Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Croker Island to little Current

Croker Island to Little Current 

Beautiful morning with a light breeze from the South that was forecast to pick up to 10-15 kts later in the day. I expected a pleasant trip to Little Current for a quick stop and then to a nearby anchorage.

Corkey was sent to untie the stern line from the cedar tree ashore. He couldn't depend on Beth to row this time, so he pulled himself in the dinghy by the line and was very careful getting ashore so he wouldn't slip again. Once untied, he pulled the dinghy back to Air Play and tied it close.

The anchor came up easily and we were on our way out of the bay at Croker Island, which we'd done 2 days prior to get to Benjamin Island on our first day.

I was adjusting the chart and looking for the rocks that must be rounded in order to get to deeper water. We had to pass between Croker Island and Secretary Island. I also knew that there was a shoal to the West but while I was adjusting the view on the plotter, we ran aground on a flat rock in 4 ft of water. I didn't throw us into reverse for a couple of seconds. Had I been faster we may have gotten off immediately but as it was we were fast atop a rock. No amount of backing was helping.

The crew inspected the ground around the boat. I checked the instruments, power, and bilge. We had lost no systems as were not taking in water. Whew!

We raised our charter company, Canadian Yacht Charter, on the radio but they couldn't hear us so we switched to the telephone, which worked in this area. They advised us to call back back 10 minutes while they considered our options. At the same time, Beth had the Coast Guard on the radio who took our particulars--crew, location, lat-long, and so forth.

During the 10 minutes, we prepared the second anchor to kedge us off the rock into deeper water behind us. The anchor rode was horribly tangled so it took 20 minutes to feed off the dinghy.

I called CYC who suggested dumping water, getting in the dinghy, and backing down. This did not work by itself even though the small but building waves were pushing the bow. With each blast of reverse the bow would swing and seem to move us slightly in the correct direction.

Eventually Corkey was able to drop the anchor 150 ft off the stern. After a few minutes of cranking the rode on a winch, Air Play slid off the shoal and I could pick up the crew and the anchor.

We called off the charter company and the Coat Guard and checked the chart very carefully. I was still puzzled about how I got atop a shoal that I knew was there but we got past it on the next attempt and rounded the rocks toward Secretary Island as we should.

We were exhausted and decided to sail to spend the night in Little Current, get a shower, and a restaurant meal.
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