Wednesday, April 11, 2007

April 5 & 6

April 5th was nothing special. We stayed the day in Lake Worth so we could have the dogs groomed. On the way down Christy found a groomer that did a really nice job on Molly & Tucker so we wanted to hit that place again. We spent the rest of the day shopping and hitting the local West Marine.

April 6th on the other hand was a day and a half, literally. We only have a 4 hour run to get to our next stop which was to be Peck Lake. So we got up when we wanted and took the dogs to shore together. Christy walked the dogs along the roadside while I walked a bag of garbage down the street to the dumpster behind Publix.

On my way back the traffic is backed up from down where we tied up the dinghy all the way to me close to half mile away. I can’t see what the problem is but my mind is working overtime, I’m sure one of the dogs slipped their collar and ran into the road or some dipshit on a cell phone drifted off the roadway and ran over my family. So I start to run down there and as I’m getting closer I see a group of people gathered around someone on the grass next to the road. Finally, mercifully, I can see Christy and the dogs are part of the group tending to a downed bicycle rider. Good I thought, an ambulance will be here shortly because I may need it as I’ve just run further than I have in 20 years.

Christy greets me with a giant hug and she’s shaking and quite upset. It seems she and the dogs were walking along the side of the road and just as the bicyclist went past he was run over by a passing car. She was the first person to his side and had to keep him on the ground as he was trying to get up. He never lost consciousness but was in pretty bad shape. The skin was gone from both his knees and his hands and he was missing the tip of one of his fingers. He had a lump about the size of half a tennis ball on his forehead, his helmet never came off, it probably saved his life.

It took between 10 minutes and an eternity for the EMT’s to arrive. Once he was in professional care we took the dinghy and went back to the boat. As we were preparing to weigh anchor we watched a helicopter land at the scene of the accident and take the cyclist away to the hospital.

The ride to Peck Lake was a short motor of about 20 miles with about 6 bridges to open along the way. The trip was uneventful and went quickly.

Peck Lake shows up as a wide spot along the ICW on the charts. According to the charts there’s only a foot or two if you leave the channel. Our Skipper Bob’s Guide Book tells of an unmarked channel into the unmarked anchorage. The big attraction is the fact that once anchored you only have a short 50 yard walk across some dunes to the beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean.

When we got there it was fairly crowded and the best spot for us to anchor was right in the middle of everyone. While dropping the hook the sailboat to our starboard waved hello while the powerboater on our port put on his bitch wings. I used the classic bitch wing counter by yelling over “how much scope do you have out”. He replied “50 feet” and went back inside. Not enough scope for the 12 feet of water but the question did counter the bitch wings.

We were able to put out 65 feet of chain and set the anchor as always. We stayed on the boat and had PAC’s and watched the boats behind us come in and find spots. It was a very lovely evening but some ominus looking clouds rolled in late from the north. Christy had gone to bed and I was trip reporting when the wind started to build to a steady 20 knots. I went up to look around and heard anchor chain rattling. One of the late arrivals had already dragged down onto a small trawler and was busy resetting his anchor.

So now I’m sitting in the cockpit watching all the boats to windward of us. I’m starting to get the impression that the bitch wing guy, who’s now swung almost in front of us on our starboard bow, may be starting to drag ever so slowly. Its pitch dark and all the boats are dancing wildly at anchor so it’s difficult to judge who’s doing what. I know he’s only got 50 feet out so I’m a little concerned about him.

All of a sudden the small trawler off our port bow breaks free of the bottom so at 0130 I blast our air horn to alert the captain and everybody else for a mile. He must have been up and keeping watch also because he had the engine running in 30 seconds. He had started out anchored 60 yards off our port bow and was 2 boat lengths behind us by the time he had the engines running and started to haul in his anchor. He had passed between us and the sailboat off our port side with astonishing velocity. He reanchored a lot closer to us this time but did a good job and stayed put for the night.

Bitch wing guy, not so much. It’s been 3 hours now and the wind is between 18 and 24 knots and he’s definitely moving ever so slowly backwards. He started out a little ahead of us and then abreast and now he’s safely behind us. Unless of course you’re on the boat that’s been behind us. Its almost 0330 and I can see lights in the cockpit of the Morgan that’s behind us. Finally he gets out his million candle power spotlight and is shinning it into the stern ports of the dragging powerboat. I’m using our spotlight to shine into his vee berth ports. When their only about 30 feet apart the Morgan captain uses his air horn. Finally the woman on board comes out into the cockpit, looks around and goes back inside. I figure that they’ll be up and start their engines any moment. But noooo, she went back to bed! After 5 minutes Morgan guy lays into the horn while we’re both spotlighting the powerboat. The “captain” comes on deck, fist clenched posturing like a tough guy. He really thinks we’re just messing with him or something, he’s got no clue. He’s just staring at us, finally I scream at the top of my lungs “You’re dragging down on these people behind you Captain!” Sarcasm was properly placed on the Captain part. He does sort of a triple take, wakes from his tough guy fog and starts to run around to get underway so they can reanchor, dumbass.

After they go off into a corner behind us the wind starts to abate and once it’s down to 10 to 15 and everyone seems to be staying put I retire for the evening at 0430. Oh yeah, it was also raining the entire time, perfect.

What we learned: Whenever big winds have rolled through, predicted or not, it’s always been from a northerly direction. When we arrived in this anchorage there was a light wind from the east blowing and nothing else predicted. Christy and I made a pact to always aggressively seek out the northern most spot in any anchorage we visit from now on.

Dictionary reminder: PAC’s……..Post Anchoring Cocktails

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