Our mission - Find that darn anchor!
 
We were in Fethiye marina preparing to leave the next day, to go back to the bay of ‘Stormus terriblus’ and look for our anchor. 

A yacht came in alongside us in the marina, turned out they’d also been in the bay when the storm hit (Virginia and Daniel, boat name Voukali). They remembered us (we always like to leave a lasting impression). Virginia had seen the Captain cut the anchor and was fairly sure she knew where it was. We went on their boat (very nice) and they gave us the GPS co-ordinates of where they thought it was. We thanked them and said we were planning to leave the next day.

It was at this point that Virginia started shaking her head. She told us there was more bad weather coming. All the signs were there - full moon approaching, Coptic calendar warnings, dark clouds looming and it said so on the Internet! This worried us we didn’t want to get caught out again. So off we went to check and double check all the weather reports we could find. The forecasts did say that there was bad weather due but it didn’t look like it was going to get bad until the weekend. The next day was Thursday, the bay was a couple of hours away, so we thought if we got up early we could hot tail it over there, find the anchor and come back that night or Friday morning. 

The next day we got up at 7am, they sky was blue not a cloud insight. So we decided to go for it. We motored all the way there as there was zero wind (see that’s how early it was, even the wind wasn’t up). We arrived in the bay to find the shipmates we’d had the coming together with (Jeff & June, boat name Concerto) already looking for the anchor. They’d already spent quite a lot of time looking whilst we’d been in the marina getting fixed up. This in itself should have been a sign that looking for a needle in a haystack might be easier. Due to our lack of anchor we tied up on a restaurant pontoon (part of which had collapsed in the storm). See I told you it was a bad bad storm!

We discussed tactics with Concerto and then set off with Jeff in his  dinghy. He was driving (is it called that?) and the Captain and myself were trawling small fisherman's anchors over the side in the hope that we might catch our anchor or its chain. On a couple of occasions we got all excited thinking we’d found it, only to find our anchors had actually got caught up with each other!! After a couple of hours Jeff dropped us back at Stella as they had to head off. The Captain then set about making a ‘super duper anchor detection’ device. He fashioned it from spanners, chain and twine. We set off again this time in our dinghy, Captain on the oars, First mate (only mate) on ‘trawling anchor’ duty. 

We (should I say the Captain) rowed us back and forth across the bay. Each time we got close to another boat (invading their personal space) we would mutter our apologies and explain that we were looking for our anchor. No we hadn’t buoyed it and yes we were aware that it had probably sunk into the mud! After about 4 hours of rowing and searching we returned to Stella for a quick coffee. Then it was back out again (no rest for the anchor-less). When it started to get dark we decided to call it a day and start again early the next morning. As we returned to Stella some people asked us if we’d caught anything (no they weren’t having a pop) they thought we’d been fishing. Well I guess we had been but not the run of the mill kind of fishing. 

That night we ate in the one and only restaurant on the pontoon. The staff in the restaurant knew the whole sorry tale. We’d already asked them about the possibility of getting a diver if we couldn’t find the anchor ourselves. I think they felt sorry for us because they said that the next day they would take out their speed boat that was used for parascending and help us try to find it. They would be able to drag a lot bigger anchor that could really dig down into the mud.

The next morning we were up and in the dinghy at 8.00am, we thought we’d give it one last try before we called in the big guys. It was at this point that people on boats in the bay started to get curious as to what we were doing. They had seen us rowing back and forth the previous day until dark, a lot of them thinking we were just fishing. Someone came out to us in his dinghy and leant us a magnet to help in the search. An American and a New Zealand guy who we’d spoken to the previous day, came over to us and thought it might be a rather ‘fun project’ to get out their dive gear and try and dive to find the anchor and chain. Well who are we to stand in the way of a ‘fun project’. They zoomed off in their dinghy to get their dive gear. Meanwhile we continued to row back and forth, it was at this point that the restaurant guys came over in their rather large speedboat, anchor at the ready. 

We had to explain that a diver was going to have a look for it, so we didn’t really want them to drag an anchor across and churn up all the mud. They went off with a look in their eyes that said, we’ll be seeing you later. Back came our divers all rigged up and ready to rock. We tied the dinghies together and the American went in, he was down there a good 40 minutes, circling the area. When he surfaced I truly believe that he was as disappointed as we were that he hadn’t found it. We really wanted them to find it for us, but also for them because they’d been quite excited about the whole mission. 
Somebody on another boat suggested we borrow their anchor to drag around, still attached to the other dinghy we zipped over to this boat, in a sort of double dinghy convoy. The general consensus was that the anchor was too big and the dinghy with outboard wouldn’t be able to drag it. The whole bay was becoming involved in the Stella Maris anchor search. Someone else told us of a boat that had a bigger magnet than the one we’d been leant. So off we zipped (still in our double dinghy convoy) to have a look. Turned out it wasn’t that big! So we thanked them and went on our way. Our divers deposited us and dinghy back at Stella Maris. 

Time to get in the big guys. Sheepishly we approached the guys with the speedboat,they knew we’d be back. They started up their engine got out their anchor and started to drag. I think it took them all of 15 minutes to find it! We’d looked for a day and a half, shipmates Concerto had also spent probably a good day looking for it. Then they go and find it just like that (Don’t you just hate it when that happens, but in this case I loved it). 

We rowed over in the dinghy and the Captain started to hoik in the 50m of chain when he finally got to the anchor, it didn’t want to come up (nice to know it was in). In the end we had to put a line on the chain and get the parascending boat to pull it up. The anchor was in so well that each time the speed boat pulled the front of the dinghy was pulled down. I had to get out of the dinghy onto the speed boat so one of the guys could help the Captain pull it up (weak arms you see). Eventually it came up oh how we whooped with joy (well I did). Think the whole bay knew we’d found it. We thanked the parascending guys a million zillion times.
So my top tip is if you should find you’ve lost your anchor and some people with a speed/parascending boat offer to help, say ‘yes’ straight away.

Anchor back in place we headed back to Fethiye in all the commotion we’d almost forgot about he bad weather coming. We arrived back in Fethiye Friday afternoon, moored up alongside Voukali again, who were as pleased as we were to hear we’d found the anchor. In fact the whole pontoon were very happy for us and our anchor. Word travels fast on a pontoon!!

HUGE HUGE THANKS to all those people who helped in the ‘Anchor recovery mission’. Once again YOU have shown us what a kind spirited and adventurous bunch you yachties are. 

The high winds did come on Monday just in time for Crew member Marcus’s visit. 

If you can take any more of this waffle, then tune in next time you brave souls.

Love & lost anchors (that have now been recovered)

The Rower & The Anchor trawler XX
Friday, 26 October 2007