You've all heard people say something like "so and so has forgotten more about sailing than you'll ever know". Well, I'm that guy. Not the guy who says it, but the guy who's forgotten more about sailing than most people will ever know. Not because I'm some hotshot sailor who knows everything but because I have a lousy memory. Seriously, I forget everything.
Well, this weekend I remembered something I'd forgotten. I hadn't anchored for a while, my daysailing just doesn't lend itself to needing to anchor out. For lunch, I'll usually moor or heave-to or dock. I've anchored during races but haven't been the anchor guy. So, in essence, I haven't seen the business side of an anchor in some years.
Sunday, as we were cruising out into the Bay to find a good spot to watch the Blue Angels, I happened to look over at a boat that had two guys relaxing in the cockpit getting ready for the show. "Hmmm, odd, they're facing Berkeley...oh, I get it, they've anchored off the stern to create the perfect ampitheater." I immediately realized that my idea of drifting paled in comparison to this plan. We were in 10-12 feet of water and would be guaranteed of having our cockpit facing the action. So, I threw that baby over the side and settled down for some Blue Angelling.
After the show, I prepared to weigh anchor and started hauling it in. A tiny bit of finagling and I got it off the bottom and coming up nicely. As it broke the surface, I remembered the old trick of splashing it up and down in the water a few times to get the mud off. Except the mud wasn't coming off. In the 45 minutes that it had been on the bottom, my anchor had developed its own ecosystem.
The thing was basically a ball of mud, plankton, sea-mucous, and coral with an anchor core. There was no way to get it off without, uggghhhh, using my hands. I had to scoop the crap off fingerful by fingerful trying desperately to keep the kids away from the grime. I tossed the beast into a locker and leaned overboard dangerously to rinse my hands. Back at the dock, it took 15 minutes of hosing to clear the mess up and I'm positive there is still some sea creature living on my boat thanks to the anchoring adventure.
Please, don't be like me. Never forget anchoring is dirty business.