Day 347, Year 5 Stuck in Baly Bay
Date: Friday, October 8, 2010
Weather: Clear Day, Light Winds, Then 15-20 Knots WNW
Location: Baly Bay, NW Madagascar

It looks like we might be stuck here in Baly Bay until Monday. Winds are coming alternately from the west and then from south at times that make it difficult for us to travel the 90 miles west before we can head south down the coast. And over the weekend there are times with no wind at all, so we are probably going to just stay here unless the forecast changes. And, of course, the forecast is always changing, so who knows when we will travel on.

In the meantime, we are enjoying the time here. This morning we took Ed and Lynne with us to the closest beach for a morning walk. We went about an hour before low tide and it was a REALLY low tide. As we got closer to shore, we saw that the bottom was covered in grass and we were still very far away from the shore when it got so shallow that we had to get out and stick an oar in the sand to tie to the dinghy to and muck our way to shore. Mark made the comment that if people back home could see us now, with our feet being sucked into the sand as we tried to walk to shore, they would question our sanity. But this is what we do for fun. We had a great beach walk and saw many birds, but not much else. By the time we got back to the dinghy the tide was coming in and we had to wade in knee deep water to get back to it. But at least we didn’t have to swim. I spent the early afternoon doing more South Africa research in order to decide which of the many wonderful things we will be able to see while we are there. At 2:30 pm the South Africa Maritime Mobile Net comes on and we turned it on to get the weather update. We were trying desperately to record the forecast when we heard Pieter on Odulphus call us on the VHF. We figured that he wouldn’t mind waiting until we were finished recording the weather report, so we turned down the VHF. As soon as there was a break in the weather report, we turned the VHF volume back up to call Odulphus and we heard Carla yelling, “M &J, M & J, you are dragging down on Constance.” We leaped up into the cockpit to see that we were very close, way too close, to Constance so we turned the motor on and started motoring forward slowly while we prepared to raise anchor. We got ourselves re-anchored and tried to figure out why we would drag for the second time in two days when it has rarely happened to us before. All we can figure is that we didn’t have enough chain out and with the northwesterly winds of 20 knots blowing up breaking waves in the anchorage, our anchor was literally pulled out of the sand. We got ourselves settled down after this little panic and I started getting things ready for the zebu steak dinner we had promised Constance and Odulphus. Just as I was starting to get things under control, Pieter called making the suggestion that we all move four miles across the bay to a calmer anchorage. So up went the anchor again and across the bay we went. By this time the winds were a good 20 knots and we had to motor into the wind to get across. But it was a great idea as it is much calmer over here.

We had such a fun evening on Windbird tonight. The dinner worked out great although it took a bit of ingenuity to figure out how to use an umbrella to shield the grill from the wind in order to cook the steak. Carla brought her accordion and played for us and Pieter brought his song sheets with words to many sea chanties so we could all sing along. Pieter and Carla can really sing and the rest of us just enjoyed trying. Everyone has gone back to their boats now and Mark was able to call Buoy Weather in California to get us signed up for their services during our passage to South Africa. We just could not get to the place on their website where we could make payment, but the phone call did it. A young woman named Madison was most helpful and now we will be able to get detailed weather reports from yet one more source. Tomorrow should be a quiet day, but you just never know what might come up. As Pieter left tonight, he said he might try to sail out of here tomorrow. If he actually does this, who knows if we will follow? To be continued.

101008 Day 347 Baly Bay, Madagascar–Beach Walk and Evening Fun
Day 348, Year 5 Leaving Tomorrow, Wind or No Wind
Day 346, Year 5 Village Visit