Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wayne, PA
Thanked 10 Times in 9 Posts
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another view of screwups
My confession - while chartering in the BVI naturally we ended up at Virgin Gorda, and with teenagers on, off, on, off, then on the dinghy again and again - the painter was long when I wanted the painter to be short.
So I backed down on the mooring, painter and dinghy simultaneously. Twisted the line around the shaft, heard the sound of a straining diesel followed by my own "oh ****" (also simultaneously).
After a moment all was well - no boats (including mine) in danger. We were on the mooring, secure, but I was not capable of motoring anywhere fast or slow. So over the side I went.
The water there is crystal clear, the wrap of line immediately apparent, my knife and the barnacles on the bottom sharp as can be. I cleared the tangle and came up apparently triumphant...until my teenage daughter ( the one on and off the dinghy) screamed about blood, sharks and some other undecipherables.
Cut my hand pretty good somewhere down there; but "frogmen" or the lucky feel no pain.
We ended our day at Bitter End when (figuring a few stitches were probably in order) I asked where a doctor might be. Pointing across the bay, motions of climbing and directions for asking where he might actually be on the side of the other side of the bay convinced me it maybe probably was not THAT bad a wound. So we went for a (really good) hamburger and an adult beverage to think about it.
There is a small chandlery at Bitter End with pirate flags, Bitter End coasters, t shirts and some boat stuff, including super glue. Super Glue! Which I have seen used in real surgery and if it was good enough for actual doctors therefore it was good enough for me.
Hamburger ordered, adult beverage on table and wound cleaned within Caribbean limits I sloshed the glue - as per instructions - over both surfaces to be attached. Again, according to directions I held the joint together for ten minutes or so with the only clamp I had available - my other fingers.
A triumphant unveiling unfortunately involves "unveiling", as in showing something not seen before. Friends and family had been watching me hold the formerly gaping wound for some time and were not at all surprised when the index and middle fingers from my left hand inexplicably remained attached to the formerly gaping wound on my right hand.
Yup - I stopped the bleeding but glued my hands together. Damn.
Peeling all apart hurt more than the original wound, but not being stupid I learned from experience and used pressure and duct tape to hold it together the second time.
A few years later I have no more scarring than I would have gotten from the doctor. I saved some hours hunting for medical care and I enjoyed a good burger and a (couple) adult beverages. So I have an elevated respect for super glue and duct tape.
They are forevermore a part of my medical kit and I must confess I have a desire for an emergency appendectomy, lobotomy or any reason for trepanning ( have forstner bits, will travel) so I can show my mastery of spreading the super glue on both sides of the wound AND staying back while it dries.
Great seamanship will deliver you through many the storm but selective or elective stupidity leaves you with memories, scars and tales to remember.