Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Living on the Edge

Earthling in the corner of the bay
Many times throughout life, I have found myself living on the edge. I’ve survived situations where the probabilities have  been against me! Last night is an example of one. I get goose pumps thinking about how dangerous the recent situation was that we were put in!
The last few days Earthling has been anchored in a peaceful calm bay of Cumberland in St. Vincent. This bay is deep and boats have to anchor close to shore in addition to having a stern line tied to a tree. Tall palm trees and bushes seem touchable from the boat. Twittering birds, mangos falling and hitting the ground and the water crashing on shore are the only sounds we hear. The water in Cumberland bay is flat 99.9% of the time and it has been partly cloudy since we got here. Our experience with the locals has been more than welcoming as we have already come close to making friends for life here in St. Vincent.

Full Moon Bonfire

The biggest full moon of the year appeared last night and as an Earthling tradition, we like to have a bonfire when there is a full moon. Even though it was a rainy day and the wooden logs were damp and wet, we were eager to get a bonfire going, especially since new friends from the village close by were invited. The bonfire was a success and the time spent enjoying it was exhilarating. A few hours into it our stomachs started to growl and it was time to head back home to make dinner.
As Mike, Rebecca, Katherine and I tried to get on ZTC's dinghy, we realized how sudden the waves were becoming bigger making it difficult to get on the tender. When we got to Earthling, it felt like this is was serious, the swells were lifting the boat up and down, averaging between four to six feet and within minutes the bay had become complete turmoil with the rain and wind picking up significantly. More anchor line was put out and within a short time we see the two other sailboats in the bay pull up anchor and quickly leave. Shortly after “Zero to Cruising” left the stern line behind and was gone. The extra line put out brought us closer to shore, and the best solution was to pull up anchor and leave along with everyone else. Easier said than done due to the position of the boat, we were in a very tight place located in the corner of the bay. I was concerned that the waves might wash the boat ashore as I was trying to pull up the anchor and chain manually. I’m glad to have had another crew member  aboard verses being solo, however, Katherine’s boating experience is limited!
The engine is in forward gear, Katherine is behind helm, I’m at the bow trying to pull up the chain as the waves are crashing within feet of us. It took a long time before half of the rode was in! (Or maybe it just seemed like a long time) As we were trying to pull up the anchor the stern line eased but never let go. The pressure on the chain was so strong it cracked the wood underneath the anchor carrier. Furthermore, the anchor was stuck and wouldn’t come up! Plan B was to leave the anchor, chain, and rope behind and retrieve it later with hope that the strength of the swells didn’t pull us ashore. It was then an inner voice told me to stay put! If conditions were to get worse within the next hour, we would have to risk it and go! I suggested for Katherine to get some sleep. I sat down in the cockpit with the spot light in my hand, observing the swells, the stern line, and the reefs behind the boat. Here I am once again, living on the edge! Why did I fall into this situation? Within the next hour, winds died and waves diminished drastically! It felt more relieving, but I was still in a state of distress! 
During this whole time we were keeping in touch with ZTC and Black Baron (a local restaurant owner) to check the conditions at sea. Black Baron came back to the bay after a few hours and ZTC returned at sunrise.
These kinds of challenges are a learning experience. It is the most drastic and often times life threatening situations that make us appreciate how lucky we all are. Katherine and I are safe and our angels protected us from this life threatening situation.
The following day we found out that the locals were anxiously watching Earthling from up the hill throughout the night. They were amazed with what had occurred and thought we were brave to have stayed put; some thought it was stupid. I'm thankful we are safe and Earthling is without any damage!

Love from Living on the Edge


  1. Our thoughts were definitely with you while we were bobbing around out at sea.


  2. So happy you are safe!!! xoxo

  3. phew. Scary moments but make for GREAT stories over beer! Glad all is well! Sharon aboard Finally Fun. currently in St. Petersburg, FL

    1. True that! I'm glad you made it safe back! Say hello to Andy