Nov 14, 2011

Anchoring (usually free) and What It Can Mean

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel 
Is to be able to experience everyday things 
As if for the first time, to be in a position 
In which almost nothing is so familiar 
It is taken for granted.
Bill Bryson 

Sabot dinghy racing
Free anchoring and what it can mean – Part I

It means it is not really your own area (like when you pay for a dock or mooring) – it is usually a public area and used by many recreationists: paddlers, swimmers, sailing classes, fishermen, etc

However at this anchoring (SD) that surprisingly also meant we had first row seats to several Sabot dinghy races. Over 35 small colorful sailboats slaloming and zooming by the anchored boats; it seemed we were part of the obstacle course for the race, making it more interesting to us and them.

Comments from the regular racers as they zoomed by inquiring about our boat and our destination was that there are not usually that many anchored boats at one time – many like us are heading to warmer weather now that hurricane season is over.

One of the ‘jollier’ racer said that we must be the ‘beer’ boat with a name like Déjàlà (already there). Interesting interpretation of her name.

The dinghies come inches from our boat, changing course at the very last minute. These old timers don’t even seem to sweat it. They are certainly good at this. It makes for great entertainment. One of them jokingly said that it was a good thing our kayak was attached to the side of the boat as a buffer against the ones that couldn’t turn in time, but they all did so we didn’t have to worry.

In the background a tall ship is now sailing by – the crowning of another beautiful day at anchor waiting for Mexico offices to open.

Free anchoring and what it can mean – Part II

Imagine for an instant that your house faces a different direction each time you looked out? Unnerving at first until you get your bearings and understand what is going on and then just when you had everything thought out/figured out, a new ‘house’ shows up and you automatically recalculate everything: is there enough swing room between us and that new boat? What is the new plan of escape should there be a need for one, etc.

It is not a static environment like a neighborhood or condos but a very dynamic one. When a mast seemed to fly by from a perspective of sitting inside the boat looking out, you never quite know if it’s because your boat moved or if someone new is coming through.

Now go a step further and do the same thing at night when all you can see are outlines of boats, landscapes, and houses and perhaps a few anchor lights (the white one at the top of our mast), as well as street and house lights reflecting on the water, and perhaps the moon and stars. One moment you are in bed and the moon is on your right, the next it is on your left.

Now you leave the boat to walk the dog and have to use a slightly different route coming back to her as she swung a whole 180 degrees along with all the other boats, making a complete different looking course going home. Imagine coming back from the store and having to re-find the true location of your home? It would make for interesting driving in congested areas!!!

All this keeps you on your toes with a heightened awareness of everything in your surroundings.
The only constant (if only using bow anchor) is that the breeze will usually be to the front of the boat.

Free anchoring and what it can mean – Part III

Because you move so much it can be a little challenging to line up the solar panels for best charging capacity. The minute you think you have the perfect recipe, the boat moves around and you have to realign everything (if you want a maximized charge that is – there is no reason to go crazy with this stuff). This could also be said for the perfect place to settle for a tan should you be into that sort of things…

Being on your own little island on the water I am reminded of some words in a song by Nancy Griffith: “From a distance there is harmony”. From here anything happening on land seems very peaceful.

After a while you notice the same boats heading roughly to the same places – from the beginning of our trip, we have encountered Prairie Rose and Katie G, both from Canada, more than once.

Clever Boat Name: Anchor Management…

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