photos by Sean Antonioli
It could be described in so many ways:
An amazing experience,
a true-to-life survival story,
an almost sink-or-swim situation,
an "oh crap" experience,
an "oh $%*&#@*&$%?+#&%^@*&#$! experience.
Whatever the description, I'll never forget it and I'm thankful that it ended well.
Once upon a time, some friends of mine launched a couple gondolas in a harbor which was right next to another harbor where they were operating gondolas.
They invited me to join them in rowing the gondolas from one harbor to the other, and being a hopelessly addicted gondola fanatic, I jumped at the invitation.
Our adventure began on calm waters, rowing through a beautiful bay with the sun glistening on the smooth surface, but as we began to exit the breakwater,
we encountered some rollers.
The further we got, the bigger the swells, until we were officially "in it" and began to wonder if we might be at any risk.
Eventually Murphy's Law took effect and we received a nice big swell over the side.
You never really think about how much water is in a swell...until it lands in your boat. Even then, you still can't quantify it until you're removing it from your boat - one bucket at a time.
If I'd remembered to count my bucket-fulls, I'd be able to tell you exactly how much water is in a swell...or at least that one.
As you can imagine, I had other things on my mind at the time. Actually, even if I had been counting, the whole thing would have been moot, as we were blessed with at least three or four more swells that welcomed themselves aboard while we were bailing.
We bailed, and bailed, and bailed.
It was great fun, and as it turned out - a terrific lower-back exercise. If you are looking for a good lower-back workout, I highly recommend the "desperately trying to bail out a boat before it sinks" workout.
You get so caught up in the task at hand, that you don't even think about aches and pains.
There's no time to "feel the burn".
You just go nuts with the bucket!
As we worked feverishly to rid our boat of water, the wind was blowing us steadily closer to the breakwater of the other harbor.
The closer we got, the more perilous we felt, until we were about twenty feet from the rocks.
We achieved our goal (of an empty bilge) and began rowing with about ten feet to spare. From there we rowed into the breakwater opening as if it was just another happy row.
Anyone watching from that point on, would have had no idea the ordeal we'd just been through...that is unless they happened to notice that we were soaking wet from the waist down!