What's a little chop?
It's a little after midnight when Mystique's sliding door awakens me; the water is rocking my boat awkwardly...the tide must be changing, I surmise. So I convince my carcass to crawl out of my cocoon and address the sliding bangs. I'm greeted with a gentle 10-12 easterly breeze, a comfortable, almost glorious tempered moonlight night and with a nearby 40' catamaran heading directly towards Mystique's stern port quarter.
It's not really moving towards us as it is also at anchor. No problem; it is anchored well. So I go up to the bow and see our anchor rode and bridle where they should be - right directly in front of the trampoline and doing its thing - holding its ground and centering the boat on the current and wind forces at work. We are almost broadsides to the tide and wind which are flowing in opposite directions which is causing a little chop.
I fell asleep early...soon after sundown...and I'm not feeling sleepy now as I write this so I'm staying up on deck and watching the boat's swaying in this eastern anchorage. Maybe a couple small craft flash their red or green lights as they quietly motored by near the northern side of the harbor. Nothing like the frequency of daytime flotilla of tour boats, jet skies and engine wakes.
Suddenly I casually noticed lights turning a quarter mile westward near the East Bay Street marinas and then turn sharply into the sailboat anchorage field where most of the 10 or so boats are anchored maybe 3-5 safe boat lengths away from each other. I'm a little perplexed why a ship this size would venture into an area for anchoring 30'-40' private sailing vessels at night. Especially since most of the open water lays between Paradise Island and New Providence. As I watch, the 100+ cargo container vessel heads towards Mystique for a moment. I'm wondering will it sneak between my boat and another to windward or pass to stern and open water. I know the answer before it happens. I've spent way too much time here near this rat race.
So as it nears all lit up, I move to the bow as it slices by between my boat and another catamaran . It passes close enough that if I had had an anchor buoy, it would have been history. I wondered about the mentality steering the ship, but as it passed one of the crew called out "get out of our way!"
Like the prevailing easterlies breezes, a prevailing feeling floats by with water, sound and brain waves..."dont get too close to us, but it's ok if we get close to you".... "welcome to OUR island, mon", but not too close.
Most motor boaters close calls have a feel of an unfriendly indifference. Maybe I am too sensitive or too alert to a rubbing and almost numbing co-existence between cultures here. But when tour boats, fishermen, pleasure craft, motor boaters, jet skiers and night ships pass by leaving their water and sound wake, it certainly doesn't feel welcoming.
What's a little chop!