|A Wall-Flower's View
I was pretty far gone, but not so far gone that I thought anyone with half a toehold in reality would think what we were doing was a good idea.
For years we would scurry for shelter at day's end. Weather can come up from flat calm no matter the forecast, and we were afraid of the dark.
Over the years, though, we slowly got used to night sailing. Getting caught out gave us plenty of opportunities. With experience, anxieties ebbed. We learned that we could almost always see silhouettes and learned to navigate by them, the lead and echolocation. Anxiety slipped away.
We began to notice that exposed anchorings -- we call them wall hangs -- have their own attractions.
First of all, they're at hand. When the wind dies, we can most often get a hook or two down within fifty yards of shoreline. Often while it's still light and we can enjoy sunset and the last of the day.
And the view! One-eighty degrees of vistas open far and wide, unveiled by the close embrace of cove or creek.
The full palette of the boreal maritime rain-country waxes and wanes in intensity from distance muted greens, grays and blues to sunshot opalescences of vermilion and golds against bands of brilliant azures. Illuminated gulls like white fire against the sky, or their fuligin counterparts -- the crows and ravens -- like animated rents in the tapestry to the black, underlying void. Then dimming back to the more somber and twilit purples, perforated by stars uncounted as full dark descends.
Most nights the moon, crescent or gibbous, sails above us, illuminating cloud and fog to shades of ghostly pearl.
And around us, the wider seaways come alive with bioluminescent script, eloquent of all that move within it; fish and kelp and wave and stone. Porpoise surging along in sprays of light, or the great whales fluking dazzlement in their wake.
We're not yet to the point that we sleep as well while wall hangin'. We doze with one ear cocked for the first ripple of wind. Best to be anchors-up and sailing before the wind comes on to blow.
But we're well compensated for these wakeful nights!
A couple of observations...
- Much of our coastline is steep-to, falling quickly off to unreachable depths. But for reasons unknown to me, there is often a ledge running along before the drop-off at around 2 to 10 fathoms. Kelp fringes tend to holdfast, along here, giving some indication of a spot to prospect at our preferred depths (about 7ftm max). Where the lead finds decent bottom, we have a contender.
- Beware of rocks and reefs in this stretch, which are poorly charted, if at all... consider tapping around with the lead from the tender after getting a toe-hold, to confirm a clear spot.
- Because this ledge is most often narrow, we often put out two anchors to limit swing inshore and along the ledge.
- Consider setting a loose watch to check position occasionally... holding is unreported and likely to be marginal. We prepare to sail at the first breeze, though once awake and ready, may pause for breakfast at anchor if conditions stay light.