When I was a city manager…eons ago…I was known for my patience. My employees never heard me raise my voice or exhibit anger. I just swallowed it and at the end of the day I went home and had a glass of wine, or if the day was horrible, some Grappa (nasty stuff that heightens the buzz).
As I’ve gotten older, patience seems to have flown away. I’ve been known to use the F word on occasion and I admit I used it recently—the day we ran aground.
We had left Cape May and were winding our way through narrow channels in the marshes of New Jersey. Day marks telling us what side of the channel to stay on were plentiful, but not always accurate. As an old timer at a gas dock told me, “They haven’t dredged the intracoastal channels in 50 years.” I believe it.
As we left a place called Avalon, the part of the channel with water got very skinny and very shallow. Four-foot depths were on the chart for low tide. It lied. We got into a three-foot depth and tried to find deeper water. Not there. Went aground in two feet of mud.
Captain Mark could have called for a tow. We subscribe to a service and pay more annually so it would be free. No way. He likes to do things himself (hence the F word). We tried backing off. Then we tried using the bow thruster. Then we loaded the anchor in the dinghy, but we have all chain rode. Too heavy.
Then we hooked up the auxiliary anchor to the bow (it has some chain but mostly line) and Mark rowed it out to the three-foot water and dropped it in. When he came back I held tight to the anchor line while he pulled it. Then I tightened it. We did this again and again until the bow moved toward the anchor and we literally pulled the boat by sheer force over to the deeper water. When finished, we hauled up the extra anchor loaded with stinky mud and went on our way.
It was an exhausting, time-consuming mess. An hour later when it happened again, we waited for a rising tide to float us, and then took off for Atlantic City slowly. Captain Mark (who is usually patient) declared in no uncertain terms we were heading out to sea to finish the journey.The weather cooperated. Made it to Staten Island in eleven hours. Lesson learned: listen to the Captain. It had been my idea to do the inside route.