February 22, 2006

Dragging Anchor
Tyrell Bay (Carriacou), Grenada

I had been asleep for less than an hour when Bill woke me with a panicked voice; the boat was beginning to slide dangerously across the bay, towards a shallow reef.

It was midnight, and pitch black outside in the moonless night. "Week need to set the second anchor," Bill exclaimed. Quickly adding, "Get into the dinghy with Jakob, we're going to load it up with the anchor and it's chain and the two of you are going to drop it off the port side." …Thinking to myself, "We're going to do WHAT?"

The wind was blasting across the bay, Jakob and I getting drenched by salty waves gusting into the barely controllable dinghy. Flashlight jammed into my mouth, I used both hands to throw the now featherweight iron anchor overboard, watching to make sure our ankles didn't get wrapped around the descending chain.

The Odessa was in a bad state. There was no longer enough battery power to turn the engine on. She was essentially dead in the water, at the mercy of the wind and current.

On the return from what would be the first of three individual anchor drops that hour, I noticed another yacht had pulled along side our boat. I quickly found out my assumption was wrong; the Odessa had slid backwards a good 100 yards and was about to slam into our neighbor!

Saying hello to the neighbors

Hearing the commotion, the family of the Canadian boat from Montreal was already on deck by the time we were back aboard the Odessa, fighting in the their sleepwear with bumpers to keep the vessels from smashing into one another. With the Odessa powerless, the decision was made to lash the two ships together.

By this time Luca was above deck, helping Bill manually hoist the primary Odessa anchor out of the water (so we could reposition it with the dinghy). I pulled two life jackets out of the lazarette and put one on. If the dinghy flipped, we'd be pushed out of the bay and into the light-less open ocean water in no time.

Later, as the wind howled past us (with gusts will over 30 knots), a night watch was set to monitor the constantly colliding boats.

I awoke mid-morning to the sound of our engine running. The electrical mechanic had been there earlier, bypassing a broken wire in the generator (good for a short-term fix). The other vessel was gone, but had left their main anchor with us, to be returned later in the day.

What a night…

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