Sail Set

With due timing and utmost vigilance we’re off. Set sail. Onward, upward, outward. Dan and I, enthusiastic, gawk at the sights, the smells, the lore of such a voyage. We’d anchor tonight, we’d see the land the whole way, we had no doubt this was an achievement no man had made before.

Well, we had some sense. There were plenty of other boats about, and our rig was by no means the brightest, but what the hell it was going to be fun. Sailing for two weeks with Captain Jim. Captain Jim was practically Neptune himself. Say where were his mermaids. That’s a rotten deal.

Our motor moved us through the bay and around islands with names like squirrel and negro. The we turned east and neither Dan nor I knew what lay ahead. We took photos and kept a watch out for anything novel, sure to alert the rest of the crew, “Look Out! Bird, Bird port, errrr-starport, err port bow-side. A bird!”. This lasted about two hours before Dan took a break and I gave up my vigilance.

The sail came up for a short while but quickly back in a we crossed “Penbscot Bay” and soon we were near Winter Bay/Harbor, an anchorage defined by a narrow channel with reefs and sand bars everywhere. Along the channel sides, in the channel middle, on both ends. This was a pilots hell! But I wasn’t at the helm and we had a dingy if trouble brewed too dark.

Capt. Jim brought us in on a dime. A bit much further the morning would have seen us digging the boat out. Jim’s morning swim, and consequently Dan and mine as well, showed that four meters off the stern, with the boat turned on it’s anchor with the tide, Jim could touch bottom. It was a precision anchor drop. Jim harvested muscles for us that evening and we steamed them up into quite a first nights meal.

Round nine thirty we set back to the sea. Motor blaring we navigated the now well drained channel. Exposed rock and reef abounded. I was further impressed with our pilot. I didn’t stop talking about it. We swung back into the channel and put out to sea.

Fog. Do you know about fog? Halloween, dance parties, cold punch. These are the things fog was made for. A close second is to combine with smoke and produce the beautiful sunsets of Los Angles, but at sea, in a boat, unfamiliar with land, fog has no place.

We got rolled. We saw it coming and we strutted right into it. Light at first, it socked in the distant hills, then the islands, then the close land marks, then the shoreline. Next the water. Then the buoys. Then visibility was gone. Cold, wet, stiff I stood atop the anchors on the bow, feet snug under chain. My arms continuously pointing out lobster buoys, a hazard to our prop. The sound of breakers echos quite well in the density of fog. A bell buoy ricocheted gongs and dongs. from the left and right, sometimes from stern. My arm would point one finger, then a second, a salute to Texas, then my other arm, another finger on my first as the second tried to keep up. I tracked buoys with fingers and let them go as they came a beam in order to track the next. Pale white, my fingers kept at it. My beard dripped dewlets down my neck and freshwater into my mouth. I was grinning. This Was adventure. Dan stood behind me in the tension of the fog relaying any message between Jim ans I and kept his own eyes open. I could have gone on for days like that. It was great. I retreated back to the cockpit once the buoys dissipated and the water calmed. Armed with radar and GPS, Jim clearly could have lasted too.

Once in harbor we were happy to not still be at sea and we drank and rested well. It was only in the morning and the days after that Dan and I were able to recognize what kind of space we navigated by shear luck and a $1000 of electronics.