I'm not sure what sparked it but I thought today of the first time I ever went to sea. The details are a bit sketchy as I haven't taken the time to ask Mom to fill me in, but I remember most of it. I was maybe seven years old and was out West visiting my Mom's family in Oregon and Washington. My uncle Rod took me and my cousins who were just a bit older than me out on a chartered salmon fishing trip.
I was excited by the prospect, and even more so when my uncle chipped in to the split-pot our five dollars each towards the first and biggest catch of the day.
I can't visualize the boat at all any more, but I seem to remember there were about twenty people aboard so it must have been a fairly good sized yacht. But it was no match for the Pacific seas that day. They were mountainous. We rode up and over the crests and watched as the whole world disappeared with us in the trough. The crew got our poles all set up for us and there we stood on the rail as waves threatened to swallow us whole one right after the other.
About the time I was thinking this was the worst thing I'd ever been conned into doing in my entire life I got a hit. I set the hook and by some miracle there was still resistance there. I reeled her in and I'll be damned if I didn't right then claim half of that pot. Imagine fifty bucks to a seven-year-old in 1981. Minutes later I'd given up the rod in order to have two hands free to hold the rail at the back of the boat while I puked up everything I'd ever eaten in my entire life. Eventually the crew took pity on me and shoved me in some cubbyhole full of rope and canvas bags where I spent the rest of the trip sleeping, sweating, and drifting in and out of consciousness.
When we got back to the dock I'm sure I knelt down, kissed the ground, and promised never again. A promise which held for about twenty years.
Amazingly, my fish was also the biggest. I took home the whole stinkin' hundred bucks. I'm so glad I bought Apple stock with it instead of blowing it on Stomper trucks.
Looking back on this as an adult I realize that my fish probably wasn't the biggest but that the adults aboard were probably just taking pity on me and boosting my spirits. Funny it took me all this time to realize that.
I think this picture was taken on that trip somewhere along the Oregon Coast.
Ali's first time on a small boat at sea is a totally different story. It was in 2003 when we motored out of the ICW in Fort Lauderdale aboard what would become Bumfuzzle. It was the sea trial for our catamaran. The next time would be the two of us sailing that boat out through that same breakwater.
On another note:
This morning we were getting ready for the day when we told Ouest it was time to get dressed.
"No. Naked," she replied quite matter of fact.
We then had to explain to her that we were in a town now and you can't just walk around naked.
"Why?" she asked with a perfect look of innocence on her face.
I don't know Ouest. I just don't know.