Monday, July 18, 2011

Dangers of the Deep...and Shallow

As much as we love living on the water, the river has proven to be a formidable adversary.  While it's wide, it's pretty shallow, even at hide tide.  You can go out as far as the end of a dock and still only be chest high (and I'm short, so that's saying something).  It isn't fresh water, and it isn't salt water.  The word that gets thrown around a lot is 'brackish' - meaning sorta salty and sorta fresh.  So that means we get the best and worst of both worlds.

The first enemy we encountered was the oysters.  Yeah, they seem all innocuous, but those shells are sharp!  Vinny cut his foot really badly the first time he went out because he wasn't wearing water shoes.  So we got him water shoes, and an oyster managed to cut through the sole of the shoe, through the insole and cut him anyway.  So we have to try to get some better water shoes.  Bella has the nice Keen sandals, so she hasn't gotten any cuts on the bottoms of her feet, but she's gotten cut on her ankle above the shoe (the oyster clump in groups so they are sometimes a few inches high) and on her hand when she fell in the water.  So we're hoping to get a clam rake to start clearing them out a bit so we can go out a little more.

My brothers have seen crabs and stingrays in the water.  I haven't seen the stingrays but I believe it.  So I shuffle when I walk.  The crabs are pretty scared and run away, so not too much trouble out of them unless you corner them.

The storms here roll in really fast and hard.  It can go from clear skies to huge thunderstorm in a matter of 15 minutes.  It hasn't really been a problem for us except when we were moving in (see a bit about that here), but  our neighbors had their boat sink a few nights ago.  It's a small fishing boat, so I think the rain and waves just overtook it.  It was tied to the dock, so they were able to bail it out and get it floating again, but the motor has to be cleared of water before it goes anywhere again.

As a continuation of that, let's go with the dangers of shifting sand and corrosive salt water.  The neighbors asked to use our boat ramp to pull their waterlogged boat out of the water to take it to the shop.  There is a small  (ok, probably 6 inch) dip between the end of the boat ramp and the bottom of the river.  We got the boat loaded onto the trailer, and as it pulled out of the water, we watched in slow motion as the trailer literally fell apart.  The axle came off, the struts snapped (they were rusty from the salt water, which is quite corrosive) and the trailer was officially defunct.  Vinny helped them a few days later literally strap the axle onto the frame with rope and drive it slowly and carefully to into town to be worked on.  It was like watching a train wreck.  Crazy-cakes.

And now we come to our most recent realization of danger: jellyfish.  It seems that it's sort of hit or miss as to what's out in the water, but this weekend, Bella unfortunately discovered jellyfish.  After she got stung by the jellyfish, I got her in, poured vinegar on the stings, got her washed with cool water and then hit the stings with neosporin spray (that had a numbing ingredient) and then with a steroid cream (like hydrocortisone).  They looked awful:
right foot, immediately after a jellfish sting

Right thigh, immediately after a jellyfish sting

right hand, immediately after jellyfish sting

I gave her some tylenol and put her down for a nap right after to give the medicine some time to kick in and the stings time to die down.  She was much better after an hour, though I'm sure they still stung a bit.  Today they don't seem to bother her at all.  She's just asked about the marks.

right thigh, the day after a jellyfish sting

right foot, the day after a jellyfish sting
In an act of retribution, we caught one of the jellyfish and made it pay for her pain in a bucket in the hot sun.  Not very big of us, but nobodything hurts our baby and gets away with it.

Vinny and a few other people visiting also got stung, but the stings seemed to affect each person a bit differently.  Vinny didn't even get red where they stung.

Not quite sure when we'll venture out again.  Our luck, we'll run across sharks! Da-dum...da-dum...dadum dadum dadum dadum...


  1. Ahhh, such memories! This is very similar to the climate/dangers of the coastal life I had in South Florida when I was growing up. Sorry Bella had to endure the wrath of the jellyfish and oddly, I feel sorry for the jellyfish who paid for his brother's mistake. LOL! -Jen