Miami to Green Turtle Cay to escape the storms – are you mad? – what storms!!!!!!
Dinner Key, Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida – 6.45am August 1999 fast asleep… …….Beep-Beep, beep-beep, beep-beep……Oh god – here we go again!!!, the anchor drag alarm is going off, I’m on 2 anchors but we have still shifted around, a large ominous black cloud with the start of a grey waterspout has crept over my boat and the wind is building rapidly….suddenly, it’s gusting 42knots!!!!! the boat is all over the place, I’m sat at the helm in my knickers disbelieving the situation, as a precaution I have already started the engine – the anchor alarm is not lying the boat IS dragging BOTH anchors !!!!! I just glance out of the corner of my eye, I am within 6ft of a small yacht on my stern….hard to starboard at full rev’s, black smoke is bellowing from the exhaust and the familiar smell of burning rubber as the alternator tries to give me 80 mps – which at the moment is the last thing I need ..….I move away and hold ground heading into the wind – I don’t think there are other boats? but I can’t see a thing beyond the bow rail, the rain is a ‘white out’….sideways the boat is veering at about 40 degrees, my breakfast kettle has flown the cooker, things are crashing about the cabin, the rails are nearly in the water!!!…..but almost in a instant it’s over!!!!! ……….jeez, I’m getting an old hand at this lot!………It’s now calm again except BLACK and menacing overhead…an old guy on a small sail boat nearby is shouting over whilst pointing to my stern.…what’s he on about I wonder?. I dink over to him and he says I am right over a sunken wreck which has an engine with the cylinder head off and sharp bolts sticking up just under the water line!!!!!. Getting back to the boat – my engine still running, I can’t see anything below me (though the water here is now very cloudy) and as the wind blew me here and dug the anchors in I’m not likely to be able to move away – I pull the rodes shorter , according to the depth I’m in 6ft of water so I can afford to pull another 25′ yet and still have 100’ out……..the day quietens down. Clearing water allows me to actually see through the clearing water – the engine bolts ARE just under the water, just under my soft aluminium hull – which would have easily pierced had I been unlucky….thank goodness my Angel is still with me! Almost as an ‘offering’ I tie a sacrificial bright fender to the bolt heads and move to a better location. The old lag waves, I thank him and he tells me the story of his life living in the bay when one day a ‘spout’ came down right on top of him….popped his ears and also popped every single switch out of its mounting to leave them dangling on their connections.