It happened so fast. We were fishing off the south end of the Island in a brisk-but-not-worrisome breeze. I started to make a turn to port and the wind pushed us over the starboard fishing line, which immediately wrapped around the prop. My bad, but not too big of a deal. I cut the motor and tipped it up to unwrap the line. My fishing buddy came to the back of the boat to help and hang onto me as I leaned over the stern. At this point, the breeze blew the bow downwind, and we were suddenly stern into the wind, with two big guys in the back of the boat, taking chop over the transom. Thankfully, we got it unwrapped and under power again before anything could happen, but it definitely scared the hell out of me.
Then, of course, we kept fishing, and as the years went by, the whole thing faded from my mind. Until I recently heard of a similar event, with a different result: The boat sank. And my memory of the day above came rushing back.
So, as we start prepping for another year on the water, this is what I made. It’s a sea anchor, or drift sock, which is mostly used around here off the stern of boats to either slow trolling speed or, when fishing big rivers, to keep the boat from swinging back and forth on anchor. But I think it can work to prevent the scenarios above. I’m going to keep it handy, and should we lose power, the idea is to clip the carabiner to the bow and throw the sea anchor overboard. When it comes tight, it will keep the bow into the wind while I deal with the motor or until help arrives. Hopefully, we’ll never have to use it, but I feel better knowing it’s there.
As we prepare to “lose” the hour we gained last fall, I’ve been thinking more about how we use our time these days. It occurs to me that just 10 years ago, we didn’t have smart phones or facebook or unlimited mobile apps. Shortly before that, we didn’t even have texting, e-mail, websurfing or 372 channels of cable TV.
And I wonder, how many hours do we spend on these each day? And what have we given up in exchange, since the last time I checked, our days are still only 24 hours long. Recently, a veteran kindergarten teacher told me that over the last few years, kids in her classes have become noticeably clingier, needing ever more hugs and eye contact. I asked her what she attributed this to, and she pointed across the parking lot at all the parents staring into smart phones, tapping away at texts and e-mail. (Luckily, I’d just put my own phone in my pocket. Whew!)
Admittedly, a blog is a pretty funny place for an anti-tech rant, but there you have it. I’m not proposing we give up our electronics and crawl back into our caves. But as the weather warms and our daylight hours lengthen, my spring equinox resolution is to pay more attention to how I spend my time, and try to use it wisely, on the things that really matter.