Anchoring Shenanigans!

Oh Boy! I’m behind! Sorry…

We left you last in northern Martinique – St. Pierre… from whence we sailed down to the capital, Fort de France where we figured we’d stay a night. The sail down was horrid! After a reasonable start, the wind came up dramatically – so much so that we ended up sailing as close as possible to land in order to receive some shelter! We still saw winds in the high 30’s and motor sailed with two reefs in the main – but we made it to Fort de France where the real fun began!

The anchorage was pretty full, so we picked a spot quite far out. The anchor bounced along the bottom… lets try again. Same thing. Third time’s a charm – except in this case! We moved a bit and tried again – same thing. For our fifth attempt we moved to another spot altogether – nada. The sixth try was in the same spot – eureka! It held! We were at the very back of the anchorage, closest to where the ferries went back and forth (constantly), kicking up a big wake each time. It was rolly, but at least we were attached – though we didn’t feel like exploring the town! We settled in for the night – and fortunately, the ferries stopped at a reasonable hour so we were able to sleep.

In the morning the ferries stared at 6:00am – and so did the swells, however, several boats left the anchorage early so we decided to move again in order to be out of the swell. We continued our anchoring count – and attempt 7 didn’t catch, but when picking up the anchor it was apparent why – the tip had sunk into a large old piece of coral – we shook that off and tried again. Attempt 8 managed to hook the same piece of coral! We tried again… something wasn’t right and fortunately, Jeff on UJAM’n was out and about in the anchorage and swam over to take a look – the anchor was wedged under a rock – all well and good while the wind was in this direction, but if it changes… Jeff then swam off to look for a better spot – and well into the anchorage he found a great spot – in sand, so we moved over there and attempt 10 set immediately!

Then the currents in the harbor all went crazy and we found ourselves turned through 180 degrees and now sitting on the bottom! Meanwhile a Catamaran was still afloat when the wind changed back and we were really close to touching boats before we managed to extricate ourselves!

Attempt 11 saw us move just slightly from our nice piece of sand – but we put out a stern anchor as well – to prevent going through the 180 degree gyrations! All is good and we’re so far into the anchorage that there’s no swell! But then, the wind and current play another trick and a different catamaran comes too close! Fortunately, I was able to avoid them by snugging in the stern anchor some, but the proximity was a little disconcerting…

In the morning, an adjacent boat left the anchorage – so we decided it would be prudent to move into that spot – eliminating the need for the stern anchor and at the same time getting away from the cats… I launched the dinghy in order retrieve the stern anchor and came back to the boat. We then lifted the main anchor and reversed away from the cat in front and suddenly there was silence! The stern anchor rode had spooled out of the dinghy during our reversing and the slack generated was now fouled in the propeller! We were adrift in a crowded anchorage…

I quickly got back in the dinghy and tied it alongside and maneuvered Toodle-oo! to where I wanted to anchor next – all was well right up until the stern anchor rode decided to attack the dinghy’s propeller! Once again we were adrift in the water! Now it’s time to yell for help! Fortunately, another OCC friend, Bob on Oasis was to hand and he towed us with his dinghy to where I wanted to drop the anchor.

Our 12th anchoring attempt proved to be the winner! We were well set in sand (and deep enough water) with no obvious targets to collide with us during the night!

By now there were about 7 other OCC boats in the anchorage – all here to enjoy the Carnaval celebrations – so we decided to enjoy them too and ended up staying in Fort de France for 10 days!

Plans laid in sand at low tide…

2 thoughts on “Anchoring Shenanigans!

    1. Clare Glasspool

      A slightly dusconcerting read when at anchor in Fort de France! Those ferries do kick up a swell – and there are SO many of them!


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