...and some you will never see*
*I find that the sounds on a boat give a rhythm to sailing. The splash of the water on the hull, the pop of a sheet coming out of a cam cleat, the lazy jacks tapping against the main, the clinking of the chain rode as it shifts in the anchor bucket going from one tack to the other, and even a water bottle sliding across the cockpit sole when coming about. Those sounds become routine and expected. And every now and then there is an unexpected sound which catches my attention.
Coming into Elizabeth City Saturday morning we had an excellent northwest wind. Just a mile or two from the dock we were tacking up the river, heeled over with the rail in the water. I was using my Pentax Optio 90w waterproof camera to shoot the dark brown water, stained by the cypress swamps, as it sprayed out from alongside the hull. Finished with the photos, I set the camera on the coiled rope boarding ladder which sits on top of the day storage box between the inboard end of the mizzen boom and the hull. A gust of wind hit us and I delighted in the railing digging further into the water, my joy tempered by a sound unexpected coming from behind me. Looking aft I was able to instantly reconstruct what had just happened.
With the quick heel of the boat the waterproof camera slipped from its nest of the coiled rope ladder, up over the inboard section of the mizzen boom and across the day storage box. Normally at that point the camera wold have dropped down a few inches, landing of the aft watertight storage box and falling to the cockpit sole, which would have been fine for the shock-proof camera. But since I was on a cruise I had the grey pelican storage box in place which creates a nearly flush surface with the day storage box. The camera jumped over the inch-wide gap and across the pelican box, hitting the edge of the outboard well, doing a cartwheel that would have earned an 8.9 from the judges if not for the awkward clank against the outboard engine's lower unit, and then dropping awkwardly and irretrievably into the deep dark waters of the Pasquotank River. D'oh!
What was lost? Not a lot, really. I take photographs, including these you see here, most often with my non-waterproof Fuji X-20 camera. It is only when it is raining or when there is a lot of spray coming into the boat that I use (or I guess I should now say "used") the waterproof camera. On this past trip that was just two occasions - a gusty morning sailing up the channel on Roanoke Sound and sailing from Ocracoke to East Bluff Bay with small craft warnings, winds 20-25 and waves two to three feet on Pamlico Sound. The photos from Roanoke Sound will not be missed, those from the Pamlico Sound crossing will be.
When I realized the camera was gone I thought about yelling or maybe getting angry. But what would that have accomplished? It was too nice of a day on a very pleasant cruise. And anyway those images, now trapped as bits of data on the river's bottom, are also forever captured in my mind's eye. I will enjoy them, and you will have to take my word that there were in fact some nice images of Spartina pounding through the waves across Pamlico Sound on a very rough day.
The bottom line: I do enjoy photographs, but I enjoy memories even more.