Suzanne Olsen's Humor Blog - I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Tag: sailing humor

Sailing Trip Part 4

We finally reached Desolation Sound on the 7th day. The wind was blowing, and we hoisted the sail and the brightly colored spinnaker. Each of us took turns sailing the boat. The guys kept their eyes straight ahead and got the boat up to about 6 knots. I had learned in sailing class to watch the tell tales. You want them to go straight back – that shows your sails are getting the most bang for your buck out of the wind. I quickly had the boat going over 7 knots, and the boys were in awe.

When they wanted to drive again, I told them about the tell tales, but neither of them listened, they just kept looking straight ahead and trying to “catch the wind” by steering. Neither got the boat above 6 knots the whole day. This proves my theory about the brain of a man.

Desolation Sound was worth the trip. It had utterly spectacular views of jagged, snowcapped peaks straight from a postcard. There were other brightly colored sailboats leaning into the wind, and I quickly forgot the boredom of motoring all those days. We stayed there for a while, reluctant to leave the first wind of the trip, but it was time to find a place to tie up for the night.

It started getting dusky as we crept along scanning the shoreline for a place to stop. I’m not sure why we didn’t just anchor, maybe it was too deep. Fog set in, and the trees cast spooky shadows that made me think the woods were full of Sasquatches. I was getting a creepy feeling that led to goose bumps. I was also tired and hungry, among other complaints. We saw a couple of dim lights in the distance and motored blindly toward them. We came up to a dock literally in the middle of nothing and nowhere. There were no houses – I don’t even know what the dock led to – it could have just been free standing. It was obviously private property, with only one sailboat tied to it. Esso guided the boat next to it and Eric jumped out with a rope to tie us off. “You guys wait on the boat and I’ll see if anyone is home,” Esso said. I expected a shotgun report to crackle through the silent night.

Someone came off the boat and started walking warily toward us. I jumped on the dock, figuring I could turn on the Southern accent if I needed to – desperate to get some dinner.

“What do you want?” the guy asked like some moonshiner protecting his still. I couldn’t see his face but he was about my size and I thought I could take him if I had to.

“We need to tie up for the night,” Esso said.

“This ain’t a public dock,” the man said coldly.

“Ple-ease let us tie up here tonight,” Scarlett O’Hara said (that’s me). “We’re soooo tired and hungry.”

“We’ll pay you,” Esso added, “and we’ve got beer.”

“Oh well, now, if you’ve got beer, let’s pop one open. I’ll tell the Missus we’ve got company.” He hovered while Eric fetched him a Kokanee. He tilted the bottle up and drank half of it in four fierce gulps. “Ah, that hits the spot. Bring the six pack with you.”

“Give him a minute to tell his wife,” I said, grabbing a fistful of stale pretzels. After a couple of minutes he popped back up out of his boat and yelled, “You coming?”

We walked across about 50 feet of dock to his sailboat. He turned on some lights so we could see to climb on board, and we went below. “This here’s Audrey,” he said, pointing to a smiling, curly haired, squatty little woman in a sweatsuit, “and I’m Orace.”

“That’s an interesting name,” I said.

“Oh, it’s really Horace,” Audrey said, “he just don’t say the H.”

Their boat was a floating single-wide. Seriously, I have been in trailers in East Tennessee that were decorated exactly like this one with a lot of oversized furniture that they must have taken apart to get in the door, and plenty of pink gingham and mauve prints. And there were doilies and knickknacks. A floating white trash museum, but pleasant and homey and a very welcome port in a storm, as it were.

Orace helped himself to one beer after another. I whimpered about wanting to go and start dinner, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He had company and he was going to damn well take advantage of it. Finally I said I’d go fix something and bring it back. That was welcomed by everyone, and I left Esso and Eric there as hostages. I made who knows what – probably peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with potato chips. Esso popped in to get another six-pack of beer.

“You guys drank that first one already?”

“Orace doesn’t even bother to swallow. He just pours them down like he’s putting oil in a car. And she’s pretty fond of beer, too.”

Orace had an appetite, and so did Audrey. For that matter, so did I, and the food vanished well before my growling stomach was ready to throw in the towel. I went back for more, and Esso went back for another six-pack.

They were delighted with everything we said, and wanted to know all the details of our trip. Orace told us slurry stories about being the mailman in these parts, and wintering over without seeing anybody for days at a time. He stood up most of the time, using his hands and arms to accentuate what he said. After awhile he became incoherent, which made the up to then jovial Audrey a little cranky. “You’re drunk,” she said, more than once. She’d stopped smiling.

We kept tying to leave he wouldn’t let us go. “What’s your hurry?” he’d say, and we felt compelled to continue being his audience. I realized that this party could go on all night, so I said, in my Scarlett O’Hara, “Audrey, you have been so kind to welcome us into your home and let us stay here tonight. We might have died out there in the ocean if it hadn’t been for you. I honestly don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t found you. Thank you so much for everything.” I got up and said, “Esso and Eric, we have overstayed our welcome and you need to get up right this minute and let these wonderful people get some rest.” They sprang up like prairie dogs and grabbed Orace’s hand, gushing gratitude. Esso handed him a greenback, which must have satisfied him for the overnight mooring because he grinned and stuffed it in his pocket.

“There’s no sense in rushing off,” he said, obviously befuddled at the sudden end of his party.

“Let ‘em go, Orace. You’re drunk,” Audrey said, sealing the nail in the coffin of his good time.

“We’re leaving the beer,” Esso said. “And thanks again.”

“We’ll make breakfast for you all in the morning,” I called down from the upper step.

It was fun for a while, but I was pretty to escape the clutches of our clingy hosts. We slept soundly in the perfect quiet of that deserted dock. In the morning, we got up, dressed, made breakfast, did our usual routine at our usual speed, and there wasn’t a peep from the other boat.

“What do we do?” I asked, wondering what sailboat etiquette was in a situation like this.

Esso took another six-pack of beer and put it on the dock beside Orace and Audrey’s boat. They would have come out if they’d been awake. I really wanted to say goodbye and thanks again, but who knows how long it would take them to sleep off that much beer? We started our engine and figured that would rouse them, but still no sign of life. It was a beautiful, green, hidden cove surrounded by mountains and lush forests, with a wispy fog still hanging close to the water. I drank in the scene as we pulled away from the dock, and hoped a Sasquatch didn’t get the beer before Orace found it.

Sailing Trip Part 3

Fast forward to four days later. We had settled into a routine. We got up and had a hearty breakfast of eggs and bacon and toast and coffee and oranges (to ward off scurvy). Then we’d pull up anchor or leave the dock we’d tied up to overnight. We started our motors and puttered further up the coast, past scenery that was surprising exactly like we’d seen every day so far. Then we stopped and had a nice lunch of sandwiches, chips, apples, and pop before starting our engines back up and going further up the coast. Late afternoon we arrived at a new dock or place to anchor and prepared a feast of barbecued oysters or something Esso had prepared like marinated steaks with grilled toast, salad, and dessert. The wonderful meal was accompanied by beer and wine, with Spanish coffees as after dinner drinks that took us all the way to bedtime.

Sometimes, if we were lucky, there would be interesting rock features or little secret coves along the way that Esso and Pat knew about because they’d been sailing up this way before, but the sites didn’t last very long. We’d sit all day long, and then sit all evening. Out of boredom, I gorged on potato chips, candy, fruit, pretzels, cream cheese, string cheese, pork rinds, licorice rope, Tootsie Roll Pops, leftover bacon, trail mix, cashews, and the occasional carrot or celery stalk.

Boredom was making my clothes too tight, which made sitting around even less pleasant. The rest of the gang was delighted with the R and R they were getting. I was going nuts. About the third day I started taking the little dinghy out that was tied to the back of our boat. I’d row it around and around the cove just to get my circulation going and check stuff out. No one else had any interest in exploring.

I had how many more days of this? On the 5th day we went to a secret place Esso and Pat knew about that was full of oysters. We anchored about 500 yards away from the rocks and rowed our dinghy’s close in. Everyone got on the little rock islands and started filling bags with oysters. I didn’t have the heart to do it, so I rowed around in the dinghy. After awhile Eric needed to go back to the boat, I guess to use the facilities, and so I sat on the rocks and talked to Sue as they collected potato sacks full of oysters. Erick got back to the boat and neglected to properly tie up the dinghy. Oh boy, what excitement that was! We all yelled and screamed at him as the dinghy started drifting away, but he didn’t hear us. Finally he appeared on deck, gave us that “What?” look, and just kept raising his arms like he was trying to understand what we wanted. He held up a bag of potato chips and we all screamed and shook our heads frantically. The dinghy had floated past the front of the boat so he couldn’t see it from the back where he was facing us. He picked up a beer and pointed to it. We screamed some more. Finally he went to the front of the boat, probably to pick up the bag of pretzels, and noticed the dinghy, which was becoming a small speck on the horizon. He stared the sailboat up and drove it to the dinghy, where he jumped into the water to snag it. We were terrified he’d let the sailboat get away while he was fetching the dinghy, but he managed to retrieve the one without losing the other. I so appreciated the diversion and entertainment of that half hour of distraction.

I’m not saying that there weren’t good times. Evenings together were full of laughter and fun. But this was not what my vision of a sailing trip had been. We did try to put the sails up one day, but there wasn’t enough wind to get us going and we gave up quickly.

Pat and Sue were only with us for five days, then they headed back. We said our goodbyes and continued on. The first night alone with just Esso, Eric, and me, we decided to play Scrabble because it was the only game on the boat. Esso turned out to be the best Scrabble player in the world. He’d hold onto a bunch of X’s and Z’s until he could make a word on a triple word space, and then score 90 points.

In stark contrast, Eric would stare at the board for a solid ten minutes, until we’d lost all patience and told him he had to go or else, and then he’d spell the word  “on.” Next time, same thing, and then he’d put down, “it.” You think I’m joking? If he got a three-letter word like “the” he was ecstatic. In any other situation I would have grabbed the board and flung it across the room, but I was desperate for any stimulation – even the most aggravating kind.

Lest you think Eric was a numbskull, he’s really quite charming and a handsome, 6 foot, slim guy who was a golf star in college and a successful architect. I think the Spanish coffees and who knows what else were fogging his brain.

I began wishing I’d brought a mu-mu, because waiting for Eric to move upped my appetite. I was wearing one pair of fat shorts pretty regularly – all the cute stuff I brought was still folded neatly in my duffle bag because I couldn’t get anything else to zip up. I knew I looked like a fat cow, and that made me want to eat out of depression.

I’ve got a couple more stories to tell, so this will again be continued. Hope you can stand all this excitement.

Copyright © 2021 by Suzanne Olsen