Shell game

You’ll remember we bought new chain in July and once it was onboard we promptly dropped a large part of it (and our anchor) into the bay where it’s been for the past three months. We’ve stayed put at first because we couldn’t use the mainsail while we waited for the replacement universal joint for the folder furling gear, and then because Jack was recovering from unexpected surgery on our Miami trip. It’s been a safe and secure hook but oh my! the mess on our chain and anchor bridle was the laughing stock of the anchorage. We’d had a few recommendations to let out 20 feet or so of chain once a week and let it drag back and forth on the bottom, then reel it back in. Supposedly that scrubs up the part that’s closest to the surface and the sunlight where the marine growth adheres. Did we do it? No. Lesson learned.

We finally steeled ourselves and attacked the mess. It was so bad we had to go link by link to dislodge the shells and weeds, pulling the chain on deck two feet at a time. We got the chain up and cleaned as far as where the anchor bridle attaches by a chain hook. It was a particularly big mess at the chain hook and Jack leaned over the bow with his giant screwdriver hoping to break off chunks of shells and muck. He dug the blade in and pushed and the chain hook came off the chain and we watched as the hook, the bridle and Jack’s favorite defensive weapon flew through the air and into the sea. Damn! Jack ran to the stern and came back with the boat hook.

“What are you doing?” I asked. I couldn’t imagine he thought he could retrieve a screwdriver lying on the bottom 25 feet below with a 10-foot boat hook..

“I think it might still be stuck on the bridle!” And with that he carefully hooked the line and eased it up, slowly so as not to dislodge the blade of the screwdriver if it was still there. I leaned over the bow and we watched as the line came into view. Yes! We could see the screwdriver, the point still stuck in the ball of muck, the handle hanging down precariously. Jack continued to coax the line up and I reached down as far as I could until finally I could snag the handle. Success! And teamwork!

It took a few hours to finish up the job and today our hands are sore with a gazillion tiny little cuts from the razor-sharp shells but the chain is all clean and ready for us to weigh anchor. Except for the anchor, of course, which we fully expect to be the beginnings of an artificial reef when we haul it up.

So maybe we shouldn’t stay in one place so long. We’ll take that under advisement.





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