It’s been over a week ago and I did need some time to process before being able to write about it. I am not sure, if you remember my fear and nightmare, which I had already described in a previous post you can read under ‘The Surf in San Juanico/Scorpion Bay’ or CLICK HERE
I think that it helped telling the rest of the crew about this nightmare and worrying about something like that could happen, as we were always especially careful landing and departing with our dinghy in shore break.
We arrived in Chacala after a long aprox 60 NM sail day. We left Isla Isabel at 2 am, pulled up the anchors and motored out. Someone in the anchorage had mentioned Chacala as a cute little town with good anchorage and we decided to check it out, as it would also break up the distance.
The sail was great and when we arrived in Chacala, we set up the dinghy and cleaned up a bit. By the time we headed to shore, we were all very hungry. Approaching the shore, I found that the waves looked smaller on the far left, but the Captain did not think anything looked harmful and we had a good landing. We found a local restaurant and enjoyed some cold beers.
When we wanted to head back to Alsager, we pulled the dinghy into the water. It was dark, no moon and we could not see the water movement. The waves which hit the shore during the time we got ready, did not look bad at all. That’s how everyone approached the whole departure. Mats our 3yr old sat next to the Captain, as he likes to help steer the boat. I went up to the bow to start paddling us out until the Captain gets the motor started. I had no clue what was going on behind me, we were already a bit away from shore when the whole boat all of a sudden went sideways. A powerful wave grabbed the boat and the sudden side/upward motion threw me right out into the water. When I was able to look up again, I saw that the boat did not capsize, which I was almost sure it must have. Mats and Noah were still in the boat. ARGHHHH! The Captain was trying to stabilize the boat for the next wave and assisting it back to shore but the boat was so swamped with water, that it got too heavy. The next wave went right over Mats (and Noah) , who was holding on tightly. I saw the scared/surprised “HELP ME” look on Mats face (he looked right at me) and it was heartbreaking, as I was too far away to grab him to bring him to shore and I just did not understand, why he was still in the boat and not brought to shore yet.
Later I found out that the Captain did not see any harm in that moment and acted with right reason. I just wanted to hold our little guy and spare him as much as possible. And honestly, I would do it again and again and again! I don’t remember all of it as I was acting in a bit of a shock and panic, but I remember being pushed (and was told that I pushed also to get to the little man – can’t remember though). Blame me for it, but hey, he is my heartbeat! I am still getting emotional just thinking back at this. Awful.
The Captain sat Mats on the beach and I made sure Noah got out of the boat ok. Nothing was dry. All of us than tried to shuffle the water out of the boat to be able to pull it further to shore, as some of the waves were big enough to swamp the boat more. We were worried, that that was the end of our motor too. I saw something moving in the water washing to shore and saved my belongings like Digital Camera, phone, wallet inside the dry bag. One good thing!
When we managed to pull it to shore, I went to Mats, held him in my arms to try to warm him up. He was such a trooper. He was just asking, what had happened and that he was cold.
When the boat was without water and even the motor started on a first try, we did a second attempt, this time like we usually had done up till that day in water with shore break. Kruiser walked the bow out until the captain was able to start the motor. Unfortunately the motor did not start that time, so the Captain and myself just started using the paddles like mad. I hit the Captain in the head by accident, as he was standing right behind me. Ouch!
When we were passed the break, we realized, that we left Kruiser behind, he was swimming after the boat and was calling, if we forgot about him. OOPS… 😉
After he got in we paddled back, as the Captain could not get the motor started. Ones back, I took care of Mats. We were all wet from top to toe and very very sandy. There was no way we would wash this off with cold water, freezing for the passed hour already. I just dried him off, put him in warm PJ’s and tucked him into bed. He fell asleep right away.
The Captain managed to get the motor running again. Lucky, but what a mess. We all went to bed silently and in our own thoughts.
The next day while cleaning up for half a day, I found out what happened. The Captain was in the boat and before the motor was running, Kruiser climbed into the boat from the back, which made the boat go sideways. I tried to straighten it out with paddling, but the wave got us sooner.
BETTER NEVER AGAIN! Yupp, I was certainly thinking about a flight back home.
We learned a lot that night the hard way.
Here a few specs about our dinghy:
They became popular in the 1980s and 1990s when many boating and fishing enthusiasts started downsizing to condominiums and apartments without storage room for an ordinary boat. The Porta–Bote is lightweight, flexible and extremely strong. The Porta–Boteis made of copolymer polypropylene