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, someone had thrown a lit flare onto The Scarlet Slipper, almost burning a hole in the deck. Nancy also found a threatening note warning her off the case. Clearly, someone is getting nervous about Nancy's investigation.
The next day, Nancy, George and Bess arrived at the marina and walked down to the slip where Marvin and Shelley’s boat, The Scarlet Slipper, was docked. Bess was sporting a new navy blue top with a sailboat embroidered on the front, white capri pants and had her long blonde hair tied back with a red scarf. Her cousin, George, was wearing khaki shorts and a simple t-shirt with her short black hair tucked under a sun hat. Nancy followed closely behind, looking immaculate in a kelly green cotton sweater set and madras Bermuda shorts.
“Don’t you girls look lovely,” said Shelley as she welcomed them onboard. “Let’s get you settled and then we’ll head on out to anchor for the night in Pine Tree Bay.”
“Bess and George, you’ll be sleeping in the v-berth. Nancy, will you be okay sleeping on the settee in the salon?” asked Shelley. “The table folds down at night and makes a comfortable bed. Marvin and I will be sleeping in the aft cabin.”
“That all sounds super,” said Nancy looking around the boat in anticipation of the three days they would be spending on the boat during the Grande Isle Regatta.
Bess whispered to George, “I didn’t understand any of that. What’s a v-berth and what does aft mean?”
George opened up the door to the v-berth. “See how it’s pointy at the end, like the letter V? The v-berth is located up at the bow of the boat. Marvin and Shelley’s cabin is located aft, or rear of the boat. Don’t forget the other nautical terms I was telling you about the other day. The kitchen is called the galley and the bathroom is called the head. Left is port and right is starboard.”
Bess furrowed her brow. “It’s all so confusing. Why can’t sailors just use normal English, like the rest of us? Wait a minute, do I smell chocolate?”
Bess turned around and saw Nancy handing Shelley a plate of delicious looking brownies. “Did Hannah make those?” she asked. Hannah Gruen was Nancy and her father’s housekeeper and was known for her home cooking. “She sure did. Hannah thought we might enjoy these after dinner tonight. She also sent along some cinnamon rolls for tomorrow’s breakfast.”
“Oh, that was so sweet of her,” said Shelley. “Here, let’s tuck these away safely in the galley so that they don’t fall off the counter while we’re underway.”
Marvin poked his head down the companionway. “Are you all ready to get going? I’d really like to get anchored before dark.”
“Girls, why don’t you tuck your bags in the v-berth for now and then come up and help us cast off,” said Shelley as she made her way up the ladder and into the cockpit.
A few minutes later, Marvin started the engine while some friends on the dock untied their lines and helped them get off the dock. Marvin pointed the boat towards the inlet to the marina and steered them out into Pine Tree Bay. Nancy’s blue eyes sparkled as she looked around at the picturesque bay surrounded by rolling hills covered in pine trees.
Shelley pointed towards the far end of the bay. “That’s where we’re headed. It’s a lovely spot to anchor at night and watch the sunset. We’ll be well positioned there to make our way to the starting line in the morning for the race to Grande Isle.”
“Nancy, do you want to take a turn at the helm?” asked Marvin. Nancy smiled and said, “Sure, I’d love to!” Marvin showed Nancy which heading to take and moved aside so that she could grab the steering wheel in the cockpit.
Nancy could feel the wind blowing through her hair as she pointed the boat towards their anchorage. As she looked around her enjoying the peaceful surroundings, she noticed a white catamaran coming up quickly on their starboard side. If the boat continued on its course, it was going to ram into them!
“Look out Nancy!” shouted Marvin. “Quick, turn to port.” Nancy expertly steered The Scarlet Slipper out of harm’s way towards the western side of the bay.
The catamaran passed by them and then veered off to the east. George grabbed a pair of binoculars and exclaimed, “I think that’s the catamaran we saw in the boatyard yesterday. I can see its name on the side, Party Time, along with a blue dolphin. It’s definitely the same one. And guess who’s at the helm. It’s that guy that pushed Nancy down to the ground and then took off in a hurry when we questioned him about the items that were stolen at the marina!”
Just then, The Scarlet Slipper came to a halt in the water. “Oh no,” said Nancy. “I think I’ve grounded the boat!”
Tune in on Saturday for the next installment of Nancy Drew Investigates – H is for Ham Radio.
|It's important to check your charts, whether electronic and/or paper, to know where shallow waters are. In some cruising grounds, the water can be notoriously shallow and you have to be able to visually read the water color to know how deep it is. (Chart of New Zealand's Bay of Islands courtesy of LINZ.)|
There's a saying among sailors, "If you haven't been aground, you haven't been around." Eventually, everyone ends up grounding their boat at some point. Hopefully, you run aground on a soft sandy bottom and can easily get your boat back off. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. Either you're stuck firmly and can't get off without assistance or you end up grounding on something hard and unforgiving, which damages your boat, like it did to my friends' old boat over at MJ Sailing. (You can find out more about what to do if you go aground on Cruising World and Boat US.)
When we were sailing in the Bahamas, we had to pay attention to the color of the water so that we didn't ground our boat. The water is so clear, and you can see right down to the bottom, that there were times I could have sworn that it was only a couple of feet deep, which would have been a problem as our draft is five feet. I would scream, like I imagine Bess would, "Scott, watch out, we're going to touch bottom!" But we didn't.
It took a while, but eventually I got a little bit more comfortable with reading the water color. Just a little bit, mind you. It still freaks me out. Bess and I have a lot in common that way.
I worry about grounding our boat and doing damage to it. What do you worry about?
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