Monday, January 24, 2022

The Reluctant Rescue

The Beach Boy Chronicles


The movie “Captain Ron” is a must for anyone that is a fan of adventure on the water. The film, starring Kurt Russell and Martin Short, is an example of comical and colorful characters and their adventures on a sailboat, but one classic line from the movie rings true for every boating outing ready to depart: “One thing is for certain boss,” An eyepatch wearing Kurt Russell says before casting off the dock lines, “If anything is going to happen, it’s going to happen out there!”

Skippers and their passengers can never truly know what to expect on a day on the water and this episode from the Beach Boy Chronicles is a true example of the dangerously unexpected.

Some of the busiest days on the water can arrive in late May. The Gulf is warm; everyone wants to take advantage of the fair weather before the rainy season begins, and there seems to be a competition of who can be the most obnoxious on the waterfront.

Submitted Photo

With today’s technology, even small boats can cruise by with the loudest Hip Hop, Rap, and Boom Boom beats ever. This display is usually followed by a big, overloaded cruiser plowing through a No Wake Zone trailing a large and loathsome wave that rocks everyone’s boat.

A most offensive and scary challenge happened just recently when sailing through the deepest water in between local shallow sandbars. On this busy boating day, our crew had already encountered all the above-described scenarios, but when a Jet Ski screamed out of the channel and decided it would be fun to pass on the shallow side and splash the sailors on the catamaran, everyone onboard knew we were now witness to the most obnoxious of all maneuvers.

When the Jet Ski passed and the water splashed, we all could not help but notice the driver who appeared as a modern-day Blackbeard in swimming trunks, and his orange bikini-clad aficionado, who was documenting the event with her camera phone while she held on tight. What we did notice that the Jet Ski Pirates did not, was when during the raid that delivered the unwanted splashes, the bottom of the personal watercraft dashed along the almost dry sandbar more than once before riding away at full speed and heading out to open water. 

After the Jet Ski Pirates passed and we were once again headed offshore, the day of busy boating seemed to recede, as did the shoreline as we continued to sail deeper into the Gulf. When we could see all of Marco, Capri, the southern islands, and even the white sugar cubes that were the condominiums in Naples, the wind was white capping the Gulf and the view from offshore was incredible. With the wind driving the waves that were building, it was not until one of our passenger’s saw the arm and the desperate wave that we were compelled to investigate. After a new turn placed us on a new heading, the arm and the wave became more distinct. In no time, we could see four arms waving from the surface of the water in between the waves. When we came closer, it was clear what we were seeing. It was Blackbeard and his girlfriend with the phone in her tiny bikini. The Jet Ski was almost floating but not quite. The modern-day splash pirates were desperately clinging to the almost sunken personal watercraft that had been cracked open by hitting the sandbar. The waves were relentlessly rolling the marooned marauders and the Jet Ski that was sinking fast.

When we came alongside, the doomed Jet Ski was abandoned as Blackbeard and his girlfriend scrambled to climb aboard. “Well, it took you long enough to get here,” Blackbeard spat out the words. “You must have seen us half an hour ago!”

“No,” was our collective reply. “We just saw you a couple of minutes ago.”

Meanwhile, Blackbeard’s girlfriend went to the opposite side of the boat from her former aficionado. “I told him we shouldn’t go out this far,” the girlfriend was shivering as she spoke. “And I told him we hit the sandbar. He is an idiot!”

After the tiny bikini disappeared behind one of our dry towels, and her shivering subsided, the young woman held up her phone for all of us to see. “This phone is supposed to be waterproof,” she pouted, “It has great reviews, but I could get no service!” She gave everyone a spiteful look but saved the most scornful for Blackbeard. “My entire life was on that phone, and now it’s gone.”

At this point, all our older catamaran crew were having problems keeping a straight face. Giggles from our crew were just below the surface. There were hands covering grins. This was Jet Ski pirate justice, and we were all witnesses. The phone that Blackbeard’s girlfriend was holding was showing an intense spiderweb of cracks along the face and as much as she wiped it with the towel, we could all see the saltwater dripping.

Before we could react, Blackbeard broke in. “No way I hit that sand bar,” Blackbeard wiped at his whiskers. “The fiberglass on the Jet Ski must have rotted out. I read about that on the internet. Everyone knows that can happen. Fiberglass can rot.” 

After ignoring the latest outlandish and incorrect internet info from Blackbeard, we began to get underway and head for shore. Before we could begin to trim sails, we were instantly interrupted. “Hey!” Blackbeard exclaimed. “What about my Jet Ski? Why can’t we pull it back?”

After a moment of silence with everyone looking overboard for the watercraft that had disappeared below the waves, the oldest of our crew spoke up. “I don’t see any Jet Ski. The fiberglass must have finished rotting.”

On the cruise back to shore, Blackbeard and his now apparent former girlfriend pouted. For the young woman there was the horror that her phone was ruined along with her life as she knew it. Blackbeard, however, seemed indifferent that his personal watercraft was visiting Davey Jones Locker. After all it was not his fault – the fiberglass rotted.



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