Somewhere around 11:30am….3 full hours into a deep sleep upon arrival in St. Augustine…we awoke to a huge BOOM that shook the boat. Being at anchor, it was easy to imagine the worst. We were anchored close to barges, cranes and bridges….maybe Cat Maudy dragged anchor and hit one of these beasts? Or, maybe another boat dragged into ours? We bolted from a wonderful dream state…and sprinted to the cockpit for a “looksy”.
Nope. No collisions. We haven’t moved. And, no one has run into us. OK….maybe we are so tired that we are imagining huge BOOMING sounds in our sleep? And then we heard it again. BOOM. The explosion rattled the boat.
Our anchorage is located adjacent to a FORT. The cannons at this FORT are still working. They are working exceptionally well, as a matter of fact. Every 30 minutes for the next 7 hours – Cat Maudy jumps an inch outta the water, Soxy’s hair stands up straight….and we keep thinking about how nice it might feel to sleep. Maybe when the tourists go home.
There we were, Paddy and I….blissfully riding a fancy tandem road bicycle leaving Chicago on Route 66 — heading to California. Paddy was breaking wind (no…not “that” kind of wind)…catching bugs in his teeth…and I was pedaling high on endorphins. We were dragging along a tent, a laptop and two padded boat cushions for seating. Soxy rode along in a basket. We planned to stop in a KOA campground for the nite. They have showers at the KOA…and we would need one. My SPOT beacon rested on the handlebars and I could no longer remember when I transmitted my last GPS position. It didn’t matter. We were biking Route 66 and there was no telling what we would see and who we would meet….
This is how far I got into my perfect dream —biking only a few miles outside of Chicago — when all hell broke loose at 3AM on Cat Maudy. The “YO — you’re dragging anchor” alarms fired on all cylinders – and Paddy and I scramble to the cockpit. The barges, cranes and bridges sure seem a lot closer at night. Next to us…our anchored boat neighbors had bonded. They had dragged into each other…and were heading our way. We had 90 feet of chain out….and Paddy turned on the engines, while I went forward to prep the windlass for raising the anchor. We watched and waited. We blew our boat horn to wake up our dragging neighbors. Eventually they heard us…and moved their boat.
The tidal currents in St. Augustine are strong. Raging would be a better description. There is a 5′ tidal change between low and high tides, and when the winds oppose the currents – even the best anchoring plans can go sour. For now, we haven’t moved enough — to reposition. So we monitor our surroundings for the next hour.
Just as daylight arrived….so did the crane and barge workers. Incessant noise from construction started at 6:30AM. Cranes dropping large loads of rocks into dump trucks. Workers yelling at each other…and tugboats blasting their horns. For now, I’ll just bookmark my dream…there would not be room for sleep in St. Augustine.