Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Higher highs, lower lows

The cruising life is known for higher highs and lower lows -often in the same day. My lovely wife and I had that very experience. Tuesday we had dinner at a very nice budget busting place, The Pink Elephant. They were withing easy walking distance of the marina and had outdoor seating that allowed us to have our dog with us.

We walked back to a deserted marina. Earlier in the day there was a power outage on the island and they sent everyone home. Once the power came back on they did not reopen. That's fine as their restrooms and laundry room are unlocked. We were able to do a load of laundry.

The main reason we ducked into a marina was to try to find a safe harbor from the high winds. Unfortunately the winds were exactly wrong and blew right into the marina. The waves tossed our boat so badly that we doubled our lines. One of the lines holding our kayak snapped. The second one held but the kayak moved back far enough to allowed the kayak deck shock cord to get tangled into our outboard prop. With the boat tossing like a wild bronco in the dark I cut the cord then secured a second line on the kayak.

There was no hope of sleeping on the boat. I grabbed our sleeping bags and we bedded down among the marina picnic tables like homeless people. Come about 3 a. m. the tide was low enough that shoals blocked the worse of the wave action and we were able to finish the night aboard the boat. That would be our last night in the not-so-protected marina.

So let's rewind a bit. When we walked the dog to the restaurant we passed a narrow canal. My lovely wife got into a conversation with a local. He assured us that there was a good five feet of depth if one hugged the eastern sea wall. Later at the restaurant we had a long conversation with a drunken elderly single handed small boat sailor who was anchored in the canal. She said the trick is to drop an anchor in the middle of the channel and then back into the mangroves and tie a line there.

After our rough night we left the marina and did just that. It's an amazingly protected anchorage with a lot of wildlife. Free public docks are available for shore access. My only wish is that we'd known about it earlier, before spending money at the marina.

As soon as we were set up the no longer drunk lady rowed her dinghy over and we invited her aboard for tea. We had a delightful conversation and she was a wealth of local information.

By morning the winds are supposed to have changed. Right now I'm not sure if we'll continue our journey or call another rest day. This is a very nice place to be right now.



  1. My only experience of real sailing is day trips from the Camp Lejeune marina. Even then, with that minimal exposure, I noticed that people who live on small boats are a very eclectic group. They always seemed to me like characters out of a Steinbeck novel, like "Cannery Row." One of the things I really envy about your life style (and there are a lot of things) is that you get to meet people like the drunken sailing lady. Everybody here is pretty much the same. The old guys with character have all died off or gone to the nursing home. It wasn't always that way....

    1. It's nice to be in a world of self-reliant people who don't fit into "normal" society.

      The big boat people tend to buy their way out of problems. Us small boat people have to find ways to fix it ourselves.

      There's also a certain outlaw element to what we do. For example, the way to anchor in this area is to drop the hook in the middle of the canal and then tie a line onto the mangroves. Apparently you aren't supposed to tie to the mangroves, but everyone does it. Here the local sheriff "doesn't see it."

      Some places want to keep us boaters away from their fancy waterfront property but you have to anchor somewhere. It's a struggle. Other people like our business. Often these people are in the same place.

      Those of us who are more than weekend warriors tend to seek out each other and help each other.

      Of course, the stories are also pretty cool. People make their way to the lifestyle for many different reasons.

  2. That's the nice thing about being flexible.

  3. just love to read and understand the small boat living culture. way way more interesting than most. life being risked every day. thanks for posting the blog

  4. Sounds to me like you earned a day of rest - kick back and relax a day if it suits you.

    1. I made a command decision and took the day off.

  5. Just think! In twenty years the newbies will be coming to you and your wife for advice! :o)

    1. No idea what we'll be doing by then. Maybe something different.