So we have a few lessons learned from the past 24 hours!
- Don’t pick a questionable anchorage to shave a few minutes off transit! Tired after a long passage and looking for a place to anchor for the night before heading down to St. Augustine, we weren’t looking forward to the long trip up the river to a decent and recommended anchorage. Instead, we found a place closer to the mouth of the river where we though we’d be safe and out of the way between 2 anchored barges. It turns out one of the barges had 2 anchors down, keeping it from shifting with the current, but the other one only had one. When the current shifted, so did the barge – right on top of us! We woke to a tug boat spotlight in our porthole window and jumped to pull anchor before getting mushed by a hunk of steel. Of course, in a series of unfortunate events, it was the toughest anchor haul we have ever done. It was a nail biter (we were worried our anchor chain was under the barge) but we were finally able to pull up the anchor and missed the barge by a few feet.
- Don’t think you can retrace your track out of an anchorage before the sun comes up – large tanker ships could be lurking just around the bend. With our anchor up 2 hours before sunrise, we knew had a couple of options a) find another safe place to stay and anchor again, b) retrace our track out of the river in the dark and against the current c) float in place until dawn. We quickly crossed off re-anchoring given our recent experience. We started down the path of retracing our track, only to discover that the St. Johns river is a *very* active port and that container ships can come out of nowhere in the dark! After avoiding one collision we decided to that plan c, floating until dawn, was the best route.
- Don’t roll out of bed at 3:30 to get started and then forget to even look in the mirror before pulling into a busy marina a few hours later that is full of very well coiffed sailors. Its a bumpy way to meet your new marina neighbors 🙂
(We were too frazzled to take pictures, so the photo is a stock photo)