A little bit too much excitement!

Mike and Liz Downing
Fri 26 Feb 2010 04:52
Not everything is plain sailing - in fact very little is, but we had far more than our fair share of excitement on Tuesday night! Along with a lot of other boats we were anchored at La Playita, a bay on the south side of the Flamenco peninsular, at the entrance to the Canal on the Pacific side. The wind had been from the north ever since we arrived 8 days earlier (and so the south side was the safe place to be) and for the last few days had been very light. At about 20.00 on Tuesday evening the wind unexpectedly increased to 20+ knots from the south! The sea came up very quickly and waves were rolling into the anchorage. We were near a boat that had anchored too close to us (we did mention it to him, but the winds were supposed to be light and variable, so he stayed) and when we looked out to check our position when the wind shifted we found the other boat just 6 feet from our port side! How we got so close without the 2 boats colliding we will never know. No one was on board the other boat at the time and we had to up anchor and get out of the anchorage before we did collide. It was not easy or pleasant doing that in the dark with the bows pitching violently and some times going under the waves, and with lots of other boats close by. We finally got the anchor up and picked our way through the other boats and headed into deeper and clearer water. We anchored further out in more room, again not easy with the bows pitching violently up and down, and then the radio was alive with other boats in trouble. Boats were dragging on to other boats and damage was done to several. About 10 or so boats had to do what we had just done and come further out of the bay to find more room. We were lucky in that we were the first to make the move and so were well anchored again when everyone else started to move. We just put all our deck lights on (we have 3 that really light the whole boat up) so everyone could see us and hopefully no one would not get too close. They didn't and we stayed there until daybreak, taking turns on anchor watch all night to check we didn't drag or that someone didn't drag on to us. The pitching remained quite violent throughout the night, not helped by the canal pilot boats rushing past the anchorage. They are big and create a great deal of wash. It makes the anchorage rolly on a good day, in those conditions it made it a really nasty place to be. But despite it all, we did get some sleep.

So a little too much excitement for one night! But we were pleased that we had escaped with out any damage. In the morning we came round to the north side of the peninsular. What a difference! It was almost flat calm and we are still here. The wind is due to go back to the north on Friday, so we'll go back to the south of Flamenco (La Playita) to anchor, but make sure no one gets too close!

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