In the Pitch Dark Night

I climb into bed at 9pm, exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep after a couple of stormy nights. But Matt comes down 3 minutes later. “Put your clothes back on, we need to reset the anchor. I go up into the cockpit and he hands me a flashlight. “Check this out.” The trees are just off the stern.  The wind is blowing fiercely from the north. This was supposed to be such a great, protected anchorage.

Matt goes forward to pull the anchor up while I man the helm. It is really hard to see what is going on, and as soon as the anchor is up a little bit, we get pushed further into the trees. “Go forward!” Matt yells. We are in the mud. We are grounded. He comes back and gives it some juice and we break free.

We pull away from the trees. It is another moonless night as black as black can be and the rain is coming down steadily. The wind is pushing the bow around making it difficult to figure out where we are going. The bay is shallow so we don’t have much space to work with. We keep going away from the trees, only to have the wind bring us right back to them when we try to set the anchor.

After three tries, we finally get it. I can’t see the trees anymore through the rain with my flashlight, but the GPS says we are somewhere in the bay and we have 10 feet of water under us. I head back to bed, even more exhausted but totally wired. Matt comes down after a bit and lays down as well. “It seems to be holding.” He says.

Sometime later, Matt wakes me up. “Get up, I think we are grounded and there is a norther blowing in. I can hear the wind howling and pushing us fiercely. Some loose straps are making a racket. I quickly pull my pants on inside out. This doesn’t sound good at all.

I go up to the cockpit and look at the depth finder. It is reading 0.4 meters, then 3.5, then 1.6. It is all over the place. What the heck? The wind and the rain are hammering us, and the boat is pitching and rolling and pushing us over to one side. I shine the light out but I don’t see anything. No trees. That is a good sign.

Suddenly, the depth finder goes back to 3.6 and stays there. Huh. Maybe a school of fish or some manatees like the ones we saw earlier? Matt checks the anchor and it seems to be holding after all. The squall dies down and it is just the regular steady wind. Just to be safe, he throws a second anchor. I wait up for him, storm gear ready, just in case. Then we head back to bed, again.


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