Sunday, March 6th, 2016;
Day One of Our Pacific Adventure
Not an hour into our trip and already a crisis!
Life isn’t all cocktails and lazy days when living aboard, and leaving Panama bay this morning was a perfect indicator of that; Louis was helping me to bring up the anchor; one of us has to operate the anchor control and hose the chain as it comes up, washing all the disgusting grey, sticky, gunk off it, while the other person moves and arranges the chain as it fills the locker (this is to ensure that the chain doesn’t become a pyramid and block the control). The chain was especially filthy, and it was taking ages to clean it all off, I was getting sprayed with the nasty gunk as it flew off the chain and blew back down the boat, we were bringing it up 2 – 3 feet at a time, taking time to clean it off as best we could, but it was really stuck and not easy to remove. Oh I forgot to mention, it smells like stinky garbage, really disgusting.
Once the anchor was out of the water, I brought it the rest of the way up, without paying attention to the new second anchor that Bob had fitted, and jammed the two anchors together. This involved much cussing and swearing on Bob’s part as he struggled to separate the two anchors with the eventual use of a crow bar to accomplish it. Meanwhile, as all this was going on, I took the helm to motor us out of the bay. The bay was full of enormous tankers either ready to transit the canal or having just completed a transit and were anchored out. I didn’t have my glasses on which would have helped me see the wake of the enormous tanker I was approaching. As I couldn’t see a wake, I assumed that the tanker was at anchor, and so proceeded to follow the set course steering port of it. I appeared to be approaching the tanker at some speed although I was only doing 3 knots, and it was a few minutes before I spotted the wake and realized it was moving and coming towards me, at speed! About the same time I realized this the tanker started blowing its horn, bringing Louis and Bob running down the decks towards me screaming “Port, Port,” even though I was heading to port, in my panic between the horn and Bob yelling I mistakenly turned the helm hard to starboard, the tanker was furiously blowing its horn and Louis and Bob were still yelling “Port, Port, what the fuck are you doing?” Louis reached the helm first and grabbed it from me continuing the starboard turn, “it’s too late now to turn to port so we just have to keep going” he said as he swung Daisy hard round away from the approaching tanker, and into safe water.
If I’ve ever felt inadequate as a sailor, this was the time! Seriously what an idiot, I can only imagine what the tanker captain must have thought, (Crazy Daisy living up to her name, as usual whenever I’m aboard).
I’ve witnessed many acts of idiocy from so called sailors/boaters, while living aboard, but I think I take the prize for the dumbest act so far. It’s scary how fast things happen at sea. Needless to say I don’t leave my glasses below decks anymore, and won’t be taking the helm again for a while. I’m just grateful my children weren’t there to witness their Mother’s lunacy.
Thank the Lord I can cook, my only saving grace, or i’m sure I’d be shark bait. This wasn’t the best start to our trip, hopefully it will improve, as long as I stay away from the controls…
Much later that day…
As we bobbed gently along across a perfectly flat ocean at a steady 5.4 knots under the power of the jib sail. The giant red orb of the setting sun on the horizon, threw a magical golden pathway of sparkling light across the glassy flat ocean, bathing Daisy in its golden glow. As I relaxed back sipping my gin and tonic, I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the ocean, and be so incredibly grateful that I was still on the water and not under it! Not the best start for our trip to the Marquises, but a lovely end to the day, its getting better…