Monday, January 01, 2007

Depth Finders Are A Must


Especially on the St. Johns River...

Each year the St. Johns River plays host to the worlds longest sailboat race. The race is usually held in May. We're not always home to catch the race but when we are it's great to head out to the end of the dock and catch the multitude of brightly colored sails gliding past. Unfortunately, the parade always happens on the opposite side of the river and we are left to use binoculars. Still, it's an impressive sight. So why do the sailboats avoid our side of the river?

Simple. Shallow water. Not good for sailboats...

We live on a sandbar. A giant sandbar. I'm talking two football fields in length from our dock before you begin to reach the channel. Deeper water. Sailboats require deep water. Which is why I'm writing this particular post.

Yesterday evening I noticed a fair size sailboat out in front of our dock. Not close but too close considering we were only 1 hour past dead low tide. I made a comment about it to Alyson and then went on with whatever it was I was doing. Later, I peered out and saw what I thought to be the same sailboat sitting motionless. I picked up our binoculars and took a closer look. Not good. I could see the sails full of wind, I could see the "captain" at the helm, I also could see the sailboat was not moving.

Grounded. As in stuck in the mud. In this case, stuck in the sand. Or shell bed. Bad. Very bad.
So I asked Aly to grab the binoculars and take a look for herself and offer up an opinion as to what she thought was happening. They've run aground she said. Not good.

With that I grabbed my cell phone and a camera and with an approving nod from Aly I headed off to the rescue. A small dinghy had made its way to the stranded sailboat by the time I made my way out to them. This long story shortened, the dinghy was unable to free our stuck on the sandbar captain and asked if I would take over. This is where I met Bob. Bob was the "captain" of said stuck boat. Bob was all for my giving it a try. Especially after he asked about the tide...

It took only a short time and one slipped line before I was able to break the sailboat free from its unscheduled sandbar stopover. Bob and I exchanged pleasantries and shared happiness that all was well and I putt-putted my way back home. I knew Aly would be glad we were able to help. I knew Salty would be mad he didn't get to come along. He always gets to come along. Not this time. I knew I would have enough to do without having to fish a wet dog out the river.

Breakdowns and such are common on the water. I always hope that when our turn comes someone will cast an eye upon the water, sense our distress and come to our rescue. I was too busy to snap any pictures except for this one as I was leaving Captain Bob and his once again bobbing boat. Bad pun. But not as bad as being stuck on a sandbar with a fast approaching setting sun in choppy water...

Happy sailing Bob. I hope he will remember to return the favor for another someday...

3 comments:

Melissa said...

Ford always there to help all! Happy Happy New Year!!!
All My Love, Melissa

Melissa said...

By the way I am a Snake & Matt is a Rooster.......you two???

Ford & Alyson said...

Alyson: Year of the Dog
Ford: Year of the Rabbit

(I think) :)