Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Permanent moorage in Friday Harbor

The red arrow shows our location

We dropped anchor in Friday Harbor on Tuesday, pretty much in the normal place.  Well, one of the two or three normal places - anchorage is pretty limited there due to the number of (mostly unoccupied) mooring balls.

Not long after, after the tide had changed, we noticed periodic rumbling from the anchor chain.  This is unusual; we thought that the chain was being dragged across something on the bottom.  So we decided to move.  Well, not so fast, there Pilgrim...  with 125 feet of chain still out, the windlass stalled.  Attempting to free the boat by motoring in various directions was fruitless.

So here we sit, now permanently at anchor in Friday Harbor.  At the moment, our chain is straight up and down, so we are directly over the obstruction.  Our location is (mark this on your chartplotters): 48° 32.137' N, 123° 0.483'W

This makes the third wreck that I know of on the floor of Friday Harbor.  I know that one of them has a buoy marking it, and I know now that one does not.  The third one?  Not sure - maybe one of those unused mooring buoys marks it too.

All I know is that it is going to be very difficult to convince me to anchor in Friday Harbor again until the Port of Friday harbor reports these wrecks to the DNR and gets them removed. 

OK, here's the postmortem. 

When we anchored, I avoided the wreck marked on the chart, known locally as "the old fishing boat that had been permanently anchored there for years, and finally sank". But when our chain started 'grumbling' as the boat swung to the tides, I thought maybe the position marked on the chart was off. We tried to raise anchor, but stalled the windlass with 125' of chain still out. Thought for about a beer, and then contacted Jill and Brent who live aboard s/v Ambition at the marina for a diver reference; they recommended Kurt Schwalbe. He came out yesterday afternoon at slack water (currents in Friday Harbor can be very strong - trying to do work down there while fighting the current would be terrible). Kurt deserved the stellar reputation he has. He is friendly, professional, deliberate, and a problem solver. Before going into the water, he discussed his plan with us, in detail.

It turned out that this was NOT the fishing boat, but yet another wreck on the bottom of Friday Harbor - a 21' skiff. And our chain had not only sawed partly thru the fiberglass wreck, but had it wrapped up like a Christmas present. Kurt untangled everything, but was not able to pull the chain out from under the wreck, where one turn had wedged itself. So we put Eolian's Perkins 4-236 diesel to work. After 3 or 4 mighty tugs, we were FREE!!!

Kurt enjoying a well-deserved IPA after the dive

I have marked the position of this wreck on our Navionics charts as a community edit, so if you use Navionics, you already have its location. If you don't, here are its coordinates:
48° 32.137' N, 123° 0.483'W



Rick said...

Such beautiful places to anchor near civilization - but that's the drawback. Winslow must be similarly littered with abandoned/sunk boats.

Glad you got free, but sorry you had to hire a diver.

LittleCunningPlan.com said...

Wow, we'll make a note of that! So glad you didn't lose your anchor and chain, even though you had to hire a diver.

Andy Cross said...

We've worked with Kurt before, too. Great guy and highly recommended. Glad you got free.

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