I went back to the bay last week, to the place I grew up. I’ve never been too far from the sea and for a good share of my life I lived in a big house right on the beach.
As a teenager, I used to take our 12′ row boat out in 4 foot winter waves. In rough seas like that any sane person wouldn’t lauch a boat from the beach. But, hey, whoever said teenagers were sane? And with a teenager’s strength and agility, I always pulled it off.
Anyway, to lauch against big waves you have to push the boat out bow first. If you try to launch stern first (the usual way in calmer waters) the waves will wash over the stern and swamp the boat.
So, I angled the boat to the waves, pushed hard on the stern, jumped in and quickly grabbed the oars to pull hard against the up-coming wave. But I wasn’t fast enough. The wave pushed my boat sideways, parallel to the beach, and another hit me broadside.
I fell to the seaward side of the boat. She tipped up and tried to dump me out. I was on my back – half of me in the water and half in the boat. My arms didn’t have the strength of youth and I struggled to right myself. Finally I got out of the boat on my feet instead of head first.
It was a good thing I was alone. No one could hear me cussing and, more importantly, no one could see me acting like a landlubber fresh from Kansas!
It was all a little embarrassing but, even though I walked away in soggy shoes, it was a great day.