Our anchor holds, as does everyone else’s. We’ve had no time to explore but decide to leave immediately in the morning. Most of the other boats do the same. The Christmas trades will continue for another night or two before they ease up. I’m using the windlass to pull up the anchor chain. It is a motorized mechanism that hauls in the chain and drops it into the below-deck
anchor compartment at the bow of the boat (there is a foot-operated covered button on deck). I see the anchor free from the bottom but there is still about 30 feet of chain out. Matt yells that it’s torqued. I’m trying to manually unwind it before I pull in a few more feet. I accidentally step on the button as I’m trying to untwist it. Before I know what’s happening, my finger gets pulled into the windlass. Matt is yelling. I’m yelling.
We know people who have lost parts of fingers this way. Thankfully, it’s mostly just muscle and tissue damage. It’s all swollen but nothing is broken. Matt yells at me, “What the hell were you thinking? [Well, clearly I wasn’t]. People have lost fingers in those things!” I later wonder how I would have felt about losing a finger. On the one hand (no pun intended), it would be a great
conversation starter. On the other, it would probably be hard to throw pots without a finger. I decide a t-shirt is a better memento of our trip than a missing digit.
We are feeling a bit beat up and need to get to a safe place where we’ll be able to sleep. We call a marina and make a reservation, knowing others are also looking for shelter. We are crossing the channel to get to Nanny Cay. The winds are 40-45 knots and it takes twice as long as it should. There is a charter cat nearby with full sails out and it’s starboard hull is all the way out of the water. Matt thinks it’s going to tip. I confess that the cold-blooded part of me (which Matt occasionally claims is the larger part) has a camera at the ready. The cat ends up pulling into the entry of the marina to pull in the sails. Smart move, captain. The marina says someone is in our assigned slip and check-in isn’t for two hours. We get concerned the someone may not leave because of the weather. We call Village Cay Marina in Road Town and they say they can take us. It takes another hour or so to get down there. Once we arrive, we call them on the radio and they tell us to wait. We hang out for 15 minutes and then radio again. Instead of responding on the radio,
Matt’s cell phone rings. It’s the marina saying what they don’t want to say publicly on the radio: they don’t have space for us. Wearily, we look around wondering what to do. Matt sees a few empty slips and just keeps motoring around. The dock master sees us and must have taken pity when he sees the boys. Do we look that pathetic? We dock the boat. Matt says he needs a shower but eats and then crashes. I say I don’t care how much the marina costs – we need a few days to recover. It’s actually not that expensive so it feels good to stay and it’s nice to come back to a place that we know. This, so far, is what has been missing from our time here. It’s fun to go out and explore but everyone needs a known place to which to come home. An added bonus is we see our friend Jim from Annapolis. It is great to catch up over ice cream (he has his own, much worse, story about severing part of his toe). We walk 30 minutes to the grocery store and walk back loaded with bags. We spend a few days doing errands and boat things and also get to the Botanical Gardens. We had wanted to do laundry before we left but the hotel laundry was broken so the hotel was using the marina laundry. Three of the four washers and two dryers were broken (this is not uncommon). There are at least 20 bags of laundry ahead of us.
We give up. The night before we leave, we shower after the boys are in bed. Miraculously, the laundry is now empty. We are able to have clean clothes before we leave. I love it when things work out like that.