The night after Small Brother left M and I had a Large Row. Both of us were tired, grumpy, and over it. Thank god the boat has separate hulls – we both stalked off in separate directions. We were anchored at a very shallow part of Sandy Bay.
At 1.47am I was awoken by the sound of the anchor winch grinding behind my head. I was up and out into the cockpit before I even knew what I was doing. I looked toward the bow to see a naked M wrestling the anchor in and another boat two feet away from us.
The anchor had dragged. We were drifting. I scrambled for the boat hook with the intention of using it to fend us off. It was like a dream. I was trying to do it as fast as I could, but the boat was drifting and the darkness was like a cobweb slowing me down.
Somehow Bella Luna moved past the other boat without making contact.
“We need to get the motors down.”
Because of course, anchoring with not enough chain out in a very shallow spot, we had pulled up the motors *and* the rudders and thus had no ability to manoeuvre until they were back down in the water.
I let the motors down and started them up. M was undoing the rope holding the right hand rudder as he directed me to go and undo the one on the other hull. My eyes had adjusted and there was a little swathe of moonlight. I undid the rope and eased the rudder down into the water. Boats and buoys were looming nearby. M tied the rudder down.
“Get the iPad,” hissed M. “Oh my god, I really need to wee…”
By now we were able to steer, but there were so many boats and buoys around us. M tried to put the ipad where it usually sits in order to see. and the ipad holder immediately fell to the deck. I became the human ipad holder. M weaved us amongst boats and it was like being in some kind of computer game – TEN POINTS IF YOU AVOID ALL OTHER VESSELS WHILE MOVING AMONGST THEM IN THE DARK!
Because we were still mad at each other, there was less conversation than there might have been.
“So, where should we go?”
“Not sure. Back to the mooring?”
“Nah. Won’t be able to find it in the dark.”
“Let’s just go back to where we were.”
“Where we were? Where the anchor JUST DRAGGED?”
“It dragged because we didn’t have enough chain out, so when the wind did a 180, the anchor couldn’t dig in. The wind isn’t going to change again before morning. And we’ll use more chain…”
The captain had spoken. I shrugged. In the dark, no one can see you shrug. “OK.”
I went up to the bow to get ready to drop the anchor. I thought M had hauled it all in, but it was still quite a way out. I don’t know whether having it dragging along in the water as we tried not to hit anything was a good or bad thing.
Because our batteries are old (and were free) we have to be gentle with them – which means getting out the generator whenever we want to haul the anchor in with the motorised windlass. M, now clad only in a jumper, left the wheel and yanked the 20kg generator out from one of the compartments, and ran with it, buttocks twinkling, back to the other end of the boat. Above the sound of the motors, I heard it start to purr.
Once the anchor made it out of the water I could see it was choked with mud and crud – I had to dunk it repeatedly to clear it – mentally thanking the generator as I did so.
We anchored. I struggled with my rolling hitch knot – brain blurred by sleep and panic and feigned calm. M put the engines in reverse to see if it the anchor would hold.
“Fuck. It’s dragging. Pull it up. Pull it up.”
We motored back into place and tried again. The anchor seemed to hold. The motors and the generator were still running while we sat and breathed.
“Just turn the motors off,” said M. “I’ll sort stuff out.”
I turned the motors off and went silently back to bed. Small Z, her head directly on the other side of the wall to where the anchor windlass sits, was miraculously undisturbed. It took me a while to get back to sleep…
Later in the morning as our fury with each other gradually defrosted, M said; “We did really well last night. We worked together as a team.”
Together as a team we decided to pay another ten bucks and go on a mooring for the last night of the year.