Park it Skipper!!

Hitchhikers in Snotty Johnstone Strait.

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When Sideways Sally drives to town to buy groceries she doesn’t think twice about parking when she gets to the store.  When she decides to get to a store with OMOO, the Skipper thinks more than twice about parking.

Wind on the mast, current taking the keel, water under the keel, other boats to navigate around, and dock space.  Since Lund, we have stopped a few places, some at anchor with LOTS of room.  When we got through Yuculta and Dent Rapids we were looking forward to pulling into Shoal Bay.  It’s a slow year in these parts with no American boats.  Soooo, we thought there would be lots of space on the dock.

SURPRISE!!  As we got close enough to assess the space available a gentleman from “Mango Mama” called out to us, there’s room on the inside of the dock.  This meant taking OMOO into shallow water around the end of the dock closest to land and backing into a narrow space between the dock and the pilings.  There were some little run-abouts tied up there so we had to mind them.

Everyone that was tied up, which were about  six other boats, came out to guide, catch lines and pull us in.  It’s always interesting when Sideways Sally prepares the fenders and lines and waits for the Skipper to do his job.  The fun part is getting tied up once close enough, and what people do that show up to help.

We NEVER refuse help, it’s very reassuring to have people catch your lines.  BUT we’re never quite sure what they’ll do with our lines.  SS was ready to throw the mid-line as the Skipper maneuvered around the shallow end of the dock and lined up the stern to back into our spot.    One of the lovely ladies who was ready to help called “don’t throw that line yet, you’re not close enough.”  Our mid-line is super long, and meant to be tossed across the gap between the boat and the dock for anyone to help pull us over.  SS thought, “hmmm, this is the only way we’re getting in here” and threw the line, lassoing the lady.  She quickly handed it over to her hubby who had come out of their boat and he stood there for a moment with the line in his hand.  “Could you PLEEEEZ give us a wrap and pull us in?”  SS pleaded.  If they didn’t pull us in right away we’d be up against the small boats doing whatever damage we could.

The wharfinger arrived right about then and took our stern line, had it tied down in two seconds, and secured the mid-line so SS could step off the boat and grab the bow line just in time to stop OMOO from heading off sideways.  (No this is not where the name Sideways Sally comes from)

There have been times that that the Skipper has suggested, “Just throw a line that’s not attached to anything” and let him bring OMOO in by ourselves.  This is not something anyone should try at home, it’s a crazy idea.

After OMOO was all settled in, everyone came over to the Skipper to give him accolades for his fine parking job.  The lady who told me not to throw the mid-line commented on the size of OMOO, “is there enough room in there for just the two of you?”  To which the Skipper said “Not always!!” She was having boat envy.

The morning tide was starting to ebb about the time we were ready to leave, so we had to scurry around a bit to get going.  This happened at approximately 10:30 am.  We are NOT morning people.  There was only Mango Mama left on the dock as we let the lines go and they weren’t paying any attention to us.  As we rounded the end of the dock in a tight space for water under us, the Skipper called out, 7′, 6′, 5′ OOPS.  Kerplunk, keel is in the mud.  “We don’t want to stay here” SS called back.  DUH!!

The Skipper is always calm, cool and collected.  He sat looking at his chart for a minute, then backed up a bit and gave the engine a thrust to propel us through the track he made backing up and was able to gain some momentum to plow through the soft silt.  The gentleman from Mango Mama looked up at this point, hearing the motor work.  With only a small audience to cheer him on, the Skipper gave a wave as we slid past the dock.

“WHEW, we’ve done this a few times but don’t tell anyone” I called out to Mango Mama, and they called back, “We hope to see you again somewhere.”

Later the Skipper says to SS, “That was really stupid, I’m NEVER going to do that again.”

He meant that he’s never going to go inside of that dock in Shoal Bay, but SS knows he really means he’s never going in the mud again, and she doesn’t believe him.  Hehehehe.

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