Thursday, May 24, 2012

Moorings-can`t be trusted!

Sunset in Rosseau, Dominica
It was almost eleven o` clock, and I was ready to go to bed. The wind was gusty, and strong and we were pulling and riding over our pick-up buoy infront of the Anchorage Hotel. We knew it was going to be a restless night. I checked outside and  was still looking into the dark of the night, when through my eyes I saw something that didn`t make sense. A boat almost ashore! A boat right in front of the houses! It took a couple of seconds before my eyes told my brain the truth! There is a yacht too close to shore, almost aground on the rocks in front of the houses! Immediately adrenaline rushed through the whole of me, registering the mono-hull just behind and now only the empty spot where it has been this afternoon. I still could see the four men aboard, and the fifth snorkeling around their buoy, checking. And then he saw a drifting oar, and he swam out to sea to win an oar for their motorless dinghy!  Now they have two!

My feet rushed down stairs to interrupt Johan`s toothbrush, and the sound of my emotion filled voice woke the boys. “Come help, there is a yacht on the rocks!”  Before Johan could rinse his mouth, I heard the crashing sound as the yacht’s belly crashed onto the rocks! The sound crashed through me! Johan and Joe dropped the dinghy, and radioed for help! They were rushing to the boat, two men in a little dinghy, and I found no one on the radio! Luckily a local boat close by, and then another came to help, as I saw the lights in the houses coming alive.
Marco and I stood on the deck, listening to the crashing sounds every time a swell pushed the yacht further onto the rocks. We were praying, for the boat, for the people trying to help, and twice we saw the yacht slowly going sideways as if she was giving up hope. And then we prayed even harder. I remembered reading somewhere about old spirits of sea men, are in the birds visiting you on your yacht, and I even asked them to help this boat!
Joe jumped onto the boat while it was heaving, trying to get to start the engines on a strangers boat! He battled, and couldn`t get a sound out of her.  They freed the prop of the tangling lines in the dark water, and Johan and the local boat tried to pull her from the rocks, but she was stuck, and kept there by the swells and the rocks and her heaviness.
Five men on a motorless dinghy with two oars passed Catlyn, still not knowing. I shouted and they saw the empty spot where their boat was supposed to be, and the dinghy and the men went as fast as the two oars could row towards their boat on the rocks! One of them managed to start the engines after a while, and with the last sputter of strength and our dinghy and the local on his long boat, and our prayers, the yacht slowly started moving. I could hear her scraping on the rocks, but she waited for a swell and with her last bit of strength she helped to get her free from the rocks. They pulled her to another buoy and she was saved!

Back on Catlyn, we were so thankful  that the yacht was out in the water again, but it was too dark to see if she was ok. The men on the yacht could hardly speak English, and we couldn`t really communicate with them. We just saw them with their torches circling their boat touching her belly. The Coast Guard came, with their boat to ask if everything is fine, and we send them to the boat, and we were surprised to see their boat with no lights to tell us that they are a Coast Guard, or any other navigational lights!

Filled with adrenaline we realized again…Do not trust your pick-up buoy!
See below another sad story of a yachtie trusting a pick-up bouy in St Helena Island awhile ago....

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