Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I’m from the government. I’m here to help you.

So this morning I had coffee with the guys, hung around for a while, went to the Post Office where the Canada Post guy had the door open before 9:30 but seemed decidedly pissed off that I had dared to venture into his lair before that magic hour, picked up Marilyn’s dive course that I should have picked up on Saturday and finally got underway just before noon.  I had an uneventful passage but as I came through the channel from Swartz Bay it got pretty lumpy and I realized that the wind had got up.  It was bumpy enough coming into Van Isle that I turned on the stabilizers and the cat puked before we even got that far.  So I was more than a little nervous about single-handing the dock at SNSYC. 

Initially I thought I’d back in and tie on the SE side of the pier which would have had the SE wind pushing me squarely onto the dock.  That’s a pretty easy docking even alone but as I rounded the breakwater I remembered that I couldn’t do that today.  Until 4:00 every day and on Thursday evenings that section of dock is reserved for the junior sailors, of which there are none today but that’s beside the point, its reserved.  So I had to adjust on the fly and when I realized that there wasn’t another soul on the dock I decided to pull as far forward as possible to try to get a bit of wind shelter from the breakwater and point of land that it juts out from.  That didn’t really work and just as I made the turn at the breakwater the wind got serious and really started bossing me around. 

I came down the pier at an angle with the rudder hard over and the props countering each other holding it in with the bow thruster.  Normally that would walk me sideways but today it more or less held me to the dock but didn’t really gain much against the wind.  When I got up behind the club boat and couldn’t got any further ahead I snuggled up against the dock one last time and then ducked outside onto the dock to start tying up.  Of course as soon as I left the helm Gray Hawk started to leave the dock but I got my spring line tied as short as I could and was able to pull her back close enough so I could get back onboard immediately with the spring line holding me amidships.  By that time the bow had swung over the dock so that we were at about a 45 degree angle facing into the dock.  I pushed the bow back out, ran the stbd engine for a few seconds to pin the stern to the dock and hopped ashore again to tie up the stern line. 

As I was doing that I saw a fairly well dressed woman coming down the dock towards me.  I got the stern tied off and had the bow line wrapped on a cleat by the time she got up to me.  My first instinct was that she was from the yacht club and that I had done something wrong.  She had that kind of gleam in her eye that says “I’m right and you’re wrong” but when she started speaking I realized that it was much worse than that. 

She had a badge around her neck that she was thrusting forward with one hand and a clipboard in the other hand.  When she started talking she never paused for breath “I’m Nosy Nomind with Statistics Canada and I’m walking the dock today and and anda ……..”  I kind of zoned out there for a while until she came up for breath at which point I simply said “I’m single-handing today, this is a bitch of a wind so why don’t you go bother somebody else.”  Which she did, muttering to herself about how she would have helped me if only she knew what to do.  I’m just guessing but likely docking boats isn’t the only thing she’s clueless about.

I’m not a big fan of Stats Canada, having had some memorable run-ins with them over the years.  The best time I ever had with them was when we were living in town in Nipawin.  When they phoned me at the shop I’d ask them if it was a personal call and then tell them I couldn’t take personal calls at the shop.  When they phoned the house I wouldn’t talk to them and apparently Marilyn was telling them to phone me at work.  In this case I suppose I’d likely have been an asshole no matter how she approached me but she’d have had a lot better chance if she had stood back and at least waited until I was tied off.

Now I’m sitting here checking the weather and waiting for Marilyn’s plane to land.  I think we’re going to get beat up a bit but we’re going to cross to Roche Harbor anyway.  Once we get in the San Juan Islands we’ll be pretty sheltered for the rest of the trip to Anacortes and I don’t think the crossing will be all that bad anyway.  We’re out in the open on the Strait of Georgia for about an hour on this crossing so even if its bad its not bad for very long.  There’s some kind of a front moving over and the wind is supposed to slack off as the day wears on.  Something big just landed so I expect Westjet has arrived.

1 comment:

Singing Land Cruiser said...

You are a ture Capt! Hope M lands safe. Miss you guys, M&C