Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, Hooked!

After a 7 hour sail covering about 40 miles I am securely anchored in San Juanico, one of my favorite anchorages.  There are about 10 other boats here including my heroes and friends Ralph and Helen onboard Moon Drifter.  Ralph is 83 and Helen is 70 and they are out here cruising enjoying their golden years.  Ralph is the man!  The trip today was pretty benign with light winds and small but lumpy seas.  I motor sailed the whole day as I had several miles to cover and there was never enough wind to carry me over 4 knots so I added some diesel power to the main and reacher to make the needed headway.  The water has warmed up a little and now is about 74 degrees. The fishing hasn't improved.  I drug 5 lines all day and did not even entice a looker.  I may fish out of the dinghy tomorrow to see if I can get a grouper as there are a lot here.

The real story for today's post actually took place last night.  I had a guy named Jared come over because he wanted to get some contact names for workers in San Carlos. While he was here the subject of fishing came up and so I showed him my worthless lures as of late. haha.  I didn't notice where he put the lure when he was done looking. I just really didn't pay attention.  He left around 8pm and I kicked back to watch a movie.  Around 10pm I decided to go topside to turn off my solar lights.  Before I even got to the first one, I have two out, I found where Jared left the lure.  lol. It all happened so fast.  My finger snagged the treble hook on the Rapala lure and when I felt the prick I instinctively jerked away.  As it turned out, that particular instinct at that particular moment was not exactly beneficial for my own personal welfare.  After the initial sting and burn I looked down to find the treble hook buried into my middle finger on my right hand.  Just two days before I noticed that the old hooks were getting a little rusted and dull so I had replaced them with some new, fresh and extremely sharp hooks.  Excellent timing.
 Injecting the special sauce

Finally got the shank cut

The hook entered just in front of the crease under the last knuckle and almost exited in the middle of my fingertip.  I say almost exited because it didn't actually come out the other side but you could see the skin pushed up and white where the tip of the hook was trying to come out from under the skin.  In order to appreciate it further you need to understand a couple of things.  Firstly, this is a deep sea lure.  It is not a trout lure. It's big. The diameter of each hook is about the same as a pencil lead and about and inch from the bottom of the curve to the pointed end just past the sizeable barb which was securely buried about half way into the flesh of my finger.  Secondly, this particular lure is connected to a hand line that is wound around a cleat on the boat to secure it while not in use.

So my problem now is I have a large barbed hook in my finger and I am stuck where I am because the lure is tied to the boat.  Any movement of the 8" long lure sends a shooting pain through my hand while I am standing half on the back deck and half in the cockpit where I got hooked trying to figure out how I am going to even get to a light to see the extent of the damage.  After about 10 minutes of very careful and ginger maneuvering I managed to get to where the line was attached to the cleat.  Giving myself enough line to carefully walk down through the companionway into the salon I turned on a light and realized I had a situation on my hands. No pun intended. My grab bag tool kit is under the stairs so I grabbed a pair of dykes to try to cut the shank of the hook off in order to be free of the lure then I would figure out how to remove the hook. After a couple of attempts I realized that the sharp pain that came along with grabbing a hold of the hook with the dykes and moving the hook inside of my finger was not going to make this very easy.  I tried several times and finally gave up.  I need Xylocaine!  Thanks to Marne's mom I have a great medical kit with a few viles and some syringes.  

My leash wasn't long enough to go to the forward cabin to get the supplies so I had to sacrifice the handline and cut myself loose.  However, I still had the lure attached to me and walking forward and digging into the cupboard where the supplies are I cradled the lure softly and carefully like a baby bird so it moved as little as possible. Movement, any movement, equals pain...pain level 9!  Call me wimpy, I don't care.  It hurt.  I found the needed supplies and then brought them back to the galley where there was more light.  Ok, I thought, I'm good to go.  Hmm, but wait.  Have you ever tried to bury a needle into yourself and then squeeze out the stinging burning solution into your flesh?  Ok, I realize this is miles away from life or death but I seriously wondered if I was going to get this done by myself and instead leave it in overnight and then take the 30 minute trip into Loreto the next morning to see a doctor.  After about 20 minutes of very wimpy attempts to push the needle deep enough into my finger to get the drugs where I needed them I finally gave a final push and drove the needle in.  It didn't go in very far but far enough to squirt a little special sauce in there, wait for a couple minutes, push it in further, more special sauce, and so on until the full length of the needle was buried in my flesh.  I'm not exactly sure how many CCs I put in but I used about a half of a vile. I don't know if that is a lot but I was pretty sure more was not going to hurt me and it felt...well.. it didn't feel at all anymore. lol.  Awesome!  

Now back to the dykes.  I squeezed as hard as I could but couldn't cut through the thick shank of the hook.  Damn! I need another tool.  Bigger dykes.  I finally got the shank cut and then I was finally free of the bothersome lure.  However, I still had one of it's hooks in my finger with about 1/4" of the shank sticking out where I cut it off.  My problem now was to push the pointed end of the hook through my skin in order to get a hold of it and pull it out the only way it was going to come out.  It turns out that my frickin skin is pretty tough and it was pretty darn difficult getting the pointy end to push through.  With vice grips on the shank end and another pair of plyers slightly open pushing down on the area where the point was trying to come trough I finally got it to pierce the skin and give me enough to grab a hold of with the vice grips.  I have determined that hooks would be a lot easier to remove if they were straight instead of curved.  I had to pull so hard on the vice grips that I actually thought the hook might be buried into my bone.  Fortunately I had enough Xylocaine in there to amputate a leg so there was zero pain just the mental anguish of knowing how hard I was pulling trying to get this damn thing out.  A big pull and a twist and the rounded hook and barb came oozing out of the end of my finger.  Mission complete!  Holy Toledo Batman!  That was not an easy self surgery. lol.  

Some clean up with hydrogen peroxide and betadyne, a clean bandage and I was back in business but not without a lot of sweaty palms and wimpy screeches. ha.  Oh, I was also a little worried about infection so I started a 5 day dose of antibiotics. As I left Escondido this morning I realized that today, and probably for the next several days, I was truly a single hander. lol.  Clint, Kari and Katie...I wish you nurses were on board, it would have made the situation much, much easier.  Catherine, thank you so much for the special sauce.  Without it I'm sure I would still have a lure attached to my hand.  Oh, and of course I do have proper documentation as I took several pics along the way.  I'll try to post those up when I get back.  This has been a long one but I wanted to give you the full picture.  btw, I'm sure that you read this much faster than I typed it as I am left to type Mexican style...two fingers, the pointer on each hand.  Ciao for now my hookless friends.

SV Liahona

No comments:

Post a Comment