|Whoo hoo! Still afloat!|
It's a really, really bad thing when they go bump, bump, BUMP and your boat lurches forward, then up, then to the side, and then back down again.
For those of you who love the "adventure" (aka us making mistakes) side of our journey, here's another one for the books...
This post is almost hard to write, because we made such a critical mistake, such a naive mistake, such a stupid mistake - that it is actually embarrassing. What is more sobering than the sheer embarrassment of it all was the possibility that we could have lost our boat. I mean, we haven't even made it to the Ocean yet!
As you know, we have been traversing the Erie Canal. Today we actually entered the Mohawk River, which signals the end of the canal and will eventually dump us into the Hudson River. As I wrote earlier, there has been a tremendous amount of debris in the waterway. The fact that we are now in a natural river coupled with the torrential rain we saw last night made the debris (logs, trees...etc) that much worse.
Scott was at the helm and we were just enjoying this absolutely gorgeous day and the beautiful scenery the Mohawk River has to offer. What happened next happened so fast I'm not sure I can describe it accurately or do it any justice. I was looking down at my computer, loading more photos when all of a sudden the boat came to a lurching stop and listed about 30 degrees to starboard (right). We had hit something, and this was no log. Scott starts yelling, "Oh my God, oh my God" and then the boat goes UP...yes UP and then back down to starboard again - this time literally throwing me across the cockpit (I am happy to report both the computer and the camera are fine!).
Then, it was over. Smooth water. We had hit something, hard, and gone up and over it. Insane.
The whole thing lasted maybe 3 or 4 seconds. And every.single.second was terrifying.
Scott kept saying, "Oh my God, honey...are you okay? I am so sorry, I am so sorry...are you okay?"
"I'm fine" I told him, heading down below, "I'm going to check the bilges (the areas of the boat where water would go if it got into the boat)". I was certain we punctured our hull.
Thankfully, they were (and still are) bone dry. No hole. Phew.
What had happend was this: Scott saw a red buoy up ahead (from our direction, you are supposed to pass these buoys to the left side of your boat, right side of the buoy) - to the right of that buoy (where we needed to be) he saw tons of debris....tree trunks, huge branches...etc. So Scott decided to cut the corner a little to avoid damage to the prop.
In the words of his favorite screen siren, "BIG mistake. BIG.....HUGE."
Instead, we hit a freaking gigantic underwater rock. The whole thing was totally and utterly surreal. I was physically shaking for at least two hours after the incident while adrenaline surged through my system, and we're still suffering from the "hangover" of doing something so stupid.
In retrospect I am pretty sure we went up and over the cement block that anchors the buoy down, or perhaps there really was a huge submerged rock that we went over? We'll never know. But whatever it was, it was solid. And if we had gone over it in a fin keel boat, we almost certainly would have ripped the keel off. We were going 6 knots. How much do we love our full keel boat? A LOT.
The thought is sickening.
We made a big mistake. And we're better for it. I will say this, however: it was the ONE chance Scott has taken. He knew he was taking a risk, but he had calculated it. Typically, he is 100% by the book and makes no exceptions. It absolutely could have been me at the helm. We are human.
Needless to say, we won't be (knowingly) taking any more navigational chances. But I'm sure we'll mess up a whole lot more, so don't you fret! We are learning, and that's the name of the game.
On the plus side - seriously, how gorgeous is where we are tied up right now?!
PS. We are hauling the boat out when we get our mast stepped. Rest assured we'll let you know the damage to the hull!