Cruising with Osprey

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08 July 2011

Anchoring Antics in Seal Bay

29 July 2010 | Seal Bay, Vinalhaven, ME
Thursday 29th July

After a perfect night in Burnt Coat Harbor we made our way back into Eastern Penobscot Bay via Merchant Row, which is a passage through a chain of small islands between Jericho Bay and Penobscot Bay. Again, the winds are perfect for sailing and we have a wonderful time. We arrive at our destination almost too soon as it puts an end to the sail. However we are happy to reach this special place relatively early in the day to ensure our pick of anchoring spots. When we visited this spot 4 years ago we shared the anchorage with one other boat. We had been warned that this is now a very popular anchorage. After working our way in to the farthest recesses of the bay, we were pleased to find only a few other boats here. We picked a nice protected spot, dropped the anchor and were all set for a peaceful night. We did not reckon on the arrival of a small fleet of at least 10 other boats, all belonging to a Connecticut Yacht Club. At this point things took a decided turn for the worse. It would seem that our spot was the only place all these other boats wanted anchor. In short order we were surrounded by large sailboats and trawlers all yelling greetings to each other as they arrived. We were dismayed to see three boats all raft up together, lying on one anchor right next to us - very unseamanlike. Ordinarily, this wouldn't bother us too much but the fact that 20 knot winds were forecast for the night made us very apprehensive. Our anxiety was only increased when the boat anchored immediately in front of us dragged their anchor not once but twice during the course of the evening. The fact that they kept returning to the same spot, letting out a minimal amount of chain, making no attempt to back down and set the anchor, only to drag again, did not fill us with confidence. As the sun set the winds started to howl and one of those nights that cruisers dread started to unfold. We measured the winds at 20 knots before things really picked up and we guess that it was gusting over 30 knots at times. Although there was not a lot of fetch in the bay and therefore not a lot of chop, the winds were funneled down on to us and were very gusty indeed. For the first time in the last 9 nine months we set our anchor alarm and were relieved that we had let out plenty of chain when we dropped our anchor and took the time to back down on it to make sure we were set - something we did not see any of the yacht club boats do. It was a sleepless night for me. At about 2.00am I heard voices and the sound of anchor chain being raised right next to us. When I stuck my head out I saw that once again the boat in front of us had dragged down and was now frantically trying to control their boat to avoid hitting the next boat behind us, amazingly they had dragged right by us without colliding. I also noticed that the large trawler that had anchored to starboard of us was now a considerable distance behind us having also dragged their anchor. What a nightmare! Finally about 4.00am the wind moderated, it was comforting to see that we had stayed firmly in place and that once again our trusty Delta anchor had served us well. At this point I finally fell into an uneasy sleep. Tom, as only Tom can, actually slept through most of this!

But this morning was as beautiful as ever, the yacht club fleet left (thank goodness) and we had a much more peaceful day. We did a few minor maintenance chores and then rowed the dinghy around the Bay, landing on Hay Island to explore. We toyed with the idea of going for a swim but common sense prevailed - the water is bloody freezing! A handful of other boats have come in this evening but have been much more considerate in their anchoring behavior. There is no wind tonight!

Vessel Name: Osprey
Vessel Make/Model: Shannon38 #33
Hailing Port: East Greenwich, RI
Crew: Tom & Vicky Worosz
About: We have cruised to the Bahamas and back twice ad are now back on land for a while. This Summer (2012) we have outfitted ourseleves with motorcycles and are heading off for a month long "land cruise'

Who: Tom & Vicky Worosz
Port: East Greenwich, RI