August 18, 2014
Clark’s mom came for a nearly 3 week visit, so we were confident we’d be able to get her out on the water. Unfortunately, the weather and seas did not cooperate. By the time things finally calmed down I was back to work, but we decided to make the best of it and go for a quick evening excursion one day after work.
We took the 4:30 tunnel to Whittier, and since it was a Monday afternoon it wasn’t busy at all. We headed to Shotgun Cove and had all the shrimp pots dropped by 6:15. The water was flat calm and the sun was blazing – it was a great start!
We decided to explore somewhere new this time and headed up Blackstone Bay. As we got closer to the glacier the temperature dropped noticeably. We saw a kayaker and two otters, but not much in the way of wildlife. There were a few chunks of glacier ice floating, but we didn’t get too close. I was nervous about navigating the narrow, shallow moraines around Willard Island so we turned around at the tip of the island.
We did manage to scoop up a nice sized chunk of glacier ice for Sam’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. We thought this would add a nice Alaskan flair to his task! Clark and Sam netted it together and we put the 20 lb. chunk in a bucket on the back deck.
We headed back to Shotgun Cove to jig for a bit. The tiny kelp greenling liked our lures and each of the kids reeled up three fish. Clark caught a small rockfish, but we released them all.
At about 8:45 we pulled the shrimp pots and were pleased to catch half a gallon in a few short hours. Grandma was looking forward to a tasty midnight snack when we got home! We cleaned the shrimp and put them in a bucket of sea water next to the glacier ice.
After a quick stop at the rookery we motored back into the harbor. This is where I always get nervous – launching the boat is getting easier, but landing it is the hard part.
Clark suggested I stand on the gunwale as we approached the dock. He thought this would make it easier for me to hop down onto the dock. It was worth a try, so I hoisted myself up, hanging onto the top of the boat with one hand and the bow and stern lines with the other.
He brought me in 2-3 feet from the dock (we have differing memories of the exact distance). I was worried I wouldn’t be able to jump both down 3 feet from the gunwale and across 3 feet to the dock, especially since my jump would push the boat even further away from the dock. But another boat was already landed ahead of us, so there was no time for fear about little things like getting squashed between our 6000 lb. boat and the dock if I couldn’t make the jump.
So make the jump I did. I took a deep breath and launched myself.
This might be a good time to mention that I’m not the most athletic of souls. Or nimble. Fear and adrenaline got me to the dock, but they certainly didn’t keep me on my feet. I came down hard and started rolling, and kept on rolling all the way across the dock. Thankfully I came to a stop just before toppling into the water on the opposite side. I was tangled in the lines but did not drop them, so I scrambled to my feet and tied up the boat before promptly bursting into tears.
I wasn’t terribly hurt – just a few scrapes on my elbows and knees – but I was absolutely humiliated. I heard the two men ahead of us say something like, “Well that was a fail!” but luckily it all happened so fast that they didn’t have time to videotape the incident. The next thing I heard was Clark barking at Sam and Maggie, “Stop laughing! You have jobs to do!” I looked up to see them staring at me wide-eyed through the cabin windows.
We quickly and quietly loaded up the boat before heading for home. I was still feeling sulky as I rode in the back seat, full of frustration for being such a klutz. It had been such a great evening up until that last moment!
We pulled into the driveway around 11:00 pm, and I boarded the boat to get the shrimp and glacier ice.
But guess what? They were gone!
The latch to the door on the back deck had come undone, the door was open, and the buckets must have slid out onto the highway as we drove home. I pray no one was behind us when the buckets came crashing out or we could have caused an accident. Not to mention we had littered, lost the glacier ice, wasted the shrimp, and blown the midnight snack. As if my banged up elbows and ego weren’t enough?
It looks like Grandma will have to come back again to get her fresh shrimp. Hopefully by the time she returns we can go boating without any of these ridiculous incidents!!