Saturday, May 21, 2011

The moment of truth

Anacortes is an hour and half north of Seattle and directly across the water from the San Juan Islands. Packing the three large bags of food into the already tightly-packed car took more time and skill than anticipated, resulting in a much later arrival in Anacortes than we had hoped and raising my anxiety level a little, knowing that the check-out process would be at least two hours and we wanted to hit the water as soon as possible so that we could plenty of buffer time to anchor before it was too late. Breathe. We arrived around 10:30 and I was in a rush to get started. The nice woman at the office, to my silent dismay, took her time explaining the paperwork and the check-out process. Inside, I was bouncing up and down with impatience. What I didn't realize at this point was that the engine of Montana Sapphire was currently being worked on as we leisurely spoke. Should we be worried about this? The owner of the charter company, Mark, then showed up and announced to us that he was going to the parts store and would be back in a while. So much for a timely departure, I guess I could relax. Part of our job during checkout was to locate all the items on a list provided and check them off. If we couldn't find something, let them know and they would show us where it was. Easy enough. Jason, carefully picked his way past the open engine compartment and the mechanic, going through the boat, checking items off as he went. When Mark returned, Jason asked him about the items he couldn't find. Most of the time Mark did not know where they were either, as this was the first time that Montana Sapphire had been chartered, gulp, and they would have to search for it together. I, meanwhile, over-packed the boat with way too many clothes, as I pictured us soaked to the bone and frozen every day and thought it would be nice to have dry clothes each day, and delicious food that I had carefully picked out at Pike Street Market, which, by the way, was something I had always wanted to do. At the same time, the boys unpacked their stuffies and made themselves at home, displaying an inordinate amount of patience as we prepared the boat for our sailing adventure. Thank you. After a very lengthy scavenger hunt, with Mark occasionally calling the owner of the boat in Polson to ask him questions, it was finally time for Mark to check out our boating prowess. Yikes. This was the moment of truth. Was he going to let us take out the boat or make the land-lubbery yahoos from Montana unpack the boat and head home to the mountains? Luckily, he backed us out of the slip, as our previous captain, Captain Bob, had told us that we didn't really need to know how to dock the boat or put it into a slip because any charter company would do it for us which was a big relief to us because we didn't know how to do either at this stage of the game. Jason then drove the boat out of the marina and into the mostly windless bay where we raised sails and I fumbled my way through one measly tack, at which point, to my surprise, he said we could lower the sails. I cannot say that this performance should inspire confidence in anyone about our sailing abilities. He instructed Jason to head back into the marina where he had him perform several tight turning exercises followed by a white knuckle backwards drive down a narrow passageway flanked by expensive boats. Oink! I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Jason, to everyone's amazement, drove the boat backwards around a corner and about 60 feet down this corridor, something Mark said he wasn't sure the boat was actually capable of doing. The final test was putting the boat back into the slip. A terror-stricken Jason, with much whitening of hair and knuckles, followed Mark's yellings of starboard! starboard! starboard! and successfully parked the boat into the slip. After his second try. Though I am very proud of Jason for accomplishing what I thought was impossible given our skills, neither one of else felt like we had put on a very awe-inspiring, knowledgable-sailor show. At around 4:00, Mark exited the boat, saying, "see you in a few days, have fun." Really? He's going to let us take the boat? Alone?

Click here for photos.

1 comment:

  1. If you get a boat you know that this place would not be the place to base it for chartering.