Anchoring Adventures…..Is there something in the air here?

Dear F&F,
June 23-24
This is a \”True Story\” and happened over the last 36 hours here at Fatu Hiva, Marquesas. For the last 20 months, we\’ve virtually had no anchoring stories of note, at least not those caused by other boats. Well all that changed with no less than four boats here in Fatu Hiva.

We had quite a lesson yesterday in one of the worlds two shortest books, one of which is: \”Famous French Anchoring Techniques\”!

Chapter One: The first French Boat had 15 feet of 1/4\” anchor chain on his 42 foot Beneteau and apparently wondered why anchoring in 70 feet of water he kept dragging?….He did this \”anchor drill\” for 4 1/2 hours…I\’m NOT exaggerating. For you non sailors, that amount of chain in deep water is like tying up your horse with piece of kite string.

Chapter Two: Began with three young French (male) 20 somethings on a 33 foot boat that had just arrived from the Galapagos after 23 days. They, without asking or checking decided that dropping their anchor on ours and trying to drag our boat around this bay seemed like a really fun thing to do on arrival. They kept saying they were \”stuck on a rock\” and couldn\’t get it up (the anchor). I kept saying as I got in the dinghy, \”You\’ve hooked my chain and you\’ll never get it up\”, (pun intended) as I reached for a pair of cutters not sure if relieving them of their manhood would be easier than cutting their anchor loose!(not really). I took the underwater viewer over in the dinghy and indeed they had hooked our anchor chain. Then, \”Monsieur Gorgeous\” announced that it was only 5 meters deep (18 feet) and he could excise it from their anchor. NOT!!!!! I asked if anyone had a SCUBA bottle aboard…\”Non\” was the answer. Then \”Monsieur Gorgeous\” asked and one magically appeared.

He again tried the macho approach to no avail and finally took my advice re: loop a line around it, support it, lower their anchor…move on. Of course Chapter Three in this book was that they had two anchors (in line…God knows why on a 33 foot light weight mono hull) and that they were both twisted on themselves AND our anchor chain.

Chapter 4 was that yet another French boat supervised them dropping their anchor on ours while yesterday screaming as loud as he could at anyone who got near his two bow anchors. Hence his attitude was, \”I don\’t care if you drop it on them, just stay away from me\”!…
Vive La France!….

After sorting this all out, the young guys tried to anchor next to Chapter Four\’s boat where in loud French he shooed them away. When I had tried that the day before, he practically boarded us…

Oh BTW, the three young French fellows were absolutely unapologetic about the trouble they put us through, no thanks for the assistance of helping them untangle the mess either. We re-anchored our boat, this time with a buoy marking it to (hopefully) prevent this trouble again. This morning I cannot find my buoy I believe it must have gotten close to Chapter Four\’s boat and I imagine (so far) he just cut it loose. Hopefully it\’s (underwater with a just slightly higher tide)….the day will tell…(indeed it did reappear, it almost gives me faith in my fellow man!)

Lest we bash the French alone, we then had an \”Ugly American\” anchoring story the next day. A 60 foot cat, built in South Africa, British Registry, pulls in with a single hander (American) from Hiva Oa by way of the Galapagos, Panama Canal and apparently originally from Florida. Odd I thought, he still has his Ecuadorian Courtesy flag up and his Q flag (This flag means that the boat has not yet checked into the country) as according to our friends on \”Giselle\” he was in Hiva Oa where everyone checks in.

I hail him, he asks me the lay of the anchoring land. I say \”Welcome to Fatu Hiva\”. He anchors, doesn\’t like his position. Re-anchors next to me. I\’m quite patient watching him at about three quarters of a boat length away (much too close for comfort with these size boats). Finally, after about 10 minutes, I suggested very politely that he might be a bit close. His reply in as sarcastic a tone as he could muster was, \”You\’re quite observant\”. I asked if he was tired, trying to remain polite. No response. He then asked me, \”Would you like to anchor for me (perhaps even more sarcastically)\”?. I asked if he needed assistance. No reply. He picked up, moved and has said not a word to anyone, he left 2 days later without communicating with anyone. David (of \”Giselle\”) was visiting and said, \”The chap was quite arrogant when he arrived in Hiva Oa to all the boats in the anchorage\”. We both speculated that he might be a delivery skipper and not the owner as the boat seemed to be registered out of the UK. Their are 8 dive tanks in racks (4/side). Too bad, we\’d love to find a nice boat to buddy/dive with.