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 Post subject: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:30 pm 
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fluidmaster
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A good friend of mine recently told me of an epic adventure he had recently while sailing a 34′ sailboat from Halifax to Maine. Bear with me here, he told me this story on the phone last night, and I was enjoying a few cocktails with my lovely wife at the time of the telling. I will do my best to get the story straight, and in the correct order. I’m sure some details are missing, but the main part of the story remains intact. Well, here goes…

Having sailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that morning, Ben and Randy were about 70 miles offshore, close to the Cape of Maine just humming along at about 6 knots when the unthinkable happened. Earlier that day, they had been running with a rather large pod of Humpback Whales. The Whales ran with them for over 3 hours. Ben was concerned that one of the whales might damage/sink the vessel and leave him and his copilot stranded in a life raft with large whales surfacing all around them. A concern to say the least…

After many photographs and a very humbling appreciation of nature, the gentle giants of the sea eventually parted ways with the two sailors, and there were huge sighs of relief from the men. As they got closer to the cape, the anticipated northwest wind kicked in at 10-15 kts instantly. The breeze blew them off a bit, but Ben decided to stay on course until the tide switched, wherein they would ride the rather large incoming tide and tack across the the Gulf of Maine, into the bay and finally to the marina.

All was going as well as it could. The whales had long since left the sailors, but the wind had by now stirred up closely stacked 5-6 foot swells. The boys were getting battered, but there was hope as it was almost time to make the turn. Before the tack could be made, the boat, still chugging along at 5-6 kts and a ways offshore, suddenly came to a crashing halt. Not only did the boat stop, but the stern was launched several feet up out of the water while the bow took a nosedive. Ben, who so eloquently noted that the boat did, in BMX terms, an ‘endo,’ was thrown to the stern, while Randy was smashed against the bulkhead. Both sailors were desperately shouting expletives trying to figure out what had just happened. Ben and Randy felt as if they had just been in a car wreck, but they were in the middle of the ocean with no land in sight.

As the boat came back to a more level position, rocking in the waves, the men were relieved to know that they had not hit ground. But that wasn’t enough reprieve to quell the following very frightening concerns: Were we just hit by a whale? Did we just hit a whale? Are we taking on water? The motor is out and the engine alarm is blaring, why is that?

Needless to say, the two were shocked and befuddled, and they certainly had their hands full. It was now imperative that they now act quickly. Ben directed Randy to check for water and make sure the bilge was working down below. Randy rushed to the engine room and discovered something that would help them formulate a theory as to what had just happened. Lucky for the guys, there was no damage to the hull of the vessel, so the boat would not sink. Yet.

Unfortunately, the steering cable from the main wheel to the rudder was pushed so hard by the impact of whatever they had hit (or whatever had hit them) that the cable housing was torn from the boat and thrashed about the engine room, tearing down the some of the paneling in the room. Randy went back up to the wheel to confer with Ben about the steering situation, when the two saw what would become one of the biggest fish tales of a lifetime: a 15+ foot shark lying on its side on the surface of the ocean, right next to the boat.

Everything became immediately clear to the men; they were mistaken by a very large shark as a 34’ lure. No shit. A humongous shark came charging up from the deep blue and tried to bite the brass 3 pronged propeller of a thirty four foot sailboat. It all made perfect sense: the way the stern of the boat was launched into the air; how the motor seized and the steering was damaged on impact. Randy and Ben could breathe a little easier now that they knew what had happened to them, but they were not out of the woods yet. Now Ben and Randy had to get the motor running, check the rudder, repair the steering housing, and reattach it to the boat. Did I mention that there was still a very large, and very pissed off shark next to the boat? The monster was still there, on its side, flushing water through its gills in epic attempt to revive itself and finish what it started.

The two sailors watched in awe as the creature finally righted itself, and began to slowly swim around the boat. Eventually, Randy and Ben were in agreement that the shark was indeed a very large Mako, and not a Great White as one would expect. And just like that, the shark disappeared. Straight back down to the depths of the dark blue sea.

Ben and Randy somewhat nervously made their repairs, while occasionally looking for their predator. They were back on track within several hours. The two rattled sailors never saw the shark again, and eventually made it back to port without any further incident. Upon arrival, they told their tale to anyone who would listen. As you would guess, many of the fishermen and sailors in the area joked with the two; responding to their story with things like “Yeah right, you got hit by a granite shark.”

The following day Ben and Randy pulled the boat out of the water to inspect the damage. Sure enough, there were scratches (tooth marks) in the propeller, and on the transom. No other external damage anywhere on any other part of the boat. Anywhere. From this point, it is hard to discount their story.

I have known Ben for over two decades now. I’ve seen him become an expert waterman over the years. He has sailed [as a civilian] more than most will ever sail in their entire lives, and he’s still very young at 32. I don’t see him stopping anytime soon, but one thing I do know: He is quite the land lubber now, as I suspect he will remain for at least another week or two.


Last edited by nathan on Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.
added more fancy words, to make myself seem smarter.


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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:51 pm 
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fluidmaster

Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 12:33 pm
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Location: The Treasure Coast, Florida
wow. thanks for sharing.


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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:03 pm 
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fluidmaster
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np


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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:16 am 
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fluidmaster
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Awesome! Breakfast was just very enjoyable.


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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:00 am 
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grom
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Props to you for relaying the story. My kid is crying and has me up at 5 am - that helped pass the time.

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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:07 am 
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fluidmaster
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ah, the joys of parenthood!!!


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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:28 am 
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grom
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And don't you forget it brother. She is back to sleep, but now can I make it back... :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: A Fish Tale
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2009 1:08 pm 
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fluidmaster
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That's quite a tale, and a telling of a tale (that you posted on August 19, 2009, and that I somehow remained totally oblivious to, until today, October 18, 2009, about 5 minutes ago).

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