"Sooner or later you're going to hit another boat."
These are things people tell you when you start boating. It's meant to make you feel better so that when these thing happen to you, you know you're not alone.
Turns out we did both. In one trip.
The day started out with a bad night's sleep. We'd been keeping an eye on the weather for a a while, noticing the "good conditions" turn to "okay conditions." The wind was expected to come up to 15 knots. When we got up around 5 am, they were already blowing pretty well. The only reason we went ahead with the journey was the direction of the wind, which was due east. So if we stayed closed to shore it shouldn't be too bad. You'll notice that this crossing was just that -- we didn't do the straight line across the gulf. We headed outward around North Naples and were greeted by two foot seas, which are doable but uncomfortable (for us, anyway).
|Christmas morning on the boat|
Note to self: Just because the gulf looks all big and watery doesn't mean it really is.
|Yes. That is an alligator. Waiting for his ride.|
We managed to get a slip in the Pink Shell Resort and Marina for the next three nights. No small feat, with New Years approaching, another big boater holiday. The forecasts predict that the next best boating day will be Saturday, so that is our target departure.
The wind never died down. It should get stronger over the next three days. It was coming from the east so I planned to get into our slip accordingly. However. There was a H U G E shiny boat in the slip next to ours, I'm guessing about 70 feet. It sticks way out, like a perfect target. My other issue, proving my ignorance in this whole boating thing, was the tide which was coming in and quickly. Lastly, the marina is exposed and just off the channel, giving me very little maneuvering room. And of course, they wanted me stern in.
Attempt #1. I pulled up next to the slip and started to pivot. While backing in I drifted toward the big boat. I pulled forward to set myself up for a second attempt, but we had to wait for the parade of boats coming down the channel.
Attempt #2. I again pulled up, but gave myself more space on the starboard side (where the big boat was). I lined it up perfectly, then started to reverse. But the current was strong and I wasn't quick enough. Again we drifted towards the boat. The dock hand there to help told us we could pull bow in if that was easier. I decided to do just that.
|The TALL boat is the one we hit. *I* hit.|
Our boat, too, was fine. We didn't even get a scratch. I'm assuming the scraping we heard was from our rub rail taking out the candy cane, but it was a terrible noise.
As the afternoon went on a couple of other boats docked in the slips next to ours. I am a bit relieved to say they, too, had a difficult time with their boats. Russ watched one, saying they came at it sideways, got a line to the dock hand, who spun them around the pole to get parked. Odds are they've done this way more times than me.
So, okay, I feel a little better.