That was a great link, I am sending it to my girlfriend.
As a funny
note, my first solo overnighter was accidental. I took a little Bristol 24 down from Lavalette NJ to Harvey Cedars. I had a handheld VHF
and nothing else, except a small, one page chart of the bay that was $4.95 at West Marine
. No GPS
. No electronics
were working. Nice day, so what the heck. EVERYTHING was fine until the last mile of the 25 miles or so. That area of the bay is so damn shallow, I asked my girlfriend's dad to come out in his powerboat and guide me in to the mooring
we had set up, as even with that chart (and no gps
, though) I was bumping shallows all the time.
Anyway, by the time he came out, it got dark. Five minutes later, the WORST FOG
EVER hit. I mean, I could not see the end of the 24 foot boat!!!! And my girlfriend's dad's GPS went out, lol. Now, he knows that bay like the back of his hand -- 30 years of boating
there. And HE had trouble finding the channel (in his defense, he never had to find 3 1/2 feet of water
before, just 18 inches).
Anyway, he had to take me under tow, as there was no way I could see or follow him (actually, we tried, but he grounded me twice by leading me into the shallows, and since HIS VHF
blew out on the way to get me, I could not contact him over the noise
of his engine
-- just had to watch him speeed away without me). He was actually with in his buddy's boat, with his buddy. the boat was chock full of working electronics
- until they tried to use it coming out for me. by the way, his friend was a nice elderly man missing one leg and one eye (I am NOT making this up. You can't make things like this up! lol). They start argueing about which way to go, etc., and promptly tow me onto a sand bar -- hard. They don't even realize it, lol, as what happens is, their boats starts going in circles, tied to mine as the pivot point! They can't see that because they have no fixed object ahead of them in the fog
, they thing they are just wobblying a bit. But I can see I am in one spot and they are just spinning me around on the bar, lol. They are doing 10 knots IN A CIRCLE!!!
Of course, with their VHF out I can't hail them. My girlfriend's dad is so ticked off with everyone from shore calling his cell to find out "what's going on, what's taking so long, how are you guys," etc., that he turns it off.
Then the two older guys really start argueing, and finally cut down their engine
enough for me to hear them and vice versa. So they shout out that they can't tow me, I weigh too much -- and I reply that the real problem is that I am stuck hard on a sand bar. But they don't hear that. Instead, they cut me loose and take off, shouting out some vague promise to come back...apparently, with me not hearig the trailing words, "in the morning".
Anyway, to make this long story shorter, they can't come back in the fog, I realize. I spend the night onboard -- luckily, I never travel, especially on a boat, without some survival type stuff. Basics. I was an Army Ranger
, and it's just ingrained in me. So I had some cereal bars (the boat was just bought used and had NOTHING inside, including running lights), a few pillows and -- a case of Mountain Dew. Oh yeah, and one small $5 electronic Yachtzee game
I let the Coast Guard know I was there, somewhere, and they asked if I was alright until daylight, which I was (I knew I was very close to the mooring
I was making for). The coasties said the good news was, even without lights (I later rigged up the spreader lights), no one would be likely to hit me because the fog was so bad no one was out, and besides, the approx place I was, charted at about 1 foot low tide. Maybe.
They were right about the low water depth
, as, 13 Mountain Dews and 655 Yachtzee games later, about 4 AM, I found myself almost on my side at 75 degrees....by the way, warm Mountain Dew is an interesting breakfast drink.
With light, I could see the shore, started rocking the boat free -- hey, I had to do something, I had drunk most of a case of Mountain Dew stuck inside a boat 7 feet wide and 20 feet long. If I had had a second case of that green liquid methamphetamine, I think I would have been able to grab the tow line with my teeth and pull the boat to shore.
I even kedged a little. I took the anchor
from the bow, walked it around to the stern, and chucked it as far as a I could. I figured, it was 24 feet from the bow to the stern, i chuck it 5-10 feet, and viola, in 1 -3 feet of water I have -- 10 to 1 scope! lol.....
I got free just as the rescuers came, and followed them into what was then a fairly well marked channel. How we missed seeing the markers the previous night, let alone not running into them, I will never know, lol.
I think it was midnight the next day before enough of the Mountain Dew wore off to let me fall asleep....