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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retrieving an Errant Anchor After Hurricane Issac Skirts on by Marco Island...

Tropical Storm Issac may indeed be but an afterthought by now insofar Southwest Florida and the Florida Keys are concerned, but I somehow gotta believe that a good many of us in its path somehow managed to inadvertently dodge an errant bullet of sorts.

Not a real bullet mind you but just a figuratively speaking bullet unlike the ones inflicted upon the dumbass mofo who against his better judgment, managed to somehow piss-off former Vice President Dick Cheney while bird hunting in Texas one weekend awhile back.

Yet I also gotta say that it was quite fortuitive for Marco Island and the rest of Southwest Florida that Tropical Storm Issac elected to scoot further on out into the gulf and not come ashore after crossing over the Florida Keys.

For with me no longer being but a vagrant-on-a-boat and with me now gainfully employed and all, the last thing that I wanted to do was to have to take time off from work and have to deal with securing my boat out at anchor.

But that 'feller sailors is just what I did. I set about purchasing yet another anchor at the last moment 'cause we all know that one simply can't have too many anchors when dealing with hurricanes.

And although S/V Blondie-Dog did happen to have two anchors holding her down in place, I had to believe that a third anchor was imperative because in the not so memorable words of Jimmy Buffet, "You Just Can't Reason With Hurricane Season".

And after fortuitively finding an affordable anchor for sale off of Craig's List, I arranged to buy the darned thing that very same Friday afternoon. I'd worry about getting my ground tackle squared away the following morning. Unfortunately for me however that was when the stress of dealing with an approaching hurricane evidently started to take its toll on me.

For ya see, my heart just hasn't been into sailing for awhile now and I would have much preferred to be doing anything but screwing around with my boat come first thing on a Saturday morning.

So after getting my ground tackle all squared away, I loaded it all up into the dinghy along with my newly purchased anchor and proceeded to "set" the thing after heading on out to the boat.

Unfortunately for me however, that was when I discovered to my sudden dismay that I had failed to cleat off the bitter end of my anchor rode while dinghing out away from Blondie-Dog. My anchor along with twenty feet of chain and one hundred and fifty feet of rode was now silently resting at the bottom in about seven feet of muddy, murky water much to my consternation.

That anchor and stretched out chain and rode might as well have been lying in a good hundred feet of water 'cause the reality of it all is that murky is murky and one simply can't see much beyond one's eye-lids while in murky water.

And never mind whether or not I had invested some four hundred dollars or so procuring that anchor and ground tackle and that a hurricane now happened to be on its way. And never mind whether or not that I for one had previously guffawed and scoffed at other sailors who had in the past failed to cleat off their anchor prior dropping the thing into the water for I had now inadvertently joined an unenviable club.

Yet the most incredulous part of it all is that but a minute or two earlier I had indeed realized that I hadn't cleated off the darned thing to begin with and somehow in my haste I had rationalized, "Oh screw it, I've got plenty of rode up on deck, I ain't got to worry about it."  "I'll cleat it off when I get back."

And with that ignominious blunder I then motored on back to my boat to retrieve my mask and fins along with a dinghy anchor in but a feeble attempt to locate and retrieve my anchor.

Only this time I emphatically made it a point to diligently tie off my rusty dinghy anchor to the transom before dropping it overboard. 'Cause the last thing that I needed to see happen at that very moment was have Issac blow my dinghy clear across the river while I still be in the water furtively searching for my anchor.

Needless to say, locating that errant anchor was like attempting to find the proverbial needle in a hay stack. There wasn't a chance in hell that I'd ever find it. Visibility couldn't have been more than a foot at most in that shallow muddy water. And with Issac scheduled to swing on by sometime later in another day or two, there was little to do but resign myself to the inevitable and call it a day.

Well so much for diligent hurricane preparations... Unfortunately for me however I ain't got no one else to blame for my incautious mistake... and yep, that stupid mistake was all on me and nobody else.

I suppose that's what happens when one is aggravated in the first place for whatever reason. I simply didn't want to be dealing with the task at hand at that particular moment and in my haste made a stupid yet completely avoidable mistake. Oh well... it wouldn't be the first time that I made an impulsive f***-up.

It also goes without saying that I did unleash a few choice words in Issac's direction.... all in Spanish of course so that that mofo might fully understand just what it was that I had to say to his sorry ass... "PuNieTa!!, CaRaJo!!, CoNiO!! were a but a few choice words that readily come to mind at this particular moment not that anybody else could hear me when hurling those unpleasantries into the twenty knot winds.

So that's how spent the next two days or so... pissin' and moanin' about my f***-up all the while contemplating just how I was going to go about retrieving my errant anchor once the weather had finally decided to settled down.

Yep!, 'dat indeed be me decidedly pleased with myself a week later after retrieving my errant anchor with my modified boat-hook contraption.

Well heck, I may even look into patenting the dang thing. And I also gotta believe that it's a good thing that I'd occasionally peruse a random "Popular Mechanics" magazine or two back in the day. 'Cause for sure I wouldn't have come up with my brilliant idea had I not ever put down the Playboy magazine that I'd invariably be holding in one hand back in my youth.

I do nevertheless suppose that my contraption will need a catchy name of sorts to make it some what marketable. Well heck... perhaps West Marine might possibly be interested in displaying my contraption on their shelves. I suppose that I just might call it a "Snag an Errant Anchor Rode Modified Boat Hook". Yep, 'dats a catchy name that ought to work.

Assembly Parts:

one boat hook
fifty feet of clothes line
three garage hooks
two hose clamps
one spring loaded shackle
one set of tool wrenches, (for weighing down the boat hook)
and a good measure of patience

Well after twenty minutes or so of trolling for my anchor rode I hit pay dirt and snagged that mofo. It was a darned good feeling when my dinghy lurched to an abrupt stop upon snagging that anchor rode. In but an instant I was cautiously pulling that snagged anchor rode on up to the surface after putting my outboard in neutral.

And I'll also have you know that I ain't ever before seen or smelled such slick, nasty, smelly crud a-clinging to the rode and anchor not that you will hear me complaining.

And to tell ya the truth, it kinda, sorta reminded me of something akin to the slick, nasty, smelly crud that might perhaps be a-clinging to one's business after hooking up with some random, scanky chic at a bar only to later engage in an impulsive, after-hours poke & go if ya knows what I means. (wink, wink, chuckle, chuckle, chuckle...)

Yippers... there was simply no way in hell that I wasn't going to retrieve that errant anchor dammit... that is unless of course my small portable cooler were to first run out of cold beer that I happened to be sippin' while trolling for that anchor.

Yeah man... 'dat be my errant anchor and rode.

And 'dat be me totally pleased with myself before heading back ashore for a celebratory cold brewski at Jack's Lookout, a dockside bar alongside of the Rose Marco River Marina.

And in the fine memorable words of former President Dubya Bush, "Mission Accomplished"...

And 'dat there be my freebie dinghy anchor that I claimed as mine after its previous owner had discarded it and set it alongside of the trash dumpster at the Key West, Garrison Bight Dinghy Dock parking lot.

S/V Blondie-Dog. Marco Island.


  1. Like they say, necessity is the mother of invention.