Using Active Captain, I researched anchorages near Friday Harbor. I had a horseback riding lesson scheduled for Cassidy in town the next day, but we could enjoy a night on the hook and save a little on mooring fees. As we approached Friday Harbor, we found the cozy little anchorage right outside the main harbor that was described on Active Captain. The anchorage was almost empty so we dropped the hook and we were relaxing, enjoying the view within a few minutes. It was a perfect night. The 3 of use were thoroughly enjoying the views of the harbor, watching the ferries come and go, and the boat moving to the gentle rhythm of the water.
Dougal was at the helm, letting out chain to give us some room to back away from the vessel. I was on the bow, fending off the other boat. I would shout to Dougal to use our bow and stern thrusters to propel us away when we got too close. I was pounding on the other boat, trying to wake them.
Finally the captain of the other boat came out. He hopped down to his swims step attempt to free the anchor chain. Meanwhile, Dougal kept letting out anchor. He let out more….and more….and more….until there was no more. We were free. Free of the other boat. And free of our anchor. All 400 ft of 3/8 inch galvanized chain and the 90 lb Rocna anchor was at the bottom of this cozy little cove.
Now, before this incident, I would have no idea of the significance of this. I have come to learn that this is a set up of close to 1,000 lbs and about $4,000 of ground tackle. I also understand that it is fairly uncommon for marine stores to stock an anchor of this size or the chain. It was Friday….and we leave for Alaska on Sunday. Not looking good.
But it was 1 am and we had to make a next move. With no anchor, we had to pull into the harbor. We called the local sheriff to make a police report of the incident. The sheriff was extremely helpful and told us that we could stay on the customs dock for the night.
The journey up the inside passage will bring us to far and remote places. Ground tackle gear would be critical for the trip. We were spinning with worries and ideas about how to solve our dilemma. Knowing that nothing could be done until morning, we decided to go to sleep.
The situation improved a little the next day. Sam, the lead boat for the Alaska trip (www.slowboat.com) came to meet us in Friday Harbor. Together, Dougal and Sam hatched a plan. Dougal called a local diver that would attempt to locate and recover the gear. The diver would meet us on Sunday morning.
Long story short, after 3 hours of searching and about an hour of strategizing to bring the chain back on the boat, the chain and anchor was safely back on MV Cassidy. Shane at Dockside Diving….I cant thank you enough! Not only did you save us thousands of dollars, but the hassle of getting new gear. Our back up plan was to rent a car in Friday Harbor, take the car ferry to Anacortes, drive the 2 hours from there to Fisheries Supply in Seattle to buy the gear, and trace our steps back. Given the ferry schedule, we were unlikely to make it in time to meet our group for the Sunday departure to Alaska.
It was 3 pm on Saturday and we were schedule to meet the group in Roche Harbor for the meet and greet and potluck. Without skipping a beat, we waved goodbye to Shane and we were on our way. Lets hope its smooth sailing from here…..