Monday, May 16, 2011

Anchoring in the Bahamas.

Before we set out on our long, long journey to the Bahamas I did a lot of research. Some times I found out too much, and some times not enough. But the whole anchoring thing is what I think weighed on my mind the most.

Here is the gist of what I discovered.




Needless to say, I was worried as we'd never deployed two anchors in our lives!

But I have to tell you now that we found the currents in the Intracoastal to be stronger than anything we've experienced in the Bahamas. And the 2 to 3 foot tides in the Bahamas are nothing compared to say the 9 foot-plus tides we suffered through in Georgia.

The first and only time I saw someone use a double anchor was in Florida. It was a wide open anchorage and after Hans and I were settled in (with one lowly little anchor) I got out my trusty binoculars and immediately had a panic attack when I realized that the only boat there had double anchored and we were obviously doing something wrong!

The captain and mate of this particular boat arrived back to their vessel, via dinghy, shortly thereafter, and I enjoyed a half hour or so watching him unravel a nightmare of twisted anchor lines that will most certainly happen when your boat swings in circles due to the current.

We sat (and swung full circle) on one anchor all night long as we'd done the whole way down the ICW and wondered if this whole unraveling of two anchors was something we could expect to endure ourselves once we reached the Bahamas.

Our first night in the Bahamas was spent in Bimimi and we ended up anchoring in Nixon's Harbor. We used only one anchor and then worried all night long that we'd drag. We didn't, and after that we continued to use one anchor, but any chance he could, Hans would dive down to see if it was secure. We were pretty surprised to find that some times our anchor couldn't dig into the hard bottom but the weight of it, combined with the chain, kept us in one spot all night long.

We held tight in the following waters during some pretty gusty days:

Yankee Carter (don't go there unless you wish to run aground in its very shallow entrance): 25+ knot winds and heavy current in over 20 feet of water in its basin.

Foxtown: 25 knot winds.

Treasure Cay: 20 knot winds gusting to 30 for two days. This was also a very crowded anchorage because everyone knew about the wind forecast. No one used two anchors and some people even had out 80 feet of chain.

Guana Harbor: 20+ knot winds (we were on a mooring).

Fisher Bay (where we did get to watch a boat drag**): 20+ knot winds.

Nixon's Harbor (Bimini): 25 knot winds and strong current.

Little Harbor: 25 knot winds.

We still haven't used two anchors and I'm sure it won't always be that way but for those of you wishing to visit the Abaco's I think you'll find that one anchor is all that's usually needed.

**We were in Fisher Bay on day two of our windy stay when a Sunsail Charter Boat whipped into the anchorage, and I don't think their anchor had even touched bottom before the couple aboard had jumped into their dinghy and headed for shore. This meant they missed watching their boat lift its anchor, brazenly jitter-bug on over to a boat anchored close by and ask it for a dance. It was a couple on another boat, who witnessed this bizarre courting ritual, that immediately radioed for help. Tony from Dive Guana, was on the spot immediately, and he picked up the hailing couple and zipped on over to the Dancing Queen. Luckily the keys were still in the ignition and the captain of the unwary dance partner came up from where he'd been down below, wisely started his engine, and looked on as the rescue crew was able to lift Dancing Queen's anchor and safely move her on to a mooring. After Tony dropped the helping couple off at their boat he sped past us and while laughing, shouted out, "When those people come back be sure to tell them they can't keep my anchor!"

It rained and blew like crazy the rest of the day and you'd think that charter couple might have wondered why no one else was leaving their boat. You'd also think that somewhere on shore they would have heard about their boat's wild gyrations on any one of the VHF radios that all the island bars utilize. But when we went to bed they still hadn't returned and during the night I never heard a call on the radio from them asking if anyone might know where their missing boat may have gotten to. In the morning I spotted their red dinghy bobbing unconcernedly in the water behind their boat, and they left very soon afterward without so much as a thank you very much.

I guess all of us in that anchorage should just be thankful that our hard working, well traveled, and sensible boats were too worn out from the wind and rain to show any desire in joining the 'throw caution to the wind, week long chartered' Dancing Queen in her version of Dancing with the Stars.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Guys--I've been trying to contact you via your G-Mail address. If that's not correct, please send me a good address for you.

    S/V Harvey