Hard aground…and getting worse!!!

Yes we went aground again, only this time there was no getting off. And I will tell you all about it with pictures as soon as I tell you about the rest of the day.

Originally I was thinking of titling this entry “Boring” because there was really not much to tell.

As we left St. Simon’s we saw these pelicans under a bridge and they looked like old men gathering at the barbershop.

These hard working fellows are crabbers. They are putting out traps and each one has a rope and a float and we dodge these floats all day.

We ran into a group of police boats practicing pursuit and stopping tactics used in apprehending drug boats. We watched them playing from a distance.

This house is for folks who really want to get away from the rest of us. It sits on a hammock of land in the middle of a marsh. There are no roads in because it is srrounded by miles of swamp. All materials had to be brought in by barge. All water has to be brought in and stored in a tank because the water around it is brackish. There is no electricity except for that produced by a generator and with the price of fuel these days they probably spend a lot of time in the dark.

I know all this because I stopped and asked some gentlemen fishing nearby. And here is the barge pushboat that delivers all the goods.

Seagulls followed us for miles trying to catch tiny fish churned up by our props.

And here is a look out our rearview mirror. 

And now I guess you have waited long enough through our otherwise boring day so let’s get to the exciting part. You know our motto, “if you are looking for the bottom, we’ll find it for you”. And that is exactly what happened.

We turned off the ICW and up the Medway River toward Sunbury Crab Company where we would dock and rest and eat or at least that was the plan. Jan was at the helm in the middle of the channel that was charted for a depth of 34 feet and I was on the bow getting ready to put out fenders for docking. No telling when that chart was prepared but no-one told us that a huge sandbar had formed across the river and we were entering the area at extreme low tide. A negative half foot tide. First Cbay stuttered and then Jan said into the headset that both engines had quit. I ran to the bridge and realized we were not drifting without engines. We were hard aground and the engines had died because the props were buried in the sand and this choked down the engines.

Well this makes the score 2-2 but Jan disputes that because she claims no negligence here. I say the buck stops at the helm but none of this mattered much in our predicament. Now we knew the tide would be rising by over 8 feet in the next 6 hours but who wanted to be out here all night waiting? But what else could we do?

So we settled in to wait. I took soundings with a boat pole and we were definately up to our eyeballs in sand. Soon the tide turned and started coming back up the river. The boat did move but the wind was also a factor and as we rose it blew us further up on the sandbar. This was getting worse. Everytime we thought we were coming free we were pushed into a worse position. Something had to be done so I launched the dinghy and attempted to push Cbay in the preferred direction. How did this work?

You do the math. Cbay weighs 20,000 lbs dry and with water, fuel and all our gear add another ton. That totals 11 tons. The dinghy has a 3.3hp motor with a plastic propeller. Like the big bad wolf I huffed and puffed but it did not budge. In fact it was getting worse! We were within 20 feet of an oyster bank and if we hit that it would cut the bottom to pieces and it would take a crane to get what was left of us off.

And just when all seemed lost the calvary arrived in the form of three people in an inflatable with a 60 hp Yamaha engine. They agreed to take a line and try to pull us out. And it worked. I stood on the bow with the tow line and Jan remained at the helm calling out the depth readings rapidly. As soon as we had 3 feet under us I asked her to start the engines and gently bump the gears in forward and back to neutral while watching the depth. This helped the tow to move us easier. A few hundred feet and we were free of the sandbar. Our tow threw back the line and they left as quickly as they arrived. Angels on wings. We never got their names but Jan got this picture.

Now I am worn out just writing about it so this will end tonight’s installment except to say an engine suddenly died while docking and an AC was causing trouble again. I have to get up early to work on the engine and have already fixed the AC. This job is killing me. Send help.