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November 26, 2010 / fruitloopmum

Messing about in boats

OK, at first I thought that someone had been stalking me, but then I realised that I don’t own a bloody headscarf – I’d rather die! The pic was sent by a girlfriend in an hysterically funny email, and it wasn’t me in a boat at all. But hell, that could be the psycho taken during a real-life boating moment a few years back!

I have to pre-empt this post by stating that the ability to laugh at yourself is a great gift. It’s one of those humble, endearing attributes that thankfully some people possess. Unfortunately, some don’t….but at least sometimes they can make others laugh (in this case unintentionally!)

Scenario: Fuitloopmum and family hire a cruise boat for the day to explore the watery wonders of the beautiful inlet that we live on. We were contemplating buying one (a boat that is), but weren’t sure how we’d cope with two littlies under three on board. This was going to be our children’s first foray on water. I loved to sail, and psycho very proudly boasted a skipper’s licence, so we were fairly confident that we could cope with the extra responsibility of the littlies. It was a beautiful day and we set off with the skipper at the helm and me in the stern pointing out passing pelicans and enormous blobby jellyfish to the littlies.

Skipper was in a foul mood as usual, and after boorishly and audibly berating other sailors for their lack of consideration and skill on the water, he soon became bored, hot and hungry. He also ran out of cigarettes. UGH. This required him to get ashore IMMEDIATELY. By his stage, I also wanted him to get ashore immediately cos being in a confined space with a portly psycho who’s suffering food and nicotine withdrawal is NOT funny ok?

“I’ll anchor here . You stay aboard with the kids, and I’ll go and get fish and chips”

We were in fairly shallow water, close to a little wooden ferry terminal. There was a jetty, a tiny grocery shop and the best fish and chip place on the peninsular about 800 yards away across the turquoise water. It was too shallow to take the boat any closer to shore, but we were towing a little fibreglass tender.

The skipper slowed the boat. From the helm he bellowed at me to “Throw the bloody anchor NOW FOR GODSAKE!!! ” Followed by “……..that was bloody pathetic”

Sorry mate, but trying to actually throw something that weighs around 15 pounds is quite difficult for an average sized woman with a small child attached to her leg. The anchor sort of plopped into the water a few feet behind the boat.

Skipper heaved himself over the edge of the boat and into the tender which rocked alarmingly before he plonked his centre of gravity down and took up the oars to expertly row ashore.

“And keep an eye on your bloody pathetic attempt at anchoring, I DON’T want to come back to find the boat has drifted”

The littlies watched, chins resting on the edge of the boat as he prepared to row away. I got distracted by something on the opposite shore until I realised that the children were still conversing with daddy who had been supposedly rowing ashore for several minutes. I looked over the edge to check the anchor. Below me was the skipper sweating like a pig, facing the wrong way around in the tender and rowing in circles with a confused but exasperated expression on his face…..At first I thought that he was checking the anchor…but that really didn’t explain the fact that he was facing backwards with the oars the wrong way around.

Well, he finally sussed out how to row in the right direction and eventually reached the jetty only to discover that the water level was too low to allow an easy or even dignified exit from the tender. Fruitloopmum and children watched with great anticipation as he tied up to the jetty, and standing in the tender, reached up to shoulder height and attempted to heave his entire body weight up onto the surface of the jetty. No mean feat when you weigh around 280 pounds. Man, I think the ferry passengers disembarking and walking towards his struggling bulk hanging half-on, half-off the jetty may well have been tempted to harpoon the bugger!

Finally, he managed to swing one leg up and onto the jetty to give himself some purchase, and, just as the first ferry passenger drew level with him, he pulled himself to standing and walked off towards the fish and chip place as if that type of manoeuver were the most natural thing in the world.He hadn’t clocked the Japanese tourist with the camera further back on the jetty who was excitedly taking pictures of nautical gymnastics as performed by a fat man.

Fruitloopmum meanwhile is observing the whole thing from the boat in complete disbelief, with tears of laughter running down her face. Yeah, yeah, I know. I sound like the meanest, nastiest, un-compassionate person in the whole world. But give me a break here. Read some old archive posts if you’re not familiar with the profile of the psycho ex. Then imagine being in a confined space with him for several hours whilst he’s suffering nicotine deprivation. I honestly deserved some light entertainment!

Anyway, the skipper duly re-appeared 20 minutes later, new cigarette hanging from his lips and carrying a sizeable cardboard box filled with fish and chips. He stood looking down at the tender bobbing some six feet below him, obviously working out the logistics of getting back into the tender whilst carrying a large box.

“Dont drop the fish and chips daddy” called the 3 year-old, unheard, across the water to him.

“Mummy, he’s going to drop the fish and chips!!”

“No sweetheart, look, he’s putting them on the jetty while he gets in the boat”

In complete awe, I then observed the skipper lay face down on the jetty next to the box, swivel his legs over the edge and try to lower himself into the boat below whist supporting his weight with his arms (cigarette still hanging from his mouth of course) His feet somehow found the tender and he managed to get some balance. Mission accomplished, he then leant forwards… towards the jetty to get the box.

“Mummy, mummy look at daddy…oh no, he IS going to drop the fish and chips!”

At this point I felt I was observing a scene from a Mr Bean or Monty Python film cos we ALL know what happened next….

Fair play to him, he didn’t drop the fish and chips. But as the tender moved away from him he made a beautiful 45 degree angle before he lost his footing. For a moment the skipper dangled above the water until his arms could no longer support him and then he ‘plopped’ slowly and quietly into the water.

“Mummy, is daddy going to swim back? How is he going to get the fish and chips?”

I couldn’t answer. The laughter was in danger of exploding uncontrollably from me. I didn’t want the littlies to think that I was cruelly laughing at daddy’s misfortune. My eyes streamed and my shoulders heaved in silent laughter as I just shook my head.

With some assistance from the next ferry load of passengers who were standing on the jetty waiting to embark, the skipper finally managed to make it back to us on the boat.

As he hauled himself back on board I asked him if he was ok

“No I’m f***ing well not……can’t you see that this boat has moved about ten feet closer to shore? I told you you hadn’t anchored it properly”

“I actually meant, you’re wet. Did you hurt yourself?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about”

Well, that one threw me. He sat scowling, grumpily extracting wet cigarettes from the pocket of his dripping shorts, saying nothing more. I decided one more attempt at breaking the ice.

“Thanks for getting the fish and chips…. girls, say thank you to daddy”

“Thank you daddy….. umm, daddy, you’re very wet”

The skipper, in a very serious tone, replied “Ah yes, I was very, very hot and needed to cool off a bit”

I choked on a chip.

Some people are able to laugh at themselves. It makes them sort of loveable and endearing. Clearly, some are not.

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