Monday, January 17, 2011

Rescues bring people together

We play hard and rest hard!

Just minding our business out here in the anchorage for the last couple weeks and have managed to be a part of 3 actually let's make 4 rescues! So let's rewind...

RESCUE 1: Shawn was on her way back to the boat motoring against a stiff NW breeze with a dinghy full of provisions and as she passed the pier-not-yet-developed dock, and saw the catamaran Whiskey Charlie, usually moored upwind of our anchor spot, was lashed downwind of us to a piling. She gave the "are you okay" river head pat and the people aboard just waved. There was already a dinghy alongside helping, so Shawn continued the couple hundred yards to Tao. Chris had been working on the stern arch as Whiskey Charlie, coming home from a day of sailing, had first motored by to grab her mooring and then drifted by. With no dinghy there was not much Chris could do, and the people aboard didn't seem particularly frantic as all they said as they went by in the howling wind was "We're drifting"... Still, throwing the provisions into Tao's cockpit, Chris came aboard Eeyore and we rode to the rescue. After introducing ourselves we asked if we could help. Their engine had died just before grabbing their mooring, and after a bit of discussion, it was decided that our 15-hp side tied to the light catamaran and two smaller dinghys helping should get underway to take advantage of the dwindling sunlight. At that moment another 15-hp dinghy showed up to help, tied to the other side and we had no problem motoring them back upwind to their mooring. A couple nights later we visited Whiskey Charlie for a fun dinner party and started to get to know JC, Hilary and their girls. Turns out the engine problem was a blown fuse.
Whiskey Charlie peacefully on her mooring
Behind Chris, you can see the pier-not-quite-dock, just behind where Tao's inside special anchor spot is that Whiskey Charlie managed to lash themselves to after having dropped to anchors.

RESCUE 2: A few evenings later, as Chris was frantically trying to finish the dinghy frame we got hailed by Mystic. Randy needed his clip-on voltmeter the next morning. Chris jumped into Eeyore to quickly motor over and return it. Starting the rice for dinner, Shawn watched out the porthole as Chris and Seahor motored slowly out toward Mystic. Half hour later, wondering what other boats he must have stopped at to chat, the radio crackled "Tao, Tao, Tao mobile". We moved to a nonhailing channel and Chris said, "I just wanted you to know, everything's OK, but Seahor kicked-the-bucket on me and I don't have any oars." Shawn said "I'm not going to say it" (which is really basically saying it, but in a bad spot he really didn't have to be reminded that Shawn had made a big deal throughout the frame building project that even though Chris had relegated the flimsy aluminum oars to the bottom of the boat, the dinghy needed to have oars all the time even if the frame wasn't ready for them)... Chris continued, "so, I'm going to hail Mystic to let them know I tried to bring the voltmeter and look for some help." "Mystic here following your conversation" Randy's voice broke in. The solution was perfectly obvious to Ranger Randy; he would row his 8-ft fatty knees to shore and then tow Eeyore, Seahor, and Chris back to Tao- no small proposition. At that specific moment a dinghy was flying by Tao, Shawn waved over the gentleman (who turned out to be Ziggy, from Aurora moored a few boats upwind of us) who was more then happy to help. We found Chris on the beach downwind of Mystic (at the east edge of the bay) with a cold tecate in hand. He'd made friends with very nice people in one of the beach homes in "Cotton Cove" who had let him use their VHF to find help and provided him with sustenance (cold beer). Shawn had brought the oars in case Chris wanted to redeem himself, but with a sheepish grin, Chris responded "I'm not too proud to ask for help." Ziggy gave us a tow back to Tao and we did a mid-bay transfer of Randy's voltmeter. After forcing Ziggy to take a bottle of wine in thanks he obliged only if the crews of Tao and Mystic would come over to his boat to drink wine the next evening and look at pictures of him beaching his sailboat.
Eeyore, Seahor, and the frame in the process of being made. Unfortunately, the wooden oars didn't happen to be in the boat when Chris took his trip out to Mystic or he could have rigged something... Seahor is currently awaiting repair.
Randy and Jenny from Mystic aboard their 8-ft Fatty Knees; their mode of transport.

RESCUE 3: The norther continued to blow in the anchorage. Late in the afternoon of a particularly windy day, sustained at about 25-knots, Shawn looked upwind from Tao's cockpit and in horror, saw the trimaran, Windsplittler, floating free broadside to the wind about to T directly into the beautiful catamaran, Elan, moored next to us. She pointed it out to Chris and watched the horror on Guy's face as he realized what was happening to his boat. We immediately started the process of putting our 15-hp onto Eeyore. Our radio was off but we heard Deborah yelling to us for help from Elan; we were doing our best to get there. A few minutes later we roared away from Tao at the same moment that Guy and Deborah got the trimaran loose from their boat. It was racing downwind, broadside again, headed directly for a beautiful motortrawler, Island Grace. Guy with his dinghy was trying to maneuver the trimaran in the high winds, Jacque from Oceaneus showed up with his 8-hp and we raced to the trimaran at the same time. Shawn immediately jumped up onto Windsplitter while the three dinghys tried to work together to move the boat. Not in time. Luckily Guy had thrown a fender from Elan aboard, Shawn grabbed it and ran to fend the tri off the motor trawler. A sickening crash as it T'd its second boat, but being a monohull at anchor, the anchor chain took the brunt and the fender took the rest. Finally with a last scrape, Windsplitter fell off the port side of Island Grace and continued it's race toward shore. After checking that the anchor on deck's rhode was untangled and was attached to the boat and making sure Chris, Guy, and Jacque were ready, Shawn dropped the hook mid-channel... and it set! Phew! The Mexican Rescate showed up just a few minutes later to take over. Windsplitter's mooring chain had broken and Elan sustained the most damage having been nearly holed, but luckily the inner skin had held tight. A few days later, Shawn attended a fun dinner party on Elan, and having built their boat, they had already nearly repaired the damage.

The trimaran Windsplitter whose mooring chain broke in high winds.
Elan, directly downwind of Windsplitter when winds blow from the NW...
This is actually a picture of Gadfly II heading out to sea in the channel we had anchored Windsplitter, but also in the picture is the trawler, Island Grace, that Windsplitter met.

RESCUE 4: After a week of fairly mellow weather and even a little southerly flow, another norther set in and the afternoon winds kicked up again. Yesterday, the late afternoon winds seemed a little stronger than normal. A quick check with our wind meter said 20-knots gusting to 25. Jenny stopped by in her kayak on her way home to Mystic and we talked about how Randy in their Fatty Knees with Skip (the new owner of Dulcinea), were lagging behind a little and must have broken an oar lock... Surely they didn't need any help. Still, twenty minutes or so later, Shawn noticed the winds seemed even stronger and came on deck to check they'd reached Mystic. Though nearly there, they were all of a sudden losing ground and were close to getting blown down to the beach Chris had ended up on a week previous. Shawn grabbed her rain jacket and VHF and hopped in Eeyore to see if she could help. It was windy! Randy grabbed the tow line and Shawn gunned the engine trying to get Eeyore's bow up into the wind. No dice, we were side slipping, but we kept going and slowed only for a moment to attach the tow line. Skip and Randy were keeping their boat upright and Shawn was trying to get her weight farther forward to keep Eeyore's bow down. Seemingly the wrong direction, we headed away from the anchorage into the lee of the anchorage's exit channel's north shore at the south end of the anchorage. Here we were able to gain some upwind ground. Getting to the top of the "eddy" we decided to go for it and with a steep angle, ferried across to Mystic. Not wanting to slow and have the bow blown off, Shawn came in hot, and Jenny was there to grab the bow line and both boats swung to Mystic's well fended port side. All three of us were soaked, but still we got the wind meter out for a quick check, and winds were sustained at 25 gusting above. Then it was down below into the warmth of the heated cabin of their 31' Mariah to warm up and re-live the adventure while waiting for the winds to abate.
Jenny in Mystic's kayak, and Randy rowing Skip in their Fatty Knees- everyone had finally dried out from the wet adventure the evening previous.
A picture of Chris trying out the completed dinghy frame, but this was the rescue vehicle- only imagine Shawn at the helm, 25 knot winds and capping waves...

It's a great community here in Bahia San Carlos, everyone in the anchorage looking out for each other. It is nice to know that when we need help there is usually a helping hand. Still, we are continually receiving gentle reminders that that things do go wrong and vigilance is important as the sailing lifestyle is based in a wilderness. It does pays off to pay attention and be prepared.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like that huge new outboard is already coming in handy!