Daily Archives: December 13, 2022

Dragging anchor

There’s a funny thing that happens in your head when you spend years on a boat at anchor.

On a boat you choose an anchor spot that’s protected from wind and waves, that takes into account a possible change in wind direction and tide so that when the boat swings it’ll still be a safe distance from the shore. Our ears are attuned to every noise on the boat and a sure get-out-of-bed sound is breaking waves, evidence that you’re too close to shore and need to move. Now.

Only once did we intentionally anchor within the sound of waves crashing on rocks. It was in narrow Baie de Hane on the island of Ua Huka in the Marquesas, French Polynesia. We sailed into the tiny sliver between rocky shores as darkness fell, a wary eye on the surf on either side, and eased in as far as we could to escape the ocean swell. We put out the bare minimum of anchor chain plus a little extra for safety and hoped for the best. The next day our friends on French Curve tucked in close behind us and we spent three days exploring this rarely-visited treasure. Our anchor and chain never budged but the constant disconcerting sound of breaking waves on the rocks kept us on high alert the whole time.

Old habits die hard. We’re in a wooden cabin perched on a steep slope above a rocky shoreline about 12 meters from the sea. When the tide comes in the sound of waves crashing over the boulders — some the size of Volkswagens — makes the muscles in my neck tense and I unconsciously wait for the tug of the anchor chain reassuring me that we’re still stuck to the bottom.

Then I remember we’re on land in a virtual tree house and we’re safe.

Since traveling on land after selling Escape Velocity we always seem to gravitate toward the water. I miss boat life. I miss the peace and privacy of life at anchor. I miss living in harmony with nature. I miss flexing the skills that became automatic with experience.

Now we’re on land looking at the water instead of on the water looking at the land. Which is better? Boat life is definitely more fun, but land life is less stressful. Maybe. I think the sea is calling us back. Time will tell.

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