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Hey everyone!  I was going to post a technique today, but T needs a few laughs, so I thought I’d share a story.  This one’s for you, T! 

Late one fall afternoon, as I walked into the apartment I shared with my boyfriend, a sense of dread and foreboding washed over me.  I knew instantly that trouble was a-brewin’.  Was it my sixth sense, my woman’s intuition?  NOPE.  It was the sight of my boyfriend, bending over his Li’l Smoky BBQ grill, getting ready to prepare the night’s dinner.

“Oh, are you grilling tonight?” I ask, hoping against hope that he’ll JUST SAY NO.

“Yup, sure am,” he beams, holding up some chicken and a jar of BBQ sauce.

“Great,” I say, trying hard to show some enthusiasm.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s great when the man in your life likes to cook.  The problem lies in the fact that said man is under the impression that he is THE GREATEST GRILL COOK EVER.  He was also under the impression that he was THE GREATEST SAILBOAT CAPTAIN EVER, and we all know how that turned out (see Sailing Vacation From Hell posts if you’re new to the blog).

As the boyfriend readied the grill, I heard a few select curse words waft in from the balcony.

“What’s wrong?”  I ask.

“We’re out of #%$$@ lighter fluid,” he replies.

“I guess we’ll have to cook it inside then,” I say, trying not to sound too excited.

“Wait!  I have an idea!” he exclaims, and runs into the bathroom, then dashes back out to the balcony. 

“I really think that’s a bad idea,”  I tell him.

“Oh no, it’ll work fine, just watch!”  he declares.

“I really, really think that’s a bad idea.”  I repeat.

“Trust me, it’ll be great!” he claims.

Five minutes later, flames are shooting up out of the grill and the boyfriend turns to me with a look of vindication on his face. 

“I told you it would work,” he says triumphantly.

“I wasn’t worried about it not catching fire,” I say.  “I still don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Thirty minutes later, the boyfriend appeared with a big platter of BBQ chicken, and we sat down to eat. I took a big bite of the BBQ chicken and immediately gagged.  I couldn’t get that chicken out of my mouth fast enough. 

 “What’s wrong with the chicken?”  he demands.

After rinsing my mouth out with a few swishes of Chardonnay, I asked him why people added mesquite chips to the coals in the grill.

“Anyone who grills knows that you put mesquite chips on the coals to add flavor to whatever you’re grilling,” he says indignantly.

“Well then,“  I say, “what do you think happens when you dump an entire bottle of Ice Blue Aqua Velva on the coals?!?!  You get Ice Blue Aqua Velva flavored chicken, you idiot!” 


Well, the boyfriend just would not admit he was wrong, and ate the chicken anyway.  He got sick later that evening, but kept insisting it was the wine.  I’m sure it was the BBQ/Aqua Velva chicken.

My tastebuds have been forever scarred by the incident, and I haven’t had BBQ chicken since that fateful night in 1989.  


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?

 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.


 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

“There is absolutely no way in HELL I am going with you.  I would sooner jump off of this boat and swim through these sharp-toothed –fish laden waters than sail out there with you!  Are you out of your fucking mind?” 

 Is it a scene from the latest action thriller?  Hell no, it’s just the rest of Day Six from The Sailing Vacation From Hell!   Yes, you read that right, Day Six was so chock full of fun I had to do it in two posts. 

Moby Dickhead couldn’t leave well enough alone after he lost the anchor bright and early in the morning; he had to screw up the rest of the day too!  After weighing anchor (the spare one) and sailing along for about an hour, I spot Moby Dickhead eyeing the charts once again.  Knowing full well that this can only lead to more loss of equipment,  money, and possibly life, I ask him what he’s up to.

“Oh, I was just looking at the chart.  I don’t think we should take Big Spanish Channel back to the oceanside,” he says.

“Isn’t that the last channel we can get through?”  I ask.  “We don’t have any other gulfside charts that go further east.”

“Oh, we don’t need a chart,” Moby Dickhead replies confidently.

(Insert first three sentences of story here).  Yes, that’s me, finally having the expletive-hurling breakdown this wonderfully calm and relaxing vacation has induced.

“DID YOU NOT LISTEN TO ONE FUCKING WORD THE BOAT PEOPLE TOLD YOU?” I yell at him.  “Obviously not, because you’ve done everything that they told you not to do.  Let’s recap.  Ran the boat at night, got stuck on a rock, now the bilge pump runs all the time.  Full sail in a storm, boat hook washed overboard.  Boat in gear while anchored, anchor line run over, anchor lost at sea.  The only rule you haven’t broken yet is sailing without a chart.  There is no way in hell I am going along with that.  We could be stuck out in the middle of nowhere for days!”

Moby Dickhead looks at me, shrugs, and says, “I guess we’ll just go through Big Spanish Channel.”

So we keep on sailing. To Big Spanish Channel.  With the chart.  The sky is blue, things are relatively calm, and even the dolphins come alongside and race with the boat, frolicking beside us in the warm blue water.  We spot the markers for the channel, take down the sails, and turn on the motor so we can maneuver into the waterway.  The lovely sound of keel grinding on sand suddenly cuts through the still, peaceful air.

“What the hell’s going on,” yells Moby Dickhead, “I thought this was deep enough for our boat?”

“That’s what it says on the chart,” I reply.

Then I notice some fine print on the chart: “Channels may shift due to shoaling” or some damn thing.  We spend a frustrating hour, moving forward and then reversing, trying to find the damn entrance to this channel.  All the while, the dolphins are just a few yards away, playing and frolicking in the water.  Then it hits me.

“Dolphins are pretty big, don’t you think they’d need more than a few feet of water to play and jump around like that?” I ask.

“Who gives a fuck about the damn dolphins?!?!’ screams Moby Dickhead.  “We need to find the damn channel entrance!”

“They’re playing in the damn channel, you idiot!  Steer the boat over there, that’s where we need to be!” I reply.

Lesson #8:  In many instances, dolphins are smarter than men.

Needless to say, the dolphins were in the right place at the right time, and we slowly made our way into Big Spanish Channel.  So ends Day Six, finally!

Did I ever tell you that I love dolphins?

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

As the morning sun peeks through the porthole, she slowly climbs out of the berth.  She can hear him up above, singing to himself over the hum of the idling engine. With a heavy heart and hesitant footsteps, she forces herself to climb the stairs, forces herself to climb up into the sunlight, forces herself to face her worst fear – there are still three days left of …. The Sailing Vacation From Hell!

Moby Dick sits in the cockpit of the sailboat, sipping his coffee and looking at a chart.  I rub my eyes and look again.  Yes, he is actually consulting a map!  I’m more than a wee bit surprised, so I sidle over and nonchalantly ask him what he’s doing.

“I’m just trying to get my bearings after yesterday’s storm, and plot our course back to the marina,” he says. 

 “Why are you running the engine?” I ask.  “I thought this was a sailboat.”

“Very funny, Miss Smarty Pants.  I’m running the engine so I can charge the batteries; we only had it running for… OH SHIT!!!!” he exclaims as he jumps up and shuts the engine off.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

“I had the boat in gear!” he yells as he runs to the front of the boat and starts to pull up the anchor line.

As I watch him, I realize that the line is coming up suspiciously fast.  Then, as the end comes out of the water, I realize why – there is no anchor on the end of it.  Yes, Moby Dick has struck yet again!  By having the boat in gear while we were anchored, the boat was moving forward and ran over the anchor line, which the propeller just happened to cut in half.  Ching, ching, ching, another blow to the wallet. 

“How the hell are we supposed to get through the rest of this trip without a f@#%$* anchor???” I yell.

“I think I saw an extra one under the seat,” he says hopefully.

Yep, he was right, there was an extra one, so he went up and tied it on the end of our much shorter anchor line.

“Great,” I say.  “How much is this going to cost us?”

“Oh, don’t worry,” says Moby Dickhead, “we’re going to snorkel for the lost one.”

Lesson #7:  If your harebrained boyfriend ever hatches this sort of plan, jump off the boat and swim.  Swim for your life.

So, against my better judgment, into the water we go with all of our snorkel gear on.  I, of course, am blind because I’m afraid to put my contacts in, and my glasses won’t fit under the snorkel mask.  Due to the storm the day before, the water is still a little cloudy, even thought it isn’t very deep.  I grope around blindly for about fifteen minutes, then I spot something long and skinny moving in the water.  Could it be the rest of the rope that’s attached to the missing anchor?  I eagerly swim toward it, and just as I reach out to grab it, I realize it’s not a rope at all – it’s a long skinny fish with GIGANTIC SHARP TEETH!   Holy Crap!! I have never swum so fast in all my life!  I scramble up onto the boat and gasp for air.  Meanwhile, Moby Dickhead pops his head up and angrily asks me why I am back on the boat.

“I just saw a big fish with gigantic teeth!  There’s no way I’m staying out there, “ I say.

“You’re full of it,” he says, very pissed off indeed.

I sit on the boat and watch him out there, snorkeling around in what I know will be a futile attempt to find the damn anchor.  All of a sudden, he starts swimming like the hounds of hell are after him.  As he climbs up onto the boat, I ask him why he’s back.

“I just saw that fish you were talking about,“  he gasps.

Lesson #8:  He who laughs last, laughs best.

I was rolling on the deck of the boat, laughing so hard I almost peed my pants.  Needless to say, that was the end of the search for the anchor.  We hauled up the spare and set sail. 

 Is this the end of the adventure for the day?  Absolutely not!  This was just beginning. 

P.S. Check out the Archival Techniques page! 

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

They ran down the street, glancing quickly to the left and right, pausing only momentarily to catch their breath.  As he dragged her along, she gazed longingly at the quaint shops and small cafes that she would never get to enjoy.  Why, why, were they in such a rush?  Were they being chased by angry lobstermen?  Were they being pursued by evil villains?  Nope.  It was just Day Five of the SVFH!

Morning came to the beautiful isle of Key West, and I was ready to spend a few hours sightseeing.  Hemingway’s house, the Atocha museum, and a big bowl of conch stew were some of the things I was looking forward to.  The BF grabs my hand and says “let’s go!”, so off we go.  Do we stroll the streets at a leisurely pace?  Hell, no!  We literally run past everything I want to see on the island. 

“Wait a minute!” I say, “I want to actually stop and go in some of these places!”

“We don’t have time for that!” he says.  “We have sailing to do!”

That’s when it hits me.  I actually have to get back on that boat and go sailing with him again.  Crap!  We head back to the marina and get ready to leave.  The plan is to sail along the gulf side of the keys for a couple of days and then cut back over to the ocean side for the rest of the trip.  In order to do that, we have to take a channel out of the Key West harbor.  Unfortunately, the wind is not in our favor and we aren’t moving at all.

“Why don’t you just turn on the motor?” I ask.

“Because it’s a sailboat,”  he says.  “It was made to be sailed.”

“Isn’t that why they put a motor on it?” I say. “You know, in case there happens to be a lack of that stuff that fills the sails?  I think it’s called wind.”

“Motors are for amateurs,” he says.

Lesson #5:  Some men may think they are Captain Ahab reincarnated, but in reality they’re just MOBY DICKS!!!

Yes, Mr. Professional Sailor decides he doesn’t need a motor and spends the next three hours tacking back and forth to navigate a channel that maybe should have taken us fifteen minutes to get through.  We also manage to relocate several more lobster pots along the way.  I’m sure we were great entertainment for the many boating enthusiasts who had gathered to watch.

Once we make it through the channel, we are sailing along at a good clip when we notice it coming – a huge storm.  It’s rolling along the water, getting closer and closer.  I ask the Moby Dickhead if maybe we shouldn’t take the sails down a little.  Nope, he can handle it.  Then it hits.  The boat is leaning way over, and water is coming up over the toe rail. A lot of water.  He is getting pissed because I am getting nervous, so he tells me to go below and make him a sandwich.  I am just about to cut his sandwich in half with a big shiny knife when I hear him bellowing.

“Get up here!!” he yells.  “I need help getting these sails down!”

I look at the knife.  I look at him through the hatch.  I ponder the knife again.  I try to figure out if I can sail the boat without him, then I sloooowly I put the knife down and struggle up the stairs.  The boat is now close to capsizing; all because Moby Dickhead thought he was macho and could “handle” it.  We struggle to get the sails down and then ride out the rest of the storm, which only lasts about 45 minutes.  As we survey the boat, we realize that the boat hook and two bags of trash have washed overboard.  Ching, ching, ching!  More damage to the wallet.   Finally, the skies clear, we look around, and we realize that we have no idea where we are.  Most of the islands look alike, and there are no buoys or markers nearby to help us.  Finally, after about 30 minutes, a lobster boat (of all things) comes into view. 

“Get on the radio and ask that boat where we’re at!” I yell to Moby Dickhead.

“I’m not asking them, we’ll figure it out,” he says.

Lesson #6:  You’ve all heard the one about men asking directions, do I even need to repeat it?

I march downstairs, get on the radio and ask the lobster boat for some sort of clue as to where we’re at.  They are nice enough to respond, so we’re able to get our bearings.  We sail for an hour or so more, then decide to anchor for the night.   We fall asleep to the sound of the bilge pump running (again).   And so ends Day Five

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

She slowly scans the rainy, gray horizon, carefully sizing up each passing ship.  “Good,” she sighs to herself,” no lobster boats.”    She then turns to her boyfriend, standing on the deck in a steady downpour, and says, “Don’t even think about putting up those sails.”  Is it Mutiny On The Bounty?  No, it’s just Day Four of the SVFH!!When I woke up that morning, I was dead certain that an entire fleet of angry lobstermen would be bearing down on us in their boats.  Since we spent most of yesterday scattering their pots all over the Atlantic, I thought for sure they’d be out for revenge.  Then I realized they were probably too busy trying to find their pots!

Due to the torrential downpour and fog that was surrounding us, I told the BF that there was no way I was going to stay on the boat if he attempted to use the sails.   Surprisingly enough, he agreed to turn on the engine and head towards Looe Key, where we were going to attempt to snorkel.  Things went reasonably well, and the sun actually came out when we got there.  We anchored without incident, and managed to have a nice snorkel.  Then we headed to Key West, and civilization.  Yes, we were going to anchor at THE MARINA.  That meant a real bathroom and a nice, long, hot, steamy shower for me!  Oh, I couldn’t wait!  

We got there, checked in, and I grabbed my stuff and headed for the Ladies Lounge.  As I was lathering up and luxuriating in the hot water, I heard a banging on the door.  It’s the BF.  “Oh crap, now what?” I’m thinking to myself.  Did the damn ship sink?  Did he forget to tie it up and now it’s drifting around crashing into all the other boats?  I grab a towel and head for the door.

“Aren’t you done yet?’  he says incredulously.

“I’ve only been in here for ten minutes,” I say.  “What’s the problem?”   

“We’re  going to miss the sunset on the pier!” he exclaims.  “Everyone says it’ll be the highlight of our stay!  We have to go now!”

“Fine, I’ll try to hurry, “ I say. 

I finished my shower as quickly as I could, dried my hair, and ran out of the bathroom without even putting any makeup on.  We then rushed down to the pier, just in time to see the sun setting on a magnificent scene – some dude playing the steel drums, a couple walking their dog, and a guy selling frozen drinks from a cart.  

Lesson #4 – Before you give up a long , hot , luxurious shower after three days at sea, make sure you understand what your boyfriend’s definition of “highlight” is.

After that we grabbed a bite to eat, went to Sloppy Joe’s, and then headed back to the boat.  I told the BF that if he interrupted my morning shower, there would be consequences.

And so ends Day Four – not quite as nerve-racking as Days One, Two, and Three, but Fate was just biding her time…..

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Exhausted from two nights without sleep, the weary vacationer manages to drag herself up the steps and into the cockpit of the boat.  Shielding her eyes from the brilliant sunlight reflecting off the idyllic blue waters, she asks her sailing partner, “What time is it?”

“It’s Fishing time!!” he yells enthusiastically.

“Don’t we have to weigh anchor and get moving?” she asks.

“Oh, I can sail and fish at the same time, “ he replies confidently.

She is torn – torn between staying to watch him make a complete fool of himself, or diving off the boat and swimming to civilization as fast as she freakin’ can.  She decides it’s too good of an opportunity to pass up, so she stays.  BIG mistake.  And so begins Day Three of….The Sailing Vacation From Hell.

The anchor is hauled up, the sails are unfurled and we’re off!  The BF asks me to hold the wheel while he casts his line and stick his rod in the little holder thingy (the technical name escapes me at the moment).  We’re sailing along for about five minutes when – Eureka! He’s got something on the line!  Gee, I think to myself, maybe he can sail and fish at the same time.  He reels in his catch and I realize I’ve spoken too soon.  It’s a pot, or to be more accurate, a line attached to a lobster pot.  Yep, it’s lobster season here in the keys, and the damn pots are everywhere.  He no sooner casts his line again and he’s got another pot on the hook.

“Don’t you think we’re better off just reeling it in and calling it a day?” I ask him hopefully.

“Why?  Fishing is so relaxing, “  he says with a completely straight face.

Lesson # 5  Men will find any excuse to handle their rod.

We spend the better part of the morning sloooowly sailing towards the western end of the keys, all because we have to keep pulling lobster pots off the damn line.  Then, after lunch, the BF decides to add a new wrinkle.  He thinks that if he sails really close to the bobber that’s attached to the pot, he’ll be less likely to catch it on his line.  There’s nothing wrong with that logic, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE IN A BOAT WITH NO KEEL!  BF goes cruising right by the first bobber, and guess what?  It doesn’t get hooked on his fishing line.  THE DAMN LOBSTER LINE IS NOW HOOKED ON THE BOTTOM OF OUR BOAT!!!!  BF decides to try working it loose by coming about.  Well, it’s not working and now we are sailing opposite of the direction we need to be going in.  Bf finally decides to stop the boat, jump off and swim down and unhook the line. 

“Can we please put the fishing pole away?”  I ask wearily.  “It’s starting to get dark.”

“But, I have another idea,” protests the BF.

I give him the “I haven’t had sleep for two days, don’t piss me off” look, and he reluctantly puts away the rod.  Then he grabs the wheel and heads into a cove for the night.  So ends Day Three.

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Please sit back, relax and enjoy the second installment of… The Sailing Vacation From Hell!

The sun rises slowly, scattering golden kisses across the shimmering water.  It warms the wings of the colorful birds gliding overhead as they enjoy their ride on the warm ocean breezes.  Is it a beautiful dream?  A tropical fantasy?  No, it’s the beginning of Day Two on …THE SAILING VACATION FROM HELL!

Ok, I’m thinkin’ to myself, it’s morning, that damn dog is gone so I can finally pee, and the boat floor is almost dry.  This might not be so bad.   The BF and I head to the marina office to check out.

“Do you have charts for the trip?” the nice lady asks.

“Oh, we need charts?” the experienced boat owner, aka my dumbass Boyfriend, says.

“I guess we can loan you some,” says the nice lady.

Since I have never laid eyes on a sailing chart before, the nice lady explains what all the symbols and numbers mean.  Since our boat needs four feet of water to float, she tells me we need to stay away from any numbers lower than four.  I make a mental note of that, then ask her what the little football shaped symbols mean.  She proceeds to tell me that those are “submerged piles”, and we definitely need to stay away from those.  Then she goes over “The Rules”:

Rule #1  Never sail into any waters that you don’t have a chart for

Rule #2 Never, ever run the boat at night, we’re not experienced enough sailors

Rule #3  Never, ever, ever run the boat at night

And finally, Rule #4  Never, ever, ever, ever run the boat at night!

Finally, with borrowed charts in hand, we cast off, promising to be back in a week with the boat in good condition (or not).

We manage to get out onto the open sea with no major incidents, the BF steering the boat and me reading the charts.  I’ve never met a map I couldn’t handle.  The water is blue, the sky is clear, and there are several other boats out on the water as well.  In fact, we’re sailing along in the same direction with another sailboat roughly the same size as ours.  That’s when the inevitable happens-the testosterone kicks in.  Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead, the race is on!  BF and the captain of the other boat start to duke it out on the high seas.  The ropes are humming, the water is spraying up over the bow, and BF has a maniacal look in his eye.  I let him have his fun for awhile, then I realize the sun is beginning to set.

“Honey, the sun is starting to set,” I say.

“Don’t worry about it, we have plenty of time to get into a cove,” says the speed-crazed BF.

“It’s really getting dark.  Don’t you remember what the lady said about running the boat at night?” I say.

“I used to own a boat, remember?  I know how to (insert loud WHAM here) What the hell was that?” the BF shouts.


Lesson #4 Don’t let a testosterone-crazed dumbass run the boat at night.


Ching, ching, ching, my wallet is flashing before my eyes.  The boat’s not moving, so my BF jumps into the water to see what the problem is, and lands on A ROCK.  A FREAKING SUBMERGED PILE!    He decides he’s going to push the boat off, and instructs me to turn the wheel.  Well, the wheel won’t turn because the rudder is stuck on the damn submerged pile.  He gets back on the boat, yanks the wheel really hard, then jumps back in the water and after a lot of cursing and grinding, manages to get the boat off of the rock.  He gets back in, then we spend the next hour trying to navigate into a cove in the dark.  We finally give up and end up anchoring in open water.  This means that the boat rocked and bucked like a wild bronco all night long.  Every few minutes or so I was certain that we had lost anchor and were adrift.  Then the bilge pump started to run, and run, and run some more.  It is now the end of the second day of our vacation, and I’ve still had no sleep.  Could this get any worse?

 copyright 2007 Rebecca Peck

Here it is, the first installment of  The Vacation From Hell!  Yes, it’s going to be a long one, so I’m going to post it in parts.

“Aw, c’mon, it’ll be fun,” he assures me.

“But I’ve never done it before, “  I said.

“Trust me,” he said, “I’ve done it hundreds of times.”

Hmmm, you’re thinking, is this the start of some illicit affair? Will innocence be lost?  NAW, it’s just the beginning of the Sailing Vacation From Hell!!!!About 20 years ago (back in my beach babe days) my boyfriend decides we should sail through The Keys on vacation.  He assures me that he used to be part-owner of a sailboat when he lived in Annapolis.

“ Was it a big boat?” I ask him. 

“Oh, it was a good size,” he says. 

 Lesson #1: Men always exaggerate the size of their dinghies.

After much hemming and hawing, I agree.  Plans are made, and a few months later, we’re flying to Miami.  When we arrive at the car rental agency, they inform me that they have to charge me an extra $25 a day because I’m not 25. 

But my birthday is in three days,” I say. 

We don’t care,” they say. 

The reason I’m renting the car in the first place is because my boyfriend has no credit card. 

 Lesson #2:  Don’t date a 35 yr old man who can’t get a credit card.

After much haggling back and forth, we finally get the car after putting down a three hundred dollar deposit.We arrive at the sailboat rental place after hours, and locate the boat.  It’s big.  Really big.  The marina  people  have been nice enough to let us sleep on the boat that night, and then check out in the morning.  We decide to head to the store for provisions.

 “Shouldn’t we close the hatch while we’re gone?” I ask. “I think it might rain.”

“No, it’s not going to rain,” says BF.

As we pull up to the store, the heavens open, and a torrential downpour ensues.  By the time we get back to the marina, there is an inch of water inside the nice, shiny, “we just had the floors redone” boat.  Shit!  We spend the next hour mopping it up.   

Lesson #3:  Always trust your instincts.

At that point, I am ready for bed, so I head to the marina restrooms to brush my teeth, etc.  Unfortunately, I am unable to enter said restroom because there is a big, giant barking Doberman tied up at the entrance.  It’s right back to the boat for me.  No big, I think.  I’ll just use the bathroom on the boat.  Nope. Not supposed to while you’re at the dock.  So I spend the entire night hoping I don’t pee the bed.

And so ends Day One.  Only seven more to go.

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