Next morning I was up at sunrise. Fog was thick in the bay and, though the harbor was full of boats, all was quiet. I made myself a coffee and retired to the bridge to survey the situation. Immediately ahead of my boat was a small sailing vessel, anchored and lying not twenty-five feet in front of me.
Now, I don’t mind should-to-shoulder anchoring. The summer is at its peak and the San Juans are busy. But there is a certain amount of decorum to be followed when anchoring, not the least of which is taking care NOT to anchor over someone another hook. The boat ahead of me in this case, I was sure, had done just this…and I was under the gun to up anchor and proceed to my next destination: picking up my husband in Ganges, British Columbia, by the time his plane arrived.
I waited for activity on the offending vessel. An hour later a sleepy headed fellow emerged into the cockpit, coffee mug in hand. I moved outside to the bow where, if I’d had any, we were so close I could have offered him a fresh scone from across the rail.
“‘Morning,” I said.
“Hum,” he managed, apparently not impressed by the proximity of his stern to my bow (as it were).
“Sorry to bother you, but I need to up anchor early,” I said.
“No bother. Go ahead.”
“Um,” I said, “I think you’re on my anchor.”
“Doubt it,” he answered as he sipped his coffee.
“Suit yourself,” I respond, and the up anchoring began.
Sure enough, I moved up close enough to worry said sailor and he begged me off.
“Wait,” he cried, coffee spilling into the well of his boat as we both watched my anchor break the surface of the bay, fully engaged with his smaller hook.
“Waiting,” I said.
We hover in the thankfully still morning air as the sailor wrestled with the two hooks: a weighty proposition, if you will. And I wondered if his nonchalance at my suggestion that he might have dropped his anchor over mine is due to the fact I am a woman, alone, on a boat.
After all, what could I know?
I watched him try to undo, in mid-air, the knot of chain and rope that linked us, until I could stand it no more.
“Get in your dinghy,” I said. “If you take the load off the mess it will be easier to untangle.”
He looked at me. “Genius,” he said as he climbed into his small rowboat. He had the whole thing undone in no time.
I pulled away with no further word, watching the sailor vanish into a cloud of disbelief as I turned the hailer on. I couldn’t help it.