Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pass the rum and the spanner...

Not every day can be all sandy beaches and pina coladas. At least not with a fair share of boat troubles and technical glitches.
When we decided to pursue the ‘boat life’, I remember JW stating that what it’s all about is ‘fixing your boat in paradise’.
This morning began as many others, the sun peeking over the edge of the hatch above us, kissing us with a warm ‘good morning’. Friendly voices on the cruisers net, letting us know about the weather, the waves and the social events of the week.
Eventually we got out of bed, fired up the kettle and decided that today we’d head for Prickly Bay, as we’ve been invited to Peking Duck Grenada style over that way this evening.
No problem, after a makeshift breaky of whatever’s left in our galley (thawed bacon and Raisin Bran, UHT milk and a couple slices of stale bread) – we completed the moving checklist of hatch closing, dishes away etc. and revved up the engines.
The trip was peaceful – a cornucopia of blues spilling from above and below from the sky to the reefs on either side of us. The sun on our backs, we came round Prickly Point into the busy bay.
All no problem so far. Should have known.
We headed toward a mooring ball that we’d anchored near before. There it was bobbing all pink and chubby in the choppy little waves. We headed for it, swung around and once we had it on our port side (that’s the left J), JW called up for me to drop the anchor. I pressed the right button – the ‘down’ on the windlass remote control. And down it went, fast. But when I removed my finger, the chain kept flying down into the murky water below.
“I’m not doing that!” I shouted and JW spun round with a big “Sh*t!”.
When this happens, the first rule is to stay away from it completely or risk losing a limb. The chain weighs tons and when the momentum begins, it can’t be stopped by a fleshy little human hand or foot!
So luckily it didn’t break the rope at it’s end and fly off the boat completely (which would have left us without an anchor altogether).
But as we were now focused on the chain, pooled somewhere on the ocean floor underneath, we had drifted toward the mooring ball and our neighboring boat was waving his arms to let us know that we should get away from it ASAP!
We eventually got most of the chain back up, and hooked on the bridle (to keep us steady and pointing correctly – and not swinging into the nearby boats), and then it dawned on us that the chain might just be tangled around the base of the mooring ball. Which would not be good. At all.
Our neighbor seeing us just standing on the front of our boat, looking concerned, came by and asked if all was ok. He had a look at the windlass with JW to see if there was something wrong or loose on the clutch. We’re still not 100% sure it won’t happen again, the next time we anchor. Which incidentally will be tomorrow! That is, if we’re not stuck to a mooring….
JW donned his big new blue flippers and neon goggles and tipped into the water like an eager dolphin, to see if he could eyeball the chain. He couldn’t. Too murky. But he looked adorable in a slightly comical way. Unfortunately that won’t help tomorrow when we try to head out again.

So, at this stage I needed a beer, and we decided to head over to the beach we could see in the distance, just to walk along, unwind and have that beer!
But as we neared the beach and JW tried to tip up the dinghy motor, it became apparent it was going nowhere and we would most likely end up with the propeller deep in the sand and stuck in the mossy seagrass. He fiddled and we bobbed and the poor holiday makers trying to read their Kindles in peace and sip their rum punches with an unfettered view of the beach and bay beyond, were instead treated to our bouncing dinghy and frustrated fumbling. Two local guys, fixing a boat motor nearby noticed us and came wading in to help. As the one guy tinkered and banged and time lolled along like molasses, I realised there we were, standing on a pristine beach, palm trees swaying above us, sun glistening on the water. In paradise, fixing our boat.


  1. I know nothing about boating. All I know is that it looks so very idyllic and peaceful to see the boats and yachts in the water or in the marina. I'm just back from the Turkey coast with all those lovely marinas and boats.

    Then I read your blog post . . .

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks Wendela! It all went well in the end :) We made it to the parties around at the next little island without any big hitches :)

    1. I have a boat so I know exactly what you're talking about ...