Helios at Anchor

This picture was taken in Hakatea Bay, but I’ll admit that it is already a bit dated at this point. We left Hakatea on Monday and cruised 10 miles east to Controller’s Bay, though we have yet to determine who is controlling what. The eastern lobe of the bay proved a beautiful and secluded anchorage for Helios for the night. It was a narrow cove, and we could see deep into a valley and far out to sea between two rocky points defining its entrance. For the first time, we had the anchorage completely to ourselves, a situation which offered a new blend of quiet and majesty.

We arrived early in the afternoon and had a delicious lunch in the cockpit. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and jumping in the water, and before long it was time for dinner and then bed. At night we realized perhaps why the anchorage was so empty: being open to both the valley and the ocean left Helios exposed to winds from multiple directions. The result was a rolly night of Helios getting whipped around, 360 degrees many times over. Dominic got up a number of times to secure the solar panels and make sure we weren’t dragging our anchor. Much to his chagrin, he found that the snubber knot had come undone and the chain seemed caught on something directly below the boat. The result was excessive force on the chain, pulling it out of the windlass. He retied the knot and let out more chain, but he woke the next morning saying he was “pissed at this anchorage,” and we decided to head back to Taioha’e to reprovision after a leisurely morning.

We had brunch, kayaked, tidied the boat, and prepared to get underway, but as we went to raise the anchor, we found the chain was completely jammed. Though the water was only 30 feet deep, we didn’t have the visibility to see exactly what was going on, but we surmised that the chain was wrapped around a rock or caught between two rocks somehow. So, we spent the next 15 minutes letting chain out, and in, and out, and in, and motoring the boat in an absurd 30 point turn until the chain finally gave way. We had a few more options if motoring hadn’t worked: our anchor buoy was still afloat, and the water was deep enough that we could have dived down to loosen the anchor or chain manually, but we’re glad we didn’t need to.

From there we spent two nights in Taioha’e. We had chores, groceries and diesel to purchase, and a birthday to celebrate, so we made a reservation at the one restaurant on the island with white tablecloths and treated ourselves to a decadent meal on a terrace overlooking the bay.

From there we sailed to Anaho Bay, an anchorage on the north shore of the island. In my opinion, it is the most beautiful thus far. There are seven other boats with us, all enjoying the calm waters, breathtaking mountain view, and coral reef right off the stern. We plan to spend a few days vacationing here, so many more details to come.