Thursday, January 21, 2010

At Anchor in a Real Blow

January 21, 2010 9:35 AM Anchored in Bahia de San Quintin. Rain, heavy at times. Wind: 35 knots gusting to 40 or above. Breaking waves coming over the bow at times. We're pitching and yawing. I just paid out an extra 60 feet of chain, making the total chain length ~220 feet. Depth: 40 feet at high tide. Scope 5.5 of 5/16ths high test on the 35lbs Delta plough anchor. The CQR anchor is at the ready. According to the GPS, we did not move last night but the brunt of the 3rd low is expected tonight. We are anchored in a long narrow channel. When the tide rises, the water floods in a strong (4-5 knot) current heading up the channel. The wind is also coming from the same direction as the flood. When wind and tide are moving in the same direction, it has a noticeably calming effect on the water and life becomes more comfortable. However, when the opposite is occurs, when the tide falls and the ebbing current flows against the wind, a large and choppy sea builds and the boat rides uneasily. So twice a day we get a smooth ride and the other half, errr! Due to this current effect and howling wind, we slept intermittently last night, I want more tonight but that is very doubtful. This wind howling through the rigging has quite an un-nerving effect. It sounds louder than it should be and when IO is temporarily pitched to one side and a sea breaks against her haul, the sound is alarming, especially for the dozing skipper. In the darkness, I found myself awakened several times to a startle followed by a surge of adrenalin. I could hear my heart beat hard as I listen for any telltale noises that may indicate problems. I would usually get up and look at our position on the GPS, then take a line-of-sight on the other boats at anchor to make sure we were in the same relative position, that is, no one's anchor is dragging.

Here is Misty Moonlight, the boat anchored nearest to us, while you can still see it before the blow. This is the bay before the storm. Notice the Grey whale between us and the Trimaran.
Assured that all is well for the time being, I would crawl over the lee-cloth (canvas sheet that holds you in bed) into the bunk for another hour of restless dozing. There are seven boats holed up in here and several have formed a radio net to discuss weather and anchoring issues and to offer general help if needed. The three cheerful girls on Misty Moonlight sang "Happy Birthday" for Kathy on Nordic IV over the VHF radio. Time for the precious popcorn to cheer us up. We all wait.

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