When I am on the water or near the water I am happy. So, when I kayak or when I have been the person behind the wheel of any vessel; I take this pretty seriously. Why? Because the water has no mercy and the inherent dangers are, in my opinion, multiplied more.
This is a two-part water experience. The first was an interesting night kayak trip. Note: Whenever you are on the water at night extra risks are as plain as the nose on your face. So, be prepared. I was kayaking one night and I personally enjoy when other boaters say hi or at least wave. I was just finishing up a 4 mile paddle. The sky was clear, full of stars, and everything was serene. I was alone the entire time out and had the entire area to myself. On my way back to the docks, there was a pontoon boater who thought he was the designated water patrol and wanted to show off for his family and friends; suddenly I was the focus of attention.
Often the presence of mind and energy of a person remote from the spotlight decide the course of history for centuries to come. (Stefan Zweig)
Visible and Reflective
The water was glass and visibility was 100%, but I guess for this one young man showing off; he didn’t notice all my lights or reflective gear, because he very nearly ran me over. I think if his girlfriend didn’t say something to him he would have. To all the night boaters out there: Stay alert! 15 feet away is a little close in any circumstance – but even more so when one’s speed is around 18-22 knots and I’m just sitting there watching you to see what my next course of action would be. I saw both occupants’ facial expression of “Oh, shit! I almost ran this person over.” Yup, yes you did. After that, two other boats came racing past me just about 35 feet off my starboard. This was a great night on the water. I was pretty pissed off after this excursion, one that I had intended to be a nice relaxing, calm, enjoyable time on the water. Common sense should prevail. Navigational safety rules indicate that the vessel without a motor has the right of way; in other words, a motorboat would be able to move out of the way just a little quicker than, let’s say, a kayaker. Think of a car versus a pedestrian on the road – same concept. Make sense?
Visible and Reflective on a PFD & Kayak
The second example goes back to a jet-ski accident I was involved in years ago. So, I did something I never did on a PWC; I showed trust as a passenger. We were on a quick little RXP, doing around 65 and the driver who was inexperienced decided to do a sharp turn into a wave. “NOT COOL!” I was in slow motion; I flew like Superman up and over the driver while, watching the sky and water doing somersaults. There is absolutely nothing you can do in these situations except go with the flow and hope you make it out. Some humor. I was knocked out! The last thing I remember was inhaling water, watching the water and hands reaching out as I was coming up from under the water. Get that? The driver pulled me out of the water with the assistance of 3 other motor boats circling around. After that point, I recall nothing. To this day I still have no memory of the rest of that day. So, for those weekend warriors on the water, watch what you are doing, because anything can happen in a split second and the water has no mercy if you do not have anyone around to help. Fortunate I was!
See you in the next post!
Some favorite quotes to end today’s entry:
The three great essentials to achieve anything worth while are: Hard work, Stick-to-itiveness, and Common sense. (Thomas A. Edison)
Common sense is in spite of, not as the result of education. (Victor Hugo)
At the end of the day, the goals are simple: safety and security. (Jodi Rell)
All I’m trying to do is survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty, unbelievable lifestyle that they gave me. (Tupac Shakur)
Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power. (William James)
I’ve never responded well to entrenched negative thinking. (David Bowie)
The game embarrasses you until you feel inadequate. (Ben Crenshaw)
And because it is Brooke Foss Westcott’s birthday I wanted to conclude today’s entry with his thoughts:What we can do for another is the test of powers; what we can suffer is the test of love.