Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stealing our peace (written 11/30/2008)

Day-15, another day in paradise- we were just getting back to our boat, anchored in Smugglers Cove on the south side of Santa Cruz Island, after an 8-mile hike to Scorpion Bay. We had fought our way out through the surf in Eeyore our faithful dinghy and were boarding Tao as a powerboat pulled in. Smugglers Cove was uninhabited when we first set anchor there two nights previous, but the Thanksgiving holiday had drawn loads of people from mainland. Still, the anchorage was not even close to full. The sun was close to setting as the power boater dropped his anchor right next to another power boat and just off our stern.

At first Shawn was just slightly annoyed mostly because they were so close she couldn’t take a shower in the cockpit. But then as we unloaded our gear and she watched how Tao was swinging as the breeze started to pick up, she got aggravated because it was definitely in our swing zone. We were so high on our wonderful day that we wanted to keep a positive attitude and assume that the boat’s captain knew what he was doing and it would all work out. Just to be safe, though, we pulled in 50 feet of our anchor rhode. Before we could even say hello, Sea Chronicity’s passengers had hopped in their dinghy and motored a couple hundred feet to their buddy’s boat. Over the next hour Shawn took turns fuming to Chris about how close our boats were swinging to each other and staring at the offending boat, hoping it’s owners would notice how close it was to us and come home to right the wrong. Chris was getting upset mostly because Shawn was upset and not taking action. So we argued about the right moves to make as we watched the winds pick up and swing us to within 25 feet of their boat.

Option 1: we could assume all was well, stop worrying about it and deal with issues if they came up. Option 2: we could weigh anchor and reset further away. Option 3: we could dinghy over to the power boat in which dinner (or was it just drinks?) was taking place and ask to talk to the captain of Sea Chronicity to figure out a solution to this dilemma together. Preoccupied with the situation, Shawn burnt the pine nuts as she witnessed the offending boat’s captain, seemingly drunk, check from the deck of his friends boat with a blue light, that his boat was okay- at a point in which the boats were their furthest point apart- maybe 100 feet. Option 3 was out. Shawn was too wrapped up in the wrong of it all to stop thinking about it, so Option 1 was out. And Option 2 just frustrated both of us- at this point, it was dark and we definitely didn’t want to move.

In the end, we took a deep breath to relax and pulled in another 75 feet of rhode, bringing us to just under 4:1 scope. We figured it was not too windy and knew that our holding was good and proceeded to check on deck every couple hours throughout the night. The next morning, both powerboats pulled anchor and motored away at around 9am and thankfully did not return that night at sunset for a repeat show. Besides not letting anything steal our peace, what should we have done? Are there protocols?

1 comment:

  1. Hello Chris and Shawn,
    So very glad to read your stories today. I often think of you and try to imagine where you might be and how things are going for you.
    As for the Smugglers Cove anchorage incident, it's hard to say what the best course of action might have been. I do not know the protocols, but It seems to me that you, as the first occupants of the anchorage, would have the right to decide for yourselves what the minimum scope ratio you would be able to be comfortable with would be, and if the power boats were within your swing zone, you would have every right to ask them to move a bit. Or, if you felt like the energy required to ask them to move was more than the energy it would take for you to simply move yourselves, you could do that too. Or, of course, you could do just as you did (which seems to have worked out quite well).
    There is so much to learn and experience.
    Have fun, don't take things personally, be, see,!
    Thank you for the update.