During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we'll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with "A is for Anchor" and ending with "Z is for Zodiac." Each post is an installment of "Nancy Drew Investigates the Case of the Missing Anchor" - so you may want to read the posts from the beginning, in order to follow along with the story (click here for the first post and here for an index of all the posts). At the end of each post, you'll also find some random thoughts on the day's particular topic. So, if Nancy isn't your thing, feel free to skip the story and go straight to the end.
When we last left you, Nancy confronted the man who had been following them, but he refused to give them any information. As he drove off in his pick-up, Nancy noticed an anchor and other items in the back of his pick up truck and she discovered an important clue.
“I’m so glad you were able to find another anchor to replace the one that got stolen,” said Nancy to Marvin and Shelley as she sat in the cockpit of their sailboat, The Scarlet Slipper, a 42’ white sloop with red racing stripes.
“We were lucky that they had the size we needed in stock. You know how it is with that marine store in town. These days, the salespeople seem to be all about the marine lifestyle, whatever that is, and know next to nothing about actual boat equipment! And they never have what you need,” Marvin fumed.
“There, there Marvin. It all worked out okay. Why don’t you pass the cheese and crackers over to the girls,” said Shelley, as she patted his arm. “Well, what did you girls get up to while we were at the marine store?”
George grabbed some cheese and crackers from the tray and said enthusiastically, “We had such an exciting afternoon! We did some investigating on the case, chased down a suspect and Nancy discovered a clue.”
“What do you mean investigating? Shouldn’t you leave that to the police? What would your father think if he knew you were chasing suspects around the marina?” asked Shelley. “It’s a shame he’s away on a business trip this weekend. It would have been fun if he could have joined us for the Grand Isle Regatta. And, he could have kept an eye on you.”
Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, was a well-known attorney in River Heights and often traveled for his work. While he was away, their housekeeper, Hannah Greun, who had lived with them since Nancy was three, looked after Nancy and the house.
“Oh, dad would be fine with it. He’s enlisted my help before and, besides, George, Bess and I make a crack investigative team,” said Nancy with a smile.
“Hmm…well, if your father is okay with it, then I guess there’s no harm. So, what did you find out?” asked Marvin.
“We discovered that a number of other items were stolen from people at the marina last night. There was a suspicious looking guy who was following us around while we were investigating. We chased him back to his boat, Party Time. It’s a white catamaran in the back of the boatyard. When we questioned him, he refused to tell us anything. Then he took off in his pick-up truck and I saw what I think were some of the missing items in the back,” said Nancy, her eyes sparkling with excitement.
Bess interjected, “But, you’ve left out one important point, Nancy. The guy tried to kill you!”
“What?” gasped Shelley. “He tried to do what?”
“Bess is exaggerating,” said Nancy. “He just jumped out and pushed me to the ground, but I’m fine. Listen, have either of you ever heard of Xebec Charters? I found this card underneath his catamaran.”
Marvin looked at the card and said, “Sure. They do fishing charters from the public dock across the bay.” He turned the card over and looked at the writing on the back. “There’s the name Pete and a number written on here.”
“I know,” said Nancy. “I called them earlier and a woman answered the phone. I asked her if Pete was there, but she said he was off on a delivery. When I asked her what kind of delivery, she said they sell used boat equipment and that Pete was dropping something off to a customer. Do you think he could be selling the stuff that was stolen from here last night?”
Marvin fingered the card and said, “I really think you should leave this to the police. Listen, they're coming back here tonight to give us an update on the investigation of our stolen anchor. Why don’t we tell them about this Pete fellow then and they can deal with it. Now, let’s get started with the safety briefing. Shelley, you want to show the girls the ditch bag and what's in it?”
Shelley showed them a bright yellow bag made out of water resistant material with two pouches – one marked EPIRB and one marked VHF. Bess puzzled over what those abbreviations stood for while Shelley explained that the ditch bag contained essential safety equipment and supplies. As she took each item out of the bag to show them to the girls, Bess noticed two young men passing by and waved at them.
Lost in her daydreams, Bess hadn’t been paying attention to Shelley, but then she heard her say, “Whoever is closest to the ditch bag should grab it if the boat starts to sink or catch on fire and we have to abandon ship.”
“What do you mean? Why would the boat start to sink or catch on fire?” Bess started to look anxious and Nancy whispered to Shelley, “Were those chocolate chip cookies I saw in the galley? Those might help calm Bess down.”
“Good idea,” Shelley said. “Bess, would you be a dear and go down below and bring the plate of chocolate chip cookies up here?”
Bess nodded her head and ducked through the companionway. A few minutes later, they heard a splash and Bess cried out, “Oh no!”
Tune in on Wednesday for the next installment of Nancy Drew Investigates – E is for EPIRB.
|Our ditch bag, which could double as a carry on suitcase on a plane. When you live in small spaces, like boats, it's always good if things can serve more than one purpose.|
One of my tasks on our list of "Very Important But Very Boring Boat Projects" was to put together our ditch bag. It’s one of those things I hope we never ever have to use, but which is really important to have to hand, just in case. There seem to be a lot of "just in case" things one has to have aboard a boat. Usually, they're expensive.
You can think about a ditch bag as a sort of bug-out bag that you might keep in your coat closet or car if you're land based. It basically has what you need to survive should a natural disaster or emergency strike. We've got things like emergency blankets, a knife, signaling mirror, whistle, flares, sunhats, emergency rations, water, handheld VHF radio, flashlight, copies of important papers, cash, EPIRB, collapsible bucket, sunscreen etc.
When we got our EPIRB (more on that in tomorrow's blog post), we got a free ditch bag from ACR. Cruisers, especially cheap cruisers like us, love free stuff. Intellectually, I know it's just a marketing ploy, but I get sucked in every times. "Look, a free ditch bag!" I shout out while I punch in my credit card numbers online.
Our delightfully free ditch bag is bright yellow (like Big Bird) so you can't miss it, has exterior pockets for your VHF and EPIRB and space inside for all of your other emergency equipment and supplies. (Don't worry, VHF and EPIRB will be explained in due course.) Theoretically it can float, but we have yet to test this out. Some people buy ditch bags which are already kitted out, but we decided to stock ours ourselves in order to save a bit of money and customize what we carry in it.
You can find more information on ditch bags at The Boat Galley and Astolabe Sailing.
What about you - do you have a ditch bag or bug-out bag? What do you keep in it?
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