Monday, July 01, 2013

Holy Rollers

A rolly anchorage can lead to a Kurtz-like madness
Last night found us in a most uncomfortable anchorage.  I've written about them before, and while I know that rolly anchorages are par for the course in these parts and hearing people complain about them can get a tad...annoying...last night's was particularly unpleasant and since so many of you are really digging my "brutal honesty" posts, I'll tell you a little bit about it.

Due to squally weather and strong counter-currents, we did not make it to our destination of Iles de Saintes yesterday evening as planned.  Which is why we found ourselves in a less than desirable anchorage on the southernmost tip of Guadaloupe.  "Looks like it might be rolly" Scott said with defeat.  The aggressively tick-tocking masts in the distance confirmed his suspicions.

We dropped the hook, had our friends over for dinner and turned in for the night early.  I fell asleep easy, which falsely led me to believe that maybe just maybe I'd get a good night's rest.  The fact that I am writing this post running on fumes with bloodshot eyes and a bonafide dreadlock from my head tossing and turning so much on my pillow might indicate otherwise.

I first awoke two hours into my slumber to the boat rolling very aggressively side to side and all the wonderful noises that accompany this sort of movement.  Clank clank CLANK, clank clank CLANK.  Tap tap, tap tap.  Slap SLAP, slap SLAP. Tink, tink TINK, tink, tink TINK.  Bump bump, bump bump.  Creak, craaaack, creak, craaack....All these noises greeted me with exhuberance.  In case my onomatopoeia didn't do the trick, this boat - unlike our last boat - makes an incredible amount of noise when she rolls and before you suggest I try ear plugs or white noise  - save it.  They don't work.  The boat noise always wins.  Believe me, I have tried.

There are very few things that are more annoying than irregular noises on a boat when you are trying to sleep.  I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think the only thing that even comes close is the vexatious sound of a mosquito (or ten) buzzing around your head.   Both of these things are super annoying and, depending on their severity, border on maddening.  Last nights cacophony of rolliness was the latter.

I sprung out of bed to try to isolate the noises one by one.  Of course by the time I made it into the salon, the rolling would subside slightly and the noises, as if they couldn't taunt me any more, would temporarily abate.  I stood there in darkness; silent and still as a deer in headlights waiting...waiting...ready to pounce on the noise.  Finally, we'd start rolling again and I could get to work.  First, I isolated the culprit of the creaking.  It was the door to the forward head.  I jammed some paper towels between it and the jam trying to quell the squeak.  Nothing.  I tried more paper towels.  Nothing.  After ten minutes of fiddling in complete darkness, I decided the only way to shut this damn door up would be to keep it open.  So I grabbed some twine and suspended it mid-swing by tying it off to a small pad eye that we use for our lee cloths.  Success!  No more creaking.  I went back to bed.

Not an hour later I was jolted awake again.  This time, it was a rhythmic and muffled "bump, bump". Muttering my favorite curse words I clamored out of bed made my way back into the salon.  I repeated my method of discovery, which is not unlike a hunter awaiting it's prey:  stand still, listen intently, wait.  Knowing that it was only a matter of time before the noises reared their ugly heads again, I laid down on the settee and waited for the next surge which came within five minutes.  Bump, bump, bump...I isolated the sound to a cabinet.  Took off my shirt and shoved it inside in an attempt to wedge any void that was causing the noise.  No dice.  Edgar Allen Poe would have felt right at home on this boat, with each sound taunting me like a hushed "nevermore".  I listened closer.  The muffled bump, bump, bump continued.  Dammit.  I opened the cabinet again, looking more closely this time.  Ah ha! A can was rolling and hitting the wall of the bin it was in.  I took my shirt, jammed it in the bin and went back to bed.  "Victory" I thought.

Two hours later I was awoken, yet again, by a more agressive banging sound.  This time, however, it came from outside.  "The halyards must have come loose" I thought to myself.  Halyards clanging against a mast suck.  Period.  I grabbed some line (wasn't about to dig for the bungees) and tied them off with masterful precision.  I stood in anticipatory silence, yet again, to see if my efforts worked.....they did not.  More super sleuth listening indicated the sound was not the halyards at all - but the roller-furling mainsail banging around in the mast.  There was nothing I could do about that.  Defeated, exhausted, and utterly pissed-off, I went back to bed and threw a pillow over my head.

I awoke two more times after that.  One to jam our gimbaled stove *just so* so it didn't make the deplorable "ting ting" sound that ate my brain as we rolled.  Another to tie off yet another creaking door in Isla's room.  If you are counting, that is five times I got out of bed between the hours of 10pm and 6am.  Each time I was up at least 15 minutes booby-trapping our boat and playing McGuyver.  That doesn't include the time I spent laying awake in bed, wide-eyed as I drifted slowly into a Kurtz-like madness.  If you carry the two, this means I got - at most- about four hours of sleep last night.  This is no bueno.

You might wonder where Scott was during all of this?  If your guess was "sleeping", you would be correct.  When I asked this morning during breakfast how he slept last night he replied in a chipper voice, "Pretty good.  I mean, I woke up once or twice, but all in all I got a good night's rest".  Typical.  I took no haste in pointing out that he had me to thank for that.

We upped anchor at 7am and got the hell out of there.  I am happy to report we are now in "The Saintes" in a beautifully idyllic spot in a perfectly un-rolly anchorage.  AMEN to that.

8 comments:

Carol Florida U.S.A. said...

This update was so funny (to someone who wasn't going through it with you) . . . but I could certainly envision the whole night from your detailed descriptions!!! I apologize for laughing, Brittany, but you are quite the sleuth!!! Hadn't you solved the problem of the rollers in the mast (something you wedge between each one??? or was that something else?) I remember while you were still in Ft. Lauderdale, and Scott was in Granada you'd had to solve a similar problem so that you didn't annoy the occupants of your neighboring boats, but, I thought you'd found the perfect solution!! Also, hope you were able to take me up on my suggestion to get a couple of rolls of that rubberized shelf liner material that has so many uses . . . this time, you could put in your cabinets. It would help keep the cans from falling over in the first place, and if you put the liner in in such a way the it goes up the back of the cabinet a little bit, then if something does fall over, at least it won't be able to make noise hitting the back wall of the cabinet either! Love reading your updates, Brittany . . . and will love reading your book when it's written!!!!! P.S. I imagine Isla slept through all the many noises, too!! lol Love, Carol <3

Hilary said...

Oh how I crack up at your "honest" posts. And since I happened onto the blog for a change, instead of just Facebook, I perused a bit and enjoyed some posts I had missed. "Shitter's Full" Epic! Do you use flopper stoppers...do they work? I know on Rasmus you had configured a bridle anchor to help with rolling. Glad you're in a better spot!

Neophyte Cruiser said...

In exposed Pacific anchorages, with consistent swell direction, a stern anchor works wonders keeping the boat head-to the swell and making for a much more peaceful sleep.

Carl Lambert said...

I would like to have seen the look on Scott's face in the morning as h discovered the many jury-rigs. "Brit?" "Yeah?" What's your nightshirt doing stuffed in a kitchen cabinet?"

Behan Gifford said...

I feel your pain. The little (and not so little) noises drive me insane! Too funny that we were on the same wavelength with this one... I am hoping our rolly nights are over for a little while now.

Geoff said...

Brittany we love your style of writing. This was one of your best posts ever and that's saying a lot. My wife and I were rolling (no pun intended) at your descriptions primarily because they were so familiar. Most of the time I consider all the noise my little serenade but they drive her NUTS! Best wishes for calm anchorages in your future!

Tricia @geekyexplorers said...

Love this post. RV travels, much like a boat, result in noises that must be squashed. Mine generally happen on the road - I hate the clangs & bangs and have come up with creative ways to tie everything down. But, where we sleep, even though we don't roll in the waves, we do have trains, planes and automobiles that disturb me, along with birds, bugs, frogs & whatever else decides to roam. The worst part is my husband sleeps through it all & barely notices any noises. :)

Kyra and Rick said...

Oh yes, definitely feel your pain. You sound just like me... And Rick sleeps through most of it...

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