after dark, because Moby can’t make up his mind about the restaurant.  We finally end up eating at a restaurant at a mall, and then he asks me to pay the bill because he has no money.

Finally, Lesson #10: Never, ever go on a sailing vacation, especially on your birthday. 

Epilogue:  For several weeks after the end of our vacation, Moby Dickhead was constantly wondering when he was going to get his $500 security deposit back from the nice couple at the marina.  An envelope came about a month after we got home.  It was a bill.  It seems we had caused damage in excess of the paltry $500 that he had given them. Surprise, surprise.  And yes, there was a $23 line item for a boat hook. I hope all of you have enjoyed my story, and yes, every word is true.  How could I make something like this up?

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