One addition to our compliment of equipment this year has been a Canon image-stabilized camera. When zoomed in tight to get a better view, even though our boat may be rocking, I still obtain a good quality photo. We were anchored at least 200 yards away from the big orange boat, but with this zoom level, you might get the impression that we were right on top of her. You might have noticed that some of our photos from 2011 were a bit blurry now and then, thus the reason for the new camera. It has really come in handy offshore.
Below is a photo that gives a good feel for how many boats are in the harbor. It’s jam packed here most of the season, and when the weather picks up, things can get dicey. You never know who is going to hold and who is not.
That night, the wind began to howl; intermittent rain squalls mixed with lightning streaked across the sky. I woke up at one point and decided to go forward to check the anchor. All seemed well so I dried off with a towel and climbed back into bed. I lay there a minute or two, but I felt uneasy. Something was nagging at my subconscious, so I got back up, dressed again. Joy asked why I was back up so soon. I told her something didn’t feel right.
When I got topsides and strained to look forward through the rain, I realized the boat ahead was closer than it had been. I grabbed a big light from below, went forward with the light and a horn, and squinted to see. Now the boat was much closer, obviously dragging quickly straight down on top of us. I flashed the light in his cockpit and sounded our very loud horn – no response. Again and again – no response. Other boats in the harbor began to turn on their lights; boats ahead and beside us flashed strong lights to see what was amiss. Other horns sounded. I couldn’t raise the guy, so I ran back, jumped in the dinghy, and started the outboard. By this time, Joy had come on deck realizing something was seriously wrong. She begged me to be extremely careful, and then shouted – Wait, I think I see someone moving on deck.
Leaving the outboard running, I rush back forward. Sure enough, thankfully, the guy is in the cockpit starting his engine. By this time, they are less than 75 feet ahead of us, having dragged down over our anchor and chain. Soon, he and his wife were underway, pulling ahead without further incident. My heart beat slows, I begin to breathe normally again, as does Joy. We watch for the next hour or so while the offender rushes from place to place in the anchorage, trying to set his anchor in 30 knots of wind, a difficult task. There were a number of large commercial moorings that were empty, and why he didn’t take one, we’ll never know.
Come morning, the dragger relocated and anchored off to our port side, ahead just a bit. All his friends came over to commiserate with him on his misfortune. No one came over to us to say we’re sorry for the fright. Bad things happen; we all realize it could just as easily have been us, but a simple word would have been nice. Or perhaps a “Thanks for waking us?” Oh well, life goes on, and we try even harder to be sure no one anchors right on top of us.