Lost in paradise - my anchor that
is. Read on for this crazy story.
was really enjoying the 2-week rest at Tiahoe Bay, Nuka Hiva in the
Marquesas, especially since we had just completed a long 30-day
passage from the Galapagos Islands. My owners had other ideas
though, and decided we should sail around to Anaho Bay on the north side
of the island.
On the way, a large school of my dolphin-pals
came to play in my bow wake. Bob
steered me safely through a narrow opening in the reef into Anaho Bay,
where we were surrounded on 3 sides by lush, green mountains. My 45
lb. CQR anchor was carefully released and we settled in nicely, although I
was a bit nervous about the coral reef just off my stern. The anchor
took a good "bite", though and it was a good thing, especially,
since the wind occasionally came across the mountains in 40-knot
gusts. After several days of exploring the beautiful surroundings,
my owners decided we should move to the next bay, so they got everything
ready to go.
All went well until Judi started to raise the anchor. She knew
that she was going to have a tough job getting it up as it had dug in
quite deeply, but she put her shoulder into and pumped the windlass
handle; but, funny enough, it came up a lot easier than she though it
would. All at once I heard her yell in surprise, "Bob, the
chain came up without the anchor!" As we were drifting back to
that reef, they scrambled to drop our secondary Danforth anchor in a place
that we hoped was close to the CQR. Luckily, my captain has SCUBA
tanks and gear on board, so he suited up and jumped in.
The recovery effort can best be described as a "Chinese
fire-drill." As Judi watched, helplessly from the bow,
Bob dove and swam all over the anchorage, far from where we believed the
anchor was located. Because the water was very deep and
murky, he could not judge where he was in relationship to us. Judi
knew that he was too far away, but had no way to communicate with
him. After thirty minutes of swimming back and forth, surfacing and
diving again, he ran out of air. There was another tank available,
but they figured that unless they changed their strategy, the anchor would
be gone forever.
That's when they finally got smart, with Bob coming up with a
successful plan for recovery. He donned another SCUBA tank and swam
out again, but this time he took a long dock line with him while Judi
stood on the bow holding the other end. Starting close to the boat,
he dove and swam back and forth across the bow. When he got
too far to one side or the other, Judi would give a tug and let out a bit
more of the line. Bob would then reverse direction and swim out a
bit further. Well, within 10 minutes, they found my anchor, secured
the dock line onto it, re-attached the chain, and brought it back on
The cause of this little mishap? - a rusted "stainless steel"
cotter pin. My anchor is attached to the chain via a swivel on the
end of the chain through which a shackle and clevis pin is then used to
secure the anchor to the chain. A cotter pin holds the clevis pin in
place and prevents it from sliding out of the shackle.
Although this cotter pin was stainless, it rusted through and allowed
the clevis pin to pull out of the shackle just enough for the anchor to
slide off. Would you believe that the chain came up with both the
shackle and clevis pin still hanging there!? I still shudder when I
think about what might of happened to me if the anchor had come loose
while my owners were ashore. My crew re-secured everything, issued a
big sigh of relief and we were on our way. The whole recovery took
about an hour.
- Check the anchor and chain attachment for rust, so we
added this as an item to our "Monthly Inspection Checklist."
- Have a second anchor ready to go if the primary anchor is
- The importance of carrying SCUBA tanks on board.
- Use a line to help guide the diver underwater when trying to