Most days we go off along the Costa tropical in search of a nice quiet, flat area of water to drop our anchor and enjoy the day’s tranquility. Most days it’s no trouble at all. This coastline has plenty of options to counteract most directions of swell and wind. The sea bed is sand with no charted or known obstacles in the anchorages we use.
Yesterday we chose the eastern edge of La Herradura bay just outside of the yellow special markers indicating the swimming area. A place we often frequent and in August is quite busy with boats. We sat with friends at anchor, listening to the pleasing sounds of lapping waves and some well chosen tunes.
When we decided to head home for our friends to catch flights we started our usual ritual of raising the anchor. The anchor chose not to budge. We tied a bridle using rolling hitches and two lines to the anchor chain to take the pressure off of the windlass and anchor roller. No amount of driving around the anchor pulling from various angles was going to shift it, and at each attempt there was an almighty thundering stop with the bow dipping down towards the water.
We were anchored in 7 meters of water and with no dive boats nearby we were running out of options. We had two choices.
1. Cut the rope which secures the anchor chain onto a D ring in the anchor locker. Attach a large fender to the end of the chain and come back with divers the next day to try and retrieve the anchor and all of the chain.
2. Use bolt croppers and cut the chain and anchor free losing 8 meters, or so, of recently bought chain and the old anchor.
We went for option 2.
Fortunately on board Great Escape we have some hydraulic bolt croppers which a friend gave me many years ago and have never needed to be used. I chose to get these as the original bolt croppers are so heavy and unwieldy I can barely lift them let alone use them.
Anyway, why use bolt croppers yourself when you have an Iain on board?
Iain sat on the bow with the hydraulic bolt croppers munching their way through the chain, and yes, eventually after much pumping, swearing and sweating the 8mm chain finally gave way to brute force, Scottish ignorance and a huge mechanical advantage!
Thankfully we were able to get our friends to the airport on time and we only lost 8 meters of chain in the process.
Oh yes, we lost the anchor as well but I always hated that anchor so no big deal.
Maybe next time we’ll attach a trip line, just depends if I like the new anchor or not ;-)