Thursday, August 16, 2012

Woman Over Board

I departed Budd Inlet and picked up a buoy on the east side of Hope Island. I checked the AIS in the evening to see if any tugs would be passing after 2100hrs and the area looked clear. There was a small Erickson sailboat on the buoy next to me with 2 small children and 2 adults.

I get up around 0600 hrs and look out to total fog and cannot even see the Erickson.

About 0800 hrs. it is clearing and the lady on the Erikson is busy cleaning the zodiac and hoisting it to the deck via the main halyard. After drying it she deflates it and stowes it in a rubber bag. I am drinking my coffee and eating breakfast when the zodiac rolls off the cabin top. She kneels down to  grab the bag and falls over. Two big splashes one for the bag and one for her. I jump up and see her holding on to the bag with one hand and holding onto the boat with the other hand. A man appears in the cockpit and she calmly says," can you help me"?  He grabs the zodiac bag and pulls it into the boat and then goes below. She is still in the water and swims to the other side and climbs up the swim ladder and gets into the cockpit. She takes her wet clothes off, dries off, and goes below, reappearing in a new outfit.

As I was watching the whole episode I noticed she was barefooted and not wearing a life jacket. I heard her say to the man who is still below, a breeze is coming in. She again goes forward, barefooted and without a life jacket on, and unties from the buoy and then raises the main. Off she sails and waves hi to me as she departs. The man and children are still below.

In a blink of an eye, she fell over board and yet she was so calm about it and quite independent in getting herself back on board. Nobody seemed very concerned about the incident, but those children could have lost their mother. Sometimes I see things happen on the water and just scratch my head and wonder, did I just see that or was it an illusion immerging from the fog.