"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Monday, July 17, 2017

Day 28, July 15 -- Malagawatch Harbor to Portage Creek, Cassells Cove -- 9.8 NM

A beautiful day, a bit overcast, but let's just say we got off to a "rocky" start this morning, the kind that causes a guy to doubt his skills, at least for a while. Most people's thoughts of groundings involve hitting a rock at speed, five knots or more. This brings the boat to an immediate, abrupt, total stop. We have been fortunate to have experienced the other kind of grounding, like this morning. The anchor and chain were as laden with mud as I've ever seen them. That's good; it means they held us very well. While I was using the salt water wash down system  to spray the mud off, and while Lene was going very S-L-O-W-L-Y, we drifted onto some sand bar that was not shown on the INavix chart, and were stuck.

Reverse could not back us off and there's no one around to help. What to do? We kedged off, but it took more than an hour. It is our starboard anchor, a Rocna, with all chain rode, that we use every day. On the port side of the bow is mounted the other anchor with only 12 feet of chain and 290 feet of 18 year old, almost never used, nice stretchy three srand nylon line -- waiting in readiness. I pulled out and cleated off about 60 feet of it and lowered it, and the anchor into the dink, motored off the starboard bow, paying out the light weight line and them heaved the anchor overboard. In hindsight the mistake in that operation was that the dump location was not enough degrees off  from the bow. Then, back at the boat, the job was to haul the boat to the anchor, off the sand bar by reeling in the anchor rode. The first few feet of pulling was easy, but did not move the boat. I tried to use the winch at the mast that is designed to raise the headsail halyards. It was tiring. Meanwhile Ilene was watching our depth and looking for boat speed, which was zero while stuck. Finally I used the windlass. By loosening its clutch, all the way, so as to disengage the gypsy  (the part that has grooves to fit the anchor chain) from the motor, leaving the upper winch-like drum engaged to the motor to pull at the line. Like I said, more than an hour. But we were very happy when we were finally able to get underway.

Our planned destination was tiny Blues Cove, at the town of Orangedale, picked by The Admiral because it has a store and a railroad museum. But after getting out into open water (3.3NM), and a nice sail under Genoa on open deep water (3.9 NM), Blues Cove was 6.6 NM further in again through narrow passages. Actually they are not so narrow, the problem is that the deep center parts of them are narrow and unlike the Intercoastal Waterway (which has wide expanses of shallow water with a clear, usually straight, dredged channel marked by US Coast Guard Buoys, here there are no buoys. Buoys are expensive to buy and to maintain and here the season is let's generously say four months and let's say one boat comes in here each night; it's just not worth the expense.  After being betrayed by our electronic chart yesterday and this morning's activities, the Admiral looked at the chart for the route into Orangeville and said "Why bother?"  McKinnons Harbor was on the way, a lot nearer, and we had planned to go there on a subsequent date, but a closer reading of the two cruising guides gave a report that the entrance was silted in. N
o way to get through the narrow passage. That report may be false, or the situation may have been corrected in the last few years, but you can't get a boat with a 5''8" draft through water that is only four feet deep.

We settled on Cassells Cove on Portage Creek, which is large with a wide 18 foot deep spot, once you get past the eight foot deep spot. We now know that the iNavix electronic charts are not totally accurate, so nerve wracking, but we are in and safely anchored and have the place all to our selves.
 In the morning, nature created art. This one is not enhanced; you can't gild this lily.

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