It doesn’t matter how long you traverse the outdoors, sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with unfortunate events. I’ve had more than my fair share of “uh ohs” and “did that really just happen” experiences. It just comes with the territory, especially if you are me. I’ve been on a camping trip where I almost chopped my index finger off with a machete. I’ve been on a deep sea fishing trip where we turned the boat into a submarine momentarily, effectively blowing the windshield out in my face resulting in 15 stitches (thanks, Chris). I’ve even sank a boat in the Okatoma River once that wasn’t even mine (apologies to Michael). Most of my friends that frequent the outdoors have very similar stories, if not worse. Unfortunately, that’s where this weeks blog takes us again.
My wife recently booked us a three day trip to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi for a family getaway. The house, owned by a friend of hers, is nestled along a canal just off of the Jourdan River. My initial thoughts are that this could be the best family vacation ever. To me, what could be better than a house along a river where you can catch redfish, speckled trout, crabs, and who knows what else. I was completely correct about one thing, the house is awesome. We arrived on Monday afternoon around 3:00 and just driving up to the house got my blood pumping. The house sits on stilts about 12 feet off of the ground, has a wrap around porch that is partially screened in, a nice outdoor cooking area, and down by the river……a pier. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this pier would tick me off more than once. We hadn’t been at the house more than 20 minutes, and while unloading the car I hear our middle daughter yelling. Our oldest daughter, Mackenzie, had slipped off of the pier and into the canal. She’s a very good swimmer for her age so she was able to tread water while holding onto the pier. I rush to the pier and pull her out. She’s a little scared and a little bruised up but seems to be fine. I scold her and Collins about the dangers of playing around the water without being careful and return to unloading the vehicles. This is pier episode number 1.
The next day we take the kids to the beach for a while before returning to the house for lunch. I planned to get bait and head out fishing, however, the weather had other plans. It began to rain pretty hard after lunch and did so for most of the rest of the day. Since it didn’t look like a fishing trip would happen that evening I decided to pick up a crab net and some bait. We tied the crab net to the pier with a chicken foot tied in the center in hopes of catching some delicious blue crab. Right before dark the rain stopped so I took the girls out for a night ride on the river. Tomorrow’s forecast looked much better so I would surely get some fishing done in the morning. I was wrong.
I tied the boat to the pier when we returned to the house around 9:30 pm. The tide was low so I made sure to give the boat some slack to rise with the incoming tide overnight. At 6:30 am I’m awakened by the sound of a horn from a boat outside. Who in the heck is honking a horn in a canal at 6:30 in the morning?!! Not five minutes later there is a knock at the door. I immediately know something is wrong. The neighbor across the canal from us, Robert, greeted me at the door. Robert is a commercial crab fisherman and was on his way to check traps. He was nice enough to wake me up to let me know that my boat was almost completely under water. I ran down the stairs and saw the disaster. I immediately flipped on the bilge pump and water began to drain from the boat. We used a small bucket to speed the process up and began bailing water out. At some point through the night the boat floated up with the tide and became lodged under a board protruding from the pier. The boat tipped to the right side as the tide rose allowing water to enter the vessel. After all of the water was pumped out of the boat I begin to assess the damage. The motor, which took on a little bit of water, will not crank. My ignition switch is likely fried as well as my interior light. This is pier episode number 2. With the boat being out of commission for the remainder of the trip, we result to catching crabs. The kids were able to snag 6 blue crabs so the trip doesn’t feel like a complete disaster, at least not to them! We returned home the following day, with my tail tucked between my legs dreading a trip to the mechanic. Maybe it’s a sign that I need to get off of the water for a while. At least for around 3 weeks (time period the boat will be in the shop). For the next few weeks I will have to get innovative to catch big fish. On the other hand, the Delta is calling my name.