Sunday, July 18, 2010

Staying Put in a Gale

The forecast this morning included a gale warning for scattered thunderstorms. We had seen thunder clouds form and disperse in the distance the last couple of days. Today was our turn for one of those little cells of wind. The first indication was building thunderheads in the distance followed by the rolling boom of thunder.

Early this afternoon the wind starting picking up and stretched our anchor chain for the first time since set the anchor alarm in this bay. The alarm sounded indicating that we had moved the length of the chain. We weren't dragging, just finding a new stable configuration. Looking through the binoculars out into the wider bay, I could see white caps and an approaching strong wind. I took down one of our wind scoops, and we secured some stuff in the cockpit.

Linda on Islay Mist looking epic as she clears the weeds from the anchor

Then the big wind hit and moved us sideways with such force that there were little whirlpools trailing the windward side of our bow. I looked around and saw that everyone in the anchorage was now on deck except for the American catamaran Liahona. As the wind increased boat after boat started to drag anchor. We turned on our instruments and secured the remaining wind scope in anticipation of our eventual eviction from the anchorage.

Another boat pulling up the anchor

Islay Mist pulled anchor and motored out of the anchorage followed by all the boats except for Flying Winds (British ketch), us, and Liahona. It became obvious that no one was aboard Liahona as it came to rest on the rocky shore of the bay. The wind was now gusting to 35 knots, and Solstice and Flying Winds held their ground. Looking back out of the bay, a small craft that had been selling produce was struggling to get back to the harbor at the head of our anchorage.

Produce vendor struggles with his beam to the wind

Rain started to fall forcing us to close our hatches. When the rain was done, the police had brought the skipper of Liahona to his boat. He stepped on board, started the engines, and motored off. From that point on, the wind backed and diminished. As the wind died, some boats started to return. Islay Mist hailed us and informed us that they were going to move to a river anchorage close to Dubrovnik. We'll catch up with them later.

Liahona pushed up against the shore

Islay Mist in the outer bay heading for Dubrovnik

As for now the wind is light, and the anchorage has much more room.

1 comment:

peregrins2 said...

Whew! Glad those days are behind us. I think we had to up anchor and redo less than 5 times in our 2 years but I always hated it.