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: