Needing Less Doing More

Tag: injuries


“Cease to gnaw that crust.  There is ripe fruit over your head.”


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Ouch! Now we know that a mangrove island does not have actual dry land.

Some of you may already understand how much hard work actually goes into sailing.  In the beginning I dreamed of sailing in its most fantastical sense.  Diving off the boat in clear blue waters, the slow rock of the boat lulling me to sleep, a cabana boy bringing me cool drinks with plenty of ice on a hot day.  Not the way it works.  Even when you are just sitting there, actually  doing nothing, your muscles are constantly contracting, trying to keep your body upright.  In a tossey, turney environment like this someone is bound to suffer an injury.
The first injury occurred while docked in Dania Beach, FL at our buds’ Kaitlyn, Patrick and Joe’s house.  They rent a place right on a canal but their dock access is blocked by another boat.  An old boat that never moves and belongs to someone who lives far away.  Naturally, we decided to shorten the width of the channel by half by tying up to the old boat already docked in front of their house.  Yes, we double parked.

For the six or so days we stayed there our routine included giong out the backdoor, opening the gate, jumping over the rail of the old boat, over the other rail of the old boat, then jumping onto our boat, over the life line, then ducking under the bimini top to enter our boat and retrieve the item we forgot to get after our last feat getting on and off our boat (likely a pair of undies, or a toothbrush).  I will admit, I started to get cocky with my little jumps and ducks.  I mean, after doing this 100 times, who needs to look at their feet and make sure the feet are planted before leaping…not me…whoops….BAM!  I jumped (without looking) from behind our lifeline to over the top of the old boat’s rail.  Missing two key steps in the safe crossing between boats.  I pushed my face away from the old boat’s ladder just in time to prevent serious dental problems.  By doing this, I dragged my right leg over the railing of the old boat, scrapping the entire backside into road rash from hell (right behing the knee…come on!).  The worst part was that I landed slam on my coccyx bone (my poor little tailbone).  If you have not yet injured this ultra-sensitive bone I do not recommend it.  It has been two weeks since that injury and I still have to sit in just one position.  It’s a real pain in the ass.

The second injury was sustained by both Ren and me.  We had a nice little day sail from Coconut Grove down to Rodriguez Key which at the Tavernier side of Key Largo.  We were sailing with our buds Ella, Tony and their babby, Mellia  who are aboard Ohana.  Check out their blog while you’re at it.  See what kind of company we’ve been keeping.  Anxious to stretch our legs after the sail and impress our friends by bringing home the proverbial bacon, we decided to hastily jump in the water once securing an anchorage between Key Largo and Rodriguez Key.  Thinking we were going to find a spit of land for Oreo to enjoy while we picked up a few lobsters, we threw on fins without booties and jumped in.  We were only going to be in a little while right?  Wrong!  We put Oreo on a surfboard since our dinghy was temporarily out of commission (the damn transom fell off, but has since been successfully repaired by the captain), and Ren pushed him over to the “beach”.  Thing is, Rodriguez Key is a mangrove island, meaning, there is no beach.  Just a series of mangrove trees rooted through the water to the ocean floor.  So, naturally, we pushed Oreo further around the island, hoping for land (don’t worry people, we’ve learned our lesson about mangrove islands since then).  And pushed, and pushed.  We pushed all the way around the damn island in fact.  It had to have been at least 2 miles (maybe more like 3) around the thing.  Someone measure it on GoogleEarth and get back to me on the distance would you?

We kicked and kicked and kicked.  Meanwhile the sun was going down, the sun went down, and poor little Oreo was shivering like a dog pooping thumb tacks, as Ren would say.  It got so dark as we were still paddling, trying to make our way around the endless island.  A little panicked, I kept my head out of the dark water searching for Nila Girl, any sign of the boat.  Ren kept claiming to see a dark spot in the series of lights over on Key Largo.  Since it was his idea to keep swimming, and keep swimming I couldn’t hear him anymore.  I couldn’t hear him because I didn’t want to listen to another thing he was saying!  We caught sight of Nila Girl and limped back to her.  Oreo was elated at being back on the boat.  I peeled off my wetsuit and assessed the damage.  As you can imagine, after hours of constant kicking with no booties on the rubber of my footpockets, the rubber managed to erase several layers of skin from the back of my ankles.  Looking at my ankles right now, yep, they’re still weeping.  Gross little injuries, they are.  Ren has a couple of rubbed spots too n his foot.  it sure does make diving harder.

Next post, the biggest injury yet!

The Biggest Injury Yet

“The First Cut is the Deepest”

-Cat Stevens

Ren suffered the biggest injury yet.  A gaping, bleeding head wound.  The injury happened as we were day sailing from Rodriguez Key south to Marathon Island.  The wind was hard on our backs.  To avoid the constant bouncing of a boat sailing downwind we decided to go a bit harder into the wind.  This put our sail position more east of south.  In order to get back in line with Marathon we would have to jibe back around and head west.  The dreaded jibe!

As our skills are improving and we begin to work with a bit more synergy we also gain confidence.  The jibe is no longer a problem for the occupants of Nila Girl.  One thing that is a problem…the cleat that grabs the mainsheet and keeps it tight.  Yep, that one, slipped, causing the mainsheet to spool out and the boom to crash over early during our jibe.

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Ren took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’…thankfully!

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I love you hogfish.

It was the mainsheet and smacked Ren on the head and pulled him over, slamming his head into the lid of our port side cockpit locker.  The lid was open for two reasons,

A. to dry the cockpit locker out 

B. to give Ren’s head something to slam in to. 

I heard a yelp and looked back to see Ren laying (meaning crumpled up in the small space behind the Captain’s chair) on the cockpit floor.  He was holding his head and didn’t say a word.  This scared me.  People who are minimally hurt cry or yell or cuss.  People who are really hurt just sit there, shocked, waiting for a limb to fall off.  He was a bit shocked.  I freaked!  I should have prefaced that last statement with this, I pride myself on my ability to stay cool under pressure.  Maybe it’s a function of training for freediving, maintaining low heart rates, or maybe it’s something I do consciously but either way, the rules did not apply to this situation.  We’re in the middle of a jibe, the captain is lying on the cockpit floor staring at me and I am staring straight ahead, at nothing.

Since I’m not here to disappoint the audience, or let Ren bleed out, I jumped into action.  I raced down the companionway into the v-berth and yanked open one of the lockers underneath the berth.  This locker contains the exceptionally well equipped first aid kit my parents put together for us.  As Mom is a nurse and Dad is a retired Naval Corpsman they managed to really hook us up.  Our friends Kerry and Steve also contributed to the kit as they are a doctor and PA, respectively.  Thanks everyone for the wonderful kit!  So, the kit is stuck in the locker between a wall and the dutch oven.  In my panicked state I did not think to simply move the dutch oven out of the way, lift up on the emergency kit and pull it out of the locker.  Oh hell no!  I YANKED and  YANKED and YANKED, trying to pull the damn thing through the wall, which never happened!  I slowed down for two seconds, pulled the dutch oven out, lifted up on the emergency kit, and lifted it out of the locker.  Then went back to panicking.

After loads of sterile gauze we finally got the  gushing blood to subside.  I thought about using the Quickclot Kerry gave us but decided against it and she (and Mom) advised against using it for anything short of a shark attack (which, I decided, this was not).  So with pressure and bandaging, the bleeding subsided.  He was left with the bandage job you see above.

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Stitches or no stitches? We opted for no stitches and things ended up working out just fine.

Hours later (and not a stitch later, which I’m sure he really needed).  Ren decided his head was miraculously healed.  I’m not so sure he realized the intensity of the wound since he never saw the slice in his head.  With his healed up head, it was diving time.  Down he went, up he came and the blood started rushing again.  There was no time to tend to a head would though, there was dinner to catch (captain’s orders I assure you) so I jumped in and speared us a Florida sized hog fish.  Nice by Florida standards I assure you.  Leaving Ren with a gushing head didn’t leave me in the water at ease.  I rushed the job, got the fish then jumped back on board to assist.  This time, using a towel, we stopped the bleeding and limped in to Marathon. 

Once anchored in Marathon we SLOWLY unwrapped the wound, taking care not to peel the clot out of Ren’s head.  We got the wound unwrapped and tended to the cut properly.  Cleaning it up and rewrapping in nice clean bandaging.  Once again, we have managed to tempt fate then spit in his face.  You know what they say though, “Trick me once, shame on me, etc”  We’ll be a bit more careful from now on I suppose.