I was curled up at the galley table munching on pistachio nuts, salt and pepper flavor and heaving the shells out the window. This particular window lost a piece of its frame this spring. When said frame was glued back on the glue ran down the frame. It now only opens a few inches. Don’t worry though; I plan to bust it out with a hammer in case of an emergency. Anyway, later that day we were running west in a southwest swell looking for fish. Ocean water was splashing in so I closed the window, or tried to close it, but it wouldn’t stay shut. I immediately figured out the problem but there wasn’t anything at that moment that I could do about it. Just then, Skipper yelled at me to lock the window. I pushed it shut but within a matter of minutes it inches back open. I yelled back (it’s loud in there when we are running) “It won’t stay shut. Pistachio shell.” He nodded but I could tell this didn’t compute. “Pistachio shell” isn’t a typical nautical term you’d expect to hear. And when it’s that loud you can only half hear and half guess that the other person is saying. Usually context clues like pointing, cuss words, and facial expression lend credence to the magnitude of the situation and helps you guess what they are saying. A calm utterance of “pistachio shell” without any context clues doesn’t have much of a chance of being understood.
We ran into Pete Dahl and after crossing the bar, I took the wheel. It was a grey day, one of those days where the ocean and the sky are all the same dismal color. We had ocean spray on the windows which is salty and difficult to see through. Normally, I could simply use the windshield wiper to clear the way, but earlier this spring, a tender busted out the driver’s side front window when we were off-loading fish. (The boat it having back luck with windows this season.) A Lexan window was installed temporarily until the glass one could be delivered and replaced in two weeks. That was two months ago. Anyhow, since Lexan scratches easy we can’t use the windshield wiper. Usually Rain-X works, which coats the window with a waxy substance and the water droplets, just slide right off. But, I forgot to Rain-X the window. Bad deckhand. As a result, I couldn’t see shit.
It was just after low water and I was coming up to the race track, which is a shallow, narrow stretch marked by buoys. The fathometer said we were only in 5.7 feet of water. I figured I was good since I was on my track line and right next to the buoy. But I could see this spit of sand in front of me. Now, running 25 knots (which is about 33 MPH), decisions need to be made quickly. I was still gathering information to make my conclusion as to if I was in the right spot or not when we hit bottom. Another few seconds and I would have figured it out. Nevertheless, I quickly throttled down and cut the engines. Skipper says “Zoom in on your track-line and see how far off you are”. Oops. I thought I was zoomed in. Sure enough, I wasn’t on my track-line. Then this orange thing out the side window catches my eye. It was the buoy that I missed, resulting in cutting the corner and hitting this sand bar. Skipper, calmly and sarcastically states “I’m not going to yell at you this time. I’m going to make a list and save it up so it will be a surprise.” I roll my eyes and went out on deck to Rain-X the window while we wait for water to float again. I figured while I’m out there, I’ll fix the other window, too, so it can close. Skipper watched me grab a knife and operate on the sill. Then a screwdriver. At first, there was a look of admiration on his face that I was tackling this window problem. As I pulled out the pistachio shell, that look melted away and turned to disbelief as he states “I’m putting that on the list.”
|Me at the wheel|