The Float

Image: The Awen and the Moody Blue tied up to our float.

What a week of chaos! It started with an “emergency” run to Campbell River to get new starting batteries for the Moody Blue. Then, immediately afterwards, the northwest gale picked up again, this time with real intent. We started getting gusts of up to 40 knots blowing in towards shore. That’s when our anchor, which had been holding fine for the past two months, decided to drag.

It came as a bit of a shock to find that our boats, which contain pretty much all we own, were suddenly in jeopardy. I think we had both come to take for granted the security of our anchor, and now we suddenly came to realize that it could have dragged at any time …

No matter what we tried, we couldn’t get solidly anchored again. We’d put the anchor down, only to find a few hours later that we’d dragged again. Twice we came so close to shore that it took the full power of the Moody Blue to pull both boats out to deeper water again. We tried putting out two anchors in series, but although this held longer, we still ended up dragging. We were very thankful for the new batteries in the Moody Blue, and the ability to fire her up instantly for rapid maneuvers to get us away from the shore.

And so it went for five days. We were exhausted from lack of sleep, and tired of spending most of our time onboard the ships, as we feared to leave them when the wind was gusting hard. Whenever the wind did let up for a moment, we crossed quickly to the shore, where we had stored the old float we had been given. Working in two or three hour bursts, we managed to put on new side rails, replace all the hardware, and refurbish the decking. Soon the float lost its hump-backed and broken-down appearance. Now we had to get it offshore and anchored!

Finally the wind let up! It rained, but we didn’t care. Early in the morning, as the tide was getting high, we pushed the float off the beach and poled it out to deeper water. Although we had hopes of towing it along with the rowing skiff, as we had before, the tide had other things in mind for us. Quickly it started pulling us along the shore. However, Ken had wisely grabbed the Awen’s spare anchor, which we heaved over the side of the float, temporarily anchoring it offshore in deep enough water that we could come back and reposition it with the Moody Blue. And so began a morning of adventure. When the tide was low, we brought the Moody Blue over to the float, and using her sounder to find the “sweet spot” (a deeper hole that was quite close to shore) where we wanted to place the float, we got everything lined up. With a heave, we sent our first 66 pound “claw” anchor over the side. Then Ken picked up the second anchor with the Moody Blue, pulled all the lines taut on the float and let that anchor out. We waited, we watched, … and everything held! Although we don’t have them now, ultimately the float will be held in place by two more 66 pound “claw” anchors. At the moment, however, the two massive anchors that we have deployed are a huge improvement over where we were, and finally bring an end to our nightmares of dragging into the beach!

P.S. August 28 – all four anchors are now in position. The float has stopped “fishtailing” and we feel that it is ready for the winter storms to come.

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