06 January, 2013
I always thought that the Greek Islands where the charter sailing capital of the world until I arrived in Admiralty Bay in Bequia and tried to anchor. There are charter boats everywhere and mostly they are catamarans. The bay has a number of mooring buoys that the majority of the charter fleet attach to. The balance try to anchor near to their friends which almost by definition means on top of the cruising yachts who have spaced themselves well apart amongst the moorings.
When we arrived in Bequia I chose a spot that was away from the other yachts but well into the bay. Some distance ahead was a submerged plastic buoy. Not for one moment did I suspect that it was in fact a mooring. I dived to check my anchor with its 45 meters of scope and found it well into the course sand and ahead of the blocks of this so called mooring which had about 40 meters of heavy chain and an equally long line from the chain to the surface. The swing distance would have been about 60 meters and within reach of a mooring up wind and my vessel.
One evening a boat boy came by and said I was on top of his mooring and would I let out more chain so he could put a vessel on the mooring. “OK bring a boat and I will ease back and see how it worked.”
The following evening, Christmas eve a boat – 50 foot arrived so I let out more chain so that my port bow was at least 10 meters from their stern. Alls well and good if the wind continued to blow from the NE. An Australian boat then appeared and dropped his anchor just off my starboard quarter and let out about 35 meters of chain. Alls well and good if the wind stayed in the same direction. They then went off in their dingy leaving their boat unattended.
The wind changed ahead of a violent rain squall and I was left with two unattended yachts well within the swing radius of Malua. The OZ boat started to ride at its anchor back and forth. At one point I had to push it off with the short boat hook just to stop it from taking a piece out of my topsides. The British boat on the mooring was now pulling back on their chain and swing back and forth which left Malua had nowhere to go. Unfortunately neither boat did anything to change the situation and I became the meat in the sandwich. The wind then dropped and later swung back to the NE and we all settled down to a good Christmas eves party.
I had long ago given up on crowded anchorages in the Med so the day after Christmas we upped the anchor and sailed south out of the crowded anchorage BUT wait there is more. Read all about it in the new years eves edition.