Oct 07

How Embarrassing

Tag: failures,humorous,victoriesJonathon Haradon @ 2:50 am

(this post refers to events that happened on September 14th)

We ran aground.  It wasn’t our fault.   We were within the channel markers, so perhaps Port Denarau was to blame for faulty markers.  We were giving a little space to a high speed catamaran that impatiently steamed by us, so perhaps South Seas Sailing is to blame.  Visibility into the water was zero feet, so perhaps god was to blame.

Anyway you slice it, we ran aground.  Thankfully, it was a slow, easy, decrease in speed to zero, dirt and mud gently easing us to a stop.  Hard coral or rock would have been more jarring and unforgiving to our boat.

As the high speed catamaran passed, the crew were motioning to come closer to them, a motion which is not at all clear as to its intent when viewed from fifty yards away.  We had turned slightly to port to cede more room to them, their large boat and their large wake, but when I realized what they were motioning for, I quickly tried to turn to starboard and sped up a touch.  Neither helped, and we gently came to a rest.

Matt sprung into action, quickly getting out 200 feet of line, jumping into the dinghy which we happened to be pulling behind us, and clipping out orders for Karen and I to follow.  Get the anchor off it’s mount.  Tie the line to the anchor.  Move the line to the bow roller.  Tie on another line.  And with that off he zoomed with the anchor into the middle of the channel where he dropped the anchor.  Back at the boat, with Karen at the helm, it fell to me to pull us through the mud towards the anchor.  Pulling us primarily forward would allow us to use the engine to help propel us forward, assuming the mud wasn’t all the way up to the prop.  When I had pulled as much as I possibly could, we then wrapped the line around the anchor windlass and with Karen tailing, I cranked away, pushing and pulling the lever on the anchor windlass with all my might trying to pull us closer to the anchor Matt had dropped, and hopefully not simply pulling the anchor closer to us.

We were inching closer when we caught a break.  A mid-size troller was exiting from the marina through the channel.  We tried hailing them to warn them of our anchor in the middle of the channel but they didn’t respond.  They did however, increase speed which through up a larger wake.  The larger wake allowed our boat to rise and break free of the mud.  As we rose, I desperately cranked the line as fast as I could go to get us over deeper water.  And then we were free.

It was over in less than ten minutes, and Matt was particularly proud of our fast reaction that led to getting freed.  But we got stuck in the mud.  How embarrassing.

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