We're looking forward to a good night's sleep. We haven't had one since we left Triabunna several days ago. Our first night at sea was a tumultuous one off the east coast of Tassie and Flinders Island as you'll remember. Our second night, anchored in the little notch of Inner Sister Island was great until about 0230 when a swell found its way into the previously calm cove and rocked us gunwale to gunwale in awkward jerks and lurches for the rest of the night. By morning, with a change in the wind, we were happy to head to Deal Island, only 35 nm away.
We remembered our calm nights (and not so calm nights) at Deal Island. The forecast (need we say more?) was for calm weather from the S/SE and the anchorage at East Cove off Deal Island is perfect for that. We arrived to find five boats already anchored and two more coming in right behind us. It's a large enough bay and everyone had plenty of room. We could see the current churning in the Murray Passage behind us, but the anchorage was calm and peaceful. The only problem with the anchorage is its grassy bottom, sometimes tricky for holding. We set the anchor well, let out plenty of scope and headed to bed around 2230.
The wind was variable, coming from all directions alternating in short 20-25 gusts and then calms. We had swung around with unpredicted fresh westerlies and all boats were now on a lee shore. We checked our position before heading to bed, set an anchor alarm and felt relatively secure that we were holding in place. Ah, a full night's sleep ahead and we were definitely ready for it.
We heard a radio hail around 0200. Another boat in the anchorage had dragged and was nearly on the beach before being able to weigh its anchor and motor off. In the process, however, the anchor chain jammed, causing the windlass to pop a circuit breaker. In trying to reset the breaker, the switch broke leaving them with no windlass and an anchor hanging from the bow that could not be deployed.
David chatted with them on the radio and promised to help at first light. But now we were awake and aware that they were circling in the anchorage, round and round for the four long hours until daylight. We had a cup of tea, played a game of gin, chatted. We were only too aware of their predicament, having been in similar situations ourselves in the past. The nights are never so long as when you're waiting for the dawn. With each gust, we wondered if another boat would drag … maybe Cups?
Finally, morning came. A crew member picked up David in their dinghy. He had the problem sorted out and the windlass working and unjammed within an hour … at least until it could be properly repaired and the circuit breaker switch replaced. They happily anchored close by. We're invited for cocktails. That's how it is with cruisers.
Now...maybe tonight we'll get a full night's sleep? Tomorrow...Deal Island magic!
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