Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Adventures in Anchoring: Extreme Edition

Where we stayed:  Calabash Creek, South Carolina (right on the North Carolina border)
Sunday.  All day, we cruised past Myrtle Beach housing developments. We were looking forward to our planned anchorage, at Calabash Creek.  "Peaceful . . . scenic view of marshes . . . " said the guidebook. "Short dinghy ride to great seafood restaurants."

The site called for two anchors: The honkin' big plow anchor, off the bow, and our petite Danforth, off the stern.  Cap heaved the Danforth over, we ran the boat forward to set the anchor, the current tugged us backwards, and almost too quick for thought the anchor line wrapped around the prop.

There we were.  Up a creek.  Dead in the water.

Less than an hour of daylight.

And why is it we happen to have a grappling hook
on board? Ah, that's ANOTHER story
Before we left on this trip, we DID pay big bucks for the boat equivalent of AAA:  Towing service.  When you wrap a rope around the prop, you can ask them to send a diver, in a wetsuit, to come and solve the problem.

What is it?  The whole Man Against Nature/conquest thing? The thrill of slipping over the side of the boat at dusk with a knife in your teeth? The premise that, if you call a repairman, and the repairman solves your problem, he gits to take yer woman? Whatever, it's a guy thing.

Bill was determined to fix this himself. He stripped to his skivvies, went over the side literally with a knife in his teeth, into the 50-degree water, and submerged. Crew hovered anxiously w 911 on speed dial.

The happy news is Cap got the rope off the prop--AND he didn't succumb to hypothermia. (Though it seemed like a close one to his personal paramedic).

We did lose our little anchor, so next day, we set out in the dingy with a grappling hook to drag the bottom.  Not very easy to cover the ground in a neat grid when you are rowing a dinghy with a sliding seat and 13-foot-long oars against wind, tide and current.  Luckily, a new anchor is $69.99. Cost of a brave Captain? Priceless.


  1. Love your amusing posts Cynthia!

  2. A friend writes:

    Sorry to read about your troubles but it could have been worse. Something similar happened to me a few years ago only it was a mooring line that I didn't realize had fallen over the side and when the engine started to bog down, I throttled up and broke my transmission off its mount and bent my drive shaft beyond repair. Only quick action with my anchor saved me from grounding too. And to add injury to insult, when I went overboard for the bone chilliing swim to cut the line loose, which I was able to do with considerable effort, I got cut to shreds by the barnacles on my boat.

    I've heard stories of people literally ripping their driveshaft out and sinking in similar situations so count your blessing. Your quick actions and calm response may have saved your boat. Bravo!

    For me: New transmission and driveshaft, $5000. Lesson to properly secure my mooring lines, Priceless! (It's something I think about EVERY TIME I go out now.)

    $80 bucks for a lost anchor is nothing, I keep two extras on my boat just for such occasions.

  3. Sliding over the transom in the half dark, long knife clamped between my teeth, bone rattling cold. Yeah, I'm in!

    So glad everything worked out.