Thursday, November 6, 2008


The night before last we were tied up to the bulkhead behind ordinance
island in near gale conditions. It was a pretty lumpy night as the wind
never veered to the south as had been promised by the weather soothsayers,
and there was a pretty good fetch into our little cove.

We had set a watch schedule through the night so that our dock lines would
be checked every 3 hours, and settled in for a wary sleep.

My wariness was warranted, but the threat was not from the weather at all.
Little had I known that we were in danger of ambush.

Yes, that is right, ambush. Ambush right here in the civilized island, not
20 meters from the customs office and the impeccably dressed agents there.
Ambush within walking distance to the jewelry stores catering to cruise line
ladies. Brazen, bold ambush.

If you want to get any sleep at all on a small boat at sea, you have to have
a bunk that gives you a feeling of security, otherwise your body
instinctively fights every motion to keep you from falling out of your bunk.
If you get yourself wedged in well, your body can relax, and you can get
some shuteye. In Madness, I have constructed a tight little bunk for myself
(see attached picture). It is by definition hard to get out of.

However, in the wee hours of the of the morning, when a voice yells out
clear and strong "Ambush! We are under attack!" you find yourself able to
extricate yourself with surprising agility. A few days before, you were not
able to shimmy up a mast, but after that warning think I could have climbed
the mast even had it been greased. I was out of my bunk in a flash and out
onto the deck even though in my half dreamstate I had understood the warning
message as "argiush, war unnerwear tach".

I scanned the hellish scene from my vantage point in the cockpit - A great
wind blowing, chop and spray, lines everywhere. Everthing was normal. I
checked the lines, and went below. I had to laugh as I descended the
companionway stairs, because my sleeping bag was draped over the bridgedeck
at the top of the companionway ladder; I had somehow managed to get halfway
on deck before molting it.

I went into the salon, were Paul was awake and Alan sleeping soundly. "WHAT
THE HELL WAS THAT?" I questioned gently. Paul replied: "Alan thinks we are
being ambushed"