Shit Shows in Paradise

When we sailed west to the Grenadines we checked into customs (I’m getting very good at that) and went to a tiny islandcalled White Island which is on the south side of Carriacou, north of Grenada.

Like Gilligans island only smaller. No one here but our two yachts so yes, naked! Well at least when the Tazmanians Gaz and Reets from Miss Catana were not onboard!

Then sailed around to yet another little spit called Sandy Island and dropped anchor. Windsurfer, snorkeled, relaxed.
We are back into the anchoring and love finding the perfect sandy spot to drop. 

But yesterday after a night next to a small town, boats started arriving to check into customs and buy provisions and everyone seemed to want to anchor close to us. Why? When there is a huge bay we can’t sort out why folks crowd unless they just aren’t sure so they think you know best and want to copy. 

I was getting stir crazy from working on the boat (we still have a lot of projects) and needed to go to shore to find culture. A small museum and next thing I am whisked upstairs by the woman running it to see her fathers private art collection. Evidently he was a famous artist, Canute Caliste, and musician and even played at Buckingham Palace! She had his clothes and musical instruments and the walls were covered with his art.

Ok so I got my wish. Great discussions including American and Caribbean politics, (they hate Donald), warnings about pirates near Trinidad, and local foods.

Back to the dock and the others met me. Just when we were about to walk to find a bus Eric notices another boat drifting towards ours! Boom we zoom out and get there just as an old beat up monohull, that had signs of sea Gypsy live aboards, is sliding alongside but hasn’t touched.

Of course their anchor dragged over ours. 

That was a first for us.

I’m at the throttles and helm and Eric and Reets have fenders to keep their big metal bow piercing anchor roller from smashing into our mid section. Because it was next to our shrouds and daggerboard which was lifted, Reets had to jump fore and aft to keep them off. Meanwhile Gaz was still in the dinghy and got between the two to act as a big fender and we got far enough upwind of them before we realized we were getting sucked back into them. Now they were on our stern. Without a board down we don’t have directional stability but putting one down with their chain going under us was sketchy.

We just had our bottoms completely and I mean completely redone. My stomach was starting to twist.

Meanwhile the Germans on the cat that also anchored too close were on deck watching the shit show with great interest. Did they bother to offer help? Nope. They watched. Eric had spoken to them earlier about being too close and asked if they would be onboard while we left so he knew that they knew we had concerns. I signaled for them to get out of there as when you are stuck on an anchor, with no directional control you can swing wildly when the puffs roll in at 20 kts. They didn’t budge. And there were moments when we were headed right at them, throttle full reverse, no response. Too much wind and the other anchor. Agh!

Finally the two vagabonds row their cute Dory out and it’s a nice looking young couple, late twenties, early thirties. 

The girl is smiling. I want to smack her smile. Maybe looking back she was nervous. But showing concern would have been more polite. Perhaps she was clueless but seriously, when two boats are trying not to smash what is there to smile about? I asked if they spoke English because after sailing the Med it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to ask. She laughed and said she was American. He had long hair and a Hawaiian shirt on, was British, and was quick to offer to jump in and clear anchors. By then Eric was jumping in so with engines going, boats trying not to smash, a German boat too close for comfort, our starboard engine, for the first time ever, quits. Yep, it quits. Of course.

It’s the rule of the sea.

When things go wrong, they go seriously wrong.

So now we have two guys in the water that I can’t see, but Gaz is telling me where they are.

I can see their chain going under us so I tell the girl to let out their chain.

The guy lifts his anchor off a rock and we are untangled.

And finally we are able to go forward and lift ours. With one engine.

Won’t restart.

Tricky business.

But we manage and once free use plenty of speed to have directional control and zoom to a place where we hope no one will follow. 

Did we go back to land and see the island?

Hell no!

Mexican Dominoes ruled the night and we found our own piece of culture with nachos and butternut squash pasta.

Lessons learned?

Move your own boat when others won’t.

If there is any doubt, move, and choose a place that is easy to see from land.

Four sets of hands on deck in an emergency is better than two but that was luck.

Karma was on our side.

Maybe the milk carton we bought for the old man outside the store at Barbados gave us a little.

And…

Sometimes just one little minute can change the results in fate.

Reets had forgotten her wallet and Gaz had gone back. He returned.

Then their pillows that they were giving away had blown off the dock and we were looking at rescuing them when Eric noticed the boat was getting closer.

And when we got there it was only a few feet away.

If we’d gotten on a bus as planned there is no telling what kind of damage we would have acquired. And one look at their boat told us they have no insurance. 

Our damage report? One small gash on our port side that is an easy fiberglass fix. We are grateful that’s all.

After a night off to cool off, the engine started. Hallelujah. 

Tomorrow is Erics birthday and we head to Tobago Cays. Two days later it’s Gaz’s, and today is Australia Day which is like 4th of July for us. 

Lots to celebrate including living our dream!

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