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Memoir Monday: I’m Taking On Water!

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I’m going to start a new tradition here on my blog. Feel free to steal it from me if you wish, with no back linking required. I’m calling it Memoir Monday, and it’s going to be all about stories from my past. I have no shortage of these stories, and it will give you something to smile about on your boring Monday. Unless you are a fire fighter or astronaut or something. I’d assume they have rather interesting Mondays. And Tuesdays. Well, and everyday. Lucky bastards. But, I digress.

I’m Taking On Water!
It was a Sunday afternoon in April, and there was still a chill in the air, and in the water. It was a breezy day, and I had decided to take my boat out. When I say its my boat, I actually mean it belonged to my dad, and he left it to The Groom. The Groom bought another boat, and just kind of ignored the old one. I decided one day that I was going to fix it up. With the help of my buddy Toes. I’m gonna call him that, cause he has a weird set of toes. Anyway, Toes helps me get it ready for sandblasting, we have it sandblasted, and then we primer and paint it. We also get the seats reupholstered, and just in general clean it up. I talked my sweet mother into forking out $400 for the motor to be fixed, and finally, it was all done.
Toes couldn’t go out with me that day in April, so I asked Kid Funk to join me on the maiden voyage. We decide to get some cold beers to christen it, if you will. When we got out to the water, we both noticed it was kind of choppy, but we decided to brave the waters anyway. Fishing was calling us, and that’s all I wanted to do. We get the boat in with no trouble whatsoever. It starts right up, and we are on our way. On the way to our destination, Kid Funk points at a house and says, “That right there is where ol girl used to let me watch her sunbathe naked.” I whipped my head around, and in doing so, made the boat turn so sharp we almost went in. I slowed down, straightened her out, and kept going.
We got in a little cove that was just perfect for some drinking and fishing. Kid Funk decides it’s high time I learn how to shotgun a beer. So i get through about four of them, and really, I’m not even feeling it. We start fishing.
After an hour or so, we decide to change places. Here comes the trouble. The boat wouldn’t start. I start pulling the rope harder and harder, and lo and behold, it snaps. We are officially stuck. It is about 2 PM.
Hour 1: We call Toes, and he says he’s coming out, but it’ll be a little bit. We have a couple more beers, and just keep fishing, laughing about how all fishing trips with Kid Funk and I turn out horrible.
Hour 2: Toes shows up, and things get fun. When Toes pulls up, his boat looks funny. Remember those choppy waves? They chopped right into his boat. He looks at us and says, “I’m taking on water guys!” And with 2 long steps, he goes from the back of his boat to the front of his boat, and “boards” mine. By boards I mean he jumped in it, didn’t make it, and cut the entire side of his leg up on a section of the boat that the sandblasting guy happened to miss. Kid Funk and I pull him in, and his boat promptly sinks. Little things from his boat start popping up all over the water, and floating into the cove. “Wow.” I said. “That sunk fast.” This was not helpful conversation at all. It wasn’t even Toes boat anymore, he told me. He had sold it to his grandpa and he just hadn’t come and picked it up yet.
Hour 3: We mount a plan. The very tip of his boat is sticking out of the water, and we decide we’re going to paddle my boat to shore, and get a rope attached to his, then haul it in to the shore as well. The water is about 13 feet deep, so we figured we could do this easily. But first, we check phone status and make calls to get us out of here. Turns out, my phone and Toes phone are both completely water damaged. Kid Funk’s? Tucked snug in a water proof container that he had brought. Nice. The battery on his phone? Less than a bar. Lame. We make the initial call, and then we shut it down to save battery.
Hour 4: We get the rope attached to his boat, and start pulling it in. Toes is bleeding from a nasty leg wound, and gettin lake water all in it. I’d like to point out that this is Oklahoma lake water, and is not very clean. Finally, we get his boat as close to the bank as we can, and using a pulley system comprised of tree limbs, rope and faith in Jesus, we get it up in the air a little bit.
Hour 5: We kick Kid Funks phone back on, and turns out, no one knows where we are. Everyone thinks we’re in the middle of the lake drowning, and we find out that there is a full scale search going on for us. We’re talking Lost style here, folks. Oh, and did I mention The Missus was PISSED? Woo. Anyway, we clarify what we can and where we are, and shut the phone back off.
Hour 6: It was here that we decided we might have to stay the night. (I don’t think there was ever a real chance at this, but still.) What do we do? We get firewood, and we start a fire. Then we start thinking about eating. None of us has any food, and the only thing we can find on the bank is a bunch of wild onions. No problem, I say. Just give me some of that bottled water and some onions! I’m making onion soup! I cooked it in a beer can. Yeah… It was the nastiest thing I’ve ever tasted.
Hour 7: We turn the phone on again to see what has become of the search. Turns out now, lake patrol is involved, and so is Marina and her husband at the time. He was being a total douche. Talkin about just leaving us if we couldn’t give him exact GPS coordinates of where we were and stuff. Doucher. We try to tell them once again where exactly we are, and turn the phone off again. The problem was, we were in a cove that is not normally a cove. The water level was high, and that made this particular spot where we were a very hard place to find.
Hour 45: Lake patrol and Marina find us at about the same time. The sun is going down, we are wet and cold, and now I have a bigger problem to worry about. My boat has a 2007 tag on it. It’s 2008. And lake patrol is here. As we all load up in my boat to head out to get a tow from the lake patrol, I am scared out of my mind. We get up to him, and he anchors us to his boat, and he gives us the longest ass chewing of my life. In the middle of the chewing, he stares down over the side of my boat and says, “Jesus Christ! Is that an ’07 sticker on that boat!?”
He looks at us, tired, cold, wet and shaking, and somehow finds mercy in his heart. I don’t remember his name, and I don’t want to. All I know is that he was our hero. He yelled at us for a while more, and then told us he wasn’t going to write a ticket, that the ass chewing was enough. “Yes sir.”, we all said. “Thank you sir.” He started towing us in, and I sat in front of my boat. It was cold and getting dark, and every now and again, he would hit a wave, and it would splash back to my boat, thoroughly soaking me to the skin. I didn’t argue, I didn’t flinch. I just sat there, glad to be going home. Every now and again, the lake patrol guy would turn around after a wave and see me sitting there shaking, and he would smile. He probably thought he was teaching me a lesson. Yes, yes he did. Toes got his boat back a couple days later when the water went down, and it hasn’t worked since. I really do feel bad about that.
Actual time elapsed from boat sinking to rescue? About 4 hours. I know I kind of fooled you, but for sure, the hours I gave you are what it felt like. I asked both Toes and Kid Funk to comment on this story now, and this is what they gave me.
Toes: “That was a really bad week.”
Kid Funk: “Sunday the 2nd (2009) was the first fishing trip I’ve gone on with a Sloat where nothing horrible happened. I should have known when we pulled out on the choppy water without life jackets that we would more than likely die.”
Did I mention I forgot life jackets?