Time 2 the rescue again

Lynn & Mike ..around the world
Mike Drinkrow & Lynn v/d Hoven
Sat 4 May 2013 17:28
TIME 2 the rescue again:
Yesterday morning we got a call on our radio from the only other cruiser at Manihi -   a British yacht called Seventh Heaven that was anchored close to town.  They had their anchor stuck and although some locals had tried to dive it out, the anchorage was too deep and there was no SCUBA gear to be found.
The previous evening we had discussed the need to re-fill our dive tanks and do some diving - so we agreed to help and starting getting all our equipment out.  When we took out the Bauer Compressor, Mike discovered the injectors were gunged up due to old fuel and so that had to be serviced. We then had to fill some tanks and  test our equipment which had also not been used for a while. Eventually after about 2.5 hours we were ready to set off to help.  By this stage we had found out that the anchor was stuck in 30 - 35 m of water, which is a lot deeper than either Mike or I are certified to dive. So we agreed with Paul, the yacht owner that we would dive down as far as we felt safe, and see what the chain was doing and then give him instruction on how to maneuver the yacht to get it un-hooked.
However, as we went down visibility was not as clear as we hoped, and we went right to the bottom, down the anchor chain.  What a mess! This was not an anchorage, it was a rock and  coral head maze, with the chain tightly wrapped around a number of different rocks.  We then unwound the chain and laid it on top of the rocks as best we could. Its very hard work moving things under water where you have little resistance and you need a lot of air.  We also attached a line from the surface to the chain about mid-way along the bottom.  Finally we found the anchor, wedged inside a hole in an dead coral head!  At this point I checked my air and it was getting low, I signaled to Mike that we had to get out... NOW!  In a few more seconds he managed to wrench out that anchor, place it on top of a coral head and we could head back up.  Slowly we went up the chain - as we had not checked our dive tables, and neither had either of us ever dived that deep,  to play it safe we took a longer than needed safety decompression stop at 6m.  As I was hanging there, watching our tanks empty, the reality of the danger we could have been was settling in - a very deep dive, after quite a long time of not diving, on an island where there is no decompression chamber...mmmmm    I was very happy to eventually get back into the sunshine. 
We then got on board Seventh Heaven to now hoist up the anchor. Paul then tells us that not only is his windlass broken (from his earlier attempt to pull up the anchor), but his electric winch was also on the blink. So this meant winding up the chain on a hand winch, length by length, with a line, attached to the anchor chain with a shackle.  Mike took charge and we began.....every 8m or so we had to wedge a screwdriver to lock the chain, undo the shackle take it to the front of the boat, re-attach to the chain and Paul had to start winching again.  Mike was also directing his wife, Anne to move the yacht with the engine/ bow-thruster to ensure that the chain came up straight, without getting stuck again.  I was keeping pressure on the line we had attached to the chain on the bottom, as a safety line.  At one point the shackle on the anchor chain sprung loose and the chain, like a wild beast, started running across the deck and back out - luckily no one was hurt, and thank goodness for that extra line which after about 10 meters held the pressure and we could re-attach the shackle.
Eventually we got the anchor on board and a very grateful and exhausted Anne and Paul could be on their way. It was slack-tide and they had to get going just about immediately to get out of the cut, but not before they gave us a gift of a lovely bottle of aged Portuguese port.