Fish Hook Removal

During our recent visit to the Ragged Islands the Captain had the misfortune to lodge a large grimy fishing hook into the outside of his calf on his lower leg. He was attempting to toss a hand line out into our fishing spot that resembled a stock pond. We were pulling fish in so quick that it was hard to keep pace. Anyhow, during the process of tossing his Bahamian style hand line into the water the line with the hook flipped up on its forward motion and…. ouch! The Captain hooked himself! He said it didn’t hurt much going in but he was sure it would hurt coming out. He babbled off a list of items he wanted me to gather; heavy duty wire cutters, forceps, alcohol….the adult beverage type with the final words, “Please hurry!” So off I scurried to gather the requested items as swiftly as I could as well as my own list of items; rubbing alcohol, peroxide, band-aids, topical antibiotics, and a piece of chocolate to go with the rum. Upon my return I discovered him sitting serenely in the cock pit attempting to eradicate the piece of bait that still held fast all the while assessing the damage to his leg. He blurted off instructions as he eyes remained on the wound and his mind on the impending pain he was about to endure. He instructed me to take the mack daddy wire cutters and cautiously cut the eye of the hook off. As he pulled his skin back taut so I could cut the eye of the hook, when unexpectedly he seized my hand and confiscated the wire cutters, he explained that he would feel more at ease doing the cutting himself. He reached down and grabbed his leg while I attempted to hold the skin taut a smile crossed his face when an abrupt click broke the awkward silence as the cutters snipped off the eye of the hook. The Captain looked up still smiling and said, “That was the easy part”.

Next he instructed me to grasp the end of the hook where the eye once was with the forceps and forcefully twist up and out, “Just as you do when you have a fish on that needs to be released” he explained so calmly. So I anxiously but carefully cleaned the hook, the wound and the skin around the area. Next I vigilantly took the forceps and grasped the end of the hook until the forceps locked in place, I took one deep breath and held it, with one eye closed and in one swift motion up and out with all my power I propelled the hook through the muscle and ligaments that held it securely in place, surely that did it I told myself. I opened my one closed eye and to my surprise only the tip of the hook came through the skin, the barb remained in the Captain’s flesh!

I looked up at him with disbelief; he looked at me with pain in his eyes and sweat frantically dripping off his brow. He sat back took a shot of rum and a bite of chocolate while I prepared myself to continue this torture to my Captain. After a few minutes of rest I once again attempted the same process but the hook would not budge. Now at this point in time I have sweat dripping off my brow and I am psychologically feeling and sharing the Captain’s pain as this hook stubbornly remains captured in his muscle tissue. The Captain finished indulging in the chocolate and took a few more sips of rum before he took the forceps into his own powerful hands in an attempt to remove the hook.

The sweat dripping profusely from his forehead, his hand shaking and a determined look in his eyes he set forth to divide and conquer. Unfortunately it took in excess of 35 minutes and many sips of rum to set the hook free.

I insisted that the Captain take oral antibiotics for at least 3 days and have the wound cleaned with peroxide and topical antibiotics applied twice a day
in which he agreed to do. 5 days later I am pleased to announce the punctures remain free of infection.

I think most of us know that Captain Montgomery can be a difficult man to get along with,

he is hard headed, bossy, controlling and downright cantankerous at times. But after observing some of the shenanigans this year involving other captains that are sailing out here on the high sea I decided that it was time to give credit where credit is due. Not only can Captain Montgomery remove fish hooks embedded deep in his own flesh

but most important he has many times guided Mary Rose and crew safely through many complex situations

with never a hint of panic or anxiety. He is a giving soul
who enjoys, as much as I do, the spirit of giving for only a smile and thank you in return. He is kind hearted being who will stand and fight for those he loves and also for strangers being wronged. If he cares about you he will go out of his way to give you what you want or need.

He is blessed with wonderful friends and family and I have great admiration when I see them interact together.

His grandchildren adore him.

He can make you laugh during hard times, he enjoys playing with others.

He is a man who can wear many hats.

He is strong, smart, determined and

not afraid of hard work. Captain Montgomery is a guide

and a teacher

he is not always polite but as he will explain to you if asked, “I’m not here to make everyone happy, my job is to make sure everyone is safe.” One cannot forget how the Captain is also a lady's man!

So during those times when I am frustrated with the Grinch I remind myself how genuinely lucky I am to be the crew for such a wonderful man, captain, and friend.

My love and respect go out to you Captain Donald Montgomery.

Anchor Drag| Ragged Islands| Bahamas| Hog Cay| Southern Anchorage| Duncan Town|

The Captain and I pulled anchor at Man O War Bay anchorage on the southern tip of Raccoon Cay in the Jumentos earlier than planned due to forecasted changes in the weather that may have required us to have northerly protection. The anchorage at Man O war Bay was beautiful with calm water, outstanding coral growths and a pesky shark that wouldn’t allow me to fish! For some reason this particular shark thought all my bait was intended for him and at one point he broke my 200 lb fishing line for a small piece of conch bait. I did by chance catch a large trigger fish before the shark reached it that provided 4 meals for the Captain and me.
Our intentions were to make it to the anchorage south of Hog Cay by early afternoon. We wanted to go to town with medical supplies for the clinic and then find internet service so we could contact our endearing families since it had been quite some time since we were able to check in last.
We arrived at the Hog Cay southern anchorage at approximately 3pm, we dropped our CQR anchor which is on all chain; we prefer to utilize this anchor when there are coral heads around to avoid any chafing of our rope rode. After the Captain guided the anchor and chain into the crystal clear water, he instructs, “Slowly back down.” In response, I slowly pull the throttle to reverse and Mary Rose began to tug on the anchor to set it, as I do this I keep a close eye on the Lat/Lon readings on the chart plotter. “Captain we are dragging the anchor!” I yell forward as I slide the throttle back into neutral. This scenario went on 3 more times in 3 different locations finally the Captain made the decision to change to our Delta anchor to see if that will improve our situation. One and half hour later we have our anchor down and it appeared to be holding well in 9.2 feet of water. Hooray!!
We cleaned up ourselves and Mary, jumped in the go fast dingy and started our 3 mile adventure to town. At this point we just wanted a cold beer, since it was now so late in the afternoon we decided that we would deal with the medical and school supplies the following day.
We found our way through the mangroves and walked around the settlement of Duncan Town to meet the locals. The people here are kindhearted, welcoming and extremely helpful!
We settled in to bed early looking forward to good night’s rest. But nooooooo…. not going to happen tonight!! No sooner had we snuggled up and found ourselves comfortable when we noticed the wind had picked up and Mary Rose was radically rocking side to side. The Captain and I exchanged glances and jumped out of bed racing each other to the chart plotter. We couldn’t believe our eyes when the depth appeared on the screen, 4.9 feet! We are on the bottom on an outgoing tide, which meant things were going to unquestionably get worse if we didn’t at least try to rectify the situation swiftly. The half moon was shining bright and gave the situation an added spookiness as the Captain climbed down the side of Mary Rose into the dingy with lead line in tow. He speedily drove to and fro checking depths to find out where the deeper water was located. He found the deeper water to our starboard side approximately 100 feet out. All the commotion woke our neighbor up; Sean who was anchored a couple hundred feet from Mary. Sean yelled out to the Captain as he sped by in the go fast dinghy,” Captain you need some help?” “Hell yes!” was the Captain’s reply and he zipped over to pick him up. Once Sean was safely aboard the dinghy they shot off like a bullet into the moon lit night in search of the dragging anchor. Once they located the anchor they lifted it into the dinghy while I was on Mary’s bow controlling the amount of rode slack as they relocated the anchor into the deeper water. Once the anchor was placed both men boarded Mary Rose and went to work on the bow. They worked tirelessly kedging Mary into the deeper water. The Captain ran the manual windlass while Sean tailed the line and I was at the helm controlling power and steerage, teamwork at its finest! Slowly Mary Rose fought her way across the sandy bottom as I kept my eyes critically glued to the depth readings…4.9, 5.0, 5.2, 4.8, 5.5, 5.6 and finally 6.0!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah!!! Mary Rose’s hull was once again safely cradled in the arms of deep water!! Now it was time for a well deserved adult beverage! We congregated in Mary Rose’s cabin where there was a shot of Rum for all! Sean hung out with us for a while in case the anchor began to drag again which gave us a chance to get to know a little about this young man who took off on a sailboat with his girlfriend as he learn to sail on the go…trial and error method!
After a while we decided the dragging anchor drama was complete for the night. A little before midnight the Captain returned Sean to his vessel and returned back to Mary Rose with dreams of sugar plums dancing through his head. I was top side waiting for his return so I could get hold of the painter line that is used to secure the dinghy. Just as the Captain approached Mary Rose I felt a sharp bump and then another, I assisted the Captain aboard where we once again We exchanged glances and raced to the chart plotter, the depth meter…5.2!! How could that be???? The anchor drug again!! The Captain decided that he could rectify this situation by just pulling in some scope on the anchor rode to pull Mary Rose back into the deep water. He was correct; the problem is resolved for the time being. We set our anchor drag alarm at 20 feet and our low water alarm at 6 feet so we could once again settle into bed this time for a not so restful night.
Life on a boat isn’t always a pot of roses, but it is where our hearts want to be.