Tag Archives: dragging anchor

It Ain’t All Fun…

Had some serious trouble Sunday afternoon. The wind had been blowing and it\s been bouncy. I heard a bang as my hatch board which I keep sitting on the hatch cover blew off the hatch cover. Fortunately I have a line on it to keep it from going overboard. (Once in a while I actually do something smart) When I stuck my head out of the cabin I instantly saw that what had been my “mooring” had given up the ghost and the main anchor had let go and was dragging.

Luckily I had a second anchor rigged on the foredeck and managed, in spite of bouncing around in the rough waves of the anchorage, was able to let it go. I came to rest less than 100 feet from the rocky sea wall. A friend was able to roust Jeremay (correct spelling) who helps out with a lot of things here out of his boat. Too windy to tow me away from where I am but he put a THIRD anchor that he had out. So now there are three over the side though only two seem to be dug in. The wind is subsiding a hair but I am more than a little apprehensive to say the least.


Can’t get my engine to start and found out the primer ball is shot. I can get one at the Ace Hardware up in Holmes Beach, a trolley ride away, but I’m afraid to leave the boat unattended until things settle down. Besides, it’s a bit hairy trying to get ashore with a small dinghy…

I suppose I could call Boat U.S. and have them come tow me back out to where this all began. I’m a member, after all, and it wouldn’t cost me anything, but that’s no guarantee that once I got reanchored I wouldn’t drag again. So, since I haven’t moved, except up and down on the waves, in the last two hours, I guess I’ll stay put for the time being. Jeremay said he’d come back when the winds die down and tow me back out.

It’s clouding over and will be 90%ing on us soon. Damn, I wish I had a van down by the river right now.

A day later…

The winds died down here at the Bradenton Beach anchorage after sundown, Sunday. Then it started to rain. What little wind there was changed from SE to NW which put me parallel to the rocks which eased my mind a bit.

While the winds were still piping I discovered that I couldn’t get my outboard to start. The primer bulb wasn’t pumping fuel from the tank to the engine. As you saw in the video yesterday, there was no way I was going to try and get ashore to get a new one then.

This morning was flat calm with patchy fog. I got to the Ace Hardware a little before 9 and bought a new primer bulb. Of course I didn’t buy any hose clamps because I was sure I had some on the boat. Nope! I attached the bulb to the old lines and pumped away. NOTHING! I then began to wonder if there was a problem with the pickup system in the tank. There was enough fuel…about three gallons. But that was all the gas I had. The two, two gallon auxiliary tanks were empty. So I hiked down to Bradenton Marina and filled those and returned to the boat.

I dug the other 6 gallon tank out of the forepeak, dumped one can into it, switched the fuel line, pumped it up and the engine started right up though it leaked gas without the clamps.

One of the boaters, Morgan, was on the dock. A couple of months ago he’d gone to a nautical flea market and bought several anchors. He offered to sell me one, then, but they were quite large and I passed. After yesterday’s misadventure, though, I asked if he still had any of the anchors for sale. He did. I bought a genuine Danforth 22S for $20. They’re rated for boats up to 41 feet. I’m a 22 footer. New, like at West Marine they retail for around $140, so I got a bargain there.

I hied my way back to Ace where I bought two small hose clamps. I also bought two large shackles for the new anchor which is replacing the one that dragged, FOUR TIMES NOW!

I was able to roust out the anchor Jeramay lent me and I got out the old anchor. The line was covered with growth like you wouldn’t believe. The anchor that I threw over in desperation wouldn’t break free. When Jeramay came over to move me back to an anchoring spot he tried freeing it up using his big boat. A 55 horse outboard wouldn’t move it. We buoyed the line with a fender and will work on getting it up tomorrow. There’s a lot of junk on the bottom around here accumulated over decades.

I got towed back to nearly the same spot as before, the new Danforth was put over the side, and here I sit waiting for the evening to come. Almost no wind no, and the soothsayers say it’s not supposed to blow over 10 mph for the next few days, anyway.


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Filed under adventure, boats, Bradenton Beach, FL, cruising, Uncategorized

Storming in Bocas del Toro

Part of the nearly eleven and a half feet of water that falls in the Bocas del Toro area each year is coming down right now. It’s been raining for at least the last three hours and there’s little sign that it’s going to let up any time soon. The wind is blowing a steady 20 knots probably gusting up to 30 on occasions. A work boat, like a large cayuco motors past the back porch of  my hotel. The skipper hunched over with his back to the wind has no foul weather gear and is chilled by the rain as he morosely bails his boat. With wind like this the rain drops feel like needles when they hit exposed flesh. I know. I’ve been there many times when I was running a crew boat in the Kerr-McGee production field in Breton Sound, Louisiana.

The rain is almost horizontal now and the boats on the hook and over at the marina are just vague shadows. Lightning streaks across the sky and almost instantly cracks and rumbles so close it shakes the building a bit.

One of my contacts who lives out on Bastimientos Island and owns and operated the Tranquilo Bay Eco-adventures resort  http://www.tranquilobay.com/ probably aren’t having a very good time at the moment but I’m sure that for them it’s an Eco-adventure from hell. I am supposed to meet him over at the Starfish Cafe but having no protection from the rain, myself, I’m not so sure it’s going to happen.

A rather large ketch is dragging anchor and it appears there is no one aboard, and no one seems to be going out to render any assistance. I know that the water taxi drivers aren’t about to do anything to help. They’re sitting ashore watching it drift towards the reef or an island to be wrecked. Then, like the ship-wreckers of yesteryear they will go out and strip the remains clean.

Finally, after the boat has made it at least a half mile from the anchorage a small dinghy wet out from one of the other boats in the anchorage and headed out to try and do something. I can’t tell what since the buildings on that side of my hotel are blocking the view.

Around 7:15 the rain has slacked off to a slight drizzle and I’m going off to meet with my one contact Jim at the Starfish. He wasn’t there though his boat was tied up behind, so I assume he’s still with his clients out at the airport.

As I was waiting for Jim to show up a young couple I had met yesterday pulled up to the dock in their little dinghy, soaking wet. They were the ones who went out to the boat. It had been sitting on a mooring for the last six months with no one aboard. The mooring had parted in the storm. They contacted the manager of the marina. I met him yesterday and he was a typical cruising doofus blown up with his own self-importance and cruising “knowledge” which totally turned me off. The young couple, she an American and he a South African (white) have been down here on their boat for the last four months. They said the manager purports to be “friends” of the owner of the imperiled boat but refused to to anything about it. So much for the cruising “community” and how they supposedly look out for one another. I guess since that boat wasn’t in the marina and leaving money there he was just as happy to see it destroyed.

The young couple caught up with it and went aboard. There was an anchor on deck which they attached to the remaining rode and tossed it over the side and at least securing the boat in the short term. The attitude of the marina manager, coupled with meeting him yesterday, reminded me of why I hate “cruisers” who travel from one marina to another and seem incapable of living without the yellow umbilicus of a shore cord. I’m supposed to be having lunch with the owners of the marina and though they are long time friends of my friend Frank, it remains to be seen how I’ll like them.

One the other hand, when I finally met Jim, he turned out to be the kind of person I could really relate to. He’s been in the Bocas are for 10 years. Before it became the “in” place with the backpacker crowd and touristas. He and his family live about a half hour boat ride away only coming in to deal with Bocas Town when absolutely necessary. I enjoyed my meeting with him very much. What he had to say about the area in general has given me pause to think of altering my view of whether the area might not deserve a second and longer look, especially if there are more people around here like himself. And the area is beautiful without a doubt. Quien Sabe?


Filed under cruising