Started day before yesterday....
RocketMan, came down here with a friend of his David, 3 days ago. Day before yesterday, EndofTheRoad (EOTR), RocketMan, David, and I all got together finally. This was the first meeting of EOTR and Rocketman, and my first meeting of David. (who had at one time expressed an interest of buying
my boat...when it was for sale) We gathered up at the Green Parrot, as David had some internet
business to take care of, and the Green Parrot has free internet
, actually the Green Parrot's internet wasnt working, so I let David log into my verzion mifi.
We sat around chatting it up, it was great to be around, in one place, with people who I've grown to know through Cruiser Forums
, and even more so met personally. I sat there and marveled at these guys, their experience, intelligence, knowledge, confidence, and beautiful souls. Their kindheartness, that took me under their wings at one point or another as I befuddled my way down the west coast
, to finally arrive at Key West
We spent the day just hanging out, doing our own personal errands as a group. Had lunch at Cowboy Bill, made the obligatory stop at West Marine
, made a run over to Publix, talked about everything, and just good fellowship all the day long.
As evening came along, EOTR, had to do some other things, so we parted company. Rocketman, David and I headed out to Rocketman's boat. Since I had left my dink over at Garrison Bight, and John's dink and sailboat was at Key West
Bight, I decided to just ride out to with them, and get my dink later. EOTR, said he might stop by later, and directions was given before he left to do his things.
We sat out on Rocketman's boat and the day turned to evening, enjoying beverages of our choice, I had a mountain dew, and continued the days chatting. We talked about everything, as the sun set on the horizion behind the clouds. As Rocketman and I chatted in the cockpit
of his Beneteau
, David was below talking on his cell, I asked Rocketman, is it raining on your side of the boat? He looked at me quizically, huh? It is raining over there I asked again?, then he smiled his big smile as he could now see the rain drops falling on my side of the cockpit
. Rain was coming, but wasnt here yet full on, just a sprinkle.
David, had come up from below, with cell phone
plastered to his ear, making them faces people make when talking on the phone
and not liking the conversation. Fairly soon he was off the phone
, and I was happy to see had brought up a bag of chips. We three sat there looking about, and talking. Off in the distance I saw this dinghy
flying through the anchorage. It looked familiar to me, but it didnt register. David, with obviously better eyesight, asked if that was EOTR. Yup, I seen that stance in a dinghy
before. Standing upright mid dinghy, painter in one hand, outboard
arm with a piece of pvp strapped to it in the other, and flying on plane. EOTR, had arrived. His errand complete, he boarded JOURNEY for the first time.
The day's conversation continued again on into the evening. After awhile, EOTR was ready to head
back to his boat, and asked me if I wanted a ride back to Garrison Bight to get my dink. At first I said I would just hang out for the night on Rocketman's boat, and catch a ride back to my bicycle in the morning, then head
over to get my dink. That little voice inside my head, said, "nah go back to your sailboat". So, I said, nah, I'll just head back with EOTR, to get my dink, then head out to my boat. We said our goodbyes, and EOTR and I set out for Garrison Bight.
Along the way, EOTR asked me if I wanted to get my dink, and I replied, if its all the same, just drop me off at my sailboat. EOTR and I are about a half mile apart in the somewhat same mooring
field. EOTR, pulled up to my boat, and I scrambled over my lifelines
aboard. I still have a little apprehension going from one boat to another, especially at night!
The waters were calm on this side of Fleming
Key, as I watched EOTR head towards his boat, compared the the other side on Rocketman's boat, with all the traffic over there. Off to my north a little ways, I could see the lights and hear a helicopter's blade cutting through the air. I felt the winds begin to pick up, as a little spinkle from above started tapping on my bimini
. Within a few minutes, the wind
began to strengthen, the sprinkle became drops, the boat's stern suddenly turned round from northwest to northeast, as if pushed by a big unseen hand. The stormcloud I couldnt see, had arrived.
The rain and wind
beat against my dodger
and lifted up my bimini
, howling along the way. I could no longer see Garrison Bight or any of the boats in the mooring
field behind me. I could still barely make out the hellicopter in front of me, and its white light shinning down on the water
. Off to my right, I saw what first I thought was a big coast guard boat, coming out of the mooring field. It's spotlight illuminating its path and scanning back and forth as it motored forward. The spotlight lit me up several times. As it approached off my starboard, I could see it was a private trawler
, a 50 footer I guessed, passing between me an another sailboat moored off from me about a 100 yards. I watched it as passed, and head into the stormy darkness ahead, its motors rumbleing and the vibration felt through my hull
I went below to make a coffee, dry off, change shirts. As I waited for the water
to boil, I decided to get on deck
and check my mooring lines, donning a jacket up into the cockpit I went. The wind was still howling, rain pelting, as I dropped the dodger
to climb on deck
. Staying low, and holding on to everything solid, I made my way to the bow. On my hands knees I crawled up to the pulpit, flashlight in hand, I checked the chaffing gear
, checked to see if my anchor
tongs were up and away from the lines. Everything was in good shape. I stay there for a moment, riding the bow, as it rose and fell, holding tightly to the pulpit. The rain felt good, and I was enjoying the moment, til a set of unseen rogue waves arrived, first one dropping the bow down low, and the second one going over the top, drenching me with its cold, wet saltiness. So much for drying off and a shirt change, as I scrambles back to the safety
of the cockpit. I pulled the dodger back up into place, and scoffed at the wind, wave and rain. HA! Get me now! as a big cold wet drop of water from my bimini fell down my back and hit that one spot that makes ya shiver.
Down below I went. The coffee had perked up nicely and was ready to enjoy. The flame from the stove had warmed the cabin
. Ah, good coffee and a smoke makes everything better. I changed shirts again. My cell rang, it was EOTR checking up on me, to see if I was ok. He was getting the same thing I was getting. I told him I was good and asked if he was ok. All is well. After we hung up, I called Rocketman and inquired how he was fairing. All was well over there, he was just keeping a look out for sliders/draggers. I called Jamey, another friend I had met while in Marco, he was down here too on his Irwin
38 on the same side as Rocketman, and not far from him either. All was good there.
I finished my coffee and pall mall, and went on deck to take a piss. Standing there with bucket in hand, I looked through the dodger, and saw that trawler
I had seen earlier, but this time he was in front of me, broadside, a couple 100 yards off from my bow. I could see his anchor
light, and light coming from the inside of the boat. Strange, I thought. Something is not right here. I watched the trawler with intent, as I set the bucket down. Reached for my binocs, to take a better look. I could see a television on, it was the only light from inside the trawler that I could see. I looked again, this time above the dodger. No one on deck, and the boat seemed closer to me than before. Maybe my imagination, I thought. I looked around to see where everything else was around me. Everything is where it should be, except for that trawler. I waited and watched.
After a few minutes, I was sure. That trawler was getting closer! Oh great I thought, WTF do I do now! I got no dink to get into if he hits me. Its dark, storming, and how do I get this guy's attention? I thought about the radio
, but what would I say? "Big Ass three story white trawler in front of this sailboat near Garrison Bight I think you're dragging?" Hell, by the time I said that and he figured out it was him, he would be on top of me, thats if he had his radio
on. Looking at the radio, trying to decide what to do, I saw my spotlight and canned air horn on the shelf behind it. Better to try that, it might work, better than standing here and waiting for him to get into my bow I thought, actually I think I said that aloud to myself. Grabbing both, I went back into the cockpit. This time I could clearly see the TV running through his window, as I looked through my dodger. I put the spotlight right on the TV, and started blasting away with my canned airhorn. Waving back and forth with the spotlight through his window, I continued blasting the horn in burst moving along the dodger as my boat swung back and forth from the wind and wave. Nothing! What seemed like minutes, may have been seconds, but felt longer. Then I saw the deck lights come on, actually he was close enough I could of turned them on, and saw a body come from inside onto the deck. I continued with the spotlight and airhorn. I heard his engines fire up, and saw him move to the bow of his boat. Musta been 2 people on board, at least that. I could hear his windlass motor
, and chain being pulled up, but he was still in front of my bow, still broadside, so I gave him a few more spotlight and airhorn, this time not as a warning, but as a expletive to get away from me NOW!
I watched him motor
off to my port, as I cussed his passing. Whew! man was I freaking out, like a chlld being cheated at hopscotch. I watched him closely as he motored away, relieved. Thoughts of what could of happen melted away the further away he went. Wait! He is turning around. I can see him off in the distance coming about. WTF!! Now motoring pass my bow again, at least a 100 yards off, passing port to starboard. Must be looking for deeper water I thought. Now he has pointed into the wind, about two hundred yards off my starboard bow. I got my eye on this rascal this time. I stood there, in the drips coming off my bimini, hitting my head and running down my face and neck, intent on this trawler. As I watched him, I watched things around me, mostly Sigsbee Island off my starboard, where I could pick out objects and get a bearing on what the trawler was doing. I could still hear his motors running, and his deck lights were still on.
Whats this guy doing? He is closer now, but not closer to me. He is still off my starboard beam about 50 yards. Going backwards, between me at the other sailboat across from me. Now I can see him clearly, on his bow messing with something, I am thinking the windless. I can see a person on the flybridge at the controls. Further backwards I can see him moving, backwards into the mooring field behind me, till I cant see him no longer.
I waited and watched, for about an hour. Nothing, I went below and made up some more coffee, constantly checking to see if I can see him again. For about an hour and a half, I made intermittant scans around my boat. The rain had slacken off, and the wind too. Its late now, and no sign of my trawler buddy. Good I thought, he found a spot to stay, and he's their problem now, the guys in the mooring field behind me. With that I turned in.
Next morning I awoke, cloudy day, the water calm, winds slight. Standing in the cockpit in my bvd's with a lit cig hanging off my lip, with bucket in hand, I look over towards Fleming
Key, and damned if it wasnt that trawler sitting there. About a half a mile away, directly off my port beam, and almost in the channel. I put away my things, emptied the bucket with a good saltwater rinsing, took a drag off my cig, and gave his boat a 1 finger salute before I went below to make breakfast.