Monday, March 19, 2018

Wake me not

Friday evening after work Blowin' in the Wind, home for Daughter Eldest and Family, dropped its dock lines and joined Kintala in the anchorage for the weekend. There may be, somewhere in the world, something better than having a family boat raft up that includes a gaggle of grand kids, but it is hard to imagine what that might be. Little ones scampered back and forth between the boats (with close adult supervision), there was that special, little one laughter over pelican antics, and the adult conversations centered about how much joy could be found just a few hundred feet off shore. The weather was quiet, the sky clear, and the water placid. It was a perfect evening and the start of what promised to be a wonderful weekend.

Saturday morning arrived cool and quiet, right up until the powerboat brigade started. The designated anchorage was off Pt McKay on the Manatee River, not very far from the boat yard. Anchoring there, as it turned out, was like pitching a tent in a perfect little meadow on Friday night, only to discover on Saturday morning that little meadow was smack in the middle of a Rally Car track. Within minutes the two boats were periodically banging into each other as an endless parade of wakes surged past, ricocheted off the shore, and struck from the other direction.

Now some might think that a newly minted Coast Guard Captain would have anticipated such a situation. After all, the Manatee River is pretty much a boat highway from multiple marinas to the Tampa Bay playground. I have been in such conditions many times before and should have known better. But, as the saying goes, “If I was perfect they would have to pay me more.”

We stuck it out by tying the boats tightly together with a solid layer of fenders in between. It worked, though a couple of hits were dramatic enough to be a bit scary. Not for the kids. They were hooting and calling out “Wake Hoe!” when spotting the bigger swells rolling through. The adults kept cautioning the little ones to hold on and sit down.

I try to be a live-and-let-live sort of person. Well, maybe it is more that I get as far away from most people as I can. That way they can live however they want without being much of a bother to me, and I can do the same without being much of a bother to them. The power boaters were just out having fun. Some were going fishing. Some were heading to a beach somewhere. And some were thrashing around just to thrash around. Nothing really wrong with that. We used to thrash around on massively overpowered motorcycles just for the shear exuberance of it all. I suppose the same can be said of powerboats. On the other hand…

After repeated bashings it was clear that there wasn't near enough space between Kintala and the power boat parade.  My imagination started seeing the blunt, weird looking shapes zooming by in a less than flattering light; loud, smelly, and banging across the water with the apparent haphazardness of those not caring much about anything except being loud, smelly, and banging across the water. There were no dolphins in sight. I hope there were no manatees about, they would have had little chance to survive. Pelicans and  cormorants fled the scene. At one point I took the little ones into shore so they could ride bicycles rather than get tossed around the cockpit.

Things settled down come evening. Pelicans and cormorants returned to do a little fishing. There might even have been a puff or two as dolphins nosed around to see what kind of damage had been done. It was a bit surreal that this was the same place it had been just a couple of hours before. It  seemed the wise decision to pull out first thing in the morning, before the Sunday madness erupted.

I was on Blowin' In The Wind when the lines were tossed, riding along for a run to the pump out station a couple of miles up the river. It was only their second time getting on an unfamiliar dock so having an extra pair of adult hands on board, just in case, seemed like a good idea. It turns out I was completely superfluous, unnecessary baggage. The grandsons (nine and five) are excellent line handlers and soon after leaving the pump out, Blowin' In The Wind was secure in her own slip. Deb picked me up in the Ding, we loosed Kintala’s hook from the river bed, stopped by the pump out as well, and returned to our old slip. (That the new head configuration pumps out so much quicker and easier than the old was was a pleasant surprise. It shouldn't have been. The new hose run is about half as long as the old one, with about 270 less degree of bending.)

Today it was back to addressing the few minor items, like the 2.5 inch hole in the foredeck left after removing the deck fitting that is going to find a new permanent home in a different spot. Right after laying down some glass Old Boss Not So New called to see if I could make a road trip to check the rigging on a boat. (The yard is pretty busy.) The long and short is that the "road trip" ended up being done in a 300 HP center console fishing boat.

So there I was skimming along the Bay with Old Boss Not So New's Boss at the helm, doing close to 30 knots, and leaving a pretty good wake behind my sailboating self. Since the whole purpose of this trip was to get somewhere to fix something before the weather moves in tonight, not to mention that two of us were on the clock at a combined rate north of $100 / hour, such speed seemed totally reasonable.

Live and let live.

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