Trip Start Dec 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 01, 2011

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Up early and ready for a day on the water, I am all prepared for a great day of redemption. Never again will I forget to bring a net when going fishing. Gail wanders out of the bedroom around 7:30am and asks if we are going out on the boat. After yesterday's adventure did she even have to ask? Of course we are. I need to redeem myself by bringing home a big catch.

We decide to forgo our trip until around 11am so as Gail stated "you have time to check and re-check everything we need". On the way to the water I needed to stop and fill the boat up and put oil in the injection tank. All the while I am going over my mental check list. OK let’s see gas, oil, plug, keys, bait, check. Even though I checked and re-checked everything, yes I have the net, I had the feeling I had forgotten something. For the life of me I could not figure it out.

As we pulled up to the ramp, Gail and I started the launching process. I backed down the ramp and put the boat in the water. As soon as she started to float it hit me. I forgot to check the Marine forecast. You see, as the boat hit the water I noticed the current moving at a very brisk pace and the wind coming out of the Southwest. Instantly the boat wanted to head out to sea. Good thing my First Mate had a strong hold on the guide rope.

Off we headed down the waterway, wind briskly at our backs. Making good time at only half throttle I noticed there were not many boats out. No Dolphins, not much of anything going on except the white caps on the water and birds everywhere. I figured now might be a good time to check the radio for updates on the weather. After listening to the marine radio I found out why there were not any boats out. You see there was a small craft advisory with wind gusts expected of over 30mph and seas of 4 to 8 feet. Nice, here I am looking for redemption and I’m heading into the perfect storm conditions.

I found a nice spot to throw anchor on the back side of and island out of the wind. Lines baited and in the water we were ready to catch some crab. After 30 minutes and no crabs Gail informed me to get out of there and head to a good spot on the open waterway. Ok here we go right into the open water and wind. Choppy and windy, we set anchor at the mouth of Dunn’s Sound. On any other day you have to fight for a spot here as it is a great location to fish, but not today. We were the only boat on the water.

Then it happened. Like we were long lost friends, two Pelicans decide to make our boat home. Gail told me to give them a piece of bait, they looked hungry. Well I did and what a mistake it was. They now decided to stay and bug us for food. Every time Gail would go to pull a line these freaking Pelicans would attack. The bigger one of the two started to get cocky and did a little mouth open attack thing on me. Oh yea buddy, its game on now! Grabbing the net I started to sword fight with this stupid bird. Every time I would swing it would back off and do this swim in a tight circle thing to try and throw me off balance. I could here Gail up in the front of the boat chuckling like it was funny. Here I am fighting off a Pelican and she is having a good time, no crabs but a great time at my expense. After what seemed like an hour I made the call, we are out of here.

Maneuvering to our next location was no easy chore. Again I tried a place behind a land mass to get out of the wind. Finding what I thought was a good spot, Gail throws the anchor. Now the wind has picked up and the currents are pretty bad. The anchor, though perfectly tossed and set will not hold in the current. Here we go, drifting right in to the shallows. Depth alarm sounding like a smoke detector in the night I calmly, (I hope) pull anchor and get out of there. Are you kidding me? All I wanted to do is redeem myself for a dismal performance the day before.

As we anchor up in our honey hole for a final try at getting some crabs, I now start to think about our return to the dock and getting the boat on the trailer. I’m looking at the current, listening to the radio tell me of gusts of 30mph and calmly concede that I am screwed. I already accept that there will be more dock marks on the sides of the boat then there are now and I will be buying more rubbing compound to get them out. After a while Gail has given up. No crabs today. Not that she didn’t catch any but rather the currents were so bad we could not net them before they let go back into the depths. Anchor up and away we go.

Running the waterway back to the ramp was an adventure. Winds pushing us sideways, currents at times so swift that I needed to redline a few times just to make headway. OK the dock is in sight. Now all I have to do is get her in and tied up along side without doing any damage. Stress, who needs this stress! My plan was simple enough I thought, just swing around under the bridge and put the wind and current at our backs and drift into the dock. Well, I forgot about how fast we would be drifting, say like 10mph. Our first try was a bust. As we approached the dock, Gail tried to grab a cleat with the line but we were moving fast down stream. I made her drop the line as I did not want her to get hurt. On our second attempt amazingly I got the boat lined up perfectly and she drifted and sort of banged into the dock and held fast until I could get the line tied off.

Off I go, up the dock and get the truck backed down the ramp. Now the hard part, getting the boat on the trailer. The wind and currents were way too strong to try and pull her in by rope. No, I would have to drive her up onto the trailer, not that easy under these conditions. I explain the game plan to Gail and ask for her to just hold the ropes to keep me steady when I hit the current. Here we go, now or never. As I put her in gear and hit the channel at the end of the dock off she goes like a rocket. Gail has the ropes and seems to be OK but then it happens; my worse nightmare comes true. I see her starting to struggle with the lines. The boat is heading for the bridge abutments and she is heading for the water or worse yet the hospital. I yell for her to throw the ropes and I grab them and rip them from her hands, burning her fingers. I quickly slam the boat in gear and somehow position her in line with the trailer and up I go, either the trailer or the ramp one or the other. All the while I have an eye on Gail trying to see if she is OK. She meets me at the trailer as I am reaching over the bow hooking up the safety strap. I feel terrible. How are her hands? Is she hurt? Like a trooper she starts winching up the boat and jumps into the truck and drives us to the side so we can start to strap her down. I jump, yes me jump, out of the boat to check on her. I am devastated at the thought of hurting her. Gail tells me she is fine and to basically snap out of it and get the boat ready for the ride home.

What a day. All I wanted to do was catch crabs. We fought the winds, sea, and birds. We made it home safe and sound. I also learned another valuable lesson. It’s better to forget the net then to not check the weather.

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