Getting from New Smyrna Beach to Jensen Beach was a job and a half.
While the passage had its share of challenges, let's begin at the beginning.
This was not a lot of fun. It was about 90 minutes of dangerous, heavy labor. And the root cause wasn't what we thought it would be.
The Bahamian Mooring starts out with two anchors neatly separated. One goes up-current, one goes down current. When you pivot, the bow more-or-less stays between them. The stern rotates around.
Which way does the stern turn? Ideally, it goes clockwise on one tide and counter-clockwise on the other.
Practically, it goes clockwise a few too many times. And when it's time to leave, the two anchor rodes are hopelessly twisted around each other.
There may be some clever way to disentangle them. We don't know what it is.
The windlass has a chain gypsy to starboard and a rope drum to port. The Rocna anchor, with it's almost-all-chain rode is to starboard. The Bruce claw anchor, with it's almost-all-rope rode is to port.
What we do is this.
Pull some of the chain up by hand to get the tangled chain and rope on the deck. We stop this with a chain hook to keep it from being pulled out. And we lift it off the chain gypsy to lay on deck.
Pull some slack into the rope until it reaches the rope (port) side of the windlass. Pull in some more slack until we can put three wraps on the drum.
Ideally, we crank in the rope rode until we're down to the last few feet of chain. I pull the chain in by hand.
Ideally, we unshackle the rope rode and untwist it from the chain that's been holding us in place. Once untwisted, the chain comes up relatively easily.
Today, this was surprisingly difficult. Really surprising. Wind was light. Current was light. I can -- generally -- pull the Bruce anchor and it's almost-all-rope rode without too much trouble. Today, I couldn't move it.
CA uses a huge (3' or so) steel bar to crank the windlass. There are two speeds: one gets a fair amount of chain (or rope) for each crank. The other gets almost nothing, but has huge leverage.
We had to use the high-leverage-little-rope-per-crank mode to get anything to happen at all.
After about forty-five minutes -- according to my log book -- we glimpsed to shaft of the Bruce.
And. It's holding onto a submarine cable. A huge signal or electrical cable is caught in the anchor.
I try to push it off with a boat hook. Fat chance. We've been using the high-leverage mode to get this far. We've probably been pulling the foundations of buildings into the river.
We call for help to a passing fisherman. No response.
We try dropping the anchor while I try to hold the crown with the boat-hook. This is dumb. I can't hold the weight of the anchor with a boathook. I unhook it before it pulls the boathook out of my hands.
One of our neighbors dinghies over, having heard our hapless shouts to the fisherman.
Here's our plan. We'll pass them a heavy-weight line to hook onto the crown of the anchor. Then they'll get the hell out of the way, and I'll try to tip the anchor so it drops the cable.
(Picture? We thought about it. But it was too much of an adrenaline kind of emergency to get a camera.)
At this point the crown is underwater, so we need to pull it up. Resetting the rode on the windlass is scary dangerous. The cable weighs tons. The line feels like a steel bar more than rope. As I get read to reset this the rode on the windlass, the anchor drops a few feet more.
We get reset and it cranks right up.
Our neighbor is asking what the fuss was about.
We're trying to explain that there was a huge cable there before. Now. Nothing. It comes up clean as a whistle. Perfect.
We thank them for watching and making sure it worked.
Total time for both anchors: 90 minutes. Normal single-anchor retrieval is 15 to 20 minutes.
We're covered in mud, sweaty and exhausted. And we're looking at 24 hours of sailing.
Two things before we go to sea:
Fuel. We took on 57 gallons of fuel. Nothing interesting here. Thank all the gods.
Bridge. As noted in Pt. III, day 18, Bridge is Out the bridge is not working reliably. It opens at 10:00 AM today. And it's now 09:30. No time to take omn water.
Out To Sea
10:45 we're in the ocean. It's (technically) my watch, but we're still out-of-breath from the anchoring nightmare.
12:00-16:00 (CA) -- Light air. Good motor-sailing.
16:00-20:00 (SL) -- Light air (5.5 kt). Good motor-sailing. Wind is backing into S, and opposing us.
20:00-24:00 (CA) -- Wind building from S. Seas choppy and unpleasant. And. It's just after new moon so it's dark, with almost no horizon on the ocean side. We're only two miles off shore so there's plenty of horizon on the land side.
00:00-04:00 (SL) -- Wind builds to 12 kt. But. Clocks around to W, giving us a push while we motor along.
04:00-08:00 (CA) -- Seas calm a little. It's not so rough as last night.
St. Lucie Inlet
Sometime after 08:00, we're powering in the inlet. The ICW crosses the inlet in a hopelessly confusing way. There are buoys and dayboards right near each other. The buoys are the entrance -- right-red-returning. The dayboards are the ICW, and the red will be on our LEFT as we go up the ICW toward Jensen beach.
I could not make out the little yellow triangle, so we circled until CA could confirm that it was a red dayboard with a yellow triangle, the we pass on our port side.
We're exhausted so we have to talk it through to be sure this is right.
09:37 we're on mooring ball #1 in Jensen Beach Mooring Field. 27°15.018'N 080°13.392'W
We'll be resting for the rest of today and all of tomorrow, too.
|Depart||New Smyrna Beach 29°01.6428′N, 080°55.0132′W|
|Arrive||Jensens Beach Mooring Field 27°15.018'N 080°13.392'W|
|Maintenance||Take on 57 g. fuel|