Natalie and I are on a working vacation in Everett, WA. I got lucky and won two tickets to the Seattle Boat Show by sharing an embarrassing moment with Three Sheets Northwest boat story contest. Wooo hooo! I originally blogged about it, way back in 2011 and wish to recount the adventure here with only the smallest amount of embellishment:
From my July 2, 2011 blog post:
Crab season opened today. My Navy buddy, Josh, and I took my 1973 Catalina 27 sailboat out and dropped the pots.
While we were out, the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln pulled back in to port. We pulled the pots twice while we were waiting for the ship to dock, since we couldn’t get our boat back to the slip. While we were waiting we saw some old geezers in a powerboat pull right up to our pot and start hauling it out of the water. They didn’t even check the name on the buoy to see if it was theirs!
Josh and I were floating nearby and headed over to have them drop my fishing gear. All they had to say was, “Oops.” We caught two crabs and went back in so I could get a fancy Navy regulation haircut and some lunch.
My wife, Natalie, came back with us in the afternoon to pull the pots again. I was expecting a motherlode, full pots of crabs since the season just opened. We didn’t catch another keeper that day. It looks like two of our pots got cleaned out by someone else because there wasn’t a single crab in them. The last pot had a few females in, so they got thrown back.
After resetting one of the pots, we drifted across the line and it got fouled along the propeller and rudder. Running the engine in reverse got the prop clear, but we were wrapped around the rudder post pretty tightly so I couldn’t steer. We pulled the pot up on deck and dropped the anchor to stop drifting through the sea of crab pots.
I stripped down to my underpants and grabbed my swim mask while all the other crabbing boats were floating around us watching the show. I hopped in the water to clear the line. It was FREEZING COLD. It was a terrible, whole body brain freeze. I’ve never felt water so cold in my life. Immediately I felt my body tense up and my heart rate skyrocket.
I swam to the stern, grabbed the ladder and pulled the line around and down off the rudder and we were clear again. It was wild being under the boat as the stern was bouncing in and out of the water and then slapping up and down as waves and wakes went by. Soon enough I was standing in the cockpit dripping, goosebumped and shivering drying off with my dog’s stinky, hairy boat towel.
We threw the pot back in the water and headed over to the Scuttlebutt Brewery in Everett for some well-deserved beers.