Saturday, November 1, 2014

FALLING OVERBOARD-I'M GOOD AT IT! by Rolynn Anderson

We’re still Falling at Roses of Prose.  For November the topics are: Fall into Winter, Fall Overboard, Fall from Grace, Fall into Wrong Hands

Falling Overboard...I'm an expert.  I’ve been dunked twice in my long boating career, and I’m alive to talk about those experiences.  Embarrassing?  Oh yes!

Many of you know that my husband and I have just sold our boat after thirty years of cruising.  I never fell off INTREPID, the 42 foot trawler we just sold, and if you take a look at her, you can see she’s built to keep us aboard and safe. 


But our first boat, a 34 foot twin gas engine boat, came without railings, and even worse, it had cleats for tying lines screwed onto the surface around the boat…perfect for tripping up a person.  Yup, that’s what happened to me.  Worse, the accident occurred in the locks leading from Lake Washington to Puget Sound.  I was in such a hurry to grab the line from the lockmaster, looking up instead of at my footing, that I lost my balance and fell into the water.  I didn’t have a way to get back on the boat, so I had to climb the ladder to the top of the locks, where hundreds of tourists watch the action in the locks.  On this day, they observed me emerge off the top of the ladder, a drenched, red-faced woman.  I raised my hands and said, "No pictures, please!"

Two weeks later when we returned from our vacation, the lockmasters remembered our boat and hollered at me not to take a swim in the locks again.  How embarrassing!

The second time I fell overboard was off a rented barge in the Burgundy region of France.  We chartered and captained this barge with another couple, enjoying two weeks going up the man-made canal.  Gorgeous countryside, relaxing pace-a wonderful experience-until I fell off the boat on a rainy day in a lock.  You see, these canals have numerous locks we had to traverse every day, sometimes with a lockmaster to help, but sometimes on our own.  Once again, I was busy handling lines to a lockmaster when I slipped on the wet surface of the boat, lost my balance, and fell into the water.  The trouble was, I hadn’t figured out how to get back on the boat from the water, and there were no ladders up the lock wall.  Awkward, embarrassing and frustrating, for sure.

Truth is, falling overboard in the locks is dangerous because both water and boats are moving as the water sluices in or out.  In both cases, I was lucky to get out of trouble without injury.  And here’s the positive spin on falling overboard: I’ve done it twice and I survived.  In both cases I didn't panic and I found ways to get to safety.  But that’s it.  I passed the ‘falling in the locks’ test.  No more!

Sidenote: Check out LIE CATCHERS, my latest novel, set in Petersburg.  Here are the Amazon and Wild Rose Press buy sites:





13 comments:

Jana Richards said...

Rolynn, I can't think of much scarier than falling off a boat into the water. Especially since I'm not much of a swimmer! Thank goodness you kept calm and the only thing hurt was your pride!

Rolynn Anderson said...

You're right, Jana. Both times I was afraid afterwards of what could have happened...say if I hit my head. I didn't have a life preserver on either time. Dumb!

Jannine Gallant said...

Yikes! Glad your tales of misadventure had happy endings. (Except for the embarrassment part!) I'm sure you've exhausted your quota of falls overboard for this lifetime!

Ashantay said...

Yowza - so glad you limited your falls to two and that you were able to pull yourself to safety each time. I'd have been floundering - and not in a fins and gills sort of way, either!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Guess falling overboard in a lock is better than falling overboard in open water! We boated for a time ourselves (puny 24 footer) and my husband is from Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, so we locked through there a few times. Mandatory life vests! Glad your 'trips' had happy and safe endings.

Rolynn Anderson said...

As I was posting this, I remembered a third fall overboard...out of a canoe on a too-fast-moving river-with a boyfriend-college-age. I got tangled up in some underwater tree branches...REALLY scary. We didn't think to wear life preservers in those days. Again...dumb de-dumb dumb!

Barbara Edwards said...

I've always been so afraid of falling in, I wear a lifebelt in the bathtub. I can't swim.

Leah St. James said...

Rolynn, you sure do have some great book material! I love the "No pictures, please!" line. :-)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Leah. Imagine all those people going home and telling about the excitement at the locks that day. "You should have seen that drowned-rat of a woman step over the ladder. She didn't look happy.

Barb, I've taking life-saving courses...was a lifeguard...but I should still have been wearing a life preserver those two occasions. Not proud of that.

Alicia Dean said...

Oh my gosh, I would freak if I feel overboard, but then, I'm not really a boater and not a strong swimmer. These are the kind of stories where you can look back on them and laugh, but I bet it wasn't very funny at the time. Interesting post. Still haven't read Lie Catchers, but I will, someday! Looks awesome.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks, Alicia. In my book, SWOON, I've written in a harrowing "almost drowned" scene...so I used my accident to help me detail the event, bringing up my own experience. We write what we know and then some! :-)

Diane Burton said...

Rolynn, you are so lucky you came out okay. You know you're a writer when you can take an accident and turn it into a book--or part of one.

Kent Garner said...

It’s good to know that no one was injured whilst out on the locks, since it could be quite dangerous. Despite that incident, I hope you and your husband had some great time on your boat. Anyway, thanks for sharing this with us, Rolynn. All the best!


Kent Garner @ Whites Marine Center