Digital zoom saved my life

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?

no wind...

My neighbor to the north, where's that low throbbing coming from?

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.

from north IMG_0643

This is how close she actually was. Check out the big water she is making in front and behind.

from north IMG_0644

Notice our 'tire tracks' crossing her course... yikes!

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!

This entry was posted in 09-09-10, Around Lake Michigan, disasters and catastrophes, Hello World, kai, sea monsters and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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