Well, we’re back to posting text-only blogs via Sailmail. Once again, as soon as we have good internet access again I’ll post pictures to go along with these blogs. However, that may not be for a couple of weeks. Where we’re currently anchored we have sort of half-assed internet access via our banda ancha and cell service. However, so far I’ve only gotten a very weak signal when I got any signal at all. So, sailmail and HF radio it is.
After a very leisurely morning, we raised the anchor and headed out of Puerto Escondido. Or, at least, we tried to. We’d been noticing that we were getting a pretty good crop of grass-like algae wrapping around our anchor chain. I planned to raise the chain a little, remove the “grass”, and then bring another length up and repeat. Ah, but what I hadn’t counted on was how heavy the accumulation was on the lower half of the chain. Some of that was probably because the sheer weight of the mass caused it to slide down further on the chain. At any rate, by the time we had all but 30′ of chain onboard, it became obvious that we were going to have to try a different approach. We were still in 22′ of water so that meant the anchor was still on the bottom although possibly no longer set. However we put the engine in gear and dragged the whole mess out into the channel where we’d have more room to work.
We repeated our previous method but weren’t getting anywhere. The shear weight of the mass along with the chain and anchor was just about all the manual windlass could handle. I don’t have the specs on the windlass (a Simpson Lawrence Hy-Speed 510) and also don’t have internet access to look it up but I’m sure we were trying to lift at least 100 lbs.
Finally we opted for a different approach. We set the autopilot to keep us out of trouble, and set the engine speed as low as it will go to maintain steerage. Then, Lulu got in the dinghy armed with my very-sharp rigger’s knife. We pulled the dink up alongside the anchor chain and she began slicing the mass away from the chain. As soon as she got a couple feet clear, I’d haul it up and she’d hit the next spot. This did ultimately work as planned. All in all, it took us about an hour to actually get underway without hauling our garden along.
Once free, we headed to Bahia Marquer on the southern end of Isla Carmen. It was a pretty short hop. When we arrived we had our pick of spots since there were no other boats. One has come in since then and we may get a few more this evening but it’s a big bay.
After we’d been here an hour or so, Lulu decided it was time to get wet. A few days ago we were running the watermaker when it just stopped sucking up water. The sea water hand pump wouldn’t work either so something was at least partially plugging the intake. Was it out at the thru-hull? Only one way to find out. So, Lulu decided to swim under the boat and check. The water hit 70 degrees today which seems about 10 degrees too cold for comfort to me. Lulu agreed at first but, after she’d been in awhile she decided it wasn’t so bad. Hypothermia is known to impair brain function. Anyway, she couldn’t find anything blocking the thru-hull (which was closed by now). Meanwhile, down below, I removed the hose from the closed seacock. Then tried the hand pump and it worked great. Opened the seacock a teeny bit and water shot out, so it’s probably not blocked. Just before I put everything back together, I decided to look up into the hose with a flashlight. Son of a gun! What should I find but a little bitty dead fish. He was probably swimming by, investigating the thru-hull when the watermaker pump just sucked him right up. Fortunately, he was still near enough the end of the hose that I could grab him with a pair of hemostats. Put it all back together and we once again have an operating seawater line.
Nice to be back at anchor away from the maddening crowds and away from the cruiser yahoos that think they need to fly through the anchorage at top speed in their dinghies, and screw you if you don’t like it. Yep, I’m getting cranky. Thank goodness for nice little quiet anchorages.