Tod Inlet, British Columbia. The name alone causes me to smile; actually being there makes my heart sing. Two nights at anchorage with kayaking in the early morning and dinghy trips to Butchart Gardens and nearby Brentwood Bay later in the day, engenders more joy than a reasonable person should expect.
Along with joy, I received a life lesson. When we arrived, the inlet was unusually lightly populated. Our second morning there a sailboat arrived and proceeded to drop anchor surprisingly near us. Her proximity wasn’t dangerous—as long as the water remained calm and both our anchors held.
The problems began when we started hoisting anchor in the afternoon, ready to head to our next destination. A stiff wind kicked up and as my husband hauled in the anchor from the bow, our boat drifted perilously close to our neighbors. Handling the wheel and controls in the pilothouse, I executed some deft maneuvering and with a dose of blessing, managed to avoid a collision. However, as we swung frighteningly near, they ran to their bow and loudly exclaimed, “A bit close, captain.” On the water, that is the equivalent of road rage.
I understood their unease. Yet it did set me thinking how they most probably didn’t recognize that their choice of a bad anchoring location is what caused the problem. Perhaps they went back into their cabin after the near-miss thinking, “Some people really don’t handle their boats well.” In reality, on this occasion, our boat handling was fine. By anchoring too close to us, they initiated the sequence of events that could have become a crisis.
How easy it is to do this. We behave in certain ways, speak or act recklessly and blame others when things go wrong. Often, enough of a time gap exists between our mistake and the consequences so that we don’t connect the dots. More frequently than we like to admit, we trigger many of our own problems, but rather than learning from our mistakes, we shake defiant fists at others.
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