Saturday, January 31, 2009

The rest of the story

Still the 29th of January. We tucked into a deep enough place across the river from the tiny marina and parallel to the bank of mangroves. Knowing that the tide would change in about 2 hours, we also set a stern anchor (45 lb. bruce anchor, for those who care) and tied off to a tree on the bank. The three officials came to inspect our boat and paper work and stamp us into the country. Just after the sun set, we were still dripping with the heat and swatting no-see-ums. Next thing we knew, there was the firm steady tapping of rain which turned into a down pour. We were so relieved for the coolness and the ordeal of trekking up estuary to be finished, we just stood outside and got soaked. We could hear the drippy, buggy, crackling noises from the mangrove forest, smell the freshness of wet leaves, and see lightning off in the distance. This was as good as cruising could get.

This kind of weather called for a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup! As it was simmering, I heard some noises outside and assumed it was wind flapping. A little bit later, more cracking kinds of noises caused Brian to poke his head out of the hatch. All he saw was a tree! The strong current of the changing tide had drug our stern anchor and pushed us firmly into the branches of a tall tree. Our dinghy and upper part of our back stay were both tangled in branches. Brian hacked one branch off with our axe and after a lot of reversing and forwarding at high rpms, a lot of debris on the decks and a few large cracking sounds, we were free in the channel and able to swing away from the bank.

The relief of being free was short lived because we knew that the next tide change was only 5 hours away. So, we set an alarm, re-set the stern anchor, untied ourselves from the tree and tried to sleep until 1am. 1 am rolled around. I woke without an alarm clock and sat outside waiting. Nothing happened for an hour. All of a sudden, I could see the bank again getting closer. Darn! the stern anchor was dragging again. Brian got up and tried to set a third anchor to pull us out into the channel. It caught for a while and then slipped. Soon we were brushing the trees again. We decided to throw off the stern anchor rode (sailor term for a rope attached to an anchor) with a float attached to it. Retrieving the side anchor as quickly as possible, we motored at high rpms out and into our primary anchor. This allowed us enough space to let the tide water turn us around without hitting the bank. Great, 3am and only 5 hours until the next tide. After he retrieved the stern anchor, we decided it would be easier to do without any auxiliary anchors and just swing with the tides. This has been our strategy since then. Seems to be working. Fortunately, the tiny marina has an opening for us and we'll tie up to a dock tomorrow. Much less to think about! Now we can get going on our projects.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

No comments: