Crab Trap Dodge Ball

I’ve never seen so many crab traps in my life. Or are they lobster traps? Who knows. I don’t care. We spent no less than eight hours dodging them between Rodriguez Key and Ramrod Key. They’re really hard to see in the picture, but I assure you they’re there, like 50′ away from each other in every direction. I felt like a downhill skier moving in slow motion.

Late in the day, the wind died and we turned on the engines. We decided to motor with just one, so we turned off the starboard engine. A little while later, we heard a bang and the boat shuddered. WTF? Our good friend and crew member, Mike, is a heavy walker, but this was too big, even for him. He came up next to me at the helm and it happened again. Since he was standing still at the time, I knew it wasn’t him.

Because we were in the middle of crab trap country, I thought we hooked one with the prop and it was swinging under the boat hitting the keel. We slowed the boat down and it stopped. Jeff and Mike got the GoPro and lowered it in the water to see if we were dragging anything. The water was murky, so it was hard to see, but it didn’t look like anything there.

We ramped up the engine again slowly and started on our way. Then, the starboard engine began attempting to start by itself! Were we possessed? Banging, shuddering, engines trying to start by themselves… Have I pissed off King Neptune in some way? I’m only using organic reef-friendly soaps, cleansers and sunscreens, I promise!

After much investigation, we realized that the starboard prop was not feathering. We hadn’t shut down the engine properly, so it was confused. Who knew that an engine could be confused?

They aren’t wrong when they say that the biggest part of sailing is fixing what breaks. So far, we’ve done all right.

February 2020