| ~ Diana
Hanging Out in the Hammock ~ |
Our quiet anchorage was disrupted by a horrible grinding roar that brought
Don bounding out the companionway into the cockpit.
“Diana, you've got to come see this!”
With all manner of ramshackle tenders towed behind, a 60’ two story hackneyed trailer
on steroids supported by two struggling pontoons drifted behind us, its captain futilely attempting to get
their anchor to hold. There goes the neighborhood!
Don declared “They are way too close
to that wreck, and low tide will have them sitting on the bottom. I’m going to go over there and tell
them they are in a bad place to anchor.”
Small clips of their conversation blew
over to me with the 15 knot wind, but the serious scrambling that occurred on deck suggested they took Don’s
warning to heart. Upon returning, he filled me in with the details. The houseboat’s
crew consisted of an elderly couple, who were on their cell phone with TowBoat US when Don arrived at the
scene. One of their twin engines had blown, and the other would only steer in reverse. Thankfully the wind
was blowing from the North. We decided to stand guard until this monstrous vessel, aptly named Sheldon’s
Folly, was safely moored.
Much to our chagrin, the tow boat relocated the trailer
tub directly up wind of us with nothing but the open channel between. An anchor was deployed, and minutes
later the tow boat departed. Sheldon’s Folly began to drag her hook before
the wake had calmed. The elderly captain appeared on the bow and like a discus thrower, began swinging a second
anchor round and round in a futile attempt to toss it out and set it. It was like watching a senior citizen's
Olympic event, and after witnessing the fifth failed attempt it was obvious he wasn’t going to be much
of a contender.
Ever the chivalrous man, Don announced “I’m going to take the
dinghy over and help that old guy set his anchor before he has a heart attack.”
“I’m going with you.” Chivalry was not in the forefront of my intention. Preventing
Re Metau from being run over by this drifting behemoth was.
The captain explained that his dinghy engine wasn’t working
(que el surprise!), and gratefully accepted our offer to haul the second one out and set it from our dinghy.
I’d experience a severe back injury during a previous anchor weighing event of our own, and so opted to take
the tiller. We headed off slowly toward the shallows while the captain paid out the rode and then -WHOMP!
Like a dog on a short leash, Dinky Duck came to an abrupt stop.
| ~ Harbor Dinks ~
“Forty feet of rode ain’t what it used
to be!” The captain reckoned from the deck.
A look of incredulity passed between Don and
me. Here was a feeble couple in an unseaworthy, 10 ton houseboat, with barely enough ground tackle to hold a canoe.
Don raised the Fortress high over his head and thrust the flukes down into the silt with all his might.
As expected, the anchor promptly gave way. No amount of muscling was going to change its inability to hold in
In the interim, residents on shore had gathered to voice concerns of their own. A
change in wind direction was going to put the vessel on the seawall rocks, but I’d venture to bet
having this unsightly houseboat blotting out their otherwise charming harbor view was more likely the cause of
The captain reluctantly accepted the agony of defeat and with a great deal of relief
to all the spectators, concluded they had best leave the crowded anchorage. They decided to tie up to an
abandoned marina on the other side of the bridge.
The engine problems on Sheldon’s Folly meant
this was not going to be pretty. The First Mate was only able to maneuver the boat in reverse. The one
working engine would operate in forward, but without steerage. One can pretty much imagine the numerous Spirograph
patterns that had to be made in order to get the vessel aimed in the right direction. Still fearing for the safety
of our own vessel, we opted to referee the proceeding should any further assistance be required, but
with a wide berth!
A few nail-biting feats notwithstanding, Sheldon’s Folly finally reached
the vacant docks. The captain tossed Don a rather short bowline to tie to a piling, but by the time
Don was able to invent a secure knot with such a stubby end, the wind had pushed the tub perpendicular to the
wharf. It appeared that all the lines on board ‘ain’t what they used to be’.
you want us to try and push your stern around?” we hesitantly inquired.
“Sure! It would
be great if we were up alongside the dock!” the captain insisted.
The first mate pleaded “Can you come around and tie on the stern
line too after you get us over?” Not only was the vessel unseaworthy and ill equipped, but her
crew was incompetent!
~ Marathon City Marina ~ | Thus, we found ourselves participating in a special Olympic event
of our own – the Houseboat Docking Triathlon! The first portion of the event - Dinghy Wrestling - consisted
of employing all the might Dinky Duck had in her little 9.9hp engine to shove the 10 ton trailer tub over. The second
portion was the Flotilla Obstacle Course challenge, requiring us to maneuver around the kayaks, dinghies and
rowboats in tow. Finally, we were faced with the Spelunking Gymnastics portion, which involved squeezing between the
wharf, pilings and hull, grabbing the 5’ dock line and tying a knot before the competing wind negated all previous
accomplishments. We earned a bronze medal by successfully completing it in three tries!
of Sheldon’s Folly extended their thanks, and overwhelmed and defeated hastily retreated below.
Don and I headed back to the harbor, thrilled with the victory of having safe waters around Re Metau once more.