Helen woke me at about three am with a “Bryan!” that had
more ‘curiosity’ in it than ‘urgency’. Half asleep, I stumbled up the steps to the cockpit to see the quay wall
less than a meter off our starboard aft quarter- just the
Avon dinghy (the
world’s most expensive fender?) holding us off. We’d moored stern to, and the anchor had dragged and resulted in us
being carried back towards the concrete wall.
Our brains go into overdrive- how do we get out of this
one. In our favour, the breeze is a
moderate fourteen-ish knots, although on our side; the dingy tubes are
underinflated (the temperature has dropped since I last inflated them); and
it’s only an hour off the high tide.
I’m both surprised and impressed at how half asleep brains
can still engage on auto pilot. Helen surveys
the scene, dinghy, and anchor. I dash
below, open the engine water cooling stopcock, turn on the engine starting
battery, and grab life jackets (not that we really thought we’d need them for
flotation- they make a handy place to clip the VHFs onto), torches, and
handheld VHF radios.
Thirty seconds later, and we’ve got a plan. We talk it through: we’ll take the slack off
the stern lines (to keep them away from the propeller), motor forward
(releasing the stern lines again), bring up the anchor, re-anchor further out,
then reverse towards the wall as we bring the stern lines in again, to make
that Y shaped mooring arrangement.
It all goes pretty much to plan, but I can’t bring Aroha’s
nose through the wind on her beam (a common problem with yachts of her design-
the pointy end is the lightest, so catches the wind and moves with it). OK, a moment to gather our thoughts and work
out another plan.
We’ll drop the stern lines, and go for the simpler solution
of anchoring in the middle of the harbour. The stern lines get slipped on board- oops, I let go of the wrong end of
the port side one, so we release the other end and abandon that for later
Re-anchoring takes three attempts. I’m puzzled as to why our fancy-schmancy
designed anchor from down under isn’t working. It turns out that a heavy duty bag is fouling the anchor, stopping the
point from digging in. Helen throws that
off, and she bites (the anchor, not Helen). By now, the breeze has dropped to only about seven knots, so driving
around in a shallow and dark harbour isn’t quite as exciting as it was half an
hour before. Thankfully, we were just
about on high tide (a whopping 2.9m!) while all this action was taking
place. We knew the depth dropped off
steeply near the broken down breakwater. This trip has given us more adrenaline highs than bungy jumping!
But there’s still a fair bit of adrenalin in our systems,
and we put the kettle on to bring us back down. It is now four am in the morning. By four thirty am a random mosquito decides to take a quick trip round
our cabin – awake again. At six am a flock of black crows very vocally decide
to compete for top spot on the mast sampling the weather vane at the very top,
the radar half way up the mast and even a halyard rope as possible roosting
spots. But at least the sun is up. The boat is in the same place we left her
last night, and for the first time in about six days, the sun is actually
The kids slept through the whole episode, and each one has
at different times this morning asked “why did we move?” Well, at least they noticed!