4th of July 2016

We spent the 4th out in our boat, playing in the water, grabbing a geocache hidden on the Island and having dinner on the beach.

A perfect 4th of July day.

Just before dark we decided to move the boat from where we were off of Okaloosa Island to the beach at the bridge so we'd have a better view of the fireworks.

There were about 1.4 million boats out so finding a spot was challenging and as we were cruising along it got dark on us – which made it even harder to find a spot to pull up.

We spotted an empty patch of sand and pulled in. At this particular spot you have to throw out an anchor on your stern as well as a bow anchor so the current doesn't slam the back of your boat onto the beach.

As we were pulling up, a man from the pontoon boat next to us pointed out his stern line and then walked up to the bow and told the Island King he'd pull us onto the beach so we wouldn't hit his line.

It's common for locals to help each other out like that so we gladly accepted his offer, cut the motor and then he and the Island King secured our boat.

After the fireworks the people in the boat to our right were getting ready to pull out and since we had a stern line out as well, the Island King offered to push them off so they wouldn't hit our line.

They were an older couple and I think he got a little confused because as the Island King was pushing him off the beach he put his motor in reverse and promptly ran over our stern line.

The guy from the pontoon on the other side of us came over to help and after taking a look at the line they realized it was too tangled and had to be cut.

We had extra line so we tied our anchor to that line and reset it to wait for the crowd to thin out before we headed back to the boat ramp.

Then the people in the pontoon backed off the beach and as they were trying to pull their stern line the current caught the front of their boat and slammed it into the boat on the other side of it.

The Island King jumped out to help them get their anchor up and between him and one of the guys from the pontoon they managed to get the anchor up and they were on their way without hitting any more boats.

After they left we sat there for a few minutes talking about what a bad night for stern lines it was.

Thank goodness none of these people were drunk and everyone was able to work together to get their boats off the beach.

Then it was our turn. The Island King pulls the bow anchor and I'm backing off the beach when the current grabbed the boat and instantly I knew I was going to hit our stern line before he could get back in the boat and pull that anchor.

I turned the motor off just in time and the stern line did wrap around the prop a few times but since the prop wasn't spinning it didn't cut the rope.

I jumped off the bow and pulled us back on the beach while he went to the back of the boat to unwrap the line from the prop.

I got back on the boat and then heard him yell and then say he needed a light.

As I was getting the light to the back of the boat I asked if he was ok and he tells me that he cut his finger but will be alright.

I got the light and shined it in the water so he could see to unwrap the rope and I swear there was blood pouring off of his hand like you wouldn't believe.

There was so much of it that it wasn't even dissolving in the current – just a steady flow of blood streaming out with the tide.

I told the Island Girl to get the first aid kit out and told him to him to get out of the water to take care of his hand while I jumped in and finished unwrapping the line.

I unwrapped the line and back into the boat I go only to see that there was blood EVERYWHERE.

The Island Girl has taken a bucket and is throwing water all over the boat trying to get rid of the blood, he's sitting there looking at his hand – which is still spurting blood everywhere even though he'd put a compression bandage on it – and I'm in we're going to the ER mode.

Straight back to the boat ramp we go, drive the boat around the corner to the house and then the kids cleaned the boat while I took him to the ER.

Which required a LOT of work on my part. He refuses to ever go to the doctor so he kept saying “it'll be ok” even though blood is still pouring out of his bandage.
I told him we weren't going to fight about this and to get in the damn car because we were going and we were going RIGHT THEN.

We got really lucky and the ER was empty when we got there so they stitched him up and we were in and out in under 30 minutes. I told the ER doc that I was surprised they weren't busy and he said it had been coming in waves all day. We got lucky and came in between waves and as we were leaving 3 different ambulances were on the radio telling the ER they were on their way in with patients.

It's his right index finger which is his shutter and mouse finger so working may be painful for a few days but he'll live.

At the ER the nurse asked if the prop was running when it hit him and I laughed and said “No, if the prop had been spinning he wouldn't have a hand anymore and we'd be in a trauma room right now.”

She looked at me kind of funny and that was it. I'd been in the boat for the past 10 hours, stern lines caused the people on either side of us to have trouble and then our own stern line got tangled and now we're ending the day in the ER.

So I started laughing. Hard. She looked at the Island King like “you poor man, your wife thinks this is funny” and then he started laughing too. And neither of us could stop.

We laughed all the way home about the comedy of stern line errors and were both thankful that he wasn't hurt worse than he was.

We got home, relaxed for a bit and then went to bed.

It was an amazing day on the water, an entertaining night on the beach and even though he got hurt it wasn't anything major.

Now I've got to go outside and make sure the kids got all of the blood off the boat – right after I explain to my Mother that he didn't blow his finger off with a firecracker.