|Torrens Island power station|
They say there are two types of sailors, those that have run aground and those that will run aground. Alas, I'm in the former camp.
Back in July I discovered the shallow waters of the North Arm of the Port River (Port Adelaide), which at the time was unfortunately on a falling tide, just below the high tide mark.
To make things worse, the next tide was a so-called "dodge tide". Compare the tide from the following weekend (top), with the tide that I experienced (bottom).
I also discovered that Port River mud is impressive in it's suction ability. Full reverse was unable to to dislodge me, and by the time I tried to kedge off, it was too late.
So I spent a lovely night serenaded by Torrens Island Power Station waiting for the next high tide the following morning. As far as power stations go, it could have been worse; Torrens Island is a gas-thermal power station, so it's relatively clean.
Apart from dodging dodge tides, what did I learn from this experience? To quote Bram Stoker of Dracula fame, “We learn from failure, not from success.”
- Don't venture into unfamiliar waters without scrutinizing charts. I thought, "what could possibly go wrong? I'm in a river which is a major shipping channel." Wrong!
- Don't try blasting your way forward. I saw deep water in front and thought I could power ahead. Wrong!
- Don't go out at high hide in unfamiliar waters. Go out a few hours before high tide so you can float off quickly if you hit bottom.
- I had a well-stocked pantry, as you never know when you'll need that emergency dinner - or breakfast.
- I set an anchor to avoid drifting further into the shallows when the tide rose.
- I dumped about 500 litres of water, lightening my load by about 1/2tonne.