|Heading for the marina...we think|
|Oh Oh.... this isn't good|
We set off from the Fonatur marina on a beautiful, warm sunny morning - there were six of us on board: Gary and myself, Scott and Tanya from s/v Kialoa, and Jim and Tricia from s/v Falcon VII.
We were set to haul-out of the water at the dry storage yard in Guaymas at 10 am, the second boat of the day (our friend Bill on s/v Greybeard was ahead of us). We transferred Scott and Tanya to Bill's boat, then drifted around the bay while waiting for him to get pulled out of the water.
Finally, at 9:40 am we got the OK from the marina staff to move into the marine slip ways for the haul out.
Guaymas harbour is known for being extremely shallow, which strikes fear into owners of large draft boats like ourselves (we draw 7 feet below waterline). To remove the stress of going into an unknown, very shallow harbour, Gary had helped another couple into the marina a few days before. He took his handheld GPS and plotted a course, as well as used our handheld depth sounder to determine the depth of the channel leading into the marine ways (there are no buoys marking the channel, this being Mexico). As he read 10 feet all the way in, we were feeling confident that we knew where we were going and all would go smoothly. Famous last words.
As we headed towards the slip way, the guys from the marina talked us in...'go left... now a bit to your right...'. In addition to these instructions, we were supposed to make sure we lined the slip way up with an old house on the shore behind us. As we were getting close to the docks, I looked behind and realized we'd drifted just a tad to the right. As I began to tell Gary to turn to the left...Thump. Bump. Yup, we were aground.
|Murray from s/v Ponga helping us to kedge off the reef...|
We sprang into action.
Plan A: Gary tried to reverse off the reef using both the engine and the bow thruster. No luck.
Plan B: We radio'd the boat set to haul out after us (s/v Ponga from Victoria, with Marty and Murray on board) and asked if they'd be willing to try to tow us off. They agreed. We threw them a line and with both engines pinned, we tried to pull us off. Again, no luck.
|...Then trying to back off the reef...|
Plan C: We attached one of our anchors (which was of course nicely packed away in our back lazarette) to a line on a halyard (which we had to re-run up the mast as we'd pulled all of our lines before leaving the Fonatur...lessons for next year - don't pack everything away on the boat until you are out of the water!). Murray from Ponga took the anchor and dropped it several hundred feet off our port side. We then reeled in the line and tried to heel the boat over enough to slide us off the reef. No luck.
|... with some help from the Mexican Navy... No luck.|
Plan E: Wait until high tide and float off the reef.
We lowered our dingy into the water and Gary rowed Jim and Tricia to shore. They were along to help, but we didn't want them to have to wait around for 6 hours while the boat heeled over and came back up again. Overall the day was quite instructive for them as they learned where NOT to go and what NOT to do.
|A look says a thousand words|
|View of the travel lift from our grounded boat at low tide. So close, yet so far... we were just 10 feet too far to the right!!|
|Sea Rover safely in the marine ways after her ordeal|
As it was too late in the day to haul us out, we stayed in the marine ways overnight. We were then hauled out first thing the next morning (ahead of s/v Kialoa, who were scheduled to be the first boat of the day - sorry Scott and Tanya) without incident.
No damage done, except to our egos. Phew.