The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth?
12 April 2017 | Fernandina Beach, FL
Beth / high 20's - feels cooler on the water
I like to tell the happy stories, and occasionally the not so happy ones that are part of our sailing adventures. Some stories are better kept private - little ones that aren't useful to anyone reading for entertainment or for cruising information. We would prefer to keep the awkward/embarassing ones to ourselves, but I try to write a truthful blog, and so ... I will tell you the story of how we missed dinner with our friends on Wednesday evening.
We had a pleasant early morning departure from St Augustine and got a nice lift from the current on our way up the ICW. We enjoyed looking at the properties along the edges, the marshes, the pelicans. The going was easy. Until we passed Red 44 and Green 43 in the South Amelia River. We were in the channel, but the depths started dropping. I zigzagged a little to starboard and a little to port seeking deeper water and finding no real difference. As I zigged back to starboard, we slugged to a stop in the mud. The current twisted us around to face south. I reved the engine in reverse and forward. We put out a sail to see if the tipped keel would give enough room to float off. (In this case, it just pushed us farther onto the shoal.) Nothing worked. I howled; I cried; I pounded my fists. Jim sighed and called Tow Boat US.
Hearing that we were grounded just south of Red 42, Joe said, "Oh yeah, I know right where you are. That shoal on the western edge has been growing out over the last few years". He zoomed into sight within half an hour and made one try to pull us off, but he said he knew that this close to low tide, we were too far onto the shoal for it to work. So what happened next? We sat and waited. And tipped. And waited - for 2 hours to low tide, and then 2 hours as the tide rose and we straightened up again, and then an other 45 minutes as Joe tugged gently this way and that until we came loose about 6:50 pm. He gave us a heads up about some other skinny water areas between here and the mooring field at Fernandina Beach (notably at Green 1 - stick really close to it) and we considered calling it a night and anchoring just up the way, but we decided to follow his wake and do the trip on the rising tide, hoping to cover the next 10 miles before dark.
It felt like we were in a time warp when the big black Nina and Pinta came along just as we were coming free. These reproductions of Christopher Columbus' ships (www.thenina.com) were in Vero Beach last week, and were on their way to St Mary's, Georgia. We made an interesting parade - the tow boat way out in front, followed by Madcap powering along just as fast as we could go, with the tall ships bringing up the rear.
In the dusky light, we were delighted to see that there was still an empty ball right on the south edge of the mooring field (no guarantee that our reserved ball wouldn't have been picked up by another boat after the office closed) so I nosed up to it, Jim grabbed the tether, and by the time he had the line secured around a cleat it was dark. Whew!
The tall ships ghosted on past to St Mary's, we poured a glass of wine and cooked up some comfort food (pasta with pesto, sausage, the last of the tomatoes and a good dusting of Parmesan) as we ruminated on the wisdom of having towing insurance. We made new arrangements to see our friends and we tumbled into bed, thankful to see the end of this day.
There are some good pics in the gallery - the real reason I decided to tell you the story.