24 Jan 2011

[Captains Blog] Tobago Cays

In search of a good night's sleep - travelling backwards and forwards between the Grenadine Islands, we have started to filter out the places that will not give us a good night's sleep. Anchor watch, halyards banging against the mast, uncomfortable swells, high winds, anchor bridle creaking in the bow roller, waves slapping against the stern, you name it, they all consire to keep us awake at night.

The other night when we anchored off Princess Margarets beach in Bequia, we had set our anchor successfully after two aborted attempts which found dead coral on the seabed instead of the sand we were hoping for and settled in for the night. As usual, (or so it has been since we came out here) the wind picked up its tempo in the night and was screaming its way down into Admiralty Bay gusting at 30 knots. Thankfully, because I had dived over the anchor on each setting to make sure that the head was truly dug in, our position didn't change. However, at 2:30am we were woken by a Swedish yacht that had dragged its anchor and had drifted onto us. I was up out of the hatch and on deck in seconds, fending off and trying to hold their boat from drifting while we disentangled their steering vane from our anchor chain. We were all trying desperately to stop them slipping further downwind into the boat behind us while their skipper tried in vain to get their engine started.

Debra (wearing only a flimsy cotton top) sprang into action putting fenders all along the starboard side to keep the boats apart, cutting a finger in the process but manfully sticking to the task of preserving the boat and minimising the damage while the struggle with the engine and the drifting boat continued. We started our engine so that we had more control, tied them onto our cleats and I stood by with my trusty knife to cut the Swedes free if it looked as though they were going to pull us along with them. Thankfully, our anchor held and they were able to get their engine started.

We took their details and agreed to review the situation in the daylight and they left. We realised that in the melee we had drifted backwards a few yards, so we re-set our anchor further forward and went back to bed. Needless to say, it was yet another sleepless night as we were too pumped up to relax. And so it goes on, more reasons not to relax in the knowledge that the elements are not going to throw something else at us every night.