Hard Times – Or A True Blessing?
So as it would seem my recent escapade during the last King of the Glades event at Everglades Holiday Park would be a sign of bad luck or misfortune. On a micro-scale, I really could think this, but this turned out to be a true blessing. Think about the number of times every angler fishing South Florida encounters alligators in the Everglades; it’s normal to feel their tales slap the pad of the boat as you’re running down the canals. Every once in a blue moon, one gets hit just right and gets the lower unit of a boat sending it off course. At the speeds most bass boats run, this can be pretty catastrophic at times. So from my well over 400 hours of being on the water in South Florida since moving here, I was finally due for one of those specifically bad encounters. This is an encounter not every angler is unfortunate enough to experience. As it turns out, not less than five minutes after blast off, I did and I was travelling approximately 65 miles per hour.
It wasn’t until later I inspected the prop and found the impact point that told me I hit a living log
What’s ironic is 65 miles per hour is not specifically fast in my Bass Cat Puma FTD which is capable of reaching speeds of 82 miles per hour on a light load. So there’s blessing number one. Because of the boat in front of me, and the fact we were coming to a 45 degree turn in the canal, I was not going nearly full speed. When we hit the gator, I initially thought we caught a wake wrong, but couldn’t figure out why it deflected us. It was a routine following of another boat, why would it kick me to the side like that. It wasn’t until later I inspected the prop and found the impact point that told me I hit a living log.
That thick marshy sawgrass slowed the boat
The deflection shot us to the left side of the canal. This is blessing number two. The right side of the canal has a solid rock levy holding water in the canal and diverting it away from the vast Everglades Marsh. The left side of the canal had 20-30 yards of sawgrass before the levy. That thick marshy sawgrass slowed the boat and also allowed me to get some steering to the right as I attempted to return the boat to the canal. Being able to do that allowed the boat to come to a relatively soft resting spot.
…sent the tournament director to our location to assess our predicament…
Our resting spot was up towards the end where the marsh ended and the levy began. We had an easy step to take just to get on top of the levy and walk the mere mile back to Everglades Holiday Park. This is blessing number three, we weren’t stranded in alligator and python infested waters. We had a good solid and safe road back to civilization. We also had cell service and were able to call the tournament organizer immediately, who in turn sent the tournament director to our location to assess our predicament – blessing number four.
…was able to send out a recovery boat from Tow Boat U.S.
who was more than competent in vessel recovery.
I pay a little more than some others on insurance for Boat U.S. Insurance. It’s on the expensive side, but they’ve always had my back so I stay with them. Because of that insurance, they were able to send out a recovery boat from Tow Boat U.S. who was more than competent in vessel recovery – albeit this was his first actually in the Everglades. Because of that, we only waited about five hours for them to trailer the recovery vessel and truck it out to Holiday Park. Once there they were able to relatively easily – much to my surprise – pull my boat to freedom through the sawgrass. Blessing number six.
Blessing seven was the fact the exact time they started to pull my boat, was also the exact time a South Florida 20 minute down pour occurred. No other time throughout the day did it rain. I don’t know for sure, but I’m confident that water assisted in the preservation of my hull’s gel coat while she was being pulled out.
God blessed us with a series of specific events that ensured
we went through this with the least amount of struggle
Counting all of those together is nothing short of a miracle in itself. Delfin and I weren’t injured, while it’s not been fully assessed, but at first look the boat looks fine, and my insurance came through in a BIG way. Not everyone in that tournament are able to be as well prepared, nor do they have the quality of boat that I have. I bring this up because it brings the point that I’m glad it happened to me and Del the way and where it happened. We were well taken care of, nobody got hurt, and if all I have to endure is a lost GoPro, a couple broken rods, and a prop that needs reworked, we fared pretty well. It absolutely sucked losing a tournament day, especially when Del and I were sitting pretty good (19 out of 95) in the points race, but we’re out, we’re safe, and God blessed us with a series of specific events that ensured we went through this with the least amount of struggle given the circumstances and what could have happened as an alternative.
Wisdom comes from experience…
People ask me why I don’t allow inflatable life vests on my boat. It’s not that I expect something to go wrong; it’s that I know something could go wrong for anyone at any time while underway. You don’t buy car insurance or wear seatbelts because you plan on getting in an accident. You get those things to ensure if one happens you’re protected. Wisdom comes from experience, experience comes from enduring both good and bad fortune.