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March 27, 2007


Anytime there is an acronym people want to know what it stands for. Well, let this too be one of those times!

Anchor Retrieval Expedition


Last year while sailing in the San Juans, we set our anchor in 15' of water near the southwest shore of Blind Bay on Shaw Island. After Angela had finished the back down I noticed what I believed to be a crab pot buoy submerged about a 30' away from our starboard bow. It was just under the water. I thought nothing of it. The next morning, at low tide, we were sitting in 9' of water and there was the same crab pot buoy in the same place, but now happily bobbing on the surface. I thought a little bit more about it and came to the conclusion that it must be tied to someones perminant anchor! Whew! I thought stupidly. At least it is in the same location, and since we are also in the same location and with the same orientation, then everything will be ok. WRONG!

A little while later while I was cranking away at the windlass, I noticed that instead of gemtly drifting to the spot that we had set the anchor the night before, we were slowly drifting directly towards the crab pot buoy! This could mean only one thing.......during the night and tide change, we must have wrapped our anchor chain around the perminant buoy line. I was horrified.

I had never been in this sort of situation on Ghost. We tried everything we could think of to get loose from the little buoy. We now realized that this little buoy was attatched to a rather large chunk of something that was very much so NOT GOING TO MOVE!!!

Luckily for us, a couple of hours later, CB and Tawn came into the bay and helped me cut the chain.

So, 8 months have passed and we have  mounted the expedition that hopefully will retrieve my anchor. There is some debate as to whether the little crab pot buoy will still be there to mark the spot. There is also the hope that we were not the first to cut loose an anchor firmly attatched to whatever is being marked by that little crab pot buoy.  

 Following is the log entry of the actual expedition.


Eight months ago Ghost set her anchor in 21 feet of water in Blind Bay on Shaw Island. What we didn’t realize at the time was that we had set our 45 pound CQR near the starboard stern of a 65’ sunken hulk. The hulk was marked with a crab pot buoy someone must have thought would warn boaters of the wreck. To us, however, the marker was just another crab pot buoy marking some cruisers dinner. We didn’t even see the marker until after the anchor was set and it was just visible 30 feet away slightly submerged. “No Problem”, we thought.
                The next morning we awoke to a bright sunny day at low tide. There was the same crab pot buoy bobbing in the same place as the night before. “All was well”, we thought.
Three hours later I started cranking in the 100’ or so of chain so that we could depart for our next destination. As I cranked up the chain, we did not pull forward to the spot where I presumed the anchor was set, but instead directly to the crab pot buoy.  Nothing could be done to wrestle the anchor and chain from the bottom.  We must have swung at anchor during the night and wrapped around what ever was attached the crab pot buoy. “Must not have been dinner”, we thought.
Lucky for us, Palarran and her crew were entering the bay and helped us cut the chain from the anchor. We departed Blind Bay with out our primary anchor and about 30’ of chain.
Six months later
A group of guys sitting on a boat swapping stories can be an interesting thing. While I was once again retelling the “lost anchor” story, we all hatched a plan to go up and get it back. And that trip became known as the Anchor Retrieval Expedition or A.R.E (Arrrr) for short.

                The plan was simple. Combine a week end camping trip with lots of beer and a dive in 20’ of water to get my anchor back.  Chickenbone from Palarran, Dave from Septre, Rich from L’Orien, and I all headed up to Shaw Island on a Friday afternoon. CB and Dave would be the divers and Rich and I would be surface support.


While CB and Dave readied the dive gear on the beach, Rich and I took the dingy out to try and find the crab pot buoy. I had left it attached to my chain to mark the “obstruction”. You see by now it was clear that the crab pot buoy was there to mark an “obstruction” not a crab pot. At first we didn’t think it was still there, but after a short search grid, we found the buoy, still attached to my chain!


We returned to the beach to pick up the divers. Once in the water over the dive site they quickly were surprised to find my chain was attached to a winlass! Not my winlass, but the winlass of a large sunken wreck! My chain had gotten tangled in a wreck! Last summer, when I had pulled and tugged at the chain, trying to work it free, I did nothing but wedge the anchor further into the wreck. Nothing I could have done would have been enough.


CB and Dave worked through 2 dives and finally were able to pull the anchor and chain through the hull so we could pull it up to the dingy. After 4 hours of work we were all ready to return to camp and celebrate our good fortune. We carefully placed the buoy back over the wreck to mark the obstruction. Hopefully, other boaters will not be as unlucky as I was.
The moral of this learning experience is: Don’t ever think a crab pot buoy is a crab pot buoy!


Birthday trip

Pictures from March 2007: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v299/sailormomma/March%202007/ 

Day 2 

We love sailing around without any plans, but twice a day the Puget Sound flushes it's sea water. Because of these flushes and subsequent "bowl refillings", we have to time these passages so that we can "go with the flow".....if you know what I mean?  Today we were going to transit the west side of Bainbridge Island. If the tides are not timed correctly there can be some nasty currents.

Of course as I am cranking up the anchor, the wind comes up just a little from the exact direction that we need to go. (Sighhhhh)

We putt along nice and slow until we get some sea room. Zak has really found an interest in charts and following along with our progress. He can hold a point on the bow and doesn't complain while at the helm. It's going to be a great summer. I decided that I would be able to fall off the wind a bit and lazily tack my way up the 5 mile long passage. No matter what the wind does, I feel a lot better with some sail up. I pulled the main up and cranked out the wrinkles. After cleaning up the halyard I headed back to the helm to check on Zak's heading. Not bad for a six year old!

Three hours later we pull up to the linear on the west side of Blake Island. It is blowing about 15 knots and we struggle a bit to get everything secured. In the end I had to jump in the dingy to get the moorings through the proper  placements.

Once everything is secured and the solar panels are aimed, we all jump in the dingy with some lunch and do some serious beachcombing. We were surprised at how rich this side of the island is with beach glass. Soon we are all on the hunt. The kids love identifying all the different foot prints that are in the sand. Ellie has it in her mind that she wants to find a dinasour bone! And low and behold she finds two perfect sun bleached bones! We had a blast!

As the sun started to set, the wind started to calm and the kids decided that they wanted to eat dinner outside. It was so nice out that we enjoyed sitting on deck until bedtime. Besides one huge racoon, we didn't see another creature.

And with a star filled night, and a topped off battery bank, we all turned in for a good nights sleep.

Day 3

Today was to be the day we celebrated Zaks 6th birthday. His real birthday wasn't until tomorrow, but we thought it would be nice to dedicate a whole day to him turning 6!

It started off with a big breakfast. Plans were in order for a worthy attempt at ridding the entire west beach of beachglass. The wind and rain, however, dowsed those hopes soon after setting foot on the beach. So it was back to the boat for some freshly made chicken noodle soup- thanks mommy- and preparations for the birthday bash. Zak and I had to leave the boat for a little while while mommy and Ellie wrapped Zaks presents, and finshed up the cake. So, Zak and I took a little dingy excursion around the entire island. It took us about an hour and we got to see another racoon and the St. Patty's day racing fleet.

When we returned, the presents were laid in order on the coffee table and the candles were on the cake. Time to party!

The weather continued to blow. It was a rolly polly ending to a wet day.

Day 4

We decided to catch the last little bit of ebb tide northbound and try and get to the dock with time to clean up and settle in. It was a nice sail home and again Angela guided Ghost into her slip with ease. After cleaning up and putting everything away, I was a little saddend that it might be a while before we can sail again. We have no plans to go sailing again anytime soon, and with the warmer weather approaching, I will be pulling Ghost's main mast for a much needed overhaul. Ah well, that will be my motivation to get it done sooner than later.

March 15, 2007

Liberty Bay


Ghost is anchored here in Liberty Bay.  We left Shilshole this morning around 10:30am and had no wind the whole way over.  We are starting a weekend away to celebrate Zak's birthday.  We asked Zak where he wanted to go and this was it.  He had his heart set on going to the bakery and getting a gingerbread man donut and hopefully catching many dogfish, since we have done that in the past.  As soon as we were anchored we headed into town and found out the bakery was closed for renovations......bummer!  Zak and Daddy headed to the market so they could get some bait for fishing while Ellie and I decided to try to find a birthday present for Zak.  Unfortunately the only toy store within walking distance went out of business......another bummer.   Zak didn't catch any fish, but really he doesn't seem to be bummed at all.  I think they both are just happy to be out here.  In the morning we head to Blake Island.  I'm looking forward to doing some hiking and beachcombing.  I think the kids are too!  Hopefully we will remember to take some pictures so we can post them here.  Best wishes to everyone and we will be updating soon!

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