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Hard Aground

She was right.

Here I am at the helm. Steering this ship as a Captain does. Checking my charts. Cross referencing with the color of the water. Trying to figure out if we can tuck around this next corner to avoid all swell tonight. Ashley comes storming out of the saloon; “It’s too shallow up ahead. I don’t think you should go in there.” I heard it right away. That tone. We all know that tone of our significant other. Invisible to the untrained ear but blood curdling to my ears. “I’m just exploring sweetie. Don’t worry about it.”

It all happened so quickly. 2 meters….half a meter…zero..Bump bump…Stop. A soft landing at least. Engines in reverse. Nothing. Full reverse. Nothing. Oh oh. Is this going to get interesting? “Quick. Drop the dinghy!” I drop the dinghy in the water and tie it to the side of the boat. Full throttle. The mothership is now in full reverse. Dinghy is pulling as much as it can. We’re stirring up considerable silt. But nothing. Absolutely no movement. Shit. Shit. Shit.

We notice a pod of dolphins coming into the bay. Guess we’re stirring up some food. Our brains are spinning. What next? Dollar bills flash in front of my eyes as my mind goes to TowBoatUS. I think about the incoming weather while hard aground; Bouncing up and down on a sand bar with wind and waves pushing us further.

I lose the shirt. Grab a mask & snorkel and jump in. Dinghy paddle in hand I start to dig out underneath the keel. I’m getting somewhere. So I think. I dig further. Other keel. More digging. Ok. Now to the stern anchor. We gather up all the chain and spare anchor. Toss it in the dinghy. A feat in itself. This thing is massive. I set it twenty or so yards behind the boat. Attach the rope to the winch and we attempt to winch ourselves off this sandbar. Yes! Could it be? The winch is turning. We’re pulling in anchor rode. Little do I realize we’re simply dragging the anchor thru the sand. Plowing the ocean floor. We repeat this process three more times before I notice Ashley up on deck holding a glass of white wine. “Guess we’re done for the night eh?” “Yep, tide is going out. Next high tide is at 1am.”

We make dinner. Drink coffee and watch a movie. A few hours later we’re off with little effort. We carefully motor where we came in and drop the hook for the night. I’m exhausted. Spent from manually pulling and resetting the anchor many times. From trying to dig out the keels.

Next time. I’ll probably listen to the Admiral..

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They’ve got a few bridges in the Keys…

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We’ve seen a few of these cuban boats washed ashore here. It is absolutely incredible how they’re built and more importantly, how people risk their lives on them. The typical configuration is a white styrofoam base, usually wrapped with blue tarps on the outside. Hand made oars, tiller and sail. It’s literally a floating piece of garbage and they manage to “sail” it all the way from Cuba. Amazing.

 

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Kite-fishing. See that orange kite on the right? That’s attached to the boat via a fishing line and a lure hangs down from the kite. It’s not a gimmick. A lot of people fish this way here in Florida.

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2 Comments

Carolyn
February 5, 2016

Stu always sings that song from the 70s “You’re absolutely right and I’m wrong”……then he adds “Dear” with a smirk.

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Carley
February 4, 2016

Love the pictures!
Admiral is always right, bud 🙂 Glad it all worked out!

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