July 19, 2008 in Keepers Log, More Logbook

Sailboat captain rescues kayakers in distress

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This afternoon, I returned home and noticed a couple of kayakers near the lighthouse. They were in and out of their kayaks so often I assumed they were practicing Eskimo rolls and wet exits. Later, a visitor at the lighthouse asked me whether I thought the kayakers needed help or not. We concluded that if they really needed help, they were still close enough to call out and be heard. They were within a hundred feet of the lighthouse and gradually drifting south on the tide. A powerboat slowed down and spoke with them, perhaps offering assistance. The kayakers appeared to wave the powerboat away. That settled, I went for swim in the creek. Meanwhile, I noticed the charter sailboat Leda leaving the creek and heading south toward Tivoli. By the time I returned to the dock from my swim, the Leda was motoring back into the creek towing one kayaker and giving a ride to the other. As I stood on the dock toweling off, the sailboat slowed down as it approached. Jerome, the captain of the Leda, stood up and started barking orders: “That’s it! Off the boat! This is a far as I take you!” Then, he started chastising them: “You have no business on the water in your condition!” Then, he addressed me: “Patrick, give these guys a talking to. They are so wasted they can hardly talk or stand up.” First, I had to help these kayakers get ashore. One of them abandoned his kayak and swam for shore, so I had to dive in after his drifting kayak. The other kayaker managed to get to the dock. A friend of theirs stood onshore with a sheepish look on her face. I told her, “Just leave the kayaks here. You can come back for them. Just get these guys out of here.” After they left, I got a call from Captain Jerome. “Are those drunk guys still there? Because rescuing them just cost me money! They made me late for a charter, and my clients gave up waiting on me and left.” He was irate. Gradually, he calmed down. “Oh well,” he said. “I did the right thing–helping boaters in distress. But as the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished.”

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