A Million to Four! Such Odds!

Long Have I looked with anticipation to the first Full Moon sail of the season.  The anticipation was only accentuated by the knowledge that I would be away from the Good Ship Rhapsody for the next three or four weeks.  The forecast was great with the first day of temperatures below 100˚ in several weeks.  The forecast high for the day was 89˚, but the temperature was slightly higher than that and there were thunderstorms throughout the area and the afternoon winds were very tempting, however the goal was a “Moonlight” sail, so patience was the word of the afternoon.

Somewhere around 1400 the good ship Rhapsody set out for an anchorage which would serve as the jump off point for the Moonlight sail.  It’s only a short trip to the old boat ramp in Sallisaw Creek and from that vantage point there are two very important advantages.  First, the bass boats have to slow down or be headed to that location and slow down, thus avoiding some jerk blowin by you at full tilt boogie.  Secondly, it’s a short hop back into the lake for the sail.

I spent the afternoon reading and preparing the boat for a late night sail.  By my recollection, the moon would rise somewhere in the area of 2200-2230.  We would need to allow some time for it to reach an elevation that would allow for optimal illumination because of the amount of debris that the recent floods in Oklahoma City were sending our way.  Well as we sat there, the wind began to build and I noticed the thunderheads that were building to the southeast.  Crap!  I left two dawgs (aka the Dancing Girls) that are terrified of storms at the house and the Admiral was in Fort Worth for the weekend.  Well the afternoon progressed and somewhere around 1700 the other vessels joined in.  After dinner and a few “lite” cocktails (after all one had to be alert for the night’s sail) the festivities ended and we all settled in for a nap awaiting the rising of the moon and the commencement of the sail.

I had set my alarm for 2330 and dosed off for a bit, when I was awakened by the sound of music and an outboard motor.  I jumped up and witness “bubba” in two separate boats passing without running lights.  I recognized the boats and turned to check the time when I noticed that the moon was up in its full splendor.  It was at this juncture that I decided to first, complete preparations for the moonlight sail and second, to wake the captain and crew of Cat Ballou (how do you spell that Mike?).  Mike Lindsay and Sherrie Hogue had expressed a desire to join me on this sail.  Well they would not answer the radio so I dug out the “fog horn”.  After two attempts there was life aboard and things were in motion for what seemed to be idyllic late night sail.

Mike and Sherrie were soon aboard and as I complete preparation, they were at the Rhapsody’s helm.  As soon as we rounded the point, I felt fairly confident that we could sail out of Sallisaw Creek (I had already hoisted all Rhapsody’s sails and we were just motoring to see where the wind was).  At this juncture I put the iron gennie in neutral to she how the boat reacted.  OMG!  The wind was perfect, so we silenced the iron gennie and we were making 4 knots closed hauled.  What a ride!  We continued this course for a distance of seven nautical miles, where we tacked and were again close hauled.  What a sail!  After a short ride, and in preparation for the return sail into Sallisaw Creek, we tacked again.  At this juncture I told Mike that the sail back to the anchorage was going to be slow.  The wind was 8 to 10 knots and we would be running almost dead downwind to get there.  Well we gybed and headed for the mark (entrance to Sallisaw Creek) and then it happened!  I don’t know if it was Mother Nature’s way of messing with you or what, but suddenly there were bugs!  BUGS EVERYWHERE!  We had already started the iron gennie due to the slow progress downwind, but the bugs were relentless.  In a matter of minutes the main sail was “BLACK” and the mast resembled a “utility pole”, BROWN from top to bottom!  We were stuck in a Mayfly hatch and they were hatching with a vengeance (visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayfly for more information about Mayflies)!

We could not talk with our mouths facing windward for fear of eating bugs.  The leeward side of the Main Sail was 95-99% BLACK!  The windward side was 70-75% “Black”.  I have sailed this lake for 17 years and I have seen Mayfly hatches before, I have seen “some” other bug hatches, BUT I have never been on a moonlight sail in the midst of one.  The deck was also litter with the little critters and the next thing we knew was that we were crushing them with every movement.  By the time we reached the anchorage, the cockpit sole and the side decks were treacherous with “BUG GUTS”.  The whole affair reminded me of “bubble wrap”!  With ever step we took on board, it sounded as if we were twisting and popping “bubble wrap”!  They were that thick!

To make what seemed like a long story short, we re-anchored at 0230, following a 2315 departure, and the freakin bugs were everywhere!  I retired, after securing the boat and casting Mike and Sherrie off in their dinghy, somewhere in the area of 0330.  I could hardly wait to see what the boat looked like in the full light of day.  Also, I knew that the boat would have to be scrubbed “hard” the next morning in order to prevent the aforementioned entrails from staining the decks!  That meant an early morning to an already early morning.

Well early it was, and by 0730 Rhapsody was underway and heading for the marina.  Upon arrival we immediately set about “swabbing” the deck and the cockpit.  Oh and I forgot that the forecast for Sunday was a high temperature of 100˚.  I do believe that we made it.  Long story short, the boat is clean and yes it was HOT and the bug guts are gone.  So in closing this is the tale of four entities (me, Mike, Sherrie and Rhapsody) battling what had to be over a million Mayflies!  Eventually they will fade away, but in the meantime, they are a major nuisance.  Such odds?  The Bugs Won!!!!!

The Bugs Won - The Morning After

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One Response to “A Million to Four! Such Odds!”

  1. Terri Says:

    Yuck! I hate bugs

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