We had planned on a relaxing liesurely short day of sailing over to Elliot Key. At nearly 1pm we approached the clearly marked channel that is the only entrance to the island's cove. this channel has to be clearly marked because it is only about 15ft-20ft wide and 9ft-12ft deep, BUT imidiately outside of the marked channel boarder it shoals up to only 1ft of water. Well, the feet was not an impossible one but due to obvious sand shift and uncharectoristicly low tide, it proved to be impassible. Not only could we not make it through the channel, we ran aground.....I will explain this "highlight's of what took place next to save you the absolute exhaustive turmoil that was not spared us.
When you have a 7ft draft with fins and you start to get set in some sandy bottom, toward which the current and tide are now pulling you even farther to, it is a game of Beat the Clock before you are burried DEEP and set. So, Ken jumps right into his plan to set an anchor out as far as possible away from the shoal to tie off to our bow so that we can hand tow ourselves out, or keep ourselves from drifting any farther in. In the back of our minds we know that hightide doesn't come in until 6pm so if we dont get unstuck we wil be at least until then - a 5 hours none of us wanted to spare... We drop the dingy (no time to hook the motor up, best to just use the oars) and load the spare anchor on. Ken tell me that i have to jump in to hold onto the anchor's line while he rows. We throw it overboard and then lost an oar setting (it kept popping out of the boat) so we just let ourselves drift back in the current- the Strong current-.
To make sure we didn't miss it i had to nearly leap out of the dingy to grab hold of the side of the boat. the water was rough nw and slamming us all over the place and slamming me repeatedly into the bow. Ken jumped onboard to tie off the anchor as quickly as possible while i tried to tie the flippin' dingy onto the boat before i got washed away(which of course nearly happened....twice. Scrambling and with knees now bruised and torn up i got it tied off and pulled myself on deck in time to help with the gruling process of towing out. Bassically you're pulling in the HEAVY anchor line and chain bit by bit in hopes that the anchor is set enough to hold you while you inch your way out of the sand. And low and behold, ours was not. I popped my shoulder back into pace and then we repeated this process of going out in the dingy (now with the engine), throwing anchors (we dicided to try two different ones), coming back in, jumping on board, and pulling ourselves to the anchor (or more accurately, pulling the unset anchors to us) about 5 or 6 or a million times.
FINALLY, we got free! With our butt just out of the shoal now we quickly, try to bring up the two anchors. In our jubilation we accidently got the lines crossed and hadnt quite gotten them out of the water before - bump, slosh - we slid into ANOTHER sand bar. My heart sunk.
Now, sunburnt, cut, bleeding, sore, bruised more than a little miffed, and with No tine to spare, we untangle the main anchor, take it out set it again... Thank the Lord, this time first try, it set. Frantically, we start hauling in the anchor -sweat and steam flying. "Hit it!!" ken shouts to Tina back at the controls. She guns the engine to 2000rpms. We're free!!! Wasting NO time now we finish bring up the lines and anchor and Tina drives us out of there...
It was now after 5 and the sun was beginning to set. I was ready to collaps but we still had pounds and pounds of wet rope on deck to rewrap and anchors to put away.I worked on all of that with ken while Tina took us to the first safe spot we could drop anchor and be done.
Looks like this will be more then just sitting on deck after all. I would be lying if i said it wasnt miserable but honestly, i am glad for the experince and the bit of bonding for the crew. I am sore as heck today and have slept a fair deal during our 50mile schedule for today -to make up for missing lastnights planned destination- but all said and done. What a memory.! :)