The top of our mast is about 46' above the water. Just think about that for a moment. If you fall, it's 46' to the water. That's a long, long way down. You're probably thinking that at least the water would cushion your fall, but remember, these are alligator infested swamps we're talking about. And the water isn't all that deep, so you'd probably smack into the bottom and then get eaten by the gators. Sounds like a fun way to go, doesn't it.
Chances are you'd probably land on top of the deck anyway, crunching a few bones in the process. A marginally better outcome.
You're probably asking yourself, "Why would anyone in their right mind go to the top of a mast? I can think of better ways to spend the day, like spending a peaceful afternoon planting petunias in the garden."
You'd be right. It's an incredibly insane thing to do. Unfortunately, sometimes it has to be done, either to install something (like an antenna), fix something (like an antenna) or check the rigging, which is why I went up.
Now you're probably asking yourself, "How'd you get drafted into this?"
Here's the answer:
"I didn't eat enough cookies!"
While I'm sure my doctor would be happy with that answer, I really wish I had had more cookies in the past few months and put on a lot of weight.
You see, you usually send the smallest person up the mast because someone down below has to crank you up by hand. Scott is 6' tall and I'm 5' tall, with a corresponding difference in weight. That meant I drew the short straw. Yipee.
Here's how it works (you know, just in case you want to try this yourself at home). You sit in a bosun's chair, which is basically a board which you strap yourself onto. It has rings through the front which you tie a line to. I also wore a harness which we tied a safety line to. The idea is that if the line attached to your bosun's chair breaks, your safety line will save you. Such a comforting thought.
Here's what it looks like in action. That's our boat neighbor, Dave, standing at the bow of the boat. Our friend Bruce helped out too (he's hidden behind the mast). And that's Scott on the right hand side. He's camera shy, hence the cute cat head superimposed on him.
|Cute cat head via The Graphics Fairy.|
Have I mentioned I'm afraid of heights? Fortunately, I found the perfect cure for my feelings of anxiety as I made my way up the mast - mud dauber wasps.
We had had a mud dauber nest on one of our spreaders, but Scott had knocked it down a while back. Turns out he didn't get them all. When I got up to the spreaders (the things that stick out halfway up the mast), I found two mud daubers eying me suspiciously. I think I may have screamed a little at that point.
Now, I know that some of you are going to say that mud daubers are sweet and gentle and wouldn't hurt a fly. But, they're wasps. Wasps! Things that sting and possibly make you have to go to the emergency room because you're allergic to them. Wasps!
No wonder I screamed. While I was screaming, I completely forgot about how high up I was. I tried to shoo them away, but they kept coming back. So, I got out my scissors from my pouch and knocked their nest off and then I screamed some more. This time, for Scott to hoist me further up in the air in case they came back for vengeance.
See, mud daubers totally cured me of my fear of heights. I actually demanded to go higher up the mast. Crazy.
Here I am at the very tippy-top.
While I was up there, I tried to take pictures with my phone, but it was all sweaty and I was afraid I was going to drop it. Here's one I managed to take. You can see our boat neighbors, Dave and Anne, along with my finger. We could have sold tickets and popcorn. We put on quite a show for everyone.
That's Scott down there taking pictures of me and having a cup of coffee. Sure is nice being able to chill out and relax while your wife is hanging out on top of the mast keeping an eye out for mud daubers.
And this is me coming back down. I look much happier. Going down is always a better feeling, especially when there aren't any more mud daubers to torment you.
I rarely have pictures of myself on the blog, but I figured my mom is probably beside herself now that she's just read about how I was 46' above the water so I thought I'd throw in a close-up to kind of make it up to her.
Thanks heaps to Bruce and Michele from Sailing Wind Spirit for taking some of the pictures.
Are you afraid of heights? Have you ever been up a mast? Have you ever been stung by a wasp?
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