I am an ‘analyzer’. Love it, love doing it.
If it says to turn the handle left, I want to know why. I want to know what happens when I turn it right. Will it break? Will it even turn? I’ll look it up.
Here I am, cruising full time, in foreign waters, on a sailboat. Now there’s fuel for the fire!
Weather, tides, equipment, motors, sails, marinas, wildlife.
Analyzing has become a full time occupation.
Now, add to my analytical nature a severely over-active imagination and worrisome nature, and you have someone who over-analyses everything there is to worry about, and anything my imagination tells me I need to worry about.
What will the weather do?
How strong will the current be?
If the wind kicks up will the anchor hold?
If the engine quits can we sail to safety?
Is there enough wind to sail?
And if we do get somewhere, is it a safe place to stay?
I worry allot, but I try and not let it get in the way of living.
In one of my favorite movies, the hero is, at one point, consumed with fear.
As I remember it, his love takes his hands in hers, and explains that being courageous isn’t about being fearless, it’s about having the courage to face your fears.
We have been sailing now for over a year. In that time my love has been helping me to understand and deal with my fears, and it’s paid off.
Today we transited Dodd Narrows.
This was a very big deal. BIG.
Dodd Narrows is what they call a ‘gate’. It is one of the major paths from one large area of the Canadian Islands to another.
Unfortunately, at this gate, several miles of water channel through a space only 100 yards wide and fifty feet deep. Lots and lots of water, twice a day. Boaters are warned that the current can reach 10 knots.
To put that into perspective, picture a river with enormous whirlpools, water moving so fast, that with our little engine running flat out, we would be moving backwards faster then you could run. If we tried to go with that current, we would loose all steering and be pushed into the rocks that line both sides of the Narrows.
Oh ya, big fun.
The advice given to those new to Dodd Narrows is to go through at slack tide, that magical time when the current changes direction, smooths out, allowing safe passage. How long is slack water? How long does a small boat have till the water is moving the opposite direction? In Dodd Narrows, less then six minutes.
If a boat misses that six minute window, does it get sucked down a vortex or crushed against the rocks? Of course not. But how about 12 minutes? 20? Is it better to miss it on the ebb or the flood? If we’re late should we try it?
See? These things keep me awake.
This morning, at 9:20, we pushed Odyssey into the Narrows. The current was against us, but should be changing soon.
We were 10 minutes early. Just 10.
Soon we were out, the boat accelerating, clear water ahead, smiles and kisses from the crew.
Relief and a sense of pride. Not for making it, but for doing it.
Boats transit Dodd Narrows every day. During the hight of boating season, many captains, with no sense at all, make it through on a whim and a prayer. What little encouragement that brings is added to my analysis, concerns, and yes, worries.
Today’s accomplishment, for our ship, captain, and crew, is all about building confidence and courage. Knowing what we can, accepting what is, doing the best our capable crew and ship can do.
It’s been a pretty good day.