Anchoring amongst the coral

In sailing school you learn to anchor as follows:

  • Choose a suitable location
  • Drop the anchor
  • Pull back to check it is holding
  • Take some bearings to fix your position and hoist the anchor ball
Searching for coral and pearl farm lines

In the Tuamotos anchoring is more of an experience:

  • Check all the charts you have and satellite imagery and read any and all pilot books, guides and reports you can get your hands on.
  • Check the weather very carefully paying particular attention to the wind direction.
  • When you reach the atoll, hope the current through the pass agrees with your calculations.
  • Place a coral spotter in the bow and head slowly to your planned location avoiding the coral heads.
  • Look for a patch of sand with no coral
  • Drop the anchor so it holds
  • Jump in the sea to check the location and if there is too much coral try again – keep telling yourself that sharks don’t eat human.
  • Let out chain affixing buoys to the chain to keep it “floating” above the coral.
  • Attach a long “spring line” to the anchor chain to add elasticity
  • Snub the chain and spring line to your cleats.
  • Set the anchor watch.
  • Pull back to set the anchor while some one is in the water checking the situation under water – sharks are OK; really!
  • Drink a coffee with a shot of rum.

Maybe not surprisingly, once the anchor is in, we stay a few days.

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