Sunday January’s 7th, twenty eighteen
I was easily awake this morning at 05:00. I went to bed last night at 19:00. Docks, the arriving and departing from seem to be the most stressful times in retirement. Early yesterday morning the wind was down and we should have slipped away then. No wind means one less factor against you. But we stayed. We were hoping to get that elusive pump out. Finally Ray apologetically reported that it would not happen. The wind is wrong and the restaurant is open.
Some super genius put the vacuum pump for the pumping system just up wind from the restaurant. Nettles Island Marina only has one major flaw, they only do pump outs when the restaurant is closed on Mondays. Most of the boats missed Monday due to New Years Day. The restaurant is known locally for their crab cakes and I can understand that the aroma of the crab cakes and the anticipation of eating those babies might be negatively impacted by the malodorous wafts of… (you are already there, I don’t have to go any further).
Taking our 2/3rds full tank with us we made ready to slip our bonds. The wind was up some to 15 to 18 gusting 20 from the North or on our beam. I hoped that the wind would start the stern and I could get the bow pulled North and make a quick turn. I said to Curtis our neighbour “Just keep the bow close and give us a big pull when we clear the last piling”. Then I said “You know the old sailing saying, some days you watch the show and some days you are the show”. At that moment I had no intention of being the show.
Everything went fine until the boat started to move. The bow either unwilling or unable to be pulled or coerced North went South. Now I was set up perfectly to back out of the alley (150 feet). You remember that we are in a Whitby. Reverse is only a different sound. Our shift lever should say “forward and sidewaysish”. We made several if not many heroic maneuvers. We made the equivalent of a 720° without ever actually going around completely. Suddenly the bow was lined up with our slip so I put it against the outer piling and let the wind swing us onto a willing power boater. He had been watching the show and drinking coffee with his feet dangling off his bow.
I had stayed calm the whole time. This guy was obviously a retired hostage negotiator from New York. He talked Fracas into quietly laying against his waiting feet. Fracas and the rest of us were allowed a couple of minutes to catch our breath and spectators to get popcorn. The wind would now be our partner. ML only needed to give the bow a bit of a push and the wind would catch the bow and we would be pointed so an application of ‘forward’ would get us out.
The hostage negotiator didn’t say what I thought he would, something like “you should have done this the first time”. His look said that though. Hell, its not like we hit anything. No damage, no foul. The spectators were dispersing as we left. Those spectators were meeting others who had missed the show “did you see that Whitby flopping around like a wounded seal”? Offense is always best, I turned and yelled “Thanks” and “Bye Bye”.
Our plan was to go south as far as Peck Lake. We love this spot and the wind is to be from the east and may pipe up again. When we arrived all the good spots were taken so I went rogue and went in close. I have charted this harbour and know where I can get. There is a weather station out in the water on pilings. I set up and dropped the hook. When you do all the math it is possible if the wind goes NW or WNW we could swing into the pilings. The forecast however is for North wind veering to NE and E over Sunday. I slept with one ear on the anchor alarm and I was up to check every couple of hours. All the other boaters were staring at us. We continue to be the show.
We will likely stay here until Monday as the weather I see is not conducive to West Palm. Hopefully we can get to the beach and go for a walk in at least 70° weather. more later