Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The view from the cockpit

Norwegian Spirit
We all try to coexist here in Charlotte Harbor. The cruise ships come and go. The harbor pilots and ferry captains try to keep us from anchoring in the wrong place. (This happened when we first came in, we were advised to move, good advice.) Reboot has an established position clear of the cruise ship transit zone and off the line of the range lights used by everyone who enters the harbor.

Imagine my surprise when I heard loud noises and walked out into the cockpit only to find the Norwegian Spirit about 200 FEET from Reboot. The next thing I heard was the rattle of the anchor chain as she lowered her anchor. I dialed up channel 14 and called the VI pilots. They told me not to worry, I was not in the way, they were just going to stretch the anchor chain. Slowly the Spirit backed away. But not very far.

Charlotte Amalie harbor has an interesting characteristic. The US Virgin Islands are right in the Easterlies zone and this time of year the Easterlies are well established. The wind is always from the East, the only variation is the strength - usually about 10 to 15 knots. There is also a (not so) convenient pass in the mountains that permits the wind to sweep across the anchorage all the time. This would be nice except for one thing. The entrance to the harbor opens South. The wave action is always from the South, broadside to the direction the boats have aligned themselves (i.e. the wind.)  Therefore we rock from side to side 24/7. Its not too bad, in fact in rocking can be nice most of the time.

This brings me back to Norwegian Spirit. Since she as at anchor she doesn't stay in one place. Either does Reboot. We are both moving around our anchor chains on a regular basis. It took me a while to realize that the sounds I was hearing every once in a while where her thrusters making sure she didn't hit me. It is kind of a freaky experience.

As an side note it is interesting to watch the cruise ships come in and out. They obviously have a lot of power and could really disrupt things in the anchorage. The cruise ships and the mega-yachts (which are required to use the pilots) are very gentle - we occasionally get the slap of a wave against the hull but nothing else. They do a nice job.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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