It was late. I was coming back to my sailboat home and ready to hit the sack. The boat is tied to the pier by a rope and pulley system. I bent down to grab the rope and pull the sail boat in. My Nalgene water bottle fell out of my pack into the gently lapping water below me.
I have two one liter Nalgene water bottles in addition to my three and ten liter water bags. They are important pieces of my equipment since I can use them both for additional water storage as well as places to put my lunch, keep leftovers from dinner, and even soak beans in overnight.
I needed to get my water bottle back. I was not excited about a night time swim. The water was about five feet below the dock. The bottle was almost full, but refused to sink thanks to a small air pocket inside.
I had some slack rope, one end tied to the pier and the other tied to the sail boat. I grabbed it in two places, fairly far apart, and threw the slack in between my hands down to the water. Pulling, I was able to repeatedly roll the rope across the top of the bottle, gently nudging my Nalgene towards me.
I could now keep my water bottle from escaping.
I maneuvered the slack under the bottle, and then flicked the rope up. The bottle shot up into the air, only a few inches from my face. Startled by my success, I did not grab it out of the air in time and it fell back into the water.
That was easy, I just needed to be faster about grabbing it.
I tried again, only this time the bottle came just a inches out before falling back in. I tried again, and again, unable to repeat my beginner's luck.
If only I could lasso it. But I didn’t have the end of the rope. It would be cool if I was a cowboy and knew neat rope tricks.
I went back to trying to flick the bottle up.
Wait a second, I know lots of knots. I may not be a cowboy, but I’m a kayaker!
I made a slip knot in the rope, then holding from either side I lowered it down to lasso the bottle. With some effort, I got the loop around the bottle and began to gently tighten it from above, using the weight of the bottle to secure the knot.
Just as I thought I had it, the bottle slipped out. So I tried again, and again. After adjusting my knot severall times, and nearly losing the bottle to the sea before calling it back a few more, I managed to combine the techniques.
I did not need to make the lasso tight enough around the bottle to pull it up. Every time I tried the bottle slipped out. But I was able to get the loop around the bottle tight enough, so that when I flicked up, the bottle shot out of the water and landed behind me.
I saved my Nalgene, and I didn’t have to swim.