As the weather blew through last night, sometime shortly after midnight Karen asks, “What’s that noise?” As I started to get back up out of bed (which I had just gotten into) I said, “That’s the anchor alarm.”
I have a program on my phone that keeps track of where the boat is relative to where we set the anchor. If the boat moves more than it should, it makes “that noise.” I was pretty sure that it was a false alarm. I hadn’t set the position of the anchor terribly carefully, so I thought the strengthening wind had just stretched the anchor chain a bit further. That turned out to be wishful thinking. It has been over a year since we had a real anchor drag, and there was no question we were now drifting quickly toward a shallow mud bank.
It is pitch black, overcast, and windy. There are almost no lights on shore here for reference points. We get the instruments booted up, and the engine started. In a few minutes I have the engine is pushing us back upwind away from the shallows, and Karen was getting the anchor back up on so we could reset it further upwind. Really the only position reference I have to drive to is the chartplotter screen. Everything around is just black.
Once we get across to the windward side of the bay, I again lower the anchor and let out about 10:1 chain scope. On the first try, 30 knots of wind quickly push the boat to the end of the chain, and we immediately come to a jerking stop, and head up into the wind. After a minute of two of nervous watching, it is clear that, at least for now, the anchor has taken a good hold on the bottom. We get the snubber rigged, and settle in to see what happens.
We keep an anchor watch for several hours, until the wind eases up a bit. The boat sits exactly in the same spot. Eventually, we get back to sleep.
Today was a beautiful, sunny, clear, crisp, early fall day. The wind has continued from the south, and is still forecast to shift to the northwest late tonight. First thing in the morning we will be on our way down the Chesapeake Bay. About 24 hours later, we will be getting down close to the ocean, and we will make our final decision about heading south to Florida based on the weather guess-casts available at that time.