Tuesday 29 July – Windy

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Thu 31 Jul 2014 01:32

At anchor Akutan Bay
North F6 strong breeze
mostly sunny

Overnight the wind picked up considerably. I lay in my bunk and cast an anxious eye at the GPS display to see if we were dragging but come seven o'clock we were still firmly dug in and had not budged. I thought that having gotten through the night without dragging it was unlikely that we would. But the nature of things being what they are, at 7.50 the anchor alarm went off. It would appear that in dancing back and forth around her anchor Sylph had managed to worry it loose. The bay's bottom deepens rapidly so it didn't take long before we were in deeper water and the scope of the cable was insufficient to allow the anchor to keep a good hold, and once that happened we were simply drifting with the wind. I climbed into foul weather gear as quickly as I could and went on deck to bring the anchor in. It took over an hour to haul all the chain in a bit at a time. With all the weight of the chain and anchor hanging directly down I had to use low gear on the anchor winch and it took over an hour to haul it all back in. In between five minute stints of hauling the anchor I had to take time out to motor up wind so as to prevent Sylph drifting to the other side of the bay, less than a mile away, and going ashore. The anchor winch also is in need of an overhaul and I found it more efficient to use a chain hook and a line taken to a sheet winch to bring the bulk of the chain in. Once the anchor was clear and home I motored close to where I had previously anchored, dropped the anchor once more and let out almost all the chain that Sylph carries, about sixty meters.

The next little mishap occurred while I was relaxing down below, working on some emails and enjoying a cup of coffee when I knocked over the coffee and got some into the netbook. This was not proving to be my day! Fortunately it wasn't much but enough to cause it to stop working. I immediately pulled it apart, dried it out, cleaned it with a can of compressed air, and put it back together again. It now seems to be working at about the same level of temperamental performance as it has post Asya, excepting that in addition to all its normal peculiarities the touch pad no longer works, the delete key has fallen off, and when I turn if off it shuts down and then immediately turns itself back on again. Bother!

The wind abated sufficiently during the day to row ashore where I went to the library to post yesterday's blog and check emails. I met Rob and Kate there who, perhaps needless to say, had deferred their departure until tomorrow morning. I may leave at about the same time, depending on what the weather is doing. There is a small narrow channel just to the south of the bay called Akun Strait. It is a convenient way to get to the Pacific side of the Aleutian Islands but the currents run through it at over five knots, tidal races and potentially dangerous overfalls abound when the current is running strongly, particularly if the wind is against the tide, so it is important to time the transit precisely. Slack water is at 0755 so I have set the alarm for five o'clock. I will get up then and decide whether the wind has abated sufficiently to try giving the pass a shot. If it has I will get the dinghy inboard and start the laborious task of recovering all that chain hanging over the bow, otherwise I might just roll over and postpone our departure for a more civilised hour.

All is well.