10th July 2008 - San Jose to Aguilas (The Davit Handle Part II (the Anchor Snubber))

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Thu 10 Jul 2008 13:00
At about eight o'clock last evening we took the dinghy into the small marina and then walked a few hundred yards to a row of restaurants.  We were still early by Spanish standards and most were empty but we picked the one with the most people in it, on the basis it was probably better than the rest.  I suspect that everyone else there had done the same thing and the locals, who know where is good food is to be had, were still at home.  
The food was pretty bland but I do not think that anyone noticed as they were still recovering from the excesses of the previous evening, Mike in particular admitted that he had no memory of the period between leaving the bar and waking up in the morning.  We just sat in silence looking out at the mast of Bali Hai that was swinging with increasing vigour from side to side like a pendulum as the swell got steadily worse. 
We left the restaurant early, partly because no-one felt like another drink and partly because I wanted to tackle getting back on the boat while there was still some light.  Mike, who has his own RIB, piloted us back to the boat and as we approached we could see that it was lurching around like a mad elephant trying to break free from its mooring. We had put the fender ladder over the side, as well as having the bathing platform down, so that we could try getting on from both the side and the stern.  Neither looked particularly attractive as the 16 ton boat was rolling around in all directions.
Having pondered both approaches a while we decided on the side and, in a quiet spell, Mike expertly brought the dinghy up so that I could leap like a gazelle from the bow on to the fender step.  Thin Pete was also able to get up before Mike had to back away as the swell returned.  On the next attempt both Tracy and Big Pete managed to clamber aboard.  Fortunately at this point the swell seemed to drop right off and we quickly brought the tender around to the stern and lifted it up on the davits.
That night we all went to bed relatively early and it seemed that, despite the rolling, most were able to get a better night's sleep than last time.  Although on one occasion when I got up to check on the anchor, there was only the sound of a single nasal soloist playing in the foreward part of the boat.
I was up at seven and started getting the boat ready to leave.  Big Pete appeared and I said he could go and get the anchor ready.  This involved fitting a fender to stop the bow getting damaged by the anchor but first he would have to remove the anchor snubber.  This is a rope with a rubber stretchy attachment and stainless steel hook that is used to take the strain off the anchor chain as it comes over the bow roller and stops the chain clanking and disturbing people in the foreward cabin at night.
I was washing the dishes below when Pete's face appeared - "do you have any flippers?" he said.  The snubber was now lying on the seabed.  In the crystal clear waters we could see it clearly on the sandy bottom.  But it was 5.7 metres down and I do not have any flippers.
Former sky diver, Big Pete, fearing the cat 'o nine tails for is mistake decided to have a go at swimming down for the snubber.  The rest of us were sceptical that it could be done but with his body weight and carrying the dinghy anchor, Pete thought that by jumping over the side he could get down far enough that he could then swim down to reach it. 
He leapt, there was a huge splash, but before the waters had had time to settle he returned to the surface triumphantly clasping the snubber in his hand. Secure in the knowledge that he escaped a flogging, Pete has now moved high up in the crew rankings, well above those who throw in davit handles and leave them there to slowly corrode away.
After all this excitement we left at about 8:30 for the 46 mile trip to Aguilas.  Again, as there was no wind and the sea was glassy smooth we motored all the way.  Aguilas is an anchoring harbour and we anchored just off the beach in front of the resort town.  Because it is a harbour, it is protected from the swell and it looks like we will have a flat boat for the night.  Thank goodness.