EXCITEMENT AT ANCHORAGE

I didn’t catch any fish last night but got plenty of bites – mosquito bites.  This morning I was away at first light, which is not that early nowadays.  The idea was to catch the flood tide to the centre of Grenville Passage and then the ebb tide from the centre outwards.  The tactic worked perfectly and I carried a good tide all day.

Northern Expedition in Grenville Channel. Photo Ray Penson
Northern Expedition in Grenville Channel. Photo Ray Penson

Today was a movement day, we motored for 12 hours, there was no wind, just overcast, mist, rain, fog and just a glimpse of sun in the late afternoon.  I don’t like Grenville channel and wanted to get it behind me in one day.

I saw quite a few humpbacks feeding and one group of three were doing coordinated bubble netting, all coming to the surface at the same time with mouths gaping open.  I watched for a while then moved on to leave them in peace.

This evening when I came to drop the anchor I went through my usual routine.  First walk the anchor out for dropping, then find the right spot to drop.  Then, before going forward to drop the anchor I put the engine astern so that the chain pays out nicely and we snub up to set the anchor.  This evening I dropped the anchor and realised we were not stopping but still going ahead – quite fast!  I ran back to the cockpit to see why the engine was running ahead.  The gear lever was astern but the propeller was still going ahead.  Amidst very nasty noises from the anchor chain at the bow as it tried to pull the capstan out of the deck I pulled the engine stop.  After a minute all was quiet again and time to see what the problem was.

I found that the cable from the gear lever to the gear selector had broken.  Just what I needed tonight after a long day.  I suppose it could have happened in a marina full of super yachts so it’s better to happen in an open anchorage.  Realising that I couldn’t do anything with the engine still hot, I cracked a beer and put the fishing line out.  I caught a small rock cod but didn’t have the inclination to deal with him.  The guy on the other boat in the anchorage pulled in a large halibut.  With the problems I had the last thing I wanted was a 30 kg halibut floundering around the cockpit, so pulled my line in.

I found a length of brass strip and drilled a hole to take a bolt to fasten it to the gear selector, the brass was too bendy so I lashed it together with a steel threaded bar.  After a few modifications it works fine as a simple push pull gear lever.  I can reach the lever through the companionway, just have to leave the engine box open when I want to use it.  A good enough fix to get me to where I can buy a new gear cable set.

I hope the night is quiet, don’t need any more drama.  I have a few route options tomorrow, not sure which one I will take, just know that I have to go through Hiekish Narrows on the morning ebb tide.    Total voyage distance 519.9 miles.

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