“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” — Anthony Bourdain
There are many things that suck upon realizing that your anchor chain has rusted to the point that it’s a shadow of its former self. We normally live on the hook so having a significant weakness in ground tackle is untenable. We last replaced our chain in Grenada. American made ATCO chain was always the gold standard, but by 2013 their quality had slipped badly and scuttlebutt had it that an Italian company called Maggi used old world galvanizing techniques with consistent chain sizing at a semi reasonable price. I talked the marina at Clarks Court Bay into allowing me to tie up to their dock, had the chandlery deliver all 275 feet of 10mm chain, which they dumped into a tangled pile at the head of their pier. Escape Velocity was just 200 feet away. Mark from Macushla and I had to hand all 416 lbs of chain into the most decrepit wobbly wheelbarrow you’ve ever seen. I’ve gotten used to boat yard carts and wheelbarrows since then and I can tell you they’re all the same. Loosy goosey, bent axles are par for the course and I don’t know why but the tires are almost always virtually flat, too.
So what we have is Yours Truly trying to herd Clark Court Bays’ wobblybarrow with a nearly flat tire loaded with 416 lbs of anchor chain over a semi floating bucking dock, knowing that if I dump the chain it would disappear into the briny deep faster than you can yell, “Hey grab that end!” I made it, fed the chain into the windlass and stepped on the up button and Bob’s your uncle.
That was then. Turns out that was the easy one.
I recently end-for-ended the anchor chain on Escape Velocity, noting that the section that we’d been using had really lost a lot of material and was rusting badly. “Just in time,” I said, knowing full well that it wasn’t long for the world, especially if we enter into a deep anchorage and have to get into the weak part of the chain. While poking around the only decent chandlery in Kuah, Langkawi, I saw a drum of sparkly galvanized Canadian anchor chain made by Rocna, the same people that made our beloved anchor. We had to special order the length we needed so I started a low intensity inquiry as to the best way to get 416 lbs of chain from Langkawi over 10 miles of ocean to Rebak Island, which is where EV has been safely moored. In the meantime we have been doing a lot of traveling and it’s so easy to let things slip.
Long story short, there is no easy way to get 416 lbs of slippery Rocna chain from Kuah to Rebak without doing the 20 mile do-si-do in Escape Velocity which now sprouts an air conditioner balanced over the saloon hatch, extensive electrical cabling, a spiders web of docklines, plus having to pay a Royal ransom to the Royal Lankawi Yacht Club for an hour of precious dock time, billed in half day increments.
That’s when I came up with the Over Lord Plan, last seen to great effect on D-day. With our friend Mike we’d take the early ferry across to the Cenang Ferry Jetty, up the long ramp to rent a car from Mr. Din, drive a half hour into Kuah, and this is where the first miracle takes place, haul 416 lbs of shiny New Zealand chain 100 feet out to the Mr. Din special on a wobbly wheeled, bent axle hand truck. We couldn’t lift the barrel up into the the back seat so we pulled most of the chain out and spread it out evenly over the back of the car and found a way to get the rest of the barrel up into the car.
Off we chugged back the half hour to the jetty ramp. This is the site of the next miracle. After repacking the barrel we shoved, wheeled, and just plain wrestled the bastard down to where the special boat was supposed to meet us.
Shortly Capt. Haris came putting into the jetty dock, site of our next miracle. Capt. Haris directed the hauling of the bastard barrel off the dock across a foot of water onto his small fishing boat. Not a big man but apparently big where it counts.
For our last miracle we had to hand out enough chain to wrestle the bastard barrel onto the docks.
I gave the old rusty chain to wiry Capt. Haris and after lunch I set about making depth marks with colorful little plastic biscuits on EVs new anchor chain.
It definitely doesn’t suck to have anchor rode that you trust in your anchor locker.
This is a different kind of view from what you’re used to seeing from us. We’ve been living at a marina since January and will be here at least until the end of October. It’s relatively inexpensive, easy living, very protected from weather, and we’re getting caught up on some very minor but time consuming boat projects. It’s also a very easy place to travel from, with an airport close by. Any marina dents our budget a little, even a cheap one, but the removal of anchor/weather stress is giving us a much needed break from cruising after seven years.
In this marina there are many unoccupied boats that are either for sale or stowed during the wet season while the owners go back to Australia or Europe or New Zealand. The occupied boats are either longterm residents or, like us, taking a break, doing longterm repairs, or here for the convenience of traveling. It’s not perfect — getting groceries is an effort — but living in the trees with abundant birds, monkeys, monitor lizards and, though we haven’t seen them yet, otters, is a delight.
On this peaceful morning, I can hear at least five or six different bird calls. Today is Hari Raya or Eid, the end of Ramadan and we’ll be going to a special buffet at sundown this evening to celebrate. You can read about Eid here. We’re looking forward to it!