Loosing an anchor to river gods
Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and everything just flows? The sun seems to rise at exactly the moment you put the water on for coffee, the air is warm enough that you cannot see your breath and the day’s forecast is beautiful. It’s a great day to get a lot done, maybe even sail your boat for 10 or 12 long hours. You fire up the engine, haul up the anchor and… but wait, what’s that? The anchor seems a bit too heavy. No, not too heavy – stuck. Really really stuck. And it’s not the anchor that’s stuck, it’s the rode (rope) attached to the anchor that is stuck – there is another 80 feet of rope between the stuck part and the anchor. Your great day starts getting a bit overcast. Then you remember that you anchored in 22 feet of quick moving water, way to far to dive – even if the water weren’t cold enough to induce hypothermia in minutes. So, you drive the boat in circles pushing and pulling the anchor from every direction for an hour. Finally, you give in to your cravings. This morning is just too miserable to continue without breakfast and coffee. Back in the boat, the previously hot water is now cold… You heat it up again, make some breakfast and browse the internet for the prices of a new anchor and rode… $600…. Storm clouds are now creeping up on your overcast attitude. You’ve lost your “early start” on the 10 hour day and cutting the rode and leaving the anchor is a bit like working for two weeks, tying your paycheck to a rock and throwing it into a river. With new conviction, you fire up the engine and spend another 30 minutes pulling at a totally uncaring submerged tree or maybe the tip of some huge, undiscovered underwater mountain range – whatever it is it’s not moving.
That’s how our day started. Extremely frustrated and feeling pretty disillusioned about cruising life (I, Jaxon, was feeling real depressed), we decided to give it one more shot before cutting the line and dragging our other anchor across the bottom to pick up the chain/anchor end of the rope (rode) and at least try to recover that – hopefully without loosing another anchor. Back on deck, we started up the engine one last time, steered to the side we thought the rode was snagged on and opened up to full throttle. Engine roaring and anchor line violently shivering under pressure, we crossed our fingers and gritted our teeth – SWOOOSHSHSH!!! The boat released and flew forward… Caye looked at me, I looked at Caye, that was it, either the we had broken the line or pulled it free. We excitedly started pulling in the rode. Hand by hand, we pulled up 2o feet, 40 feet, 60, feet and slowly the rusty, mud covered anchor became visible in the murky water. We were keeping this paycheck.
The rest of today was reasonably uneventful. We passed Shiloh National Military Park and Shiloh Mounds National Heritage Site. While reading a Wikipedia article about the second (a prehistoric Native American town), we learned that the town had a related settlement with mounds and everything on Swallow Bluff Island – the exact tiny island we were anchored behind the previous night. Oops. In the morning, we finished up listening to 1493 by Charles C Mann and began South, The Story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914 – 1917. We had fast internet all day, so I took advantage and got lots and lots of business work done. Caye navigated the boat through barges and countless speeding fishing boats, while combating a oncoming river current that increased from 2mph in the morning, to a punishing 4mph by the time we reached the Pickwick Lock and Damn at 5pm. With no wait at the lock, we were up in 25 minutes and found a beautiful cove anchorage under a blanket of stars in the North end of Pickwick lake. Tomorrow heavy rains and temperatures in the 70s – almost tropical…