Sunday, August 03, 2008

July 31, 2008 - Kupang

Purple is the new black.

Yesterday Sten mashed the tip of his pinky putting down one of the dinghy wheels. Now it looks like he's soaked it overnight in a bowl of mashed blackberries and raspberries. Earlier in the day, I scrapped up my arm fending off a steel boat that had anchored so close to us that when the wind shifted, their bow was a dozen feet from our stern. They started raising their anchor (which was clearly under our boat at this point) without alerting us. If they had told us that they were upping anchor, we would have fired up the engine and motored forward on our anchor chain so that they could raise their anchor without having to drag it out from under us. By the time we got on deck, alerted by the clanking of their anchor chain through their bow roller, their pulpit was right next to our transom and getting closer. I made the stupid mistake of bracing my upper arm against our pushpit as I tried to hold off their bow. Realizing that I couldn't hold them off, I wrenched my arm out of the way, and our BBQ took the brunt of the impact. I was telling another skipper about the incident and he responded with "Well, you've heard the story about the two racing boats. As they were approaching a mark, one called "Starboard," and the other replied "Steel!" We were lucky to get away with a few scrapes.

Today Sten hauled me up the mast to do some measurements on our running backstays so that we can order replacements from Rigging Only before Suzy visits us next month. The wind was blowing out of the west, making this anchorage a lee shore. We're anchored pretty close to shore, so with the chop piling in here, we were bouncing around like a pogo stick. Any movement at deck level is amplified up in the rigging. I usually love to go up the mast - it is my favorite boat chore. It is a rush. But I'd never done it in anything other than a really calm anchorage or when the boat is on dry land. In the bumpy anchorage today, I was swinging around up there like a human tetherball. Using my legs to brace myself and a sail tie to lash myself in place, I managed to take the pictures we needed, but had Sten haul me down to deck level to do the measurements, but not before getting a sweet purple mark on upper arm for my efforts. But it was a good experience; now I have an inkling of what to expect if Sten ever has to haul me up the mast when we're offshore.

Meanwhile, the new wind direction has caused boats to drag all over the anchorage. The bottom here is incredibly foul - a result of the local river emptying out into the bay here, dumping all kinds of plastic waste into the water. As a result, the bottom is coated with plastic bags, which makes for very pour holding. While we were ashore this morning, another boat lost its grip and started to drag down upon us. Luckily for us, the folks on Renaissance 2000 came aboard and put out our fenders to protect Mata'irea's hull. The big catamaran anchored next to us has a huge, center console dinghy that they have been using to run search and recovery missions for the past few days, reanchoring boats that have started to drift away or drag down through the anchorage. Sten has been pitching in to lasso boats and bring them back to the corral. So far, he hasn't picked up any bruises on other people's boats, but with these holding conditions, we expect that it is only a matter of time. We'd leave to find a safer anchorage, but there is the issue of that big impoundment sticker plastered on Mata'irea.

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