Friday, March 21, 2008

Aloha Friday

White Sound, Green Turtle Cay
N 26 46.62 W 077 20.19

Tuesday, I was out for a stroll on the island. I was walking around a resort named Bluff House. As I walked down the street I bumped into some acquaintances. Ted and Nancy from the power vessel Aloha Friday were walking up the street. What a coincidence. We first met them in Elizabeth City, two years ago. Then in 2006, we called Aloha Friday to rescue us when we ran aground in the Great Dismal swamp. After that, we encountered them in Norfolk, again in Solomons, and three times in two years
at Vero Beach. Last month, Libby and I were boarding a bus in Key West when Ted and Nancy happened to ride by on their bikes. Now we had another chance encounter.

Last evening, we invited Ted and Nancy over to Tarwathie for dinner and Balderdash. Nancy brought fish for the meat entree, since we were temporarily disadvantaged in the meat department. It was great fun. We'll join them tonight for a BBQ on shore.

I just checked the blog archive to find the article about our rescue by Aloha Friday. I see from the archive that was one of the periods when my computer was broken so there were no blog articles for several weeks. Well, I can tell the story now.

April or May 2006: Jenny had flown down to Norfolk to sail with us for a week. I met her at the airport and drove her to Elizabeth City. There, we met Ted and Nancy on Aloha Friday for the first time, and we hit it off right away. The next day we set out for the Great Dismal Swamp Canal. We left early in order to get the AM locking, and earlier than most boats because we were slower.

Just before reaching the south lock on the canal, there is a fork in the river. It appeared to me that the main branch of the river forked left, so I turned that way. As I approached the fork, I spotted a tiny little sign with an arrow pointing right. Oh no, wrong branch. I put the tiller hard over and turned to the right. Alas, I turned too close to the fork. Bang, Tarwathie's nose lifted out of the water and we came to an abrupt halt as we ran aground on a submerged tree.

Well, I started our normal grounding routine. We launched the dinghy and I took out a anchor to kedge off. I was in a big hurry because it was approaching the time for the morning locking at south lock. The kedge didn't work this time. Tarathie's weight was sitting on that log.

Just then, a parade of all the other boats heading to south lock came along, and Aloha Friday was in the lead. I called her on the VHF and asked for help. I tried a trick that Al Hatch taught me. I requested Aloha Friday to make a pass close to us at a speed that would create maximum wake. She passed us, turned around and came charging back at us about 15 knots. As she passed us, she created a huge 3-4 foot wave in her wake. It worked, the wave lifted Tarwathie up off the log for a second,
and the tension on the anchor rope that I had moved us back a couple of feet. We were free.

Jenny helped me to quickly put the dinghy back up on deck, and we moved as fast as possible. We made it to the lock just in time for the locking. Thank you Aloha Friday.

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