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15 April 2016

M Is For Mooring | Nancy Drew Investigates {A To Z Challenge}


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.  

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When we last left you, Nancy and her friends discovered another suspicious boat, called Party Palace, which appears to belong to the same person as the suspicious white catamaran which tried to ram them and another boat and was involved in a dinghy theft.


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“Wow, wasn’t that just thrilling?” Nancy asked as she came back into the cockpit after taking down the mainsail. “That was such an exciting race!”

“You girls did a wonderful job keeping the sails trimmed,” Marvin said, his eyes shining with excitement. “It was close, but we beat Double Jinx to the finish line. Now, we just have to do the same again on the race back to Pine Tree Bay on Monday and that trophy will be ours.”

Shelley smiled fondly at her husband’s need to win every race. “Nancy, do you want to go out onto the bow and pick up the mooring ball? Once we get settled in, we’ll head over to the marina for drinks with the other regatta participants.”

Nancy grabbed the mooring hook, headed up to the bow and pointed at the mooring ball so that Marvin would know which way to steer the boat. Expertly picking up the ball, Nancy tied it off to the boat and looked across at Grande Isle. The north side of the island, where they were moored, had a large, protected anchorage with a small marina, clubhouse and patio area, surrounded by several quaint vacation homes. Nancy knew from previous trips to the island that the south side of the island was less popular with boaters, as the anchorage offered meager protection from the prevailing winds.

This time, when they got their dinghy alongside the dock at the marina, Shelley tied off the painter, so as not to replicate a Bess Special knot again. Bess looked sheepishly on, but then brightened up when she heard Shelley say that there would be light refreshments served along with drinks at the marina.

At the reception, Nancy, Bess and George helped themselves to tall glasses of lemonade and hors d’oeuvres while Marvin and Shelley took their drinks over to talk with some friends from the yacht club. Bess piled some more cheese and crackers on her plate and looked out across the patio. “Look at the guy over there. Isn’t he dreamy? Why don’t we go over and sit near him and his friends.”

“Oh, Bess, you’re such a flirt. What would Dave say if he knew that you were making eyes at other guys,” said George.

“Well, he isn’t here, is he? And, it’s not like we’re going steady.” As Bess walked over towards their table, Nancy grabbed her by her elbow and said, “Wait a minute. One of those guys that he’s sitting next to has a shirt which says Party Palace on it. He’s getting up and going off with that older gentleman with the captain’s hat on. Come on, I want to hear what they’re saying.”

Nancy and George hurried off down the path behind them, while Bess looked wistfully back at the table where her dreamy guy sat. “Quick, duck behind here so they don’t see us,” whispered Nancy pointing to a shed.

Crouched down behind the shed, they saw the younger man with the Party Palace shirt gesture angrily at the older man. “Listen here, Captain Gus. I’m tired of doing all of the dirty work for you and not getting paid. It’s about time that you coughed up my share of the dough.”

Captain Gus hissed, “Keep your voice down laddie. It’s not my fault you haven’t been paid. It’s that nephew of mine, Pete. He’s been holding out on me, but I’m going to get square with him this weekend. I’ve got a list of everything that’s been sold and what it’s been sold for. I’m going to get the money Pete owes me off of him and then you’ll get your cut.”

“Fine, but if I don’t see my share, I’m warning you, something bad is going to happen” said the younger man as he stalked off.

Just then, Bess slipped and fell against the shed, crying out when she hurt her elbow. George put her hand over Bess’s mouth and whispered, “Keep quiet or he might hear you.” Captain Gus looked around him, but when he didn’t hear anything further, he pulled a pipe out of his jacket, lit it and walked back to the patio.

“Phew, that was close,” said Nancy. “Come on, we better get back to the party and tell Marvin and Shelley what we heard.”

As the girls made their way back along the dark path, someone reached out from the shrubs and tried to grab Nancy. George quickly jumped behind the assailant and threw him to the ground using one of her judo moves. “Quick, let’s get out of here!” shouted Bess as she grabbed Nancy and George’s hands and pulled them behind her.

Tune in on Saturday for the next installment of Nancy Drew Investigates – N is for Nautical Miles.

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Mooring field in Tobemory, Scotland. 

You can think of a mooring ball as a sort of permanent anchor. The "anchor" part rests on the bottom with a line (pennant) attached to it, which is connected to a ball that floats on the surface. Mooring balls are used in areas where anchoring might damage coral underneath, where the bottom isn't suitable for anchoring, where the water might be too deep or to cram more boats in the available space.

Some people avoid picking up a mooring ball because they're not sure if they can trust it. The line might be chafed, the "anchor" at the bottom might not be big enough to hold your boat, the hardware might be about to break etc. They'd rather rely on their own anchor and chain, which they know, rather than something they don't know.

We occasionally picked up mooring balls in New Zealand and we picked one up once when we were making our way to the Bahamas and our windlass wasn't working. I'm the designated mooring ball picker-upper. I wish I had Nancy's poise and grace when picking up a mooring ball, but I do get the job done. Eventually. It involves a boat hook and leaning over the bow to pick a floating ball up out of the water. The ball likes to float right out of the way, at least for me. Coordination is required. In my case, multiple attempts are required.

Why is it Nancy is an expert in everything and makes it all look effortless? You'd hate her if she wasn't so darn nice and clever. Bess, now there's a girl I can relate to.

If you're a boater, do you prefer to anchor or pick up a mooring ball? And this question is open to everyone - who do you relate to the most - Nancy, Bess or George?

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26 comments:

  1. I sadly have never been boating...but I would love to do it someday!!

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    1. It can be a lot of fun - you should try it at some point :-)

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  2. I'll happily pay for a (known-to-be-well-maintained) mooring just to save having to wash off the anchor line in the morning. As long as I don't have to launch the dinghy just to go ashore and pay for it. I don't mind the paying, just the shore run. Love the places where you can credit card by phone, or online.

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    1. I think "known-to-be-well-maintained" is the key here. Hopefully, they invent that self-cleaning anchor chain soon.

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  3. We like to anchor but used quite a few US Forestry Service moorings last year when we were in Alaska. It's my job to pick them up too, but we have so much freeboard that David has to bring the boat up alongside the mooring and I hook it from midships . . . I'm really looking forward to getting back out there!

    Cheers, Stephanie
    http://www.svcambria.com/2016/04/m-is-for-money-saving-tips.html

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    1. That would be interesting to do it from midship and then walk it forward. We don't have a lot of freeboard, so I can hook from the bow.

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  4. I have never interacted with a mooring ball. I've only spent one night on a boat that wasn't in dock :). Mostly I remember the flapjacks and the wine, not the anchor :)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. By flapjacks, I assume you mean those tasty biscuit/cookie type bar things and not pancakes. I used to love those tubs of flapjacks you could buy in Marks and Spencer's. They were so utterly, butterly delicious.

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  5. I'm loving this story. I'm sure they will figure out everything in due time. They seem to be getting close. Who's the guy in the bushes though? Good guy or bad guy.

    We throw the hook to anchor. Never anchored any other way. Would if need be though.

    I'd love to be Nancy, but I'm more like George.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend Ellen. ☺

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    1. I'm more like Bess and could do with a bit more George in me :-) I wish my hair and clothes looked as nice as Nancy's does, but that might be a stretch.

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  6. Tough question... The reliability of your own tackle or the ease of a mooring ball? I like the convenience of a mooring, especially when it is a free one, like in some parts of French Polynesia, or when it is better for the environment. What I don't like about them is their proximity to others (lack of privacy, like in the BVI, or dangerous, like in Tahiti), their price (especially when it is the only option to stay in a bay) and their long painters, rubbing the paint of our hulls and having the ball bang against our boat. I guess, it all depends on the situation, but I always trust our anchor more.

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary

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    1. I probably don't have enough experience with mooring balls to know if I prefer them. They certainly seem easier than anchoring though.

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  7. I have always been a fan of George--she was my secret self when I was a girl.

    #AtoZchallenge
    Meet My Imaginary Friends

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    1. I think George was a great inspiration for girls - athletic and smart.

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  8. I like secure, well maintained moorings, especially at snorkel/scuba sites; you can trust that you aren't harming the reef and sea grass. - Lucy

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    1. Mooring balls are definitely a great idea at certain sites so that you don't damage the environment.

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  9. I've only done one mooring ball pickup, and that was when I was in sailing class 5 years ago. We always use our anchor. I do, however pick up crab-trap buoys now. :-)

    I know I read Nancy Drew mysteries when I was young, but I don't remember much about them. I have 3 brothers, and the Hardy Boys, and Tom Swift series were more in abundance around our house.

    Donna/svdenalirosenc43.blogspot.com
    Facebook: Denali Rose Sailboat

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    1. My sister preferred the Three Investigators over Nancy Drew, which I also liked.

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  10. I'm so glad you mentioned how much you'd hate Nancy if she wasn't so nice. How is it that some people are just naturally good at everything they do? How fair is that? WE But that Bess. It's a good thing she's nice, too, or she'd be seriously left behind. We haven't tried picking up a mooring ball with Galapagos yet. she has such high freeboard that I think it's going to be pretty hard. I have visions of using the dinghy to accomplish the feat. I think that would work swell.

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    1. I'm trying to picture how it would work picking up a mooring ball using a dinghy. Would someone in the dinghy hook it and then pass the boat hook up to someone on deck?

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  11. Sionna lives on a mooring when in our home port, so we get lots of practice! Generally though we'd rather anchor, largely due to cost.

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    1. Moorings are cheaper than slips, but anchoring is best of all when it comes to cost :-)

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  12. The mooring balls I've picked up have been ones I've put into the water, so I trusted them! I kept my boat in the water all summer on a mooring.

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    1. That would be the way to do it - use a mooring ball that you know and trust.

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  13. I thought of your posts when we had lunch at a lakefront restaurant today. The boats were all there in their slips and I was wondering what it would be like to go out on a boat every weekend!

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    1. That's neat to know you thought of Nancy and her friends over lunch. I think if you're working full-time, getting out on the boat on the weekends would be so relaxing and a great way to get away from it all.

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