Friday, October 17, 2014

Anchor Watch and The Naked French Men

Debbie Here…

Jim and I have been holed up in a very nice, small, narrow Corsican (french) island anchorage for the past few days waiting for a weather window to cross to Mallorca.  There is room for about 3 boats in this anchorage, in a line, one in front of the other.  October is an "if-y" month with regards to weather in the Med, and as St. Martin and Bermuda can tell you, it can get really bad!  Our weather has been nothing compared to the what the Caribbean is experiencing, only 25-30 knots here at night, but it seems to be a challenge for the other cruising and charter boats in our area.  (As I've mentioned in previous posts, they anchor too close and do NOT put out enough scope! ) This has resulted in boats dragging down on us in the middle of the night for the last two nights.  

Two nights ago, a boat anchored too close and at about 2am in 20 knots of breeze, I happened to wake up and check on the other boat, and found them dragging their anchor, rapidly approaching us, but thankfully off to the side a little bit.  A yell to Jim, and then to them, and all was well.  They had figured out they were dragging about the same time I did, so they started their engine, motored behind us, dropped their anchor again, and all was well for the rest of the night.  Even if they dragged again, they couldn't hit us.

Last night's adventure was a classic.  Jim and I had the anchorage to ourselves yesterday, until a large catamaran came in just about dusk, pulled in front of us, and anchored a close, but respectable distance to windward of us.  I had been looking forward to a relatively good night's sleep, but now with someone in front of us and the wind at 25 knots, I knew I was going to be up at least a few times during the night, just to make sure they too were not dragging down into us.  About 3 am, the breeze picked up to about 28 knots, so I got up (for about the 4th time) and checked on the boat in front of us.  Low and behold, he was dragging straight down on us.  I woke Jim up and both of us start yelling at the boat, flashing flash lights at it.  When this didn't work, Jim had me jump in the dingy to go knock on their boat and make sure they were awake, while he got the fenders out to brace for impact.  I started my infamous McCoy whistle at them as I jumped into the dingy, which finally woke the skipper up.  The french captain started his engine and moved away a bit, so disaster was (narrowly) averted.  Jim told me to continue on and talk to the catermaran  skipper and let him know that the holding was very poor in front of us and that boats had been dragging down onto us.  So, I did just that, with my little flashlight very politely pointed at the bottom of the dingy so I wouldn't blind him….

In the dark, Can't see anyone on the boat, but I know there is someone steering…  So, I go about 4 feet away from his boat, about where the wheel should be...

Me:  "Excuse me….???"

Dis-embodied Voice:  "Yes??"

Me:  "Excuse me, do you speak english?" 

Whereupon, a naked frenchman skipper comes out of the dark, into my very dim (flash) light, and crouches down to speak with me.  I'm in the dingy about 3 feet below him.  Pretty much a straight shot.  I'm thinkin' to myself, "Self, is this guy naked???"  Yep…  Even in the dark, I can pretty much tell, he's 'necked!

Me:  "Ummm, we just wanted to let you know that the holding here is really bad, and lots of boats have been dragging down onto us, and we would appreciate it if you would go behind us to re-anchor."

Naked French Skipper:  "Thank You.  We'll see."

Me:  "."   I left.  When I relay the conversation back to Jim, without the necked' parts, he asks, "Why didn't you REALLY explain to him he should go behind us?"  I then explained why I didn't really want to extend the conversation with the Naked French Skipper, and suggested that maybe he wanted to go have that conversation.

The end result was that the NFS pulls WAY up into the anchorage and re-anchors.  Jim watches him for about an hour to make sure he doesn't drag, then comes to bed.  I can't sleep, so I stay up on anchor watch until sunrise.

Moral 1 of the story:  There is no way anyone is anchoring in front of me tonight.

Moral 2:  Always wear clean underwear to bed.  Please.