One of the things I enjoy about living on the water is the daily connection to the moon. When I lived on land far from the sea, I was aware intellectually that the moon affects the planets waters and other things, but it was more of an abstract concept than a daily reality. But here in this harbor with a strong tidal current, I am aware every 6 hours of the moon’s pull on the tides. During the full and new moon phases, the current becomes even stronger, as the high tides are higher and the low tides are lower, creating a larger volume of water coming in and out of the ocean inlet. A few days ago was the full moon, as so we have been experiencing even stronger tidal currents than normal this week.
Because of the strength of the current here, it has been challenging to take out my new sailing dinghy. It is so wee that it is easily overpowered by the current, and if the wind and the current are coming from the same direction, it makes it almost impossible to go in that direction, making navigation around the harbor difficult. As I found out yesterday.
Cap’t K was at his first day at his new temp job, and I had the day off and was hanging out on the boat. Cap’t K had taken the uber dinghy into the marina early in the morning and I was left with Delilah the Wee Sailing Dinghy as my only way off the boat. I decided to take her out for a test sail to check out the current before heading off across the channel for the marina. I’m still a bit nervous sailing her alone, as I don’t feel that confident about my solo sailing skills. It was slack water, the time when the tide changes and the current isn’t very strong. The wind wasn’t too strong either, but there was enough to sail, so it seemed like a good moment to take out the sailing dinghy. I circled around for awhile and did just fine. I managed to go upwind, downwind and all around. I was heading back towards Way Happy to get my stuff to bring into town, when suddenly it was as if a switch was flipped and the current turned ON. Full blast on! Both the current and the wind were coming from the south, and at that point I was trying to go south. No problem, I figured, I would just tack west and then zigzag back to Way Happy, which wasn’t very far away. But the current overpowered any forward momentum of the wee boat, and I was quickly being pulled farther and farther away. I decided to head for some docks on the nearby shore. There was one dock that looked accessible to me in my wee vessel, and that was the one I was aiming for. My intention was to tie up to the dock long enough to take the sail down and get the rowing oars set so that I could row back to Way Happy. The dock down current of the one I was heading to was not sized for Wee Delilah. It was made up of very large concrete pilings and the dock itself was 10 feet above the water. As it turned out, I was pulled by the current into the large dock, and it was all I could do to hang on to one of the pilings. I couldn’t hang on AND take the sail down and get the oars set at the same time. Then the wind picked up, and I could barely even hang on. Delilah was getting pulled under the dock and the mast was hitting up against the dock. This was not good. Not good at all.
Then some angels showed up. Two ladies from the house I was in front of noticed me struggling and came out and asked if I needed help. “uuuuuuhhhh, yes, actually, I could really use some help”. I managed to throw them a line and they pulled me and Delilah over to the sea wall where I could climb out of the boat and tie her up. I felt like a complete idiot! They apparently thought I was even more of an idiot than I did, however, because they kept saying things like “you know the current goes out to sea”, as if I wasn’t already highly aware of that fact. Thank goodness they were there, or I think that Delilah would have been dis-masted by the dock and probably capsized.
So all’s well that ends well!
I almost didn’t even want to write this story, as I feel quite embarrassed about my misadventure, but I decided to sacrifice my dignity and share it with you to provide you with a laugh on my account. So enjoy!