Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Daunting Rocky Shores of Maine
My nerves are still a bit rattled as I write this.  Life is not all dolphin sighting and nature hiking bliss aboard Field Trip.  This afternoon was one of those “not so shining” moments in my sailing journey.  After a hike along the paths on Damariscove Island, we decided to head out towards Freeport.  It took us a while to pick up anchor, due to the fact that we’d had to put out a stern anchor to prevent swinging in what was a very narrow anchorage.

Narrow anchorage of Damariscove Island
Guys pulling up stern anchor
Once both anchors were freed, I was at the helm and the boys were up front stowing the bow anchor.  We puttered out of the narrow cove, watching the chart plotter carefully.  There were rocks on my starboard side that were presently submerged, but definitely a hazard to watch out for.  There were also lobster pots, of course, and another couple of boats – one coming in and one going out on my port side.  

Mark wanted to get the mainsail up as soon as we could, so he started readying the lines, and I started heading into the wind.  But the wind was to my starboard.  Hmmm… that’s where those rocks were, too.  I inched my way toward starboard, watching the chart plotter and the depth to avoid the rocks.  

No, I did not take this picture during the craziness!
Mark kept saying, “A little more starboard when you can.” And the rocks were saying, “You are getting closer! Watch out!”  Who is a girl supposed to listen to?  I know, you are all screaming at me…”The rocks, of course!”  But I was also trying to please my dear husband.  

It wasn’t until two seals popped up their heads, wondering who was coming into their rocky playground, that I realized just how close we’d come to the rocks.  

My depth still read 5 meters (we can clear a bit less than 2 meters), but on the chart it showed us almost on top of the rocky hazards.  I literally started to shake as I threw the throttles up and turned the wheel as sharply as I could to port.  “ROCKS!  WE’RE ALMOST ON THE ROCKS!” I screamed.  I feared hearing the crunching of our hulls, but nothing came.  We had barely cleared them, but I was a bit of a wreck myself.

Mark asked, “What happened?  How did you get so close?” 

“I was trying to go to starboard like you asked.” 

But if the charts showed rocks, don’t listen to ME!  Watch the charts!
Okay, so it makes sense now, but at the time, I was trying to please everyone – the plotter, the rocks, and the hubby.  We have said many times during this trip, “It is all a learning experience.”  And this surely taught me a lot.

  1. It taught me that I prefer to avoid conflict and please others. (A not-so-great personality trait that I attest to being the middle child, and I can hear my little sister reprimanding me about it as she reads this!)
  2. It taught me that I can act quickly in a stressful situation.
  3. It taught me that seals can sense danger.  (okay, maybe not, but I could almost perceive them talking to each other. “What is this boat doing?  Don’t they have a chart plotter?  Let's get out of here!"
  4. And it taught me that when I’m at the helm, I’m the boss… no matter what my husband says. 
So… guess who’s the new helmsman???  Yep, now it's just me and my beloved chart plotter...

On a totally separate note, we are getting ready to start our next school year, just like many of you.  We finally decided on our new school uniforms...


  1. This one made me laugh! I can totally relate. I avoid conflict at all cost and am also the middle child!! Loved Marks response:)

    The kids are getting more education, history and geography than they could ever get in a classroom! Such a great opportunity and experience for all of you. Thanks for sharing your experience on the blog!

    Safe travels! Melissa

  2. Glad I'm not the only one, Melissa! Great to see you on here!

  3. Ahh, I can totally relate Sarah! I can just hear Mark saying this too! :-) Glad that you guys made it through. Thinking of you guys all the time! xoxox from us! By the way, you guys could always make your way to Europe -- Even Holland. The Dutchies love their boats -- hope to see you all soon!

  4. Glad this trip is helping you realize how amazing and strong you are! You have it in spades, girl. :)


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