Swing Set

Feb 10, 201309:12 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Just When You Think It Might Get Boring

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Undaunted, we decided over a few beers while watching another beautiful sunset, that we'd return the next day and inflict ourselves on these new people with a vengeance. We do that sort of thing. But it was not to be. The wind started freshening with some intensity from the south during the night. The island to our east was not helping at all, but as our anchor had held for nearly two days, we didn't worry, and after a good dinner of Italian sausages and rice with Alfredo sauce, we tucked ourselves in for a somewhat bumpy night.

We were still in the same spot when we got up, thankfully, and after a good breakfast of biscuits and gravy and a ham and cheese omelet, I decided to "relax" on the couch with the book I am reading before attempting my intended chores for the day. I read for a while and then decided to get my toolbox out, but once I looked outside I knew we were in trouble.

Our anchor had dragged, and we were blown into about three feet of water into one of the shoals separating us in the basin from the Gulf of Mexico. The tide was coming in, but the wind was complicating things. I knew that, as the water rose, the wind was only going to push us farther onto the shoal. Waiting it out was not an option, and kedging off the shoal with the anchor was also not an option. With barely nothing under our keel, I started the engines and gently applied throttle with the transmissions in reverse. I knew I had deeper water behind me, and I slowly made some progress towards it; only the anchor was ahead of me in shallow water. Luckily, the soft mud kept the anchor from holding us in position, and I was able to get us into deeper water. I finally got the anchor up and set out to find some better holding.

Whitecaps were building in the basin, and the wind was not to make its full potential until later in the afternoon. I positioned us over what appeared to be sand, but when I went to deploy the bow anchor, nothing happened. After several attempts, and after checking all the stuff I normally check when this happens, I went to the bow and deployed our big Danforth and was able to get a hook. Danforths work in the soft sand and mud, and we were not due for a wind shift for a couple of days.

Once we were set, I pulled up the dinghy that I had left trailing us, secured it in the normal fashion, and then set to find out what was wrong with the windlass. I suspected that I had overheated the small inline circuit breaker, but even after jumping the breaker, the solenoid would click, but the windlass wouldn't turn. I checked the big 60-amp circuit breaker, but really didn't think this was the problem, as the solenoid was working. Maybe I wasn't getting good contact when I tried jumping the breaker, because eventually the windlass started working when the small breaker reset itself. I have other spare breakers on hand in case I need to replace the one currently installed. I may have weakened it.

Given that the auxiliary Danforth was deployed, I started the boat and drove to the right, leaving the Danforth about 75 feet to our left, and dropped the bow anchor, giving us a "Bahamian Moor." Bring it on, Mother Nature. I have two well-set anchors coming off the bow at 45-degree angles. I set our anchor alarm for insurance, and we plan on staying put until the wind dies down in a couple of days.

One of the chores for the day was giving Holly a haircut, and she was not to be spared just because we had a minor crisis. She survived her beauty treatment with no scrapes or cuts, and no bleeding toenails because she won't hold still for nail trimming. Rosie set her course to remove dog hair from the cockpit, and I set to writing this blog post.

Our plans to visit the beach party again today are foiled. I'm not dropping the dinghy back in, just in case we have to make a fast exit, plus the wind is blowing such that many small boats won't be out today any way. The breeze will cool us down as we sun ourselves in the cockpit this afternoon, and we have some spareribs thawing to grill on the Magma grill this evening. Looks like it's just the three of us again today to try to amuse ourselves. Oh darn.

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