Things that go bump in the night


What was that?! 

But I knew exactly what it was. Earlier that day, after walking what felt like most of Auckland, we stopped on the way back to Escape Velocity and invited a neighbor for sundowners. While sipping my Tui, I remarked that the blue boat behind us was anchored too close and he’s not even French! Just as I said that the skipper walked up to the bow and started to crank up his anchor. With weather moving in I was relieved, but we watched in disbelief as he went around us and anchored to windward, even closer. Not good.

On a boat, things that go bump in the night are usually other boats. Sure enough, gaining the cockpit, I saw the blue monohull dancing around alongside us a meter away, bobbing and rolling in the wind and rain. Marce had the presence of mind to bring up a flashlight to shine into his portlights to get his attention — as if the impact wasn’t enough — while I made a beeline forward to the bow lockers to grab a couple of our larger fenders. (Note to self: don’t tie up the kayaks on top of the bow locker hatches!) Finally M roused, let’s agree to call him the Wild Man of Matiatia. Overgrown gray hair sticking out at every odd angle, tangled like a fright wig, growing in a semicircle of male pattern baldness gone bad, with the social skills of a troll. He just stood there, staring at the water. We waited. 

Finally Marce yelled over, “What’s your plan?” He still just stood there scratching his stubble, then said, “I see what’s happening” while staring down at the water. 

Mind you we’ve had our share of close calls while at anchor and the proper protocol is to (1) apologize profusely, (2) start your motor, (3) apologize profusely, (4) fend off if necessary, (5) apologize profusely, and (6) make yourself very scarce, while (7) apologizing profusely. Once in Hiva Oa’s rolly nightmare of a harbor our stern anchor let go in the middle if the night and we spun around between two boats, touching nothing, but terrorizing two crews. We were blissfully asleep, awakened by powerful flashlights through the portlights. Proper protocol was observed and we banished ourselves out beyond the jetty. 

Our Wild Man continued to stare at the roiling water between our boats, ignoring protocol. Finally Marce and I looked at each other then back at him and yelled,”MOVE YOUR BOAT!” He looked up as if noticing us for the first time and asked, “How much longer will you be here?” Bewildered, we said “maybe two days” and he said he guessed he could hang on for two more days, then reluctantly moved the boat fifty feet and dropped his anchor again. 

It appears that the Wild Man of Matiatia has an unnatural attraction to this specific spot of water. Well, there goes my night. I stood anchor watch until the wind calmed down. 
The next morning we moved EV. I’m reluctant to come between a man and his passion, however strange it may be. We don’t judge. 

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