I know, when you think rocks you're thinking ice cubes and sundowners or maybe diamonds or pop music? And me? I'm thinking plain, old, big, hard rocks. We've hit them, been aground on them and narrowly avoided them in the boat. We've climbed on them, photographed them and thoroughly enjoyed exploring them on land. Seems rocks are pretty much everywhere. In fact, Earth has even been referred to as “The Third Rock from the Sun.”
At sea, rocks are not good. They're harder than our fiberglass hull and tend to do a lot of damage. Luckily, our scrapes and bruises have been superficial. Two close calls occurred in the middle of nowhere in Patagonia. Once, the engine crapped out just as we were approaching the entrance to a little cove on the south Chilean coast. This was just happenstance and we managed to avoid the rocks without any mishap.
The other incident occurred in an anchorage off the Beagle Channel and was due to an inattentive crew. Rocks in Patagonia are usually marked with kelp growth. We had just raised anchor and were too busy drinking our morning coffee and chatting to pay proper attention to our route. The rock was not marked on the chart, but there was certainly kelp growth. We were lucky … no major damage and we were off the rocks within an hour, thanks to the rising tide. David chocked up having to dive into the icy Beagle Channel waters to check for hull damage as his penance for inattention. Both incidents were nerve-wracking and could have been devastating. We thanked Neptune profusely (that means extra rum overboard) once we were safe again.
On land, rocks and rocky outcrops are a fascination, not only to us, but to folks that have discovered and looked upon them for centuries. People have drawn pictures on them, written their names on them, and inscribed them. Take Pompey's Pillar, for instance, in Montana, used as a landmark for native American travelers as well as later explorers like Lewis and Clark.
Devil's Tower in Wyoming is awe-inspiring and was the setting for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Native Americans have always held this site sacred and when you're standing at its base, you can easily understand why.
Mount Rushmore is a good example of an in-situ sculpture … it's the whole side of a granite face.
There are lots of famous rocks … the Rock of Gibraltar, Plymouth Rock, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Balancing Rock, Stonehenge. There's the Rosetta Stone, the Blarney Stone, the Rock of Ages, acid rock and Rocky.
Locally, we pass by Dog Rock regularly. It's located at a sharp curve in the road and someone takes the time to paint it so it's very obvious to drivers that it's a dangerous spot.
Other folks have used their “homegrown” rocks as fanciful additions to their properties.
Ships of old used to carry rocks in their bilge to provide extra ballast. On Nine of Cups, this is not necessary. Our lead keel and David's tool collection provide all the ballast we need.
Just for kicks, test your rock knowledge here.