After all of Kai’s stories about crossing the Pacific in Desire and almost being run over by robot controlled cruise ships, I finally got a taste. Having caught a lovely wind after leaving North Manitou Island, I was making deligtful progress east-ish towards Northport. The sun was shining and all was right with the world… except for that low throbbing. Must be a freighter around somewhere. Far to the north I could see a motorboat or maybe a sailboat cruising, but then something clicked. Low throbbing of big engines, only one boat in sight – what is that boat?
I wondered how I might get a magnified view and then I remembered the Vixia’s digital zoom. I had stumbled upon it while playfully spying on my neighbors at Crescent City, thinking they might get naked and go swimming. I grabbed the Vixia, activated the digital zoom and pointed it at my new neighbor. There, glowing in the afternoon sun was the giant bow of a freighter. I couldn’t see the port or starboard side of the ship, just this massive gleaming bow that appeared to be several stories high.
Thinking to myself, “If all I can see it the front of the ship and I can’t see either side at all, that means… it’s heading right at me.”
Now this ship is still pretty far away… but it’s got these throbbing monster motors, and I am maintaining a course close to the wind, not moving very fast. I dropped off my course and put on some speed in an attempt to get past this behemoth. She came on pretty quick, growing in size at a surprising rate. Eventually, I began to see a sliver of her port side which meant I was out of her path. These big boats are supposed to generate an impressive wake so I kept my speed up. When she finally passed, she wasn’t quite so huge – about 300 feet – but big enough.
Pictures from my camera are a little misleading – the first shot illustrates how close she was when she passed and the second shows our wake crossing her course.
Now, this wasn’t exactly a near miss, right? IMHO, anything closer would have been a near disaster. I had no indication that human beings were running the show – as she passed I honked my horn at her and waved – without response. Maybe they were just unfriendly or were too busy to acknowledge me. Worst case scenario – the crew was playing cards down in the galley and had the whole thing on autopilot, I might have been too small to set off a proximity alarm. What’s are the odds of two boats coming even this close in the middle of the big lake? I think Kai would have called it near miss… fun!