The winds picked up again last weekend, and we are now on day eight of strong winds, this time from southerly directions. Fortunately, the Hulk continues to keep us put, but there is always worry about another boat dragging anchor, and hitting you along the way. We had two close calls this week, with the same boat!
Unfortunately, most of the boats here do not light their anchor lights at night. This is both frustrating and scary for us. It makes it virtually impossible to see the boats at night. During strong winds, you may not see someone who has come loose and is dragging toward you. Or, if you’re the one dragging, you cannot see that you may be about to hit another boat. It’s just as frustrating for us to come back through the anchorage on the dingy at night. By the time you see a boat, you’ve usually come to close for comfort.
A 38′ steel sailboat from Germany arrived on Sunday, after a passage from Honduras. It anchored ahead of us, just before sunset. The winds were consistently in the low 30 knot range, so Scott spent the night in the pilot house, checking our position (which I think insults the Hulk, but you can never be too safe) and scanning the anchorage through binoculars (which throws a bit more light onto the area).
Just after midnight, the newly anchored boat let loose and started to drift back quickly. She missed us by 15 feet, which was way too close! Scott lost sight of it, as the south winds pushed her toward the north end of the island.
However, she was back the next morning, again anchored ahead of us. With the winds still at their strongest, Scott spent another sleepless night in the pilothouse. Again, the boat broke loose, and at about 3am she missed us by 12 feet! After Scott restarted his heart, he watched the boat drag back and get stuck aground on the snorkel area behind us.
The next morning, five dingys descended on the boat, and made several attempts to free her from the shallow water. There appeared to be way too many chiefs, and few Indians in the group, so Scott stayed put. They managed to free her for a minute, but the anchor wasn’t up in time, and it got stuck hard on something below. We saw someone go into the water to try and free it, but he had no luck. The anchor was cut loose, with a float to mark where it was, for more retrieval efforts later.
Finally, the poor boat was pushed and pulled free, and the fleet of dingys dispersed back to their boats. As she made her way past us, Scott cringed at the thought of her anchoring anywhere near us again. Thankfully, she made her way back to the lagoon, which is a bit better protected from wind.
We found out later that on night number two, the two girls who arrived on the boat weren’t even aboard. They had spent the night aboard another boat, which made Scott livid. Had they stayed in the anchorage near us, I’m sure that he would have confronted them about being so careless. I was grateful that they’d headed for the lagoon.
Thankfully, the strongest winds have passed, and Scott is back to getting a full night’s sleep.
“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”