14 March, 2013

Anegada The true coral island

Malua is at 18:43.37N 64:22.93W on 23/03/2013 at Anegada
The Caribbean island change is not coral but a line of volcanic islands rising out of the sea. Most have little sea shore on which one can anchor so the cruising is confined to a few beaches and harbours. It is therefore crowded and the only attraction is the land and the few towns and cities.
Now Anegada is different because it is a true coral and limestone island, rising only 10 meter above the sea level. Around the island is the horseshoe reef which extends 10 miles to the SE is close in shore on the north but the south it is almost 2 miles from the land and shallow.
One approaches Anegada from the south west hoping to find the port and starboard channel markets as indicated on the chart but no most are missing. You must remember that one is in the region b red right returning.
As I was approaching the channel a charter boat raced ahead of me hoping to get in first and get the last mooring buoy. I waved him ahead and followed him in. There are as of the above date two red and two green marks at the inside red mark the depth was only 30 cm under the keel but it get deeper - that is up to 2 meters under the keel as I got closer to the dock. Meanwhile the charter yacht raced ahead and right onto the reed extending saw from the dock. It went right up out of the water under full steam. No amount of stern drive was going to get it off. Two or three dinghies tried to assist but it was stuck. I had concerns of my own so I did not go over and help. Eventually after more than an hour someone tied a line to the mast head and pulled the yacht on its side and it came off the reef.
Now I had to find a place to anchor in sufficient water and with some holding. The fetch to the fringing reef was almost two miles away and the wind was increasing along with short waves. Not a great place to be if the sea really got up but I secured Malua and went ashore.
There are about six restaurants - Anegada Reef Hotel, Lobster Trap, Reef Lobster and Neptune's Treasure all offering the same menus.... Grilled lobster at 50 dollars plus a 12 service charge. Believe me they were all full from crews off the charter catamarans. Eight in a party placing their orders by 4:30. At one place I counted in excess of 40 lobsters cleaned and cut in half ,no legs ready for the grill. I don't know where they come from but I do know that that rate of consumption can not be sustained.
In the morning the waves had maintains their size and direction from the SE so it was time to get out of this shallow anchorage and head back to Virgin Gorda.
A careful exit at a very slow speed had me out the channel but not out of the shallow water which continue for more than 5 nm. Not a happy feeling sailing at 6 knots with only 8 m under the keel. I passed about 15 to 20 charter cats on their way to Anegada to have their fill of lobster.
A magical moment on Malua.

Sent from my ASUS Pad

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