Yesterday we ran aground as we were messing around in water we had no business being in. We were so stuck that we had to wait on the tide to come back in. I figured high tide to be around 6:00 AM so we resigned ourselves to spending the night on the hard. Before we shut down for the night, we managed to turn the boat so the bows were facing the deeper water and I put out an anchor so that we’d be ready to pull off when the water returned.
Since we clearly weren’t going anywhere we took Tug Boat for a nice long walk on the beach and then came back to the boat where Michelle fixed a fantastic dinner and we settled in to watch a movie.
Around 1:00 AM, I could feel the boat beginning to bounce on the sandy bottom. Damn! I was hoping we wouldn’t have to move until dawn, but it was beginning to look like we’d be free much sooner. Why, you ask, is this a problem? You see, everything looks different in the silky blackness of night and it is very easy to get disoriented and end up on a different beach – or worse yet on the rocks.
To make our move more dramatic, there was a thunderstorm moving in and the wind and waves were beginning to build. The waves created by the storm winds were beginning to bounce the boat painfully off and on the bottom and I knew it was time to move.
With Michelle at the helm, I went forward to winch us off the sand bar and in to navigable water. To keep us on course, we had our chart plotter, the radar, and a powerful spotlight. Once free, we had to make a close approach to an ominous rock formation to starboard, then take a hard port and maneuver out through a narrow channel that was less than 100 feet wide.
As we pulled free, the rain was coming down in buckets and the wind was howling. Lightning bolts, which normally scare the poop out of me, were a welcome occurrence as they provided definition to the shorelines and helped us find our way out of the mess I’d gotten us in to.
I’m making it sound quite dramatic and it was a bit scary at the time, but within 30 minutes we were out the pass and re-anchored in deeper water on the lee (back side) of the cay. That’s how it goes with cruising…