Sea Star 7

1998 Bayliner LeClercq

Dragging Anchor in Hunter Bay

We went for breakfast in Eastsound at the New Leaf Café attached to the Outlook Inn.  The menu looked amazing.  Turned out to be good, but not great, and our waiter appeared stoned.  Other tables around us came in after us and left before we got our food.  And then the orders came and were not right.  Oh well, it wasn’t like we were in a hurry anyway.  While at breakfast we watched Sea Star poke out from behind the little island in the bay off and on.

We headed over to Hunter Bay on Lopez Island as the South winds are going to blow at 25 knots tonight and we want to be somewhere nice and safe.  (Ah the best laid plans…)  We anchored in 15 feet of water at low tide.  Calculated at high tide it would be 25 feet, and put out 125 feet of chain so we had 5:1.  Backed down on the anchor and it seemed snug.

Dave decides to run the water maker.  It promptly dies.  Not a control board problem this time, Dave thinks that the low-pressure pump has died.  Its running but nothing is coming out.  Odds on favorite says that it’s the impeller in the pump that went out.  Dave figures fixing it is going to be a two-day job.

We fixed a dinner of heirloom tomato salad, mozzarella cheese, basil, and balsamic and olive oil.  Classic for a reason.  Followed by sea bass with mango pineapple salsa and curried rice with raisins.

We went to bed early as we were all wiped out from being up in the middle of the night last night dealing with re-anchoring.  Alas… at about 11pm Jim woke up and felt something was amiss.  He got up and took a look around and realized we were indeed dragging in the high winds.  He comes to wake up Dave, and Melissa immediately woke up but Dave stayed out cold.  Unsure in the dark where we are, she asks Jim to turn on the navigation equipment so we can look at yesterday’s track.  Sure enough we are about 1000 feet from where we anchored and we are now in 60 feet of water.  At that depth we can’t even let out the full 300 feet of chain and rode and have enough to hold in a storm.  We go wake up Dave as we now know we have to maneuver the boat back to shallow waters to re-anchor.

Dave takes a few moments to get caught up on the situation.  He turns on the engines, and Jim and Melissa go to pull up the anchor.  Its not easy in the windy conditions, as we need Dave to drive up on the chain.  Melissa points in the direction Dave needs to drive, and Jim shines the flashlight on Melissa so Dave can see her and know which way to go.  When the anchor comes up on deck, it gets stuck.  We realize that the hoop that helps the anchor slide into place is not positioned correctly.  We have to let the anchor back out a bit so Melissa can adjust the hoop before we can get the anchor aboard.

We get out the walkie talkies so that we can communicate with Dave.  Jim now shines the spot light out onto the other boats in the bay so we can avoid hitting them.  But Dave is struggling (again) with night blindness due to the intensity of the brightness on the navigation screens.  He needs to know our depth so we can accurately calculate both our position and how much chain to put out.  But he can’t see where to go.  Jim tries to tell him which way to turn from his position on the bow, but that isn’t working.  Melissa goes and stands next to Dave, having situational awareness from being on the bow with Jim, and not suffering the same night blindness as Dave and tells him which way to turn.  The idea finally dawns to ask if he can see one of the lights near shore that is directly in line with where we want to go – and he can see that.  So she tells him to go for that point.  That takes us where we need to go.

Jim and Melissa then go to put down the anchor.  We decide on 125 feet – because we are again back in 25 feet of water and its high tide.  We don’t yet put on the snubber as we want to see whether we really settle in and not drag in the wind.  We sit for a while and decide its good.  When we go to put the anchor snubber on it gets twisted up with the anchor hoop.  Takes a few seconds to untangle it and get it set.  Melissa lets the anchor chain out very slowly and only when it goes slack so that we don’t create tugs on the anchor and dislodge it.  We again wait and monitor and it seems set.  But Dave starts to debate whether we should let out more.  Melissa and Jim take a look, and luckily enough, we can see the 150 foot marker on the chain right at the water line.  We decide to let it be.  Dave decides to sleep in the cockpit up top so he can continue to monitor throughout the night.  About 2am we all head back to bed.


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