5 set 2011

ENG - Anchor testing and gardening skills

Another anchor test, oh yeah -.;)

During the rainy season, tropical rivers abound with compact, thick aggregates of branches, plants, roots, foliage, debris... literally, uprooted pieces of the river banks all moving with the tide (if any).
They may be several tens of metres wide and are 50cm to 2m deep, yes they can reach the bottom of the keel. The more one waits, the more floating debris are accumulated as the "island" gets bigger.

This video was made at around slack water, but with a 2-3kt current the force of such a floating island can be phenomenal.
Not that we swapped our old lady with a fishing boat, but when such a thing struck us it was really hard -and it was a small veg-island.
During the last 12 months we spent about 250 nights at anchor, sometimes in tough conditions, but the floating island has us most worried that the chain might snap, the cleat bang away or the anchor break free.

To get rid of the floating platform, either one waits for the turn of the tide (as the fishing boats appeared to be doing), or must cut it into two halves, to let them float away along the sides of the boat.
The arsenal we use is basically this (floating mattress excepted):

a couple of machetes -we used to use them only to open up coconuts or to get firewood for beach barbecues-, plus that cutting thing in the middle: Brazilians use it to harvest cocoa fruits and coconuts, it cuts both with its upper (for coconuts) and lower (for cocoa) edges.
I later found the tool they use for cutting sugar cane, which may be even more efficient (not yet tested though).

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