I pulled a Scotsman from the Rocks..or lets say ..The Bard alludes the Reef

No commentary from me for some time. Still pushing big boats around steaming hot parts of the earth ..and some incredible tropical islands….but i have had a writers blank. (If you really want my charter yacht stories see http://www.YachtLatina.com)  However ..today was different. The Bard arrived here from Columbia aboard  his rather nice van der stadt ketch …well it was nice some years ago i expect..He holes up with his disinterested argentinian deckhand come mechanic , lucky  to be here since they had 2 sails shredded and the engine just does not work anymore. Enter -several trips across the mountains to the city and back – to try fix the motor so that he can continue   down the coast. Well two starter motors , a fire, and a full month later leaning on the tiny indian settlements of Wichubwala and Nalunega (San blas) , and he decides to leave. As Is.  

i am not happy about people going to their death (too many scottish skeletons on this coast anyway).  Enter the man in these waters known (not his full name here) as Capt D…good ..i am happy that they can attempt the exit from these tricky waters and out into the bog waves . So 1 month of a 17tonne steel ketch swinging on his (my favorite) 50Kg Bruce anchor. and no engine. Not easy.


Okay, so i as going to pull them off this morning, but my team of guys were out and the call came at very short notice to prep my big boat for sea.    Using a lancha (water taxi) and luck and the telephone and foul language its appears they got off the anchor and limped slowly south gently passing me and the bottom end of nalunega island. I had said to Capt D his planned exit through big rollers on the other side of the island ..with a crippled sailboat..was unlikely. Nevertheless they disappeared from view.

2 hours later, the Bard calls. Please can you pull us off the island. This time it has to be done. Luckily Jose and Raymundo can join me in hauling our own ‘manual anchors’ (75 tonne vessel mind you). We ‘nip’ around the the north of nalunega to a surprise ..our friends are almost wedged skew across a very narrow channel which is shear rock reef wall each side. I cant execute a turn in lady lu so i prep a thro tow heavy duty line and proceed to back into the channel much to my better judgement.

Nailbiting but uneventful i do pull them out. In the open water behind the main ‘barrier reef’ of san blas we get their anchor fully retrieved and head on out dead north though the ‘big hole’. 300metres of braided cord gets a real pulling through 3metre plus breakers. Quite tricky.

What is amazing is that Lady lu did all this at not much more than idle revs. So powerful and heavy propellers. As we exited i had leaping exited deckhands as lady lu settled into her disturbing roll through the bigger waves, all this with a steel ketch ‘bobbing’ on behind.


Open water -still big big swell – but they dropped the tow and bore away to a good point just north over the Escribanos shallows.


After all the (plethora) of calls in the last few days and seemingly incredible circumstances, they are now heading west down the Panama Caribbean coast. The Bards call to me last thing this afternoon was actually welcome and pleased me.

There is no point to this story. Just another daft set of events to deal with in the marine world! 


About captainphilmorris

Yacht Captain and Engineer - Motor and Sail freelance skipper charter and trip captain www.captainphilmorris.com for great island breaks
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1 Response to I pulled a Scotsman from the Rocks..or lets say ..The Bard alludes the Reef

  1. hell, i used to be a 95% spelling grade. Now i am just 50 years old. Alludes is wrong, bog is big, Exited is excited, please add your finds to my list. Enjoy.


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