Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hobie Beach Stripper

I was working throught some old files and cleaning up today was the westerly gale was tearing at the trees. I found a file with some stories I wrote about diving and spearfishing experiences I had. I decided to post one from 1996 that may be worth a read.

Hobie Beach - Breakneck Stripper

Fanus Gerber and I have spent many an hour, well actually more like month at sea together. It was back in 1996. We had been out diving at Cape Receife and Thunderbolt Reef. The yellowtail had been plentiful and we had a fair number. We had returned to shore in the late afternoon at Hobie beach.
There was a moderate attendance at the beach - some bathers enjoying the water and other the moderating late afternoon sun. We got out of the boat and set off to the vehicle to rid ourselves of our suits and dry up. The boat we were using was my Mech inflatable, Cracker.
Cracker was an experimental boat; more -mental than experi- though. The vessel was a catamaran-style racing inflatable that handled any significant load very poorly in a following sea, i.e. going with the wind.
Sometimes Cracker would broach and the bow would dip under the water. If such a broach was followed with a nosedive I could occasionally accelerate and lift the nose out. Alternately as I accelerated the nose would submerge further and we would have the vessel full of water - a rather advantageous experience when one needs to wash fish blood off, which back in those plentiful mid ninety seasons was often the case. After a few horrific scares when heading back through large surf I decided to attempt an alteration to lift the nose while driving the vessel at sea.
I added a third, larger bow-raising pontoon in the center of the hull making it an inflatable cathedral or tri-maran hull. My efforts were well rewarded – the broaching and nose-diving tendencies were completely corrected by this adaptation and the load carrying ability was vastly superior to the catamaran form. The only problem with this middle pontoon was that it collected sand on the beach when small waves washed around the boat.

Now while we were peeling off our wetsuits and admiring any scantily-clad admirable items on the beach little did I know but a considerable amount of sand was being washed into the jacket that supported the newly added middle “keel” of the inflatable by the wave action. Putting this type of inflatable boat on the trailer involved one of us lifting the nose (bow) to about head height and the other pushing the trailer in under the boat. Clad in our towels, and enjoying the warm sun on our backs I attempted to lift the nose. The extra weight of the sand and fish made it impossible so Fanus helped and I was able to support the bow as Fanus maneuvered the trailer nearer.
From all the wiggling to get the boat up my towel had loosened somewhat.
By now Fanus was just about lined up to push the trailer in when the last vestige of friction holding my towel in place evaporated and in slow motion the towel experienced the inevitable lure of gravity. I reached for it but was battling so much with the weight of the vessel and it’s recently acquired “sandpit” that I released one arm and snatched after the falling towel only to begin succumbing to the weight.
I let out a feeble whimper for help from Fanus. Fanus was, however, completely indisposed in ecstatic mirth at the sight of my predicament and was gleefully unable, and was perhaps just a little unwilling to end this moment, to come to my aid.
I now attempted to support the weight with my head and arms - a sharp pain in my neck as an overstrained muscle pulled added to my psychological discomfort and it promptly became very acute. So much so that the towel was of lesser importance than my ailing neck and I pushed the boat back up with both arms.
In due course Fanus was able to lower the trailer and amble over without undue haste to come to my aid. By this point I was able to reach down and collect the towel and privatize my un-tanned backside. Fanus, unaware of my neck-pain, was obviously still battling to see any serious side to the situation and I, now reunited with my precious towel, made a small polite bow to my audience and returned to the task of “boating” the trailer.
My only saving grace was a few good sized yellow tails jutting out of the fish crate.

Picture censored!

1 comment:

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