As the sun rises above the clouds, the green of Rocky Island emerges, yet fog lingers over Red Cliff Reservation on the mainland. We’re moored in Preferred on the southeast side of the dock. The Yawl of America slipped in next to us late last night.
The captain of the Yawl’s the first one out on the water, rowing into shore. His dog, not wearing his red life preserver, accompanies him. The captain swats mosquitoes. Not a good sign for the rest of us. No dogs on our yacht, we may not make it to shore.
Four red-breasted mergansers have teal blue backs at this angle of the sun. Off the north point of South Twin, I see a black bird on the water, now three, and wonder if cormorants feed at a gill net.
They fly low over the water until just in front of me where they begin to rise.
Things were tense aboard Preferred yesterday in the midst of storm clouds. We left Sand Island in mid-afternoon only to realize we were sailing over the Sand Island Shoal in ten feet of water. We draw seven feet. Skipper, so busy reading the map, neglected to read the land and water. Though we kept giving him good advice, he refused to take any of it until he was sure of his bearings.
Joe swats flies. We’re still the only ones up on Preferred, our chartered yacht. The birds chatter a morning cacophony on the island. I recognize no particular call.
Last night the National Park cruiser roared into East Bay with twin headlights ablaze on the Yawl, a unique vessel in the islands with a main, a roller furling jib and a mizzen, the only boat of the dozen without a light at the top of the mast. The cutter circled the yacht, but no one came out, so the park ranger yelled into his megaphone to the captain of the Yawl of America to turn his anchor lights on. He finally stepped into his cockpit, yawned, said he would.
Our peaceful sleep shattered. Maybe he didn’t know the island rules and his dog couldn’t tell him.