Saturday, January 8, 2011

Things that go bump in the night

There are really only a handful of very calm anchorages on the west coast of North America. It's easy to understand why, with 6,000 miles of fetch but it means that most of the anchorages will provide some, if not a lot, of motion. We try not to be too fussy and can generally tolerate a fair amount of rolling, subscribing to the cliche, 'let the boat rock you to sleep'. However, at night at anchorage, it's often not the motion that can keep one from sleeping but rather the sounds that the boat makes once the radios, iPods, guitars, etc are quiet.

A common scenario is you've just gotten in your bunk, looking forward to a good night's sleep. Then, you hear it: brrrrrrrrrrr - tock. Your eyes open and you listen for the sound again. Sure enough, as Rutea rolls back the other way: brrrrrrrrrrr - tock. It's not a loud or even unpleasant sound but now you can't focus on anything else. What the hell could that be? My mind goes through a check list of things stowed: spare parts, canned goods, rigging equipment, tools . . . brrrrrrrrrrr - tock. I concentrate on it. Actually, it sounds like a golf ball rolling across a piece of wood and then hitting a bulkhead. Except, that neither Ruthie nor I have ever picked up a golf club and I know there are no golf balls aboard. brrrrrrrrrrr - tock. I could get up and try to find the source of the annoyance but quite likely one of two things would happen: The sound would stop as soon as I left my bunk or I'd have to tear the boat apart and never would find the golf ball sound-alike.

We keep a large inventory of small terry cloth towels (we call them deck towels as we mostly use them for keeping the stainless polished, the gel coat free from water spots and the windshield clean enough to see through), however, they can also be handy for cushioning things so they don't rattle. Or roll. Or go brrrrrrrrrr - tock in the night.

We're just about to put to sea, this time leaving a very nice anchorage just south of Mazatlan for the anchorage just south of San Blas called Matachen Bay. Last night the mystery sound was coming from the spare alternator that is stowed on the shelf in my hanging locker. Only took a couple of minutes to find.
At 1/8/2011 5:31 PM (utc) Rutea's position was 23°10.96'N 106°24.56'W

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1 comment:

  1. Our strategy is different. When we retire at night, we plug our ears with Egyptian cotton fluff soaked in beeswax (I do not know where the bees come from). Then we take a couple of slugs of tequila (from Tequila). Then Wendy and I shout our good nights to each other, or make frantic gestures indicating the same.