FOULED PROPELLER

Another peaceful night at anchor and a wonderful sleep, hard to believe its mid-winter.

We got up later this morning, starting to get into relaxed mode, no rush to get anywhere and plenty of time to get there.  There are now two other boats in the anchorage, another one came in last night.

Today we motored around to Port Fitzroy and anchored just off the wharf.  There seem to be a few more moorings in the bay now and less space for anchoring.  We had a brief run ashore and visited the store.  Ngozi bought a Vodafone sim card as our Skinny phones don’t work over here.  Considering this place is part of Auckland city the facilities here for the locals are sparse, or maybe that’s the way they want to keep it.

After Fitzroy we went fishing again and this time had no luck at landing any fish.  I was expecting a fish dinner this evening and am quite disappointed in myself.  The hunter gatherer not providing, shameful.

This evening we have anchored in a cove on the south side of Kairara Bay, looks like it could be protected from the southerly winds that are forecast. 

I did a stupid thing this evening when anchoring and am going to pay for it in the morning.  Usually when anchoring I approach the chosen anchor spot at low speed and shorten up the dinghy painter so it cant get into the propeller.  Then I clear the anchor away ready for dropping.  Just before the anchor position I engage astern on the engine and walk forward to let go the anchor, by this time truce is usually stopped and just starting to go astern as I lay the anchor chain out on the seabed before snubbing up.  This evening I went through the usual ritual, as I dropped the anchor the engine shuddered and stopped dead.

Instantly I knew with sickening certainty that I had forgotten to shorten up the dinghy painter.  A look over the side confirmed what I already knew, the dinghy was hard up against the transom in a nose down configuration and the painter bar tight.  Yes, no doubt about it, I had wrapped the painter around the propeller!  I cut the painter at the dinghy and the little pig floated free.  The fouled propeller would have to wait until tomorrow, no way was I going into the water in the gathering darkness to free the prop. 

As a precaution I checked inside the boat to make sure the stern strut was still tight and that the shaft seal was still ok.  All was good as expected and no leaks.  One of the few advantages of a low horsepower engine is that it doesn’t take much to stop it.  The last time I got something caught in the propeller was in British Columbia and that time it was some tree bark, the type the Indians use for lashing and stuff, strong material.  When I got it out of the propeller I was surprised how little it had taken to stop the engine.

Nothing else for it I will be diving tomorrow.

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