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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Abbott & Costello Vs. Laurel & Hardy

 s/v Storm Song a Morgan Out Island 41
The Crew

After bailing out on Bahia Honda and making the close reach back to Boot Key Harbor for safety we motored down the channel past Pancho's.  Then it occurred to us, "How tall is Storm Song?"  We made a quick 360 and pulled up along side them pointing out the 65 foot clearance.  They are 64!  They cleared without problems so I quickly motored down the channel toward marker 18 looking for spots to anchor.  Our previous spot was occupied by a huge Catalina and the far end is always full so we turned around and dropped the hook just west of marker 16 setting it with our forward momentum.

I quickly set off in the dinghy and pointed out the best location I could see for the big Morgan to anchor.  After dropping their hook the captain of the Sojourn (i'll call him Hardy) behind them buzzed up in his dinghy expressing his discontent.  Seems that big boat from Texas thought he needed the Ponderosa for himself.  There was plenty of room and when he didn't get his way he zoomed back to the big trawler.   After returning he sat on the bow pouting.  This is Boot Key after all, if you need one hundred feet all the way around you, you are in the wrong place.

I decided to go get sushi from Publix and stopped by Storm Song before going to see if they needed anything for the night or a ride.  All was good but Hardy still sat on the bow.  "Well, here's another nice kettle of fish you pickled me in!"

Around 9:15 you could hear the wind pick up whistling in the rigging.  Mixed with random drops of rain the show was about to begin.  Here in Boot Key the holding is excellent!  It is sandy, clay silt and creates not only a place to dig in deep but an extra suction when trying to pull free.   We were anchored in front of Scotia a huge 55-60 foot trawler when the wind was from the South but now as the wind clocked around with a little west we were directly in front of another small sailboat.

By 10:00 the wind was mostly west and at this point you would expect all boats to be swaying pointing into the wind.  But Scotia was on the move.  slowly back stepping her way toward the East.  The small sailboat was now mostly behind Scotia and in their cockpit as they could see the approaching mass.  The crew of Scotia was running back and forth in the cabin and on the deck like Abbott and Costello.  They must have been hoping the anchor would reset as Costello looked at the bow perhaps saying "Anchors on first, Boat's on second".  I gave a loud blow in the conch horn to alert the 2nd boat behind us that trouble was on the way.  A skif with a 25 horse motor showed up from no where to try and help but couldn't get between all the boats.  Then with about 5 big lurches from the collision Scotia settled almost broadside against the second sailboat barely missing the one directly behind us.  As they rubbed back and forth I guess hope progressed to panic and then to rational thought as Scotia finally motored off to the north and tried to anchor next to the bridge easing way up into the shallows.  We could hear someone giving them a warning on channel 16 about the depth.

Like a late arrival sunset show there were boats meandering around looking for the sign that says Deltas and CQR's work here.  I think one trawler must have put on a couple miles or more trying to find the elusive spot inside the harbor.  A couple of boats idled in the channel waiting for the worst to pass before finding a new location.

The proximity of the above incident took precedence for us as the show continued on.  There was another smaller trawler trying to anchor in various spots, several of the large sailboats were "plowing" (pun intended) their rows.  We could see masts moving all over the anchorage try to find a place that may be better than where they were.  This went on for a couple of hours, the confusion with the boats that is not the wind and rain .  Through the binoculars we could see that Storm Song was still where they intended to be and their Nemesis, Hardy, was not on his deck anymore.  No one was up on the shallow flat but one boat may have been bumping the wall next to it but not hard aground.

All quiet 2 days later

The next morning we awoke to find the small boat behind us gone.  To where we do not know.  But Scotia had moved from the tight wind shelter near the bridge to one of the most open places in the anchorage with the hook in the channel.  A big 47+- Hunter DS was anchored diagonally in the channel along with a trawler.  The big Catalina was moving probably due to the collision the night before moving their neighbor to close.  several other boats were doing the anchor thing all over again and it was only blowing about 18 front the same direction as last night.

I forgot to mention that we had less than 30 knots in a protected harbor.  "The safest place in the keys"

"A lot of weather we've been having lately." Hardy

The entertainment of a situation is based entirely upon the perceived personal expense.


Why do people blow those shells every night?

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