[Paul is still in pain with with Sciatica so this update from Sian]
April 10th – April 11th
We get up Tuesday morning, like always the first check is the weather. Winds clocking round ( whatever THAT means) but ending up in the North. So we study the chart, decide we have the morning where we are across from Manjack and then head to Allans-Pensacola to a nice safe anchorage suitable for a stiff breeze from the North for the next few days. The plan was to be sheltered, to walk on the beach, swim and really let the weather do it’s thing.
We motored up and found two other like-minded boats anchored where we were heading but hey it’s all good, we can share. Dropped the hook, it didn’t take first go so up she came and try again. This for me is a new experience. Last spring in the Exumas I don’t remember ever resetting the anchor but here its grassier and if the anchor rolls to the side it doesn’t dig in and hence the redo. Second try and all is well. We leave the snubber off for three hours just to be sure but are finally convinced we’re holding so I go to work.
Being responsible for the snubber is new to me this year. Paul is more under the weather with sciatica than he cares to admit so I am picking up some extra skills. One of which is the snubber. For our non-boating friends, the snubber is a rope or rope-rubber combination that connects to the chain and takes the load from the chain to the rope and then to both sides of the bow. This does two things. It reduces chain noise since it is now rope moving not steel chain, and it lowers the “pull point” on the chain helping the anchor stay buried. Earlier in this trip the strain on the shackle that attaches the ropes to the anchor chain bent the pin making that shackle unusable. But hey, we’re boaters so no problem, we improvised. I have become adept at attaching a clip to the chain, the shackle to the clip, tightening the ropes and taking the strain off the chain.
So snubber on, time to relax. Suddenly we are hit with rain and increased winds. Race round closing hatches and doors to hear Paul calling the anchor is dragging. Forget the windows, all hands on deck! He starts the engines, I race to remove the snubber so we can gather the anchor in. I need pliers on a usual day and now am trying to keep calm in 40 knot winds (recorded by our instruments). Is it righty tightly , lefty loosy and which way is up on this damn shackle anyway? Look up to see we are way too close to our nearest neighbor so put my head down, try to focus and keep trying. Paul abandons his post at the throttles, gets the shackle loosened for me, darts back while I get the ropes out of the way, lift the anchor and, as they say, disaster is narrowly averted.
Now, what to do? Choices are: use the engines to keep steady and re anchor when it’s all over, which will be after dark, or head round the corner to a more exposed anchorage but with better holding where we can anchor in twilight. We chose the second option. Now we worry, will the anchor drag again?
On our GPS we can set a drag alarm, well that seems handy so we did. Nothing happened for three hours so we went to bed. Well let me tell you it’s a very quiet little alarm, almost like it didn’t really want to wake any one! Heard it at 11.30 pm and both jumped up ready for who knows what.
Nothing bad was happening, swinging around a bit but Paul slept in the pilot house and I checked on him every couple of hours. Arrived at 7 am, exhausted but safe. Headed off to Green Turtle, our next safe bolt hole, looking forward to a long nap.
Arrived and entered White Sound to find no room at the inn for Sonas. There are spaces to anchor and mooring buoys and a couple of marinas. We called the private owner of the only open mooring buoy to be told that it could not accommodate our size, no room to anchor and the marina only had space for one night. After a brief tour of the harbor on we slogged on, finally ending up in Bakers Bay which has changed beyond all recognition in the last 20 years.
Bakers Bay used to be a stop for the Big Red Boat cruise line but it didn’t work out well due to rage that Whale Cay turns into in a north or northeast blow. The first time we came, back in 2002, the cruise line’s “Private Island” had not long been abandoned and we explored, as a family of five, this abandoned, sad space which was attractive in its isolation. There were kitchens, tables, tree top forts and all the other paraphernalia of a holiday cruise destination quickly being returned to nature. Today Bakers Bay is a private residential development with many houses on the shore line, and a member’s only marina and golf resort. Good luck to them boosting the economy here but it is somewhat spoiled, if you like the quieter side of the Abacos. Anyway I for one am thrilled to be tucked in (fingers crossed with no anchor issues) for a nice quiet night out of the north wind.