Tuesday, 08 April 2014

I’ve always thought it is fun to be at a busy anchorage, because something is always going on. Since you can’t sit at home and watch television, you can instead keep an eye on the other boats.

What boats are coming into the anchorage?
What boats are leaving?
Do newcomers anchor up a reasonable place?
Do some boats get too close to each other etc.

It is however more entertaining, when you can follow other people’s doing than when you are the centre of the entertainment yourself - which we unfortunately have been more than once this past week.

Last arrival, first to leave
There’s an unwritten rule at anchorages that the last arriving boat has to move, if two boats get too close to each other. It’s the last in, first out principle that applies, and you cannot deviate from this rule.

We are usually lucky finding a nice spot for the boat, where we don’t bother anybody else, but the last two days, where we've been anchoring in English Harbour in Antigua, we’ve had to move twice, since we've been floating into other boats. And both times we have of course had a curious audience from the other boats at anchor – just as we would have been ourselves, had it been somebody else! I always think it is so embarrassing, and I'm ready to move several hours and metres before Henrik finds it necessary.

At that point I'm probably a bit like Mrs. Hyacinth Bucket, who tells her poor husband Richard to look out for the pedestrian, when he’s driving his car!

However, the entertainment value of what we have delivered in Antigua is nothing next to what we delivered in Guadeloupe!

A failed departure
At an anchorage on the west coast of Guadeloupe we went to shore one afternoon to get a sundowner at one of the bars. When we wanted to go back to the boat an hour later, big swells came onto the beach, so we needed to move fast. Henrik told me to quickly get into the dinghy, so we wouldn't be washed ashore.

The outboard wouldn't start, though, so before we knew of it, we drifted back to the beach - and then the fun began! Big waves came in and we were pelted by water and sand. After numerous failed attempts to start the engine, people started gathering around us at the beach, following our stunts.

Henrik pulled the cord for the engine more and more desperately, and in the end he stood far out in the water to prevent the dinghy from being pushed ashore.

Finally the engine started and we left the beach drenched and with a dinghy full of water and sand – and to the accompaniment of flashes and people applauding from shore!

Now, I just hope that we don't have to contribute anymore to the entertainment at the anchorages for a while.

Somebody else has to take over!

Signe Storr: Freelance journalist and friend of Boatshed