Sunday, September 8, 2013

Frank Under the Boat

We are to be spared nothing on this trip, apparently.  We left Siracusa under cloudy skies and on rocking waves, intending to get as far as we could and then anchor.  Unfortunately, along the way we picked up a fishing net and were dragging it behind us.  We tried with the boathook to dislodge it but it was too deep and we couldn't move it.  We thought that maybe it was wrapped around the keel.  Since we were sailing without the motor we figured we would deal with it once we stopped to anchor.  The waves may have been left over from the low pressure system which had been hanging around and wouldn't lift, but they would not let up and we watched the one boat we saw anchored leave the anchorage we were considering and head for the nearest harbor, which was only about two miles away.

Unless we wanted to spend the night rocking like those things on TV that the lottery balls get shaken in we were going to have to go in the harbor too, but we were afraid to start the motor with the net still down there. There was no choice but for Frank to go down and look.  It's unfortunate for him, but I am no help in situations like this because I can't see anything without my glasses.  The bad thing was that the seas were rough and it was going to start getting dark soon.

Fortunately it was shallow enough that we could drop the anchor, although without the motor we were not entirely sure it had set.  Frank tried for at least half an hour but could not dislodge the line; it was wrapped around the propeller.  It was very scary to watch him bobbing around in the waves, especially when he had to go under the boat.  Since he couldn't find a swimsuit quickly he went in naked.  The bright white where his swimsuit usually is made him easy to see against the dark water, at least!  I was watching from on deck and I kept envisioning him being knocked on the head by the boat.  He was tied to a line, but it was still terrifying.  (His comment later:  "If I die, you should go in [to the dock] bow-first.  It's much easier and since you have a hard time steering going forward anyway, you would probably get confused in reverse.").

He did manage to cut it short enough that, with luck, the motor wouldn't jam and we would make it to the harbor where we could get a diver to go down and finish the job.  If it hadn't been so rough Frank could probably have done it, but it was impossible with the waves the way they were.

Success!  The motor started, did not jam, and we made our way SLOWLY into the marina.  The next day it took a diver ten minutes to get it off and we were on our way.  Today (Tuesday) we are heading for Marsala, where we will get provisions, shower, and fill water before starting the trek to Sardinia.

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