11 February 2010
So, we spent a couple of interesting days at anchor in Snake Creek, with bow and stern anchors and to satisfy my friend Greg Lutes' query on my last post, I'll describe the process to bring in the two opposing anchors.
First the stern anchor. It's a light weight but very effective anchor called a Fortress. I only have about 12 feet of chain on it but a couple of hundred feet of stout line. So I get in the dinghy and pull my way along the rode (rope attaching the anchor) until I can pull the anchor straight up into the dingy. Sounds strange in a way but if you recall my lecture on catenary, it's not the up and down strain nor the weight but the lateral pull which makes the anchor adhere. So when you can pull straight up, it's easy (relatively) to dislodge an anchor.
So, I gather the chain, anchor then all the line into the dinghy. We're now free of the stern anchor and just on the one main anchor. I have an electric windlass; a very powerful electric winch which is capable of retrieving the chain from the main anchor. While Judy manoeuvres the boat towards where the anchor is set, I use a remote switch to reel in the chain until we are right on top of it. A bit of patience helps but it doesn't take much to uproot the anchor which can then be winched the rest of the way up. Often the chain and anchor are full of lots of guck so I have what's called a wash down pump which essentially takes sea water and propels it though a standard garden hose to rinse off aforementioned guck.
Anyway, I sort of promised not to do an anchoring 101 Part 3 but you can blame Greg and Harry Drost for inspiring me to continue my dissertation......
Good weather is predicted on Monday so we need to be ready for the Hawk Channel and the trip "outside" to Marathon. It's still very windy and somewhat exposed on the Florida Bay 'cause the winds are from the North so we need a somewhat protected place to hole up tonight (Sunday night). Most anchorages on this side are quite open to the North so finally we tuck in as close as we can to a small island called Lignumvitae Key. It's a nature conservancy with tours but we get in late and drop the hook barely in the protection of the Island. It's a bit bumpy but not bad. We're the only boat in sight.
Curious about the name of this place? You can look it up on Wikipedia but it means wood of life and is the most dense, strong and tough wood there is. "On the Janka Scale of Hardness, which measures hardness of woods, lignum vitae ranks highest of the trade woods, with a Janka hardness of 4500 lbf (compared with Hickory at 1820 lbf, red oak at 1290 lbf, and Yellow Pine at 690 lbf)". Now that's impressive and not only that, its natural oils make it self-lubricating. It used to be used for the British Bobby's batons.
Anyway, we spend a quiet night in the shadow of Lignumvitae Key intending to rise early to make the Hawk Passage to Marathon.