Abandon Anchor!
I know I shouldn’t have signed off the last blog with ‘love and beautiful bays’. That was just asking for trouble.

After dropping off the Whiteley-Seadogs in Fethiye we spent a few days in the marina getting ship shape by this I mean fitting new cockpit speakers. We then left to go to Boynuz Buku bay (36 42 7N 28 54’ 4E) about 10 miles away. We had a good sail there on the Genoa and anchored up in about 7m of water. A peaceful night was followed by a peaceful day. We met up with friends ‘Moli’ and some friends of theirs and had a very nice meal in a restaurant ashore. 

The weather had turned a bit cloudy (I know it’s unheard of) and rain was forecast, the next day ‘Moli’ left and we were planning to visit another bay close by. The skies looked a bit ominous so we decided to sit tight and wait for the rain to pass, then leave. 

It was about 3pm when it ‘all kicked off’ that is a very nautical term that I don’t use lightly. There must have been about 20 boats of various shapes and sizes in the bay. Some were moored on a wooden restaurant pontoon others like us were anchored. The sky turned pretty black, that’ll be the storm coming!

The wind started to get up, time to take the sun shade down. Just as we were doing this we had some rather large gusts. O.k time to start the engine. We were getting winds of 40+kts. Boats that had been anchored for days in zero wind were being blown all over the place. We were at the back of the pack as it were, quite close to the shore and were in danger of being blown back onto it. Boats in front of us were suddenly getting a lot closer than they had previously been. Whether this was due to anchors dragging or the fact they had a lot of anchor chain out and it was now being blown tight, we really don’t know.

The Captain was on the helm trying to keep the boat into the 40kts of wind. If a gust caught us on the side, we were blown sideways ‘big time’ (another technical expression). We were having real problems trying to move forward. 1) Boats in front of us 2) Stella doesn’t go forward in 40kts of wind.

What happened next is a bit of a blur, but we saw a boat on our bow heading towards us, they were frantically waving at us (think they wanted us to get out of the way) Not a lot we could do. Meanwhile another rather large boat was coming at us on the starboard side. ‘Holy flippin Moly’ (does not cut it). The boat caught us on the starboard side.

The gusts were not letting up and we could not move away. The same boat was now coming at us on the Port side. Stella took a right bashing, it’s possible that the anchor chains were crossed at one point. Both boats were entwined circling around at the mercy of the wind. To say we were scared ‘poopless’ does not even come close.

Somehow the boats broke away from each other. Unless the wind abated this was just going to keep happening unless one of us left. It was at this point that the Captain put me on the helm and went to try and raise the anchor. Of course it wouldn’t come up! 
He then went below, I heard mutterings about ‘Where’s the bread knife?’ He then emerged knife in hand and went to the bow. There was no choice other than to cut the anchor loose and try and get out of the bay. Progress out of the bay was slow fighting against the winds and trying to avoid other boats. Boats trying to get away from the storm were coming into the bay. It’s ironic but the boats were probably far safer out of the bay than in it. Your not in danger of crashing into another boat in the open sea. 

We managed to get out of the bay and were able to calm ourselves and think about what to do next. The wind suddenly dropped dramatically to about 5kts. Anchor-less we thought we’d head back into the bay and try and go onto the restaurant pontoon. Little did we know at this stage that part of the pontoon had collapsed, with boats tied to it. There were a few more gusts of wind and that decided it for us, no way were we going back in there. 

We decided to take our chances and head for Fethiye marina. After all that kerfuffle the journey there was fine, the sea was calm and we had no more high winds. We arrived at the marina in the dark, Stella was a bit of a sorry sight as we moored her up along side one of the pontoons. We were probably an even sorrier sight!

Friends Moli (Ian & Mandy) came over check we were o.k. Have to say felt much better when Mandy pulled out bars of chocolate. Things always look better when you’ve scoffed a rather large bar of choccy!

It was going to take a bit more than a bar of choccy to put our gel Stella right. Aside from being Anchor and 50m of chain less. There was damage to the deck fittings for her stanchions and one of the stanchions and her pulpit had been bent. The people that we’d had the coming together with have looked for our anchor but as yet it hasn’t been found. 

We are in the process of getting Stella sorted (have had deck fitting and stanchion fixed) then we are going to go back and see if we can find the anchor. It’s in about 7m of water a big white anchor with 50m of chain, so we are fairly confident we will find it. Worse case scenario we have to get a diver to look for it. We are very attached to that anchor, it has served us well. In the meantime we’ve bought another anchor (you can never have too many) and the Captain has attached that to 30m of old anchor chain that we had. 

On the upside the Captain is happy as he has been able to watch the rugby. Scary moments like that provide me with material for the blog, but they also provide me with lots of grey hairs!

Crew member Marcus is popping out for a visit next week, hopefully we’ll have found the anchor by then. Or maybe that could be his first mission. The ‘Anchor recovery’ badge is a most sort after award. 

That’s all for now folks, I think that’s enough don’t you? Of course I’ll let you know how we get on.

Love & scary moments The Captain and the grey one XX
Monday, 8 October 2007