Don’t Tell My Wife (part 1)

Don’t worry, I am not hiding anything from Emily. It’s just that she hates this story. I am not allowed to tell it in her presence and if she hears me start to tell the story; well I might as well make up the couch and sleep out there. But it is an entertaining and being on the blog she can choose to ignore it.

Several years ago one of my best friends and I decided to take a trip from Virginia Beach to Tangier Island. In my boat. You can make the trip by highway and then a ferry, but there is no sense of adventure in that and we always looked for adventure. My boat was a simple 20′ Mako Walk-through bow-rider. The plan was simple- Craig gets the food, we split the alcohol and I paid for gas. We would leave after work Friday, sleep on the beach for the next two nights and return home on Sunday.

Very Similar Boat to Mister Max

Very Similar Boat to Mister Max

We left at 2 on Friday and headed up the Chesapeake bay. I told Em that we would contact her by 530 and let her know that we had made it to the island or were running behind. In the name of safety we wanted to make sure we checked in and in case we didn’t someone would worried and call for help.

After about 2.5 hours we ┬árealized we were a little west of our destination and pulled into a little marina. At that time there was a wedding party showing up at the docks and so we asked them if they could direct us to Tangier. They told us were it was and then stated “You will never make it in that.” We thanked them with a laugh and turned towards the east. An easy 30 minutes later we docked at Tangier and unloaded our gear.

We hiked through the town- 5 building and some houses- and out onto the beach. After a short search we found the right spot and pitched our tents. We dug a hole to shield our fire from the wind and went in search of wood. Using drift wood we built a fire and began to cook.

View from the tents

View from the tents

The next morning we woke up and eat leftovers from the night before. We then decided to walk into town and explore the island. We passed what looked like a one room school house and made our way to the center square. There was a small general store, a post office, a restaurant and small commercial docks for the fishing ships. We decided to eat lunch at the restaurant. At the restaurant the staff was preparing for the prom dinner that evening. There were two boys and two girls at the school we passed who were having prom that night. The restaurant was giving them dinner.

Some of the fishing docks

Some of the fishing docks

At 6 that evening I received a call from a buddy. He wanted to let us know that Sunday was supposed to be stormy and that we should think about heading home. So we called Emily, told her we would be home at 10 and if we didn’t call by 1030, let the coast guard no we were missing.

By the time we got the boat loaded and headed out of the marina, the rain had started. We headed south and used our phones to help guide us. First Craig’s phone lost battery and died on us. Easy fix, just grab my phone. Well the rain had started and phones don’t like rain. After about 30 minutes of getting pounded by rain we lost the phone. Water logged to the point of death.

So now we are int he middle of a storm. 1.5 hours from Tangier and home. No phone with gps and trying to navigate based on the coastline lights. It cant be hard. Head south, we had a compass, and skirt the coast line until we reached the Chesapeake bay bridge. Well after another hour we went flying by something and Craig yelled “What’d that sign say?” Without missing a beat, I turned the boat around to head back to the sign. And we stopped.

The boat just stopped moving. No power to the engine or anything. First thing I did was check the gas. There was plenty. So assuming I had just run aground I hopped over the edge of the boat and was up to my chest in water. So we aren’t onshore, lets just push ourselves back out and get moving again. Well the boat won’t budge and just like that we were stuck and had no clue as to why.

Next move- “PAN PAN PAN” We called the Coast Guard over the radio and began to tell our tale.


To be continued…tomorrow