At Anchor Caleta Flamenco

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 11 Dec 2010 21:23

Position: 26 34.39 S 070 41.14 W
At Anchor Caleta Flamenco
Wind Southwest F4 Moderate Breeze
Weather: Sunny, mild
Days Run: 84 miles

As we had anticipated last night we arrived at the entrance to Bahia Inglesa a little before midnight. We had a nice breeze with which to tack into the bay and cross checking the GPS with the depth sounder and shore lights to make sure they all tied in with one another gave me confidence to continue in and sail to anchor, the only thing that I was a little concerned about was a notation on the chart “Area De Cultivo De Mariscos” in all the shallow parts of the bay. Not sure what to expect but hopeful that any mussel farms would be well marked we continued into the bay keeping a sharp lookout all round. A short way into the bay we ran in amongst numerous unlit buoys which we assumed were part of the aquaculture activities so we tacked to get clear. We continued working our way into the southwest corner of the bay which looked like it would offer the most protection but after sailing for another half an hour we once more found ourselves foul of more unlit buoys, we tacked again but this time ended up amongst even more buoys, a couple of them made nerve racking grating noises as they slid under the keel, Martina made a comment which showed she well appreciated the advantages of Sylph’s more traditional hull shape in such situations. One buoy bobbed up and momentarily fouled the windvane rudder but fortunately cleared itself without causing any damage. We promptly decided to retrace our steps, clear the bay and continue north for the remainder of the night to somewhere where we could enter in daylight and which would hopefully be less encumbered with obstacles. At half past midnight we were headed to the northwest to open the coast and to gain some sea room and clear air. At 4 a.m. having now backing a nice south westerly breeze we bore away to the north. Martina and I shared two hour watches apiece and when I awoke from my time below time at six Martina had already closely inspected the charts and had come up with a couple of suggestions for bays that we could make for to anchor before dark. On reading up her two nearest suggestions in the Sailing Direction we discounted Puerto Chanaral as being too commercial and settled for Caleta Flamenco. This meant we had to backtrack a little but with the light breeze that was blowing by this time sailing a close reach provided for a stronger apparent wind and a more comfortable ride in the lumpy seas. We approached the cove under mainsail at 3.40 p.m. sailed in behind the headland and tried to make for the southern part of the bay where the shelter would be best and the depth not too deep. As we approached we found this part of the bay also encumbered with a number of buoys but it now being daylight we easily manoeuvred through them and found a spot of clear water with sufficient room for us to swing at anchor. We rounded up into the wind, dropped the mainsail, let go 30 meters of cable in six meters of water, and settle back to relax while we waited to ensure that Sylph was being held snugly by her anchor. As we waited, having been at anchor for no more than five minutes a voice hailed us from the shore, again I was thankful for Martina’s language skills as she interpreted the shouts as being quite unmistakeable instructions that we must move. We briefly discussed the matter but decided of course that we had best follow the all too clear advice, we started the engine, recovered the anchor and proceeded to a different part of the bay adjacent some moored fishing craft. The spot was more exposed and a little deeper but a couple of fishermen working in their boats gave us the thumbs up symbol so we are now anchored in eight meters of water swinging to 40 meters of chain, with Sylph bobbing in the short chop caused by the fresh sea breeze blowing in from the southwest.

All is well.

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