Why does it seem that anything to do with us and boats, leads to a story? Who knew that our week of rest and relaxation in Curacao would have an adventure involved?.....
Christmas in Curacao was nice. It was great to have a complete change of pace and absolutely NO boat repairs. It seemed that all the favorites that we miss from back home were available at the grocery store in Curacao, so we all ate alot. Things like "Poppycock" and "Dankse" butter cookies. Graham and I stayed on my Dad and Cheryl's boat at night and the kids slept on a blow up mat on the floor in Uncle Rob's room. They said the best part of their trip was staying up late and listening to all of Rob's funny stories in the dark. Family time fills the heart. It felt really good. (Not to say that there weren't any fights......cause what is Christmas without a family quarrel or 2 :-)....but that isn't the story I am tellin').
So on the 3rd night Graham was finishing watching "Patriot Games" on the deck and Dad came out and right at the finale of the movie asks Graham if he thought the boat might dragging backwards? (The house we were renting was overlooking their boat.) Graham was so engrossed in the movie, he only slightly acknowledge and it was decided it must just be Dad's imagination. Dad went to bed and when the movie finished Graham and I drove down to the boat. Once we got onto the boat it really seemed to us that it had moved a bit. I wrote down the coordinates as a reference and we tried calling Dad on the VHF but he had it off. I figured out how to set the anchor drag alarm and we went to bed.
Unfortunately it was a "Squally" night. Every half an hour or so we would have high winds and pelleting rain. Graham woke up with a start in the middle of the night and raced up on deck and then started hollering for me to get up. He said that we were really moving and in danger of hit the rocks/shore. We figured out how to start the boat and discussed going to get my Dad. I was shocked by how much we had moved and fearful. We went forward to see if we could easily figure out the anchor in the dark. We could see the foot button to automatically pull up the anchor but we could not see how we would release it and we started worrying about being responsible for re-anchoring on a muddy bottom on a boat that was not our own.
Now came the hard part....one of us had to stay on board and if the depth dropped to low begin to move the boat forward and the other had to take the dinghy in the dark over to the dock and drive up and get Dad. Neither option seemed good to me. As I was yelling pros and cons of each option to Graham and feeling totally stuck, Graham was unhooking the dinghy and then he started it up and said "See you soon, put her in forward if you start to really drag". I yelled back, "Which lever is forward....", but with the wind and the rain and the motor he didn't hear me.
Those of you who know me, know I tend to panic and there I stood at the helm, in the darkness and totally panicked. I pushed the red lever forward and heard the engine rev up, so I knew that the left lever must be neutral, forward and reverse. I had enough smarts to run below and turn on the depth gauge. I then could do nothing but wait and watch the coordinates on the GPS tick away. It felt like the longest 10 minutes of my life.
When Dad and Graham got back we got to work. We ended up needing to re-anchor 4 times in the dark, wind and rain. Graham was at the helm and Dad was working the anchor and I was positioned in between the two of them yelling what they were saying back and forth. We were all so cold. Finally in between tries, I had time to run below and grab a jacket and shirts for Dad and Graham. They were both shirtless since they had been awoken. At one point I look forward and there is a my 66 year old Dad at the front of the boat, feeding the muddy anchor chain manually down, in rain that felt like hail. I can only hope to be that fit at 66!!!
We finally got it set and were all happy with our position. I look over at Graham and he says, "I can't wait to have this much fun on our own boat!" You gotta love him! A Christmas in Curacao we won't soon forget!