November 7, 2011.
Today was one of those rare days that makes you glad to be traveling the waterways. We had one confirmed celebrity sighting after another for a good portion of the day. We saw all 3 Stooges, Laurel & Hardy, The Keystone Cops and even had an encounter with Jerry Lewis (back when he was still zany). It was a very special day on the water.
We left Mile Hammock Bay at dawn and headed down the ICW. Even though we're in the confines of the ICW I still plot our course. I put a waypoint at each liftbridge that we'll be encountering. That way, for example, if the bridge only opens on the hour the chartplotter will do the math for me. It considers our current speed and the distance we need to cover and tells me exactly when we'll arrive. That way way I can tell if I need to add some more coal to the fire or if I should just back off a bit and take my time.
We were making about 7.5 knots on our way to the second bridge when the Keystone Cops decided that they had to pass us. We were going to arrive with 2 minutes to spare at our present speed. The Frenadians behind us decided that if they passed us, arrived sooner and waited even longer than that would be a whole lot better. So they pulled to our starboard side at 7.5000005 knots and began to sloooowly overtake us. No big deal except.....
There was a small jonboat with 2 old guys in it recovering a fishing net directly in our path. As they retrieved the net they were pulling their boat across the ICW from left to right. I stayed on the green side (left) of the channel and planned to leave the fishermen 50 feet to starboard. I looked over and expected Jacques to either move closer to us or to the extreme right side of the channel leaving the fishermen in the middle. Then I realized that he was headed straight at them and we had front row seats. I don't know WTH he was looking at but finally, he jumped to his feet, threw the wheel hard to port and chopped the throttle.
He missed running them down by 15 feet or less. There were only 2 guys in the jonboat but I'm sure I saw at least 5 middle fingers sent in his direction. 200 yards later Jacques fire walled his boat and easily overtook us. We settled in behind him and not a half mile further along we were once again treated to a display of seamanship like few others.
Another small boat anchored on the extreme left side of the channel in a cluster of crab pot floats. Jacques stayed dead straight and looked like he was going to pass them closely on his port side. But at the last possible moment he once again threw the wheel hard to port and left the channel missing them by a few feet. Their oaths and epitaphs must have had some powerful ju ju because Jacques managed to wrap one of the crab pot floats in his prop bringing him to a rather ignominious halt. We stayed in the middle of the channel and rounded the bend just in time for the bridge. Jacques missed the bridge but he probably met some new people.
Even after we were safely anchored the nautical hijinks didn't end. A single hander came in, dropped the hook and promptly sucked the dinghy painter into his propeller as he backed down on the hook.
I thought our day of simple amusements was over until one last Frenadian joined the list. They pulled in, wedged themselves into the middle of the herd and dropped the hook and then......nothing. No snubber, no setting the hook, nothing.