When it comes to Skishing, Laura Dekker (another youngest around the world solo sailing trip), and other weird nautical news, sometimes you just have to wonder if mankind has run out of things to do. Now, we’re inventing strange and unusual activities, pushing the limits of old ones, and generally behaving like we don’t have one iota of seagoing sense.
First, let’s look at this new attempt to become the world’s youngest girl to sail around the world single handed. Yes, girl; once upon a time we’d have said woman, but at this point girls are trying to go around the world on a blowboat before they’re even old enough to legally drive a car one mile down the road. This comes just months after 16 year old Abby Southerland made the attempt, and had to be rescued after being slammed by a storm in the Indian Ocean. As a mariner and a father, I have one word that sums up this “race” to become the youngest circumnavigator: stupid. It’s a blatant quest for publicity, and all the talk about accomplishment and challenges is a smoke screen. Would you let your kid try to take a dog sled to the North Pole, simply because no one that young has done so before? I didn’t think so. Meanwhile, other people’s lives are put at risk when they have to board helicopters and cutters to go on SAR missions. Like I said: this is just plain stupid.
Meanwhile, for those who have grown bored with fishing while standing on a boat or casting from the shore, evidently a “new” sport has evolved: skishing. A New Yorker named Paul Melnyk gets credit for this one, since he started the craze by entering the water in a wet suit, fishing rod in hand. He swims out from shore before deploying his line, then attempts to hook a fish large enough to tow him through the water.
I’m all for fun new ways to fish; I’ve experimented with billfishing from a Jet Ski, ultra-light giant bluefin tuna fishing, and kayak fishing for pelagics offshore, so it’s fair to say I’m open-minded on this topic. Here’s the problem: Melnyk does it at night, where other guys are fishing. He’s been hooked twice, and almost run down by a boat at least once. Common sense would dictate skishing where there aren’t other hooks in the water, and maybe adding a dive flag or a flashing light, to provide some visibility. Why should the rest of us care if these guys want to go skishing? Because someones going to get sued when they skewer a skisherman with a 10/0, or run ‘em down in the middle of the night. There’s a word for this… it begins with an “s”.