This post falls under the full disclosure category. I figure it’s only fair that if I post all these stories about how much fun we are having and all the awesome stuff we are seeing and doing. I should also, from time to time tell you about the not so awesome stuff.
I’m just gonna give you the ending right up front. Bit of a spoiler, I know.
But the short story is that we ran aground a couple weeks ago. Oops!
The long story is:
We had been here in Bora Bora for about a week. Decided to head around the island and check out some of the anchorages on the North side of the island. It is very beautiful over there for sure.
We followed the charts and advice from other boaters and got to the spot we intended to go. But another, closer look at the charts and a read through some of our cruising guides showed another anchorage a little further up. Granted, the cruising guide said that unless you draw less than 6 feet, do not attempt to get in there. The pass through the coral is narrow and very shallow.
We draw just over 6 feet. So despite all the warnings, we thought we should give it a go.
As we were approaching the small pass in the coral, Tawn was on the bow giving me directions on which way to go. I was looking at the charts and thought I should be more to starboard, but Tawn was insistent that I go more to port and get as close to the channel marker as I possibly could.
There was a good current running through the little pass against us and the wind was on the nose, so as I was turning more to port we were being pushed a bit sideways and next thing I know…..Bump, bump, bump.
We stopped moving.
The wind and current pushed us abit more up on the coral. Tawn dropped the anchor to stop us moving in the bad direction.
I tried reversing off, but we were stuck hard.
Luckily we were towing the dinghy. We grabbed our stern anchor and put it in the dinghy and I ran it out to port into deeper water to use as a kedge to hopefully pull the bow around and off the reef. But the wind and current was just too much. We were stuck and stuck pretty good, and heeling over avbit.
A few tourist boats came by and waked us pretty good, which was shitty, but it’s what they do best.
As we were planning what to do next, another cruiser came over from the anchorage in his dinghy and offered to help.
We decided to pull up the kedge and re-run it off the back of the boat, which should pull us back the way we came and into deeper water. Tawn raised the first anchor we had down. Then ran back to the cockpit to crank in on the newly re-positioned kedge anchor.
The guy that came to help, used his dinghy to push the bow of Palarran into the wind and to prevent us from getting even more stuck now that the front anchor was up.
With him pushing on the bow, Tawn cranking the stern anchor in on the winch, I put the engine in full reverse and…..slowly…slowly we started backing up. Then poof, we were off the reef and in deep water.
We had to drop the anchor line in order to keep backing off the reef. The guy that was helping us retrieved our anchor for us,
We changed our minds in trying to get into that anchorage. :) We to another close by to dive on the boat and check for damage. Other than some scrapes in the bottom paint and a few very small chunks of fiberglass missing from the bottom of the keel there was no damage at all.
All told we spent about 20 minutes stuck. Maybe half an hour.
All is good and we were back to business as usual in a couple hours.
A couple days later we rented a couple bikes and rode around the island. It’s only 32km(which is Canadian for 19.8 miles) all the way around the island.
We stopped and took a picture of the spot we got stuck. No way in hell we were taking pictures at the time.
We were headed from left to right as you look at the picture, and any of my SoPac mates can probably clearly see where the channel is in that pic. Right were you see the channel end on the right is were it goes from 14 feet to 6.5. Which is fine, but I should have hooked it more left and hugged that marker, which would have kept me in 6.5 feet of water…instead I went more straight and ended up in 6 feet of water…which was no good.
Here is a pic to get us all back in the right frame of mind.