Sailing Mango

Mayo Cove And Places In-between

By Scott

Two days ago we left Eagle Harbor, and promptly ran aground. I'd say we were about half a mile from the dock, not yet out of the harbor. Mango had a full head of steam, and just sort of groaned to a stop within a boat length, maybe less.

Kristen: (poking her head up from down below) "What happened?"
Me: "We ran aground. Please check the floor boards to see if we are sinking."
Reality: "Ah!! Holy crap, are we sinking?!? We're sinking! Right?? AAhhhhhh!!!"

Maybe reality really was somewhere in the middle.

The channel is really well marked, and the charts are clear. How did this happen you ask? Well the above conversation was really more like this.

Kristen: (poking her head up from down below) "What happened?"
Me: "We ran aground. Please check the floor boards to see if we are sinking."
A: "Dad was taking a picture! Ohhh, busted!"

See that channel marker on the left? I was supposed to be on the other side.

I know, I know. Well at least I learned about grounding in a very gentle way, in soft mud. We looked around a bit, "yep, there's the bottom, Joe", and discussed what to do.

Me: "OK, low tide is in about two hours."
Kristen: "Sooo... We could get off in about five hours."
Me: "Yeah, and we'd be heeled over for most of it"
E: "This is so exciting!!!"
Kristen: "We could drop the dinghy, throw the anchor in and kedge off?"
Me, thinking: Well that sounds salty as hell, and kind of exciting.

In the end I just threw it in reverse, nearly full revs, and out she came. Then back into the channel, depth at a comfy 30', and we were out into the Sound, with 600 glorious feet of water beneath us. The steering was a little rough for an hour or so, then back to normal. Presumably the mud and silt that had been packed into the lower rudder shoe during the grounding had been flushed away. Or the little pebbles had ground out enough of our rudder post to take the friction back to normal. Who knows?

Ironically, I have no pictures of the entire event.

For the next five hours, we had essentially no wind, so we motored. Just as we were coming into Tacoma Harbor the wind picked up from the North, but there wasn't really enough time to do much with it.

Once in Tacoma we had a great evening with friends aboard Mango. I had met them a few years ago at a boat gathering, and this was the first time we had seen each other again. They live on their boat, and are as nice as they come.

The next morning, this morning, we got off early at 1 pm. We motored up and around Pt. Defiance and then down through the Narrows at full flood. We peaked at over 11 knots with the current. We felt like rock stars, royalty! Once through, we set all sails, and spun around in circles with the crazy currents while the wind died. The highlight was seeing a poor lost rubber ducky, but unfortunately no rescue was possible.

After a couple of 0.4 knot hours, drifting with the current, we powered up and made six miles in just under an hour. Unfortunately, as we arrived at Mayo Cove, we discovered our depth meter had crapped out. Mayo Cove partly dries out at low tide and is a bit deep in the middle, so we where not feeling very comfortable anchoring. I have been known to anchor in plenty deep water, only to be high and dry shortly thereafter. Fortunately there was one mooring ball left, and we took it.

Kristen cooked dinner while E and I put Kiwi the rowboat into the water, dropped both dogs in, literally, and rowed to shore. As soon as we touched beach, the dogs were out of the boat like rockets, run-run-running full speed ahead! Circling back through the grassy area Biscuit zeroed in on a little dog, rolled her, and growled and barked menacingly. Nice. To be fair the owners didn't have their dog on a leash either, but when your dog does the rolling and their dog does the crying out, you are the bad guy. The owners were actually pretty OK with the whole thing, but I was a little out of sorts. Bleh, dogs.

Once back aboard we had dinner in the cockpit, marveling at the beauty. No wind, just sunset and quite.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge.