Tuesday, December 27, 2016

3 strikes

13:30 we left Koh Hong (Thailand) heading due north to Khao Phing Kan (James Bond Island). This area is a large bay with a large runoff from northern lands that filter through mangrove swamps and over time has layered the shallow seabed with a sandy/muddy sediment.

Our OpenCPN electronic charts are lacking detail for this area so we would consult the depth sounder occasionally as we went. Evidently "occasionally" wasn't diligent enough.

Strike 1: Hard aground in the clutches of the soft bottom on an ebbing tide rendered us stubbornly stuck around 15:00 at N08°15.445' E098°29.928'. Jordan tried to power and push and pull Sea Turtle out with the dinghy but to no avail and we resigned ourselves to a couple of hours wait for a rising tide to come to the rescue. With Sea Turtle listing to starboard, Jordan decided to scrape off a few barnacles that were now exposed.

Aground in paradise

With the depth sounder saying "Give it a try" and with the assistance of a north breeze, Jordan furled out the head sail. Then with me at the helm giving a good burst of engine power and Jordan giving Sea Turtle a boot in the rear with the dinghy, we were finally released from the surly bonds of the muddy bottom.

The electronic charts seemed to indicate a deeper area a short distance to the west and in fact, a sailboat was anchored there as though to say "Come on over here."

Strike 2: We only went a few hundred metres and we were aground again! (N08°15.513' E098°29.550') So close and yet so far - we could see our desired anchorage. A bit of time passed while the tide was still rising and Jordan was getting worried, afraid the tide would max and then ebb leaving us aground overnight. But that wasn't the only excitement of the hour. All of a sudden he noticed...

Strike 3: ...our dinghy was adrift! It had been tied to a slider cleat on the newly extended toe rail track and the wind had pulled her right off the end of the track. It was pretty close and as Sea Turtle was still aground, he dove in and swam to it, bringing it back to Sea Turtle and tying it up to a secure cleat.

Now back at the ranch, Jordan was still worried. This called for some new efforts. So Jordan, in the dinghy, paid out a long line from a halyard off the top of the mast and pulled Sea Turtle smartly over to starboard while I, again at the helm, gunned it and broke free of the mud's grip on her keel. Free again!

This time we made it to our anchorage at Koh Yang (N08°15.907' E098°29.212') at 18:00, much later than originally planned, dropping the hook under an impressive sentinel peak and in the lea of the island.

Sea Turtle and picturesque karsk

As an afterthought, we rummaged through our paper chart inventory and found one for this area with much more detail; so needless to say, we kept it out for the remainder of cruising in this area.

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