OK, so we all know all sailors are opinionated … and some of us have pretty precise opinions on what’s acceptable anchoring procedure and what’s not. Personally, since we take showers in the cockpit, there’s nothing worse than having someone violate our anchoring space. We’re definitely spoiled while anchoring in the NW & SW Caribbean, often there might not be another boat for … miles.
Sailing out to our favorite anchorage the other day, we were looking forward to spending some solitary time at anchor … we realize there will be dozens of boats anchored here, it’s a fabulous place and so close that it’s impossible not to have lots of other boats. But there’s room for at least a hundred other boats … if everyone behaves and anchors correctly. But I guess I’m asking too much.
Our 2nd day here, we were off drifting through manatee cove watching the manatees … they were watching back, I love it when we turn of the outboard and the critters come right up, stick their faces out of the water to figure out what kind of critter WE are – they’re not so shy either and David’s always afraid they’ll upset the dinghy, but they never have. And I figure if they do, there’s only one gator in manatee cove, so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but I digress…. after over an hour of drifting through, paddling back upwind and drifting downwind again, we headed back to the boat. When what to our horror should appear?
THREE boats, all rafted up on one anchor and maybe three boat lengths in front of our bow. Hmmm…. the forecast is for the wind to pipe up to almost 20 overnight. David, being the practical one, says there’s no way they’ll stay rafted together overnight. Me, being the grumpy one, says let’s ask. So David politely dinghies over and asks … sure enough they’ll be there all night. BUT according to them, it’s OK because they’re on one 55 lb anchor with 85 feet of chain out. I do the math — three boats, a lot of freeboard … 85 feet of scope in 9 feet of water, with another 5 feet to the bow would be 14 feet total or about 6-1, which should be adequate scope. But I’m not sure how to figure scope for three boats together – do you divide by three so it’s actually 2 – 1 not 6 – 1? Silly question.
Usually it’s the newcomber’s responsibility to re-anchor – and most times we’ve had the discussion, other boats offer to move, but I think anchoring space in Florida is much tighter than in the NW or SW Caribbean so people are used to being close to other boats. And it’s possible that these boats were actually an acceptable distance and I’m just a fanatic, so maybe they’re right and I’m wrong. Whatever it is, we should not have to listen to every word of their cocktail conversation and they are not quiet.
Makes our decision easy — time to re-anchor. We do, putting lots of space between us and the party. It’s just about 4 PM by the time we’re settled in. Sitting on the deck, we’re watching the sun sink behind the island … almost time for the conch horn sunset salute … when another boat comes in to the anchorage. OK, fine … but he keeps on coming and keeps on coming … and literally drops his anchor on our stern …. keep in mind, there are maybe 20 other boats in an anchorage big enough for 100 …
The trawler behind him calls to let him know he’s on their chain, so he moves several times. Each time he picks up the chain, we think we have a reprieve, but no, he circles back to the same spot. By now I’m standing on our deck with my hands on hips, as are the people on the trawler. There’s plenty of room idiot, go somewhere else! He ends up less than three boat lengths behind us after he drops back on his chain – I hesitate to call it backing down because there was none of that after about the 2nd attempt where he just backed down full throttle and almost dragged into the boats behind.
I just don’t get it …. we must have an anchor painted on our boat somewhere we can’t see. We can’t seem to get out of the way enough. Hopefully the Bahamas won’t be this crowded – but realistically it’s not about the crowds, it’s about anchoring courtesy. This guy could have split the difference between us and the next boat over and been more than adequately far enough away.
So please … if you anchor out this weekend and there’s enough room not to crowd your neighbors, remember you’re not in a trailer park, there’s no reason boats have to be lined up so close together. OK, rant over…. Time to move on and enjoy the day — yesterday we dinghied to a far away beach not easily hikeable and found a tiny starfish, a couple live whelks and some fossil shark teeth – David’s favorite to collect – and even one piece of beach glass — not usually found here. We checked out manatee cove, but there must have been too many sightseeing boats going in and out because the manatees were nowhere in evidence. The Direct TV blimp flew over the beach, allowing us to watch some football game on their huge screen – kind of cool. Someone said they’re here for a big tarpon fishing tournament.
Gotta go, time for a new day and new adventures – David said something about time to get the kayaks in the water! One of my favorite things to do!
Am I the only one that just doesn’t understand why boats anchor on top or directly next to others? Maybe I’m the only one and I need to take a chill pill… 🙁 Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.