Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Observations I'd prefer not to hear (or say) while on a boat.

Things like:

What's that smell (and smoke is a tiny bit more important than the head)?

Where the hell is all that water coming from?

Why is all that smoke pouring out of the exhaust (or in our case two exhausts)?

Why are my feet wet?

Why does the bilge pump keep going off?

Hey! What happened to the water pressure (especially bad if one has a head full of shampoo lather)?

Have you seen the dog (or cat)?

Did you feel that bump?

These comments are bad enough to hear in a slip but while at anchor they become a lot more ominous.

So anyway, this past weekend we headed out into the Gulf where we hoped to do some fishing and sailing. We put up the main and the jib, threw out two fishing lines, sat back ... and watched all the wind die.  We were literally sailing at 0 knots and our fishing lines sank to the bottom.  So we started up the port engine in order to create a little of our own wind and contemplated calling it a day when all of a sudden the wind kicked in and we actually ended up sailing very nicely for a couple of hours.
We didn't catch any fish but, you can't have everything.

We decided to anchor in Gulfport for the night.  However, we ended up at the far end of the anchorage where we normally don't go and within close sight of a sunken sailboat with its mast sticking out of the water at a drunken angle. Hans dropped the anchor and while sitting at the helm I could feel it dig in.  After backing down on it and seeing that we were going nowhere we settled in for the night.
It was around eleven PM while we were playing Scrabble when I heard a weird sound.

"What was that noise (yet one more scary observation you don't want to hear at anchor)?"  I asked Hans.  "It sounded like a 'twang'."

We then went through a ritual that we seem to always go through while at anchor.  Hans went into the cockpit and declared he was sure we were closer to another boat than we should be. I continued to review my Scrabble letters in an attempt to come up with yet one more brilliant move that involved the letter Q, so in addition to my staying put I assured him the Knotty Cat was too.  A couple of more of his,  "I think we're closer comments," made me heave myself up off my butt to take a look for myself.
"We're fine,"  I said just as we whizzed past a well lit trawler.

"Oh my God, we're dragging!"

Before we knew it, we had both engines going and with Hans at the bow and me at the helm we got the anchor up lickety split, moved away from the sunken hulk, and re-anchored. It wasn't until we were down below again that we realized how well we had worked together considering the circumstances and tried not to think about what would have happened had we been asleep. Hopefully one of us would have awakened at the twanging noise I heard but you never know.

Now, Gulfport is a great anchorage but I have a funny feeling we were maybe hooked up to some debris from the sunken boat and after swinging on the hook in some pretty steady wind we finally broke free. We've never had a 'drag' alarm that so many people have talked about because we'd heard that they go off if you swing around a lot, but I understand there is an App available that takes that into consideration so I'm going to check it out.

As for the Scrabble game, just as we were going to bed I tossed my lap blanket towards the settee and it hit the game board instead and sent all our tiles flying. I think everyone in the marina should be grateful they didn't have to 'hear' me because you see, I was ahead in the game and I never did get to use that damn letter Q.

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