The Sunglasses Story - by Scott

Sean, on S/V Adventure has mentioned our blog doesn't have enough stories. Well that's probably true, so Sean - this one's for you.

I'm pretty careful about losing my glasses - and not just while aboard the boat. I always put my prescription sunglasses in their case and in a good spot, and if I'm wearing my sunglasses, then my regular glasses go in the same case and in the same spot. Now, I really need my glasses. I'm nearsighted with about a -5 prescription. Without my glasses I really can't function at all, and can't see anything but shapes. Being this blind is why I'm so particularly OCD about my glasses. And I have lost a few pairs of glasses over the years. About a decade ago, on two separate occassions, I lost them while at the beach in San Diego - and got lucky the first time, when they happened to snag on my toes - and the second time had a backup pair in the car. Two years ago I was wearing my sunglasses with my regular glasses in my pocket (yes, in the case) as I got off the boat - and they slipped out of my pocket and into the marina. There's a whole story about this incident too, but to summarize - at the end of it I ended up with two pairs of regular glasses, plus my sunglasses, as they were fished out of the marina by Jacob at the exact same moment I had my overpriced one-hour rush glasses in hand. Last year, our car was broken into (while having dinner with Sean from S/V Adventure and Charlie from Island Sailing Adventures in Berkeley). Maybe the thieves have really poor eyesight too.

Anyway, so while I'm generally very careful about taking good care of my glasses, there have been some incidents. And, well, this week was the latest one. I jumped overboard for a quick swim - wearing my sunglasses with a croakie strap, like I always do. I've jumped overboard numerous times wearing them, so I guess I let my guard down about making sure they didn't get swept off my head as I jumped in the water - as that's exactly what happened when I came up only to find that the world was not only very suddenly bright, but also quite blurry. I quickly crawled aboard to grab my regular glasses while Chris scanned the surface of the water looking for them - hoping they were just floating on the surface. Well, of course they were nowhere to be seen, which can mean only one thing - they've sunk to the bottom. It's about 5:15PM and the sun is low on the horizon, which means we couldn't see to the bottom. I grabbed my snorkle gear, but quickly realized there was simply no point, without being able to see the bottom. Never mind the fact that with the snorkle mask on (i.e. no glasses), I can't see anything anyway.

Oh no, this is bad... As I dry off, I'm running things through my mind. Having sunglasses while sailing is pretty important, especially with all the bright sun here in Mexico. I do have a pair of clip-on sunglasses, but they are more annoying than helpful. And then there's the expense, when we get back to the states, of buying a new pair of prescription sunglasses. And finally just feeling stupid, stupid, stupid for jumping overboard with them on anyway. What was I thinking?

So there we are, as it's getting dark, looking overboard for a pair of glasses and trying to figure out how to recover them. In the morning, with the kayak, maybe we can see them if it's calm and the water is clear. Our friends on Loose Pointer are arriving in two days - they have scuba gear, maybe they would dive and look for them. With the tides, would the glasses even be anywhere close after 48 hours? The options didn't look good. However, I did mark a waypoint on the GPS, hoping that would help find them. At least I'd forever have a log of where I did something stupid.

The next day it was calm, and the visibility was quite excellent. Chris and I both paddled around in the kayak, scanning the bottom for my missing pair of sunglasses. I kayaked by the beach, hoping they may have washed ashore and been left by the falling tide. I transferred the GPS waypoint to the handheld and did a search pattern all around. Some very nice rocks, coral, and shells... And lots and lots of sand... But no sunglasses...

The third day the water was pretty murky thanks to a red tide, so we couldn't see the bottom - and didn't really try to look for my missing sunglasses. There is a bit of a side story here, though. Chris had paddled the kayak to go hang out on the beach for a while, but there were so many jellyfish in the water by the beach that she couldn't get out of the kayak for fear of getting stung. There are some really nasty jellyfish that you don't want to get stung by - we've learned this from experience. OUCH! So if they are in the water, we aren't - that simple.

Later, it's about 6:15PM - the sun is down and it's dusk, it's a beautiful calm and warm evening. Chris and I are hanging out on deck, and she notices a big jellyfish in the water, floating about 20 feet off the side of the boat. It's dark enough that we couldn't really see it very well, aside from a vague shape, but there it is floating alongside the boat. We see stuff floating alongside the boat all of the time, but with nothing better to do I grabbed a flashlight so we could get a better look at the jellyfish. The flashlight wasn't bright enough, so I grabbed the million candlepower spotlight and shined it on the jellyfish. Chris exclaims "Ewwww" as it has unusual brown tenticals for a jellyfish. And that's when I realize - it's not a jellyfish, it's a pair of glasses!

Not mine of course, as mine went straight to the bottom, but at least I can recover these - whoever they may belong to. I jump in the kayak and pull them out of the water. Hey, these look really familiar... In fact, these ARE my missing sunglasses, floating right next to the boat!

Yep, that's right - exactly 49 hours after losing them, they were miraculously floating alongside the boat. Through 8 tide changes, with various wind, countless waves and swells - somehow there they were. If we weren't looking overboard at that exact moment, and decided to investigate with the spotlight, they would have drifted by us unnoticed.

We can only assume they were floating the whole time, but don't know how we couldn't find them initially, as we did look around on the water in case they were floating. Maybe they went between the hulls and we didn't see them in the waning light? Did they initially sink only to refloat later through some bizarre occurance? Did a seagull or jellyfish realize they didn't have that bad of eyesight and returned them to us? I don't really know, but I am very happy to have my sunglasses back. There are some mysterious scratches around the frames, but the lenses are in perfect shape.

Did I learn my lesson? Well maybe, but there will be plenty of other opportunities to do something else that's stupid, stupid, stupid! That I'm pretty sure of...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Click here to buy Jane'O merchandise