We decided to spend a few nights at the same anchorage off of Marathon. The Intracoastal heading to Key West has some very skinny water. We would have had to pass certain points only through high tide and with our fingers crossed. So, we planned to sail the Atlantic side. There are only a few possible safe anchorages along the way and this was the last marina stop for water, gas and groceries. We were taking our time and getting ready to move on. However, the current conditions at the anchorage had what we sailors unaffectionately call the roly polys. The sea swells rock your boat not in the cradle kind of way, but more in the don’t leave anything on the counter kind of way. You hear your digesting dinner sloshing around. Roly polys can roll you over in your sleep if you are a side sleeper like me. This was our second night so we knew what to expect. The currents and the winds spin you around a bit and the waves wake you up to keep your dreams fresh in your conscience. It was a late night as we sipped wine, celebrated Sea Alice’s new stamina and watched the Muppets dance at Castaways for quite a while. We went to sleep to dream of mermaids and swashbucklers.
At around 7:00 AM John woke me up with a shake. Pokey, wake up! B.P. (our anchor) has dragged and we are headed towards crab pots. I shot out of bed, threw on some sweats and flew up to the helm. We were a good third mile from where we originally anchored. I fire up the engine and John went to turn on the windlass. This is the powered winch that retrieves B.P. and her chain. John utters colorful language and explains the power to the windlass is not working. Are you kidding me? The crab pots are closing in. To retrieve B.P. and all of her chain by hand would have called for a Herculean effort. John messes around with the electrical system and gets it going. He hurries to the bow. I look at my instruments to check depth and logistics. They are all dead. I call up to John and he comes running back. Are we still sleeping? He asks, Is this a nightmare? Tell me this is a nightmare and wake me up. He goes into the cabin and preforms whatever magic he does and I have my instruments back. We retrieve B.P., avoid the crab pots, are in control of Echoes and breath for the first time. It was damn lucky and a huge relief that we did not hit another boat as old B.P. drug us out to sea. It was a busy anchorage, with well over twenty boats, and we were scattered between them. Our best assumption is that B.P. was jostled during a swell, flipped and lost her holding which is why she dragged. We’ll never know.
We had planned to pull anchor and go the the gas dock for fuel and water that day so we decided we might as well go then. Great. Pulling into any dock is always acid producing for me. You may just find out why. We filled her up without incident and went back to the anchorage to set B.P. again. Once she was set I hit a proverbial wall so high and so thick that Donald Trump would ask to buy the plans if he knew me. I informed John, I am going away in a book. Don’t talk to me. Don’t look at me. Whatever you do, don’t ask me to help you with a project if you know what is good for you. I crawled into the book. I get sick of my own thoughts sometimes, especially when they are filled with terror. It really helps my teetering sanity and my delightful disposition to think other peoples thoughts for a while. I read and read and read.
There are two sounds that can pull me from deep concentration (yes, I can hold a thought longer than ten seconds occasionally) or a deep funk. One is the pop of a cork from a wine bottle and the other is the magical crinkle of a Frito’s bag. Four hours after my submersion in bookland I hear the latter. I looked up to see John munching, smiling and offering me the bag. He knows me so well. Do you want to go gunkholing? he asks still smiling. Absolutely, I said reaching for the bag.
Sea Alice continues to be a new man and took us on a very interesting exploration. We ended up at a boat graveyard in the back of a mangrove. It appears some people live with these ghostly boats and I had no interest in running into them.
We also met some new bird friends. This is a Green Heron.
This is a Black Necked Stilt.
And this, my friends, is a shark.
So ends the Marathon saga.