New member here, and like many others, I decided to make my first post in this thread.
I just finished a 2 month solo trip on my Pearson 26 from Windsor Ontario, up Lake Huron, then westward across the North Channel to Lake Superior. Many opportunities for bonehead moves. Let me tell you about one....
I just finished the northbound crossing of Lake Huron on the Canadian side and decided to anchor in Tobermory's Big Tub harbour for the night before continuing into town the next day, as many people do.
I heard that there were shipwrecks in the area and consulted my charts very carefully. The LAST thing I wanted to do was drop a hook on a national heritage.
The charts said the wrecks were at the far end of the cove, so I dropped the hook midway and I was pleased.
The next day, my plan was to motor over to Little Tub harbour, anchor in the cove outside of the marina and row the dink down the 1/4 mile fairway into town. I figured this was my best option to avoid a boneheaded move. I really don't like docking single handed in strange marinas.
It's a busy harbour. Very busy. You got pleasure craft, dive boats, glass bottom tour boats, commercial and sports fishermen, kayakers coming and going and I even saw one idiot swim across the fairway pushing a small child on an innertube.
The place is like a circus and I didn't want to be the center ring attraction. Not a good place to practice single handed docking, but it's an irresistible stop for provisions. The grocery store and liquor store are a stones throw from the docks, great restaurants and the prices are fair.
So I motor over to my planed anchorage outside the fairway and when I get there I see some uncharted white buoys. They look like swimming buoys or "No Wake" markers that you often see. Maybe there's a rock there?
When I get up close to buoy, it says "No Boats". What exactly did that mean? I wasn't making a wake, there were no swimmers and I was well off the fairway. I figured it must have something to do with stupid powerboaters.
I put the engine in neutral and coasted in at 1/2 knot looking for rocks until I was 300 feet from shore then set the hook in about 10 feet of water.
I relaxed a bit and was pleased with myself. I took some video of the 364 foot Chi-Cheemaun ferry landing across the harbour. It opened it's bow like a whale and I watched all the cars and trucks drive in.
When the excitement was over, I made something to eat and boarded my skiff and casually rowed the 1/4 mile down the fairway into town just like Joe Cool.
I was just about to rope off at the far end of the harbour near the grocery store when a marina guy comes up and asks me if I'm from the sailboat Josephine.
I proudly said, "Yeah, I just rowed all the way down the harbour from her."
He says to me, "The Harbour Master requires you to move your vessel because you are anchored on top of a shipwreck maintained by Parks Canada." "We've been trying to hail you on the radio for the last hour."
I said, "Oh [email protected]
#%". I felt just horrible. I did exactly what I didn't want to do.
I apologised and spun the dink around, sunk the oars deep in the water and powered the oars like never before. I didn't want to make a scene because I knew everyone in the harbour within earshot of a VHF was monitoring the situation.
That's when the oarlock broke free from the gunwale on the power stroke and I went ass over teakettle, banged my head off the transom and nearly did a backwards summersault right off the stern.
The gaggle of girls in their kayaks nearby were laughing their butts off at my predicament. One was taking a video. I felt like I was dying inside.
The gentlemen on deck of the Coast Guard ship moored to the wharf didn't look as impressed with my performance. The dive boat owners and glass bottom boat captains and all the other locals who knew the area expressed similar disgruntled looks. It was like someone pulled the plug on the drain and I was going down.
I tried to jury rig an oarlock by lashing the oar to the broken nub on the gunwale without success. I tried to paddle the dink like a canoe, but I just spun in circles like a one legged duck. I actually felt my soul departing from my body.
I was NOT going to ask those girls to tow me to my boat with their kayaks.
With dire determination, I managed to wobble back to ship paddling with an exaggerated J-Stroke technique.
It took forever to get back and every eye in the marina was focused on this idiot the whole time.
I hoisted anchor and thanked God there were no sunken ship parts hanging from it when it surfaced.
I figured that it might be best to reprovision elsewhere and got the hell out of there before any more damage was done.
1. Those white buoys that say, "No Boats" might mean you too.
2. Undersized fine threaded screws should not be used to secure an oarlock to a gunwale.
3. No fail is complete until some young girl uploads a video of it to her Facebook page.