Another time on the Hobie, I decided to sail out from the beach to the shipping channel going into Tampa Bay. I thought it would be cool to get close to one of the big merchant ships. It was after school, so the sun was already on its way down. I'd gotten pretty far off of the beach, sailing into the setting sun when I turned my head around to look back. There, swimming lazily along right behind me was the biggest shark I have ever seen in person, longer than my 14' boat. Not being a marine biologist, I identified the species as "freaking scary". I executed the most careful jibe I have ever done at that point and sailed back into the beach. Once I turned back, I was unable to see if the shark was still behind me due to the glare on the water. That was probably the most frightening ride back to the beach I ever had. Once I had her beached, I just sat on the tramp shaking for a little while before I could get it together to drop the mast.
Lesson learned: beach cats are meant to be kept close to the beach.
Edit: After reading this post, I felt like I had left out some of the most important details. To be clear about how dumb this was, I was sailing a small boat, single-handed, without running lights, signal equipment/flares, a radio, or having filed a float plan with anybody, offshore into failing light. That's about as boneheaded as it gets. I've often wondered if that big shark wasn't some kind of guardian spirit sent to scare me into doing the right thing.
Last edited by Willis; 10-21-2010 at 11:55 AM.
Reason: add detail