I have put this one off for a long time. It's touchy to write about the problems, shortcomings and total screw-up's of others. Much easier to poke fun at myself. Not just because we have so much subject matter to choose from when laughing at our own escapades, but because I am reticent to embarrass anyone else. Who knows when the aggrieved party might read the blog? (Ok, we're probably alright there) However, I have decided to give this one a go. Because it's just so good. So here are the rules. No naming of the true location, so as not to indicate who it may be. The name of the participants and boat name will be changed. The rest is too true.
We had planted our anchor in the area between the two islands where we had read we should think about placing a second anchor. It wasn't needed, as we had been swinging for over 24 hours with no problems. The water was crystal clear, and we were alone in the anchorage. Al and I had agreed to wait for a friend to show up in a day or so. They had wanted to stay and see a little of Nassau before joining us. We had been enjoying the time alone, swimming to the islands, videoing the local wildlife, and snorkeling.
We saw the two trawlers (that's not too much is it?) pull into the anchorage and make their way towards our location. There was plenty of room on the other side of the area, but we know how that goes, don't we?
They were buddy boats, and motored past us towards a sandbar that extended all the way across the anchorage. It was very visible, the water was only about six inches at high tide and the entire area was white, not the blue associated with water. Anyway, the fist one (we'll call it "Big Brother") dropped anchor a barely respectable distance from our bow. We watched as the second boat (we'll call it "Nirvana") motored past and kept going right onto the sandbar. The guy came out of the pilothouse and went up front to see what had stopped his forward progress. His big brother, I mean the guy on Big Brother, started yelling stuff at him. He backed off, and came back towards us and dropped his hook almost on top of ours. Great. As I was getting ready to go over and ask him to move, Big brother deploys a second anchor in the correct fashion. Had to, as Nirvana had anchored so close to him that they would surely bang together when the current shifted. So Nirvana, after conferring in back and forth yells with Big Brother, deploys his second anchor. Straight down on top of the first. I'm not going over there. No point. Al swam our second anchor out as far behind us as he could, to keep us from swinging down on Nirvana. Problem solved.
As the afternoon wore on, both boats got into Nirvana's dingy and went ashore. Later, we saw them or rather HEARD them coming back, yelling and paddling; the now defunct engine raised in the air. They were larger folks and it was a large dink, large engine too; we could see them struggling to row it against the current. If not for the yelling, cussing, and name-calling going on in the dink, we would have offered to help. The drama reached its crescendo as they dropped off their passengers on Big Brother and rowed the 4 feet over to Nirvana.
All was quiet for a time, until I asked Al if we were on fire. Something was burning, an acrid smell that wafted right down into the salon. We sprang topside. Nirvana was burning. The smoke was pouring out of the rear door. Wait, that smell.... "Someone is burning some blackened fish." False alarm. Gad, the smell burned in our noses. Hot oil, strong spices and burnt food. Just in time for our dinner. We put off dinner for a few hours to let the air clear
Nirvana must have sorted out the engine problem, because they went tootling off to see the iguanas (oops) a short time later. On their way back, they swung by our boat to say hello. Actually, he was a writer who had a book published and he wanted to sell us a copy. I asked what it was about and he recounted seeing a movie, thought it was good enough to copy into a book, only better. His wife nodded enthusiastically at this. He mentions the movie and I remember it tanked. Weak plot. Politely I decline. He had 40 copies of said book he was going to try to unload while in the Bahamas. His agent thought it was a good idea. Good luck, at $45. Hardcover.
He started talking about the many bridges on the ICW and told us a little trick he had for getting under the one near his house. He calls on the radio to the tender; "Hey, ya wanna see some tits?' and no lie, his wife raises her blouse to show us what happens next. They're both laughing. Al and I share the look. These are not our kind of people. I find myself glad I gave the book a pass. Thankfully they leave us to wonder how we got so lucky to be sharing this anchorage with them, and when will they leave for another. We are waiting on friends, remember?
The next morning I see big Brother pull his anchors and head out. Nirvana pulls one, and finds that the secondary has wrapped three or four times around it while swinging through the night. That tends to happen when they are dropped right on top of each other. Down goes the first. Up comes the second. Not. Down goes the second. Up comes the first. Now they are both at the bow, looking at the twisted anchors, boat still in forward, until one of them remembers and goes to put the boat in neutral. They narrowly avoid running into the island. Now ole dude decides to pull out the chain from the chain locker. "This should be good." I tell Al. He wants to know why. I tell him that the chain is more than likely bolted firmly to the bulkhead far at the bottom of the chain locker. We make bets and watch.
Big Brother is nowhere to be seen by now, but they are hailing Nirvana over and over. The calls go ignored by our intrepid boaters. We can hear their radio from our cockpit. There must be close to 300-400 feet of chain he pulls out of that locker. He works hard for around 20 minutes. It looks heavy. He piles it on the front deck. He pulls, reaches the end and "Clank!-clank!" He gives the windlass a swift kick and starts hopping around holding his hurt foot. We can hear the cussing from our cockpit "You owe me a real hamburger, in a real restaurant.' I high-five Al, as the guy starts throwing the chain back into the locker. Now all he had to do was nudge the boat in reverse around the anchor to unwind the wraps, but he can't figure that out. If it wasn't for all the cussing, we would have offered to help. Really. It's very entertaining watching him try to manhandle the secondary around the primary chain. He was totally covered in sweat around an hour later, when he finally managed to get underway.
So, in reading back through this, I can see where MAYBE the guy on Nirvana MIGHT be able to recognize himself in this story. But I have faithfully recounted it exactly as it occurred. Oh and as a postscript to all of this, the burger was delicious!