It’s one of my favorite times of the year: our 4th annual men’s fishing trip. Every year the guys and I head out on a 10-day fishing adventure at sea. It isn’t that we don't invite the ladies; in fact, each year I try to convince Lillian to come. Her response explains why we can never get any of our wives to join us: ”Tucker you know I love you, and you know I love fishing and rum as much as the next gal. However, the smell of "manliness" radiating off you and the guys is enough to stun an entire school of fish.”
Her observation was accurate; our odor is not for the faint of heart. Smells aside, this year there will be eight of us; Jasper, Lucas, the Williams brothers, Marcos, Larry, John, and myself. Larry and John are our two newcomers. John is a hell of a fisherman, and Larry can cook anything, anywhere, so I am pretty excited at their addition to the crew. Typically, we spend the first two days uneventfully sailing on the open ocean, headed towards whichever obscure island we find along the way. That was the plan for this year, but the man upstairs had a different idea.
We left just after dawn and the first 12 hours of our journey could not have been more perfect; the water was like glass, we saw dolphins, 3 turtles, and a 15 ft hammerhead shark. Around 6:00 p.m. Marcos alerted me that the barometer was dropping and the winds were picking up out of the south. At this point, the rum drinking had already begun, so we all let out a cocky laugh, welcoming the coming wind to speed up our journey. However, by 10:00 p.m. we were facing 15-foot waves and doing our best to keep her steady. That’s when Jasper was hit by a rogue wave and tossed overboard. It was as quick as a flash, one second he was there, the next second he was gone. Lucas immediately called out “MAN OVERBOARD!” as John ran down the side of the boat to keep his eye on Jasper. He couldn’t have been in the water for more than 15 seconds before Joe Williams threw the most accurate life ring throw id ever seen; it must have landed within 1 foot of Jasper. The water was so rough that by this point he was about 20 feet behind the boat and in danger of being left behind. It took every single one of us to pull his soaking wet body back on board and when we finally hurled him over the side we all fell to the ground together in relief. As the totality of the situation and what could have happened sunk in, Jasper, out of breath, says “Thanks Fellas, I was just trying to take a quick bath.” We all laughed, I thought of Lillian and the kids in that moment. We quickly realized we were still in the middle of a storm, and so we got back up and manned our positions.
Around 4:00 a.m the storm began to slow down, and by dawn, we had found an island to stay at while the remaining bad weather passes. That is where I am writing from now. Needless to say, that was one crazy start to our annual men’s fishing trip. As much as I love adventure, I would be happy to never experience a situation like that ever again.