Caught an Anchor in Our Crazy Anchorage

When we went to move our boat to a better spot at the anchorage here in Cairns a few weeks ago, we had a complication. As we were pulling up the chain Karen noticed something extra caught on the chain. A small dinghy anchor and chain was snagged on the chain. We couldn’t easily pry it off from the bow, but fortunately we had the dinghy in the water already. Our anchor was still holding, so I jumped in the dinghy and took it around to the bow. A coupe of minutes later, I managed to pry the little anchor off, and we were able to continue our anchoring maneuver.

This was a convenient catch because the small dinghy anchor chain we last bought for our dinghy has been corroding/rusting. It was not properly galvanized I guess. The new chain obviously isn’t rusting, so I’m switching to our new free replacement. I like the anchor we have on the dinghy better than the little delta we found. Ours is a collapsible grapple (the prongs fold up into a neat little “cylinder”) which fits nicely in our anchor and fuel bay in the dinghy.

By the way, the anchorage here in Cairns is very active. It’s at the mouth of a river and there is a considerable tidal flow several times a day (complicated by the river current). The tide flows at a different angle to the wind. The way the boats point is not necessarily related to the wind like normal. Sometimes we are facing the current, but the wind is pushing the boat out over the anchor and chain. Often we are sideways to the wind or backwards. This means our cockpit area isn’t always a refuge from the wind like it normally is in most anchorages. We also have to make sure other boats are careful of their anchorage placement. Normal spacing rules won’t always work here. Sometimes all the boats are rotated at different angles depending on winds, currents, placement, and hull type.

The other unfortunate situation to this anchorage is that Cairns is a major tourist spot, with the biggest attraction being trips out to the Great Barrier Reef. They have a bunch of loud, high powered, fast catamaran ferries leaving and returning all day long right past our anchorage. This is in addition to the normal fishing boats, cargo ships, naval ship, and pleasure craft. The slowing down/speeding up point is right near the anchorage. So, we sometimes get substantial wake from these boats (they even rock Tahina and we are a catamaran!), and we hear the noise of these big-engined boats as they rev up/down 100 meters or so away from us.

Fortunately the weather, while we have been stuck here for the past 5 weeks, has been really nice and sunny with hardly any rain. I’d hate to think how miserable this crazy anchorage would have been if we had bad weather.

At least the anchorage isn’t boring!

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2 Responses to Caught an Anchor in Our Crazy Anchorage

  1. Catherine says:

    Do they still have useable pile moorings across from the marina by the mangroves? I have heard they were not being maintained any more and were slowly disappearing.

    • Frank Taylor says:

      @Catherine: Yes, the pile moorings are still there and are useable. I haven’t looked at them, but some Aussies have recommended them to us if we need to leave the boat for a few days. They are much more economical than the main marina.

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