A Miraculous Wakeup
Boat-tasking, fixing things, book-reading, napping and snacking have their own separate boat-owning challenges, but they are all relatively easy activities with fairly predictable outcomes. But as Yogi Berra might have reminded me "The day ain't over until it's totally over".
After a visit from the Nassau harbor police and a thorough boat inspection, an 11:30 pm 20+ knot wet easterly wind headwind coupled with a 2-4+ knot current and some 1-2 foot waves burst through the channel for the evening's finale - a 100-meter anchor-dragging that pushed and shoved Mystique precariously close to a nearby fuel dock. Somehow the squall woke me just in time to rescue Mystique from making a massive midnight mess.
I was sound asleep, so I thought. But sailors don't sleep with both eyes closed. I was somehow alert to check. The wind's howling and rattling through the rigging spoke and woke me just in time. I peered out the porthole, noticed Mystique was drifting. From my berth I bolted up to the helm and immediately noticed looming pilings and a tour boat target dead astern about 10 meters away - enough motivation for quick reflexes. My first impulse was just to start the engines, twin 29-horse Yanmars, and fight the wind and tidal forces to stabilize Mystique's drift westward. Though her anchor was slowing this backwards, westerly movement, I could tell it was not holding the bottom or slowing enough to think. I was in reaction mode. Save the boat mode. I eventually determined her anchor had dragged close to 100 meters and luckily in a path where there were no other yachts.
And then I could not believe how fortunate I was. A nearby gas dock presented an intriguing option during the downpour. While Brown's gas dock may have been closed at that hour of the night, its dock space was open and it invited me, actually rescued me. I knew I had no other option and this was staring at me "Park here!"
My next challenge was moving Mystique to starboard about 30 yards to this dock spot. Thank goodness the anchor did not hold or pull me back so I slowly maneuvered Mystique over to the dock's most westerly piling. My challenge now was getting a dock line around that lead piling while keeping the boat stable and motionless against the wind and current.
I remember asking myself "How can help myself without harming the boat?" I had no dock lines out so I had to retrieve them, secure one to the boat and pass it around the piling and secure the line back to another cleat. It all happened flawlessly. My breathing calmed down. As the boat began to hug the dock, I retrieved fenders and and fastened them to the lifeline and then secured more dock lines to account for tide. Mystique was secure inside 15 minutes . As I turned off her engines, I began to laugh and almost cry. I could not believe what I had just experienced. All had happened like some sort of quick seaman's test. Anchor-dragging, near collision, gas dock opening. All part of my training! "Wake up and take care of your boat, Henry!"
And then I really laughed when I realized I had been planning to come over to the gas dock in the next couple of days to refuel.
Rather than write my blog ashore, I had decided I'd spend a mundane stay-day on Mystique. I thought I would have a relatively calm, peaceful and uneventful 24 hours. Boy, was I way off base! Never could I have anticipated the challenges this day had in store for me. Life sometimes creates surreal moments to challenge one's stamina and steadfastness.
Everyday miracles? Yes, I am a true believer.