By Gerard MeunierOn our way home after cruising the Erie, Rideau, Chambly and Champlain canals and the Thousand Islands area, we anchored in Mile Hammock Bay on the Intracoastal Waterway near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We ate dinner, admired the sunset and were watching TV when something felt wrong. Cat House, our 40-foot power catamaran, was tilting forward. I checked the forward cabin and stepped in several inches of water on the starboard hull floorboard. We were sinking.
By Dan FannonIn the Highlands, the Hudson River flows through remarkably deep water past towering mountains with names like Dunderberg and Storm King. But in its northern reaches, the river changes character. The course widens and shoals as it passes the Hudson Valley’s verdant farmlands, forming flats, enormous miles-long islands of mud and silt just under the water’s surface.
The charts mark these areas as 3 feet mean low water, but it’s not unusual to find a thick carpet of green reeds and brown soil blanketing most of the river’s surface. Given the strong currents and turbulence from passing barges, being mired in the mud flats can quickly become life-threatening.
By Boni ThibertAfter enjoying the picturesque anchorages and solitude of Isle Royale National Park, Phil and I headed to Rock Harbor to catch up on laundry and take on fuel.
In the laundromat, a young woman named Clare mentioned that her husband, Mark, and their two children had been stranded at the marina for several days. Fog-bound, they didn’t have radar, their radio couldn’t reach the mainland, and their cellphone wouldn’t work.
By Graham HunterClimbing out of the inflatable and over the bulwarks of the 50-foot ketch, I could see the man struggling with some lines around the mooring cleat on the foredeck. His white hair was whipped about by the wind.
Up until now I had only seen him from a distance through binoculars as I watched his boat being pulled off the rocks in Blind Bay, Shaw Island. His back was to me, but his slumped shoulders told of fatigue and stress.
Imagine the splash made by something falling from 185 feet above the water. We had never seen anything like it. From the helm Sharon spotted a stopped vehicle at the center span of the Sidney Lanier Bridge. Realizing that someone had fallen or jumped off the bridge, we went into rescue mode. We’re not trained first responders or Coast Guard rescue swimmers, but we had decades of boating experience as well as many United States Power Squadrons courses on boat handling and safety at sea at our disposal.
It happened to us one September day as we headed out to the San Juans from Boat Haven Marina. We left Port Townsend in ideal conditions: calm winds and seas with a slight current push to the north once we were past Point Wilson.
I pulled myself up from my cozy nest, had the mate take the helm and lifted the engine room hatch to find disturbing news: We were taking on water at an alarming rate. The hose connecting the flexible stuffing box had split.
Our batteries had been running down over time despite spending significant time under power. To compensate, we used marina shore power for a night or two during each cruise. But this year, we didn’t stop at a marina, and by the time we got to Bar Harbor, the batteries could hardly turn over the engine.
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