Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Sign

What a crazy day on the Bay....apparently we had "the sign" out again. It's a phenomenon that occurs every once in a while, when there's a sign on our boat that's invisible to us, but clearly seen by all usually reads, "Please anchor as close as possible to us" but today's sign must have read, "Please come flip us the bird"...!!

Halfway down the Bay during today's run to Annapolis, we had a very weird incident where a fishing boat came up from behind us off our port quarter, approached us extremely closely, and when I stepped outside on the portuguese bridge, (wondering what the guy wanted) the captain started yelling obscenities and giving us the finger! Why??? What had we done??

To the best of our knowledge, it's not like we cut him off or anything -- the boat approached us from BEHIND, and clearly was going faster than we were. There were a bunch of guys aboard with rods, so perhaps we crossed their trolling lines inadvertently?? However, both Ron and I only saw the boat when it started overtaking us; certainly neither of us saw it ahead of us or on a crossing course. Ron's usually quite alert in giving other boats (fishing or sail) any needed room, and in fact, between the two of us, we're always confirming that the person at the helm is visually aware of any approaching boats. Ron tried hailing the boat repeatedly, but they refused to respond, only kept gesturing at us rudely and got so close I almost thought he was going to ram us! They finally left, but I was actually rather shaken by the nastiness of it all.

SO...after much speculation on our part and re-hashing of how it all might have occurred, we just don't know. We'd been keeping an eye out for crab pots, although hadn't been seeing any, but since it was a work/crabber-type boat, perhaps we'd cut one of his crab pot lines? Somehow cut him off? Had we crossed their trolling lines? Not sure, but nevertheless...we must have done something inadvertently. But, where is the civility any more? Honest mistakes do happen, and to get nasty and intensely rude isn't the way to react. Later, when a friend hailed us on 16 and we switched to a working channel (he wanted to be sure his AIS was transmitting), some guy also switched to the same channel and kept cutting into our conversation with childish obscenities --- clearly the same friendly fellow.

Then, as we were coming into Annapolis, as is usual on a Saturday, the approach was filled with many sailboats, some racing, some cruising, going every which way. A lot of the little "gnats" were out -- the tiny sailboats from the sailing school, barely big enough for the lone 8-10-year-olds at each helm -- all bouncing about in the chop from the stiff easterly breeze. Then, heading right for us comes a guy in a 36' Wellcraft, still well inside the 6 mph zone but roaring along at a good 20 knots. Ron's not usually one to play police, but Ron signaled to the guy to slow down, thinking of all the tiny kids in the miniscule sailboats ahead...the guy's response? You guessed it! He never slowed down, just yelled obscenities at us and...flipped us the bird!

Yep, the sign was out!

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