Sunday, 22 July 2012

Not so nice ...

I spoke too soon about anchoring in mud ... and learned a new lesson.
Seems like there's mud and sometimes, in some places, there's clay patches within the mud. And these clay patches pull out like a plug given enough stress.
And so it was with our anchorage next to the Hairy Lemon.
On Friday afternoon, with winds gusting at 30 knots plus and whitecaps in Trinity Inlet, our `clay patch' let go and we were carried backwards with alarming speed towards a large monohull. At the precise point of impact (it's prow with our rear timber seat and dinghy), we reached the back of Sea Piper in time to push ourselves off before any damage was caused to either boat.
Unfortunately, our starboard rudder hooked up with the second anchor rope of the mono - thankfully not around the prop. 
I climbed over onto the mono (no-one else was on board) to loosen off the anchor rope in the hope that Royden could hook it out from under the rudder but this proved unsuccessful as the rope was jammed at the top of the rudder.
We desperately needed a third pair of hands which appeared in the shape of a young family in their tinnie. While Stephie and the two little boys kept the tinnie alongside, Dan climbed aboard Sea Piper and helped manoeuvre her forward against the wind and tide to allow Royden the opportunity to lift the rudder (naturally this is the side that is tightest) and unhook the anchor rope while I let out some play from the mono.
With Sea Piper freed (and our anchor hauled up with its clump of clay still attached and the mono's second anchor rope re-secured), the family then came and picked me up from the mono and motored me over to jump back on Sea Piper.
To say we were rattled is an understatement. On Dan's advice, we took Sea Piper way up into the inlet to more protected waters from this ferocious weather. The wind upstream was blowing at about 10 less knots and there were no whitecaps.
Later in the afternoon Royden went back in the dinghy to see if the mono owner was back on board so he could let him know what happened. The guy had changed anchorages as he realised his boat had shifted but didn't know why so he was grateful for the explanation.
Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep that night despite the anchor alarm being on and the conditions calming.
Funnily enough, when we pulled the anchor up the next morning, it was stuck fast in a mix of sand, mud and coral. It was the toughest pull up we'd ever done!
As the weather is set to blow for the next five days, we decided to retreat back to Bluewater Marina and relax/recover.
We both had the best sleep last night!