Friday, June 06, 2008

I'm Having a Really Bad Day

My cruising life does not feel it is getting off to a great start if today is an indicator species. Today... well today sucked.

We can start with the Big F*up which is that I hit a rock. Hard. We were on our way into Nanaimo Harbor, DrC called me up to take the helm while he dropped sail, and I promptly ran into a known hazard. In my defense, he’d pointed us at it. To my shame, it took me too long to figure out where the hell we were going before we hit.

We hit hard. Not hard enough to cause a leak, hard enough to hear scraping sounds that could well require a haul out to fix. The rudders are fine, and nothing appears broken. It’s probably a gel coat nightmare and an expensive, ugly few days on the hard. The question is whether or not we’ll have to do it now or if it’s cosmetic enough to do later. Given the rest of our luck lately, I’d guess for whichever option is more expensive.

Moving on to a lesser issue, we parked in the wrong spot. Apparently, we dropped anchor in the middle of a flight path. This isn’t surprising when you take in the whole rock issue. We were all in a flipping uproar, and I for one was shaking so bad I could barely draw breath. While it has all the same aspects of stupidity as the rock (e.g. we shouldn’t have done it, we should have known better), it was more understandably a by-product of post-smack-into-underwater-obstacleness than a true verbal flip of the finger at port authority. In this case, it was only moderately well marked and, as I said, we were not in the best frame of mind.

Let’s see... moving back from there we had a tense moment going through Dodd Narrows at mid-flood. That’s a wild ride, let me tell you. Up here they have currents that rival any river for speed and trickiness. At one point, we were swept along at plus 8 knots. Weeee!!! Of course, to create that current, the pass narrows to about 50 feet. Threading our 21 foot beam through that was like trying to get my ass into a pair of my high school jeans.

Again, moving back in time we get to this morning’s absurdity. We motored over from Telegraph Harbor to Chamainish to see the sights and found no place to park. Little microdot of a public dock and we couldn’t stop. I’m sorry we didn’t get to see the famed murals of that small town. On the other hand, it was kind of sweet just moving our tennis court into the middle of Stuart Channel, turning everything off, throwing up the main mostly so that power boats would be required to go around us, and drifting through school and morning chores.

And if we really want to push ourselves backwards, we can even talk about two nights ago in Maple Bay when we broke anchor and started drifting out of the harbor. Jaime caught us.

In fact, there is my light at the end of the tunnel, my raison d’etre, my cause celebre, my entire reason for doing this trip. Because Jaime has been magnificent through the past 48 hours. Jaime was the first to spot us break anchor in Maple Bay. Jaime was the first to volunteer for anchor watch last night when the wind was blowing like snot, and we all felt some one should be at the helm paying attention. Jaime was the smart crew who called off the watch at one in the morning when it became clear the wind was dying and the weather report called for it to stay down till tonight. She leaped to help with the sheets while we sailed, stood on the bow and took pictures through the Narrows, and dove into the port bilge to check for leaks after we hit the rock.

I always said I thought this trip would benefit her spirit the most. Because I am typically a blow-hard, it is probable that in my innermost, icky self, I didn’t really believe that but just said it. Now, I am a believer. My daughter is shining even while I collapse in the cockpit this evening with a Stormy Sunset*, completely shot nerves, and a strong desire to crawl home with my tail between my legs.

I should have said this before. Let me say it now. My eldest daughter is something very special.


Jody said...

Oh, I am so sorry about the rock. Glad the damage did not result in a leak.

I love hearing what you said about Jaime. She sounds marvelous....quick on her feet and able to react in stress. A born sailor. You tell her I said so, m'k?

Jody said...

Oh, forgot to ask. Does your GPS have an anchor drag alarm? Our garmin does, and boy does it let you know when you venture outside the circle it marks.

Toast said...

@jody - On one, considered it forwarded to Jaime. She deserves every attaboy she gets this point. On the GPS, yes. It does. This assumes you have it on. It sucks electrical like a vacuum so you'd have to really want it to sacrifice the power draw.

Cap'n Franko said...

My dearest Toast,

Two responses.

One, everybody hits stuff and/or runs aground. Everybody. That may sound like just words to you right now, depending on your emotional state, but I swear it's true. EVERYBODY hits stuff. I once ran aground three times in the same harbor in the space of a half hour, trying to get to the fuel dock. Yes, I was beyond mortified when I finally pulled up; but I got my fuel and made it back to deep water without a fourth grounding. Phew. Forgive yourself and don't be overly shocked when (not if) it happens again. Hoepfully, not TOO frequently.

Two, your comments about Jamie were almost enough to make me cry... and I'm a tough guy of the old school. Very moving. Give her our warmest congratulations.

And hugs to you.

It's all good and it'll all be OK.

Frank and the krewe

Anonymous said...

Sure glad that there was no water entry.
I know how you feel though - when I splashed our boat (the very first time!) the coast guard grew was standing there watching as I pulled away from the dock to move to the crane dock to step the mast (they were haulng their motor lifeboat).
Naturally, with them all standing there, I had a mechanical problem and ran straight onto the mud bank. Right in front of them. The senior guy literally standing there watching me as I did this.
Talk about wanting to crawl home with my tail between my legs!

Great job Jaime! Congrats to her on her superb seamanship and performance!

Relentless Toil said...

My heart is so full reading this -- so proud of your Jaime, who was my practice baby, my treasure, when she was just a baby mooseling. And now she is so grown up. Which means I am proud of you, too.
Also, I think Dean looks very handsome with a beard but then I do like them hairy, my men.