Lloyd’s Dumb Outdoor Adventure #46

Sometimes I feel as if I have some psychic forces protecting me, kind of like — to use a phrase bandied about in the ’60s — the Lords of Karma. I think of them as aunts and uncles watching over my shoulder and saying, the dumb shit is in trouble again, let’s help him out.

It happened once again yesterday.

I took my 12′ Klamath aluminum boat w/15 HP Evinrude to a nearby bay (I’m not being specific about locale these days, due to the internet).

I went across the bay, landed, and gathered mussels and half a dozen rock oysters. pulled out and went to another beach, landed, and started digging littleneck clams (cockles). I dug for maybe 15 minutes, turned around, and shit! the outgoing tide had picked up my boat and it was 75 yards off shore, heading at a pretty good clip across the bay. What to do?


I stripped down, just leaving on my wool socks (for walking on rocks) and started swimming to the boat. The water was maybe 56 degrees. Funny thing, I was so immersed with the problem, I didn’t feel all that cold. I reached the boat in maybe 5 minutes and realized that if I couldn’t climb aboard, I couldn’t get it back to land. Problem is, my upper body strength is about a third of what it was in my younger years.

I got to the stern and hauled myself half out of the water, paused, told myself you’ve got to do this, and managed to pull myself into the boat, started it up, got back to the beach, got clothes on, teeth chattering, motored back across, got boat back on trailer, and thanked the Lords of Karma for once again saving me from a dumb move.

A guy was watching intently from the shore, and I don’t know if it was a coincidence, but a helicopter swooped down after I’d got back to the beach. Guess they had a look and concluded I was OK.

Back home, I had a shot of Laphroaig, took a hot bath, had dinner, and slept for 12 hours.

And yes, from now on, I’m throwing an anchor with rope to the beach when I land.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

13 Responses to Lloyd’s Dumb Outdoor Adventure #46

  1. It is interesting to look back at a brush with death and realize that we sometimes find reserves that can’t normally be called up. Glad you still had your hidden nuggets available.

  2. Looking back with 100% hindsight, should you have walked out, then called the Coastguard about your drifting vessel, then had the Laphroaig (Lagavulin and Talisker are good too)? Perhaps not; this would have been too boring!

  3. I echo Ross's comment. I would miss your wonderful stories and photos and your inspiration to live life to the fullest.

  4. No need to take anchor all the way to shore,simply anchor as normal and use a thin trip line (say 6mm ) most anchors have a place designed to fix a trip line. Take this ashore with you and you will always have a leash on your boat so you can recover it from deep water if tide comes in. Cheers Dave

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of your company name or keyword spam.