Swing? Or Tie Up?

We’ve been able to do a lot of swinging but last night was my first tie up. Behind Jean Island we dropped our anchor in a 25 foot deep hole very close to shore and just swung with the winds, currents, and tides. The next morning we got up to find ourselves surrounded on three sides with small islands – or rather a bunch of drying rocks – some 7 feet high – that appear at low tide. Over coffee we realized that from time to time something resembling thunder was coming from the v-berth. Ah ha! The grumbling rumbling was just the anchor chain echoing up through the locker as it dragged over rocks protruding from the muddy bottom over which we were swinging in a complete circle.

But swinging doesn’t always work. Prideaux Haven is a much coveted anchorage where snow capped peaks preside over a series of small sheltered coves. As we searched for the entrance, we could see masts above the hills and boat through the nooks and crannies. We would have to anchor and then tie up using a stern tie. For the first time.

Without a nylon stern tie per se we’d have to use a length of line that we’d dropped on the very bottom of the starboard lazarette to create a floor for the fenders, tie lines, extra life jackets and bike. Out everything came and then the line. Oodles of it. Obviously it had been purchased on the drum wholesale; it’s already being used for the jib sheets. Fortunately, the task of unsnarling the 3/4 inch line and laying it out on the deck was quick and easy. I counted approximately 275 feet of the stuff which I divided into three bunches.

Finally we were entering Laura Cove, which was already busy. The crew of an anchored sailboat guided us to avoid a mid channel obstruction while some kayakers suggested laying the hook toward in the middle of the cove. Once I’d dropped the anchor and let out some rode as Jack motored slowly toward shore, I had to do the stern tie. Under the eyes of everyone of course. Just getting a hugely slippery skein of 3/4 inch line into the dinghy was a challenge. Then after tying the bitter end to Aurora’s stern, I had to row to shore, climb up a cliff of slimy rocks, haul the line up to a tree, loop it around and get it back down to the dinghy. By that time an oar had gone AWOL so I returned to the Aurora by pulling one half of the line while letting out the other. Tied up. Made. We only needed about 80 feet but – this line worth a small fortune – we don’t want to cut it. After paddling out to retrieve the wayward oar, we sat down to bowls of chili, feeling rather proud of ourselves.

Here is a picture of our next door neighbor, properly tied up with a thin stern tie. This great old wooden vessel was the biggest boat in the cove and could only get in and out on high tide.

There will be more stories of anchoring to come, I’m sure. It is something fraught with challenge, always an adrenalin rush. Much can go wrong. So far, nothing has.

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