Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

Nearly 24 hours ago, I was relaxing in my hammock on a hot afternoon.   Suddenly and without warning, the end of the hammock broke off, and I fell.   I landed with my full weight on my coccyx (i.e. the base of my spine) on the sharp edge of a hatch.  Wham! Man oh man did that hurt.

Libby was not on board so I was on my own.  I didn't move for a minute catching my breath.  Then I rolled over on hands and knees.  The pain did not increase.  I stood up.  The pain did not increase.   I made it down below, took three ibuprofen and laid down.   Later, Libby brought me an ice pack.   My fear was that it would inflame and swell and become much worse overnight, but that didn't happen.  As a matter of fact, it felt much better after only 4 hours.

Now 24 hours later, I'm sitting on a pillow, and still taking ibuprofen, but the pain is mild.   I consider myself very lucky.  I could easily have broken a bone in my spine, or did some other permanent damage.   This old body appears to be pretty tough.  Hooray for that.

The hammock was almost brand new.  I got it as a Christmas present.  I have no idea why it failed catastrophically.

Even in the seconds after the fall, I don't believe that my back pain was as bad as Libby or Jen, or millions of other people suffer. Once again, I've been very lucky.

The really scary thought is how would we have handled it if such an accident, or worse, happened while out at sea.   The good news is that Libby is much more confident of her ability to handle Tarwathie and to bring us to a safe port single-handed. (But only if she is not seasick.) She could also call help if needed.  The bad news is that we have not reviewed our first aid equipment, or first aid training, or first aid literature on board since 2005.  I think I'll make use of this reminder to conduct such a review.

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