One Way to Wake Up in the Morning

By , April 27, 2011

The herring dribble in. Monday, we launched the canoe and our flatboat, the one we refer to, perhaps incorrectly, as the Jonboat, to set and tend a gill net.

We fished throughout the day, doing other chores but checking the net periodically. Mostly, we caught floating bladderwrack and other seaweeds, but each time we picked the net we found a few herring. Since it’s all for the garden at this point, we threw the herring and seaweed in the same bucket and took them up to there.

We had a calm day, and the forecast called for more. In the evening, after stowing the net, I decided to anchor the boats off the beach. I tied them together, dropped an anchor with a long bungee to them away from the rocks after I disembarked, and tied them to shore with a long line. They trailed north in the light breeze and current; all seemed well.

boats on the homestead rocks

The calm after the flurry of activity: our boats pulled high on the beach rocks (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

Just before we turned in, I thought about going down to pull them out of the water. The homestead’s original owner had warned us about anchoring out in heavy weather. While we didn’t expect high winds, our general standing rule is that boats don’t stay in the water overnight.

Tuesday, I awoke to find the wind generator regulating. That signaled a warning, as the light breezes from last night couldn’t have charged us that high. I stepped out into a fresh day, with a steady south wind and three foot seas slamming the beach. Both boats road well in the swells, but I could see that they had shipped a bit of water.

I learned from the weather report that we’d climbed to 20 knots, and would rise to 25 by the afternoon. I went inside to dress and wake Michelle. Together, we went out to see what we could do about the boats.

It should have been fairly easy for us to overpower the anchor, pulling from the shore at the top of the rocks, at a good angle. However, the line had snagged on a rock underwater. The Jonboat’s bow had cinched down tight until it took water over the bow. We couldn’t pull it into shore.

We used a grappling hook to snag the boats, then pulled them into shore by brute force. We tried to guide them to a cove in the rocks we could land them, but the waves washed them up on a sloping rock in front of us. We decided to use the wave action to help pull them up right there.

Working in flying spray, Michelle took the canoe, I took the Jonboat. Both were heavy with shipped seawater, which weighed the water side end of each craft. We strained and tussled, eventually cutting a mooring line to give us more maneuverability after the sodden knots proved too difficult to untie.

In about an hour, we finished. We’d wrestled the boats high enough to be free of the tide. The anchor and fouled shore line remain in place. I’ll pull them tomorrow, if the predicted calm develops. Exhausted, we stumbled inside to look for breakfast and hot drinks.

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