Saturday, July 28, 2007

Leaping Lutz

You see it in movies. The hero makes a flying leap for the narrow ledge on the back of a departing train. He holds on and then miraculously pulls himself up hand over hand onto the platform and safety. It always looks so easy. Well, I can tell you, it’s not – at least for me.

We took our Bayliner for one last overnight cruise on Powell Lake before returning it to the chuck (March 23). After a peaceful night tied to the logging dock, we prepared to leave. The evening before everything was dead calm, but in the morning there was a light wind from the northwest. We each have our tasks on the boat. Wayne (the Captain) starts the engine and I (the crew) untie the docking lines. But this time I didn’t take the breeze into account. I undid the front first. By the time I got the back line undone, the nose of the boat was edging away from the dock, making a normal gangway entry difficult. Wayne yells, “You better jump on fast!”

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. The only place within reach was the edge of the swim grid. I went for it, but with Mr. Bathtub (our dinghy) on the rear, there wasn’t enough room for me to stand. I was hanging on for dear life and Wayne was on the command bridge yelling, “Hold on, I’ll take you back to the dock.” But it was too late for that. Not wanting to fall into the cold lake (and near the churning propeller), I tried to slide onto the swim grid under Mr. Bathtub. To top it off, my glasses were fogged and I couldn’t see a thing. Wayne came down to give me his hand. My grip on the railing was none to steady and my bum was hanging precariously close to the drink. First I got one leg and then the other under Mr. Bathtub. I wiggled until I was lying flat under the dinghy and then tried to climb through the narrow space under the aft rail. On my first try I wedged in tight. My jacket and life vest had to come off, but I finally made it. What an ungraceful (and stupid) entry! It was a good thing Wayne was too busy helping to snap a picture.

So, the moral of the story – stay on the dock and wait for the boat to return. In real life not everyone is superwoman. So, do you like boat stories? Wayne’s new book Up the Strait has lots of them. Check it out at -- Margy

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