Hooked on Maug and Andrew's slippery surprise
09 April 2012 | Waypoint No. 165
Hooked on Maug and Andrew's slippery surprise
The wind did not let up all day and we think it was plus 30 knots. There were some big waves which came with it but we are really getting used to them. The boat is doing really well and Andrew has become a genius at setting the sails. Whilst the boat is old and little things keep breaking ? like one of the burners on the stove today ? she is much heavier and more solidly built than newer boats. He heavy keel keeps her as steady as we can expect and the strong build is peace of mind when we get slammed by a big thumping wave. Considering the 600 litres of water and fuel we are carrying plus all our other supplies I canft believe how we are just flying along for a little boat. Itfs great.
After passing Farallon de Pajaros we headed for Maug and on the way discovered that passionfruit go well on cookies. Think we are now going to be fighting over them now.
Maug is the caldera of an extinct volcano popping up out of the North Pacific and is comprised of 3 islands. (You can find it on google). It is simply huge! Steve ? the solo circumnavigator we met in Chichijima - spent 2 nights anchored there and spoke of how great the wildlife was. We had intended to take a quick look but on his advice decided to enter the caldera and anchor on East Maug.
After dropping the anchor we realized we were a bit exposed so went to retrieve it to find a more suitable location to spend the evening. The windlass (electric winch which pulls up the anchor) would not budge. We moved the boat a bit to try and break it free and it did. But the windlass still would not pick up the anchor. We were drifting, albeit in a controlled manner with the anchor with what seemed to be something very heavy attached to it. Not wanting to break the windlass we tried pulling it with our hands but no way was that possible. I have picked up the anchor and all its chain off the beaches in Shimoda and whilst it required some strength it was possible. It just confirmed we had picked up something. But out here what? Someone else's anchor and chain, a bomb from WW2? We tried to winch it in with the hand winches taking turns. After about 45 mins we had pulled in about 15 metres and still had another 60 to go. It was now dark and while one of us winched the other k ept the boat as much to the centre of the caldera as possible keeping away from the 3 islands. Concerned that things would simply go from bad to worse with something really big and heavy hanging off our bow and being in the middle of absolutely nowhere to get any help the skipper decided to unceremoniously cut the line. It was gone in a flash. I felt bad and donft know if it is a feeling of stupidity for trying to anchor in the caldera of an extinct volcano, guilt over the cost and also time it will take to get a new anchor in Saipan, or if I had some strange attachment to the old anchor which was used to hold us safe so many times while we slept. Actually the anchor is the cheap part at around a $250. The 30 metres of chain was worth more. There was something not right though and it could have cost a lot more if we had broken the windlass, winch or something else.
We have the original anchor that came with the boat as well as chain and rope so we are still okay if we need to stop and anchor somewhere before Saipan.
I tidied up deck while Andrew motored around in circles and kept us away from the 3 islands. I then went below to prepare a meal before setting off and got Andrew a can of drink in the process. As I was about to hand it to him in the dark he yelled out eyou did not have to throw it so hardf and with that he reached down and screamed like a woman. A flying fish had leapt on deck hitting him in the leg and before he could realize he had picked it up in his hand only to throw it away. It skimmed across the surface as fast as it could. It also stunk. But it was a nice comical break from the tension of trying to resolve the anchor problem.
I cooked spaghetti bolognaise, this time from a can and also made a soya latte to put in the thermos for my watch.
We flew out of the caldera with the wind behind us and have been doing about 6.5 knots SOG (speed over ground) since. Wefre well past the halfway point from Chichijima to Saipan and are now headed for Pagan Island ? ironic the day after Easter. The navigation computer has us arriving there at 5:30pm if we can maintain this speed.
Andrew is sleeping as he is exhausted from doing most of the winching. He wanted to stay in the caldera as the sea was flat there and it would mean we could get a proper sleep. I appreciated his concern and effort in trying to retrieve the anchor. He has been seasick for 3 days and only feels good when he is on deck helming. An electric device I purchased some years ago seems to be working for him now though. It is strapped to the wrist seems and emits an electric pulse every so often. Well if it works it works. The seas are also down to 1 to 2 metres (from 3 ? 4 yesterday) so hopefully that will give him some reprieve.
David PS: No apologies for typos. I am typing on a small laptop in the dark on a very rocky boat. If I type during the day for some reason I start to feel seasick ? think it is the heat and being able to see outside through the port holes that does it. In the dark I canft see through the port holes but can also only barely see the keyboard. And rocking around hanging on at the same time is not at all like being in the office where I am pretty good at typos too