What a Drag: Sea Grass Adventure in Key Largo

Storm Clouds over Key Largo
Jan 25, 2017
It's 6:45AM and dawn is breaking. "Get up, we're dragging". I prefer "Get up, coffee's ready".

Matt's favorite part of this story is how I ran to the helm in my underwear. I soon realized that, at 49 degrees (this is Very Cold in Florida) and with a gust front of 30 knots, I was going to freeze to death before we re-set the anchor.

Hastings had been left alone in our cabin and, rightly worried about what his silly humans were up to this time, began to howl. Matt was hoisting up the anchor chain, which decided to jump off the gypsy (the gypsy is the mechanism that holds the chain on the windlass, which is the workhorse that hauls our chain and anchor) (no, I don't know why it is called a gypsy).

Now the chain was just letting itself pay out willy-nilly, helpfully hurling us at neighboring abandoned boats. It was like fun, only different.

Less than a week after the botched sail to Bimini, and the other cold front with the police harassment, I really began to see how people have enough, sell the boat, and move back to land, where perceived mortal peril usually has the decency to wait until after coffee.

Matt placed his hand in danger and grabbed the chain. (Yes, we had words about this. Matt is a wee bit more important to me than this boat, which one wonders why we are trying to save. What has it ever done other than cause trouble?)

Back to me - yes, my teeth were chattering. We finally got the anchor up, shook out a load of grass, circled back to re-anchor, couldn't hold into the wind between the other boats, and headed downwind and away from the other boats to be by ourselves. 

We'd been at it about 15 minutes now (seemed like an hour or two) (I was really cold) (don't forget the dog howling!) and our overnight guests finally woke up. They either slept through the entire ordeal or willfully chose to pretend this saga was normal. "Good morning", they said. "New vista?" "Yes, that's right. We were sick of the other spot". No mention was made of my non-attire.

We then settled back in the salon, drank coffee, and watched the other cruisers re-set their anchors. We're trend setters. 

Lesson learned? Even though the anchor set well originally and was buried in the sand, after the wind shifted it found grass, filled with grass, released it's hold on the earth and gave us a free adventure cruise through the anchorage. Or you could say, we were screwed.

Also, I need to learn to grab a towel on my way anywhere. You never know what larks await! 

What was the coldest, most miserable you've ever been? Did you at least remember to dress appropriately? 

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  1. Why is it that underwear covers up as much as a bikini dies but we feel more named in it? You should probably sleep in your wetsuit from now on so you're prepared for anything including diving overboard to check on the anchor or rescuing Hastings who has swum to shore in search of cheese.

    1. lol! I'd rather freeze.... my wetsuit is really hot!

    2. I have a very practical view toward clothing: its there to protect my body from damage.
      That said, underwear is sufficient from my standpoint, as it keeps my man-parts out of the gypsy!
      Enough on that topic. Glad you had no bumps in your little unplanned anchorage tour!

    3. Too funny! All's well that ends well. My boat is good at teaching me humility over and over again.

  2. The only time we dragged with Irie was in a grassy bottom as well, in St. Martin's lagoon, for the same reason. Wind shifted and the anchor scooped up enough grass to not reset properly. Glad you noticed it in time, and that you didn't blame the anchor. You have a good brand! And, you reset very quickly, despite the cold and the attire. Maybe put a sweater in a handy spot, next time? :-) Soon, you will forget about all these hassles (for a while at least), once you are in the islands.

    1. Funny how the weather works... we're currently too hot! Only dragging once in all your travels.... that is not a bad record!

    2. That is an enviable record! Well done!

  3. I'm definitely NOT going to let David read this post. I'd hate for him to think I need to get out of bed when things like this happen. ;-)

    HATE sea grass, btw.

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. Haha.

      At least I know understand what the guide book means when it says "poor holding"!

  4. What I want to know is what kind of underwear were you in? I recently purchased some Columbia undies & they would have been perfect... "while saving my vessel from danger clad only in Columbia tag free free snug fit bikinis I was glad that I may be dealing with many problems at 2am but at least one of them wasn't underwear with tags in it". That would be quite a advertisement! I imagined that if you were wearing Victoria Secret there would be swearing & possibly someone would have been garroted with a lace thong before the incident was over. And if you were in some worn out sagging Haines granny panties, well, that would have been "poor holding" indeed! :)

    1. LOL, you are too funny! I think you should go work for Columbia's marketing department. Reminds me of a scene from Seinfeld where Elaine is wandering in the rain and comes up with a product shout out for J Peterman. I'm afraid I went with "poor holding"!


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