The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 15A: Waiting for good weather at Bluefield Range
Wednesday, 9 February 2000
A couple days ago, the wind dropped some and we were able to dinghy out to Rendezvous Caye and do some snorkeling. It's one of the better places we have been. There were spectacular coral formations, lots of fish, drop-offs and ledges. Maggie enjoyed rooting around on the Caye completely unattended. But, in the afternoon, the wind came up again and we have had to sit it out ever since. There are so many large coral patches in this area that we have wanted to wait out the weather and do more exploring.
Two days ago, a local fishing boat came by and Marv bought 6 pounds of fresh lobster tails for about $5 a pound. We had a very satisfying lobster feast on Francesca.
Yesterday afternoon, several sailboats joined us in the anchorage. Unfortunately, with a north wind, one of them anchored directly behind us. Last night, around 2:00 AM (it's always 2:00 AM) the wind picked up to 25+ knots and with the grassy bottom, our anchor decided to let go. By the time we had the engines started and were ready to get underway, we were Tee Boned by the sail boat. It got pretty exciting for a few minutes as the sailboats anchor chain snubber line was fouled in our port engine prop. We got fenders out and kept the damage to a minimum. Fortunately, the fouled propeller was easily cleared without diving and we were free of the sailboat in 5 to 10 minutes. With all the crunching and grinding it seemed like a lot longer.
We had to re-anchor Francesca 6 times before we finally held. Each time the anchor let go, I had to clear a hundred pounds or so of grass, roots and mud from the Delta anchor. Joan kept us out of trouble with the engines during all this. The good news was that it wasn't raining. Assessment of the damage this morning showed only some cosmetic stuff. After four days and several 20 plus knot blows, we had dragged once before and Heide also dragged once, both without incident. Today, we will go to another anchorage and seek the security of a sandy bottom.
The weather forecast is for diminishing winds over the next 36 hours. We will get some 10 knot and less winds and have a chance to continue the local explorations. The beer supply is getting down to a critical level though and we will have to put in to Dangriga soon. We have to, within a week anyway, renew our visas there. Dangriga is only about 20 miles southwest and on the mainland.
Thankfully, I'm pretty much over the flu now and the little nagging cough gets better every day.
While I often report the bad news in grisly detail, it is only incidental to all the good times that we are having. It's just that there wouldn't be much to say about the pleasant hours of routine explorations, time out for reading, writing, and soaking up the warm sun. We are all well, doing fine and looking forward to the next page of the Adventures, whatever comes.
Joan, Ben & Maggie