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Monday, March 7, 2011

Bahia Honda State Park 3/03-3/08

When I came in from the south anchorage I chose to go closer in hopefully dodging some of the cross current in Bahia Honda (Deep Bay) Channel.  The Manson did it's job all felt good.  The wind was increasing from the low 20's to the high 20's so I set the anchor alarm.  If you drag here and sleep through it you may wake up to a bridge along side or snapping you mast off.  This turns out to be a good decision because while watching day old TV I could see the GPS counting up! 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, ... 10.1, 10.3 meters.
The wind pulled the Manson through about 60 feet of grass when it broke the 30mph range.  I was getting too used to the perfection of the anchor.  Well now it was 8pm dark, high tide just started to drain, gusting to over 30mph, and those bridges!

  1. Where am I?  Where are the damn bridges?
  2. Did anyone else come in and anchor?
  3. Start the motor!  First get the dinghy line of the prop!
  4. Go to bow and let out more chain and hope... or pull in a 35 pound anchor and 70' of chain.  I chose to pull it all up, including the bushel basket of sea grass. (note A)
  5. Get back to cockpit and maneuverer boat to new spot before hitting anything or grounding! (note A)
  6. Go to bow and let out anchor and add 20-25 feet of more chain.  Assess situation! (note A)
  7. Get back to cockpit make visual references and go below to reset anchor alarm.  (note A)
  8. Go to bow and add shock cords (bow lines) to anchor chain to soften the pulling on the chain and fore deck.(note A)
  9. Go back to what you were doing but watch the alarm all night.  (note A)
  10. Sleep like crap! 
 What are all the (note A) things?  The deck is soaked and slippery.  Try running back and forth to your car in an ice storm would compare!   Sorry forgot to take pictures. lol

I stayed on the boat late this morning but needing to go take care of some business on Big Pine I left my number with the nice person at the concession building.  Just in case.  After I came back I took some time to evaluate the situation, including the decision to stay after others have left.  My decision was this.  It is better to learn trapped between tow bridges with the coast guard only 13 miles away and all the other options for help and recovery that are in this area than to not know the crisis drill and be 70 miles from the nearest road in the Tortugas or even hundreds in the Bahamas!  All in all it was a great experience and I learned a lot.  Like: when you put a spare line on the dinghy as a back up since you know the winds are going to blow... They must be the same length!   And remember to take pictures of mother nature kicking your azz so people that think your an azz can laugh at your azz!  LOL

It has been 24 hours since the anchor dragged and life got a little intense.  To calm things down and be more prepared, I...

  1. Had the back up anchor in the cockpit ready to go over.
  2. Had the dinghy anchor ready also.
  3. Both lines on the dinghy were the same length.
  4. Put a jack line running midship
  5. Had the harness and self inflating PFD ready complete with lights
  6. Had the portable radio ready
  7. Anchor alarm going
  8. Put new straps on the fins.
  9. Took down any thing I could that would increase windage
  10. Made a quick reference chart of where the bridge lined up and the channel lined up in-case the anchor alarm failed.
I still slept like crap but Gemini Dreams never moved more than 20 feet from the point she was at sunset!  The winds were strong enough to over ride most of the current changes.  She only pivoted 45 degrees to the north then 45 degrees to the south with the changes in tides.  I still didn't want to go to far from the boat in 20+ winds but didn't fee the need to stay aboard all day.

So today became a surf theinternet day with some camera time early. Lighter winds are forecast for Sunday afternoon. I may go on a day trip if this holds true.  I will take the camera since this post is so filled with text.  I am hoping to go to Looe key Monday snorkeling since the seas have been so bad and visibility is expected to be low until then.
Palms swaying in the breeze
Cool drift wood framing out s/v Gemini Dreams.
Big Fred behind bars
Bahia Honda sand spurs, you can only hold one in your hand!\

I still love my Manson and know why so many boats drag here,  all is good with a little more chain.  You just have to remember...
A bad day dragging anchor in the dark with tides and high winds is still better than being at work!

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