The Anchor and Dolphin. It could be the name of a pub in a British seaside town but it is rather part of a bit of an adventure I had a few years ago.

I was sailing my Beneteau 343 from Ft. Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas to Key West. It was not exactly sailing… I was motoring bare poles in a rather nasty sea with my boat bucking like a bronco in the waves. Thunderstorms and lightning, gusts of up to 35 knots. Miserable was an understatement.

All of a sudden, the boat was surrounded by dolphins giving me a great show of them jumping out of the water and diving under the boat. It was quite spectacular. I summoned my crew member, Maria, to the cockpit. The poor soul had been down in her berth seasick like a dog. I thought I would be able to alleviate her discomfort by having her distracted by the dolphin show. It did help a bit…

Why were these dolphins all around us? I looked behind me and saw that I was dragging a long rope and immediately thought that I had snagged a crab pot but, from the bow, Maria yelled that the anchor was gone. My plow anchor had been secured on the anchor roller with a rope but, because of the constant bucking movement of the boat, that piece of rope had chaffed through and the anchor went overboard, under the boat and it was dragging on the bottom of the sea. This is what must have attracted the curious dolphins.

With the sea and wind conditions there was no way that I could turn around and attempt to retrieve it, I decided to cut the rope and sacrifice the anchor. I still had a spare Danforth and, soon as the line had been cut, the dolphins disappeared.

We arrived very late that night in Key West and decided to stay an extra day and night to rest from our adventure but, the following evening when joining the crowds for the sunset spectacle on Mallory Square, I walked by this stand of a guy called the Key West Glassman. He makes all these funky little sculptures in glass and had this one made from fake coral showing a glass dolphin jumping over a glass anchor. $75.00 later it was mine as permanent reminder of my memorable trip from Ft. Jefferson to Key West. Maybe I will exhibit it in the Anchor and the Dolphin Pub, if I ever decide to become a “publican”…

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