The black art of anchoring

The black art of anchoring

We spent 6 fun-filled weeks in Desolation Sound after the Sceptre Rendezvous. We had glorious weather, really very hot for a while and the water was in the 70’s – heaven! We spend a couple weeks traveling through the Gulf Islands, hitting our favorite spots. We are slowly making our way back to the Vancouver area from the San Juan islands in Washington, having made our annual boating trip out of Canada as required. Photos for your enjoyment:

Canada day dinghy parade

Heading north – Desolation Sound or bust!

Waving goodbye to our friends in Garden Bay, Pender Harbour. We stayed behind to repair a raw water intake problem.

Taku Resort – we stayed at the marina for a couple days. A really beautiful place on Quadra Island

Toasting the cruising season

Island artwork on Quadra

Rebecca Spit park – a favorite of ours.

Parenting was good this year! Had several great meals from our prawn trap


Boating tradition – the happy hour!

Kayaking in Squirrel Cove

Buddy boating

Removing a line we used to stern tie our boat in a close spot

Ralph caught a salmon!

Hiking on Cortes Island

Lovely lake near Grace Harbour

Delicious plums at the marina where we stopped on Texada Island

Reminds me of home

Hauling groceries at Friday Harbor – lots of good beer here

Strange as it may seem to some of you in other parts of the country, summer is ending here in the Pacific Northwest. A couple weeks ago the weather turned cool, we haven’t had much rain but I expect that will start soon. It seems to me like the days got an hour shorter overnight – kind of a shock to the system!

Now, a word about anchoring. We are anchored out almost all summer, except the for occasional marina or mooring rental. Like a lot of things, it seems like everyone has their own special technique when anchoring. Our technique is to slowly travel around the anchorage, checking depths and studying the position of other boats and obstructions, choose a place we want to end up, take the anchor the appropriate distance away, drop the anchor slowly. When it reaches the bottom we back slowly while letting out chain until we have the amount of chain out that we want (this is called scope* – see note below). Depending on the type of bottom of the anchorage, we back up harder to endure that the anchor is set. Most of the time we end up where we had hoped to – it’s not exactly an easy thing but we have some years of experience. Even so, occasionally we have to pull the anchor up and try again.

Sitting at anchor we have a chance to observe a lot and that is where the title of this post comes from. It is almost fascinating to watch the different approaches people take. The other day a boat stopped and dropped the anchor and all of the chain – all of it! And this is a shallow anchorage. Anyway, watching others is an interesting pastime out here on the water.

*scope – the amount of chain our rode (rope) or a combination thereof, usually expressed as a ratio. You take the distance from the anchor to the bottom and put out several times that in scope. Right now we are anchored at about 4:1 (100 feet of chain, 25 feet of depth).