Thursday, 20 March 2008

Peaceful Nights...

A cold front made its way through our part of the world late last night.

After a scorchingly hot day we were sitting in the cockpit chatting about the meaning of life. Looking toward the north I could see lightening flashing in the distance and then a solid line of clouds building. Oh-oh!

We took down the windscoop before retiring to bed anticipating that there would be a bit of a blow later and probably some rain. And there was...

Apart from enjoying the fall in temperature, to a much more comfortable 78 degrees below deck (it reached 98 yesterday!) I lay in bed enjoying the sound of the wind in the rigging and luxuriated in the fact that i didn't have to worry whether the anchor was dragging.

Life at anchor, for me at least, takes me back to when my children were small. That sense that you only ever sleep with one ear tuned for trouble! The slightest unusual movement or sound from the boat has me instantly awake and alert. TBH is superb though at only waking when there really is a problem, me I can jump to attention just for an unexpected seagull landing! Without fail he only ever wakes up instantly when there is an impending crisis - and they are always very real ones. Bloody annoying when I have been up and down all night and miss the real drama .

Two events come to mind.

We were anchored in Store Bay, Tobago. Sound asleep around 10pm when TBH leapt to his feet.

"I hear a sail".

Yup he was right as we ran, half-naked out on deck we were met with the sight of the steel cutter that had been anchored next to us bearing down , under full sail in to our port side. The skipper had lost control as he was tangled in illegally laid fishing nets and smashed in to us. Thank God our boat is massively constructed! As TBH struggled to untangle the mess of wildly flapping sails I physically lifted the bow of our attacker up and off the stanchion that it had mounted. What a night!

The second time was off the island of Cubagua, Venezuela. TBH realised that we were dragging in a sudden violent squall and rushed to the deck to reset us before we went aground. It was a salutatory lesson in just how fast these things can happen. When daylight broke we could see that within the few moments it had taken us to get on deck the boat had moved some half a mile across the anchorage.

We usually have our anchor alarm set and have both become highly sensitized to the motion of the boat. Last night I was reminded to enjoy our last few days here in the marina as we ready ourselves for the next part of our adventure....

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