Sometimes things are not exactly what they seem at first glance.

While on “final approach” to Catalina Island, we were sailing due east before dawn.  It’s my watch, and we are on a good course between the various islands.  On one of my routine horizon scans, I note a bright white light just above the horizon.  I check the chartplotter, and see nothing indicating large ships on the AIS, I check out the radar, and nothing.  I am pretty sure I am looking at the stern light of a distant boat, but can’t get a good idea of it’s distance.  A little while latter, the light is now distinctly higher, I must be getting closer!  Still, nothing on radar, and nothing I can see with the binoculars.  As the light climbs higher above the horizon I realize it must be on a very tall mast, on a big boat, that is getting closer… and closer… right in front of me…

Ooops.  It’s Venus.  Suckered!  I am sure there are a few people reading this how might have had an idea where this was going.  I am also sure ANYBODY could make this mistake at 4AM!


Anchored on our first night in San Diego, I have been asleep for several hours.  I wake to a low humming noise I recognize as the bilge pump in the engine room. Oh no!  That pump shouldn’t be running! Why is there water there?

I stagger out of bed, and stick my head in the engine room.  Sure enough, water is running down into the sump.  And a quick taste tells me it is freshwater.  There must be a leak in the freshwater plumbing.  But after a few minutes, I haven’t heard the water pump running, and can’t find any leaking fittings.  Carefully watching, I see the water is running into the engine room from the starboard side.  This is very odd.  There are no water pipes over there…

I pull the drawers out of the galley to examine the hull there, and see a trail of water back from the cockpit locker.  Again, there is no freshwater back there.  Oh… wait…

A leaking 5 gallon jug of our emergency water supply is the culprit…back to sleep.

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2 Responses to Suckered–Twice!

  1. ChuckRawlings says:

    Good morning sailors,
    I enjoyed your post this morning. I’m teaching seamanship one tonight and your discussion about the light on the horison will fit right in with my talk about white lights you see while sailing at night. Could be the stern light of a boat or a porch light or venus.


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