Aground on Espiritu Santo Island

Rain, yes it looks like it may rain a little. But that will not keep us from our planned haul out.
Yesterday we placed the sand bags on the beach, came up with a plan on how to position the boat, and even practiced precision beaching.
Today, the real deal. As Courage deftly maneuvers us into position, I throw the rear anchor in. Mother had placed a rope on top of the sand bags so we could see them even at high tide. As we came up on them we just needed to keep the rope between the hulls. Such a simple system, yet great.
We stopped nearly exactly in position. Quickly Courage lowered the front anchor to my waiting arms. This was way too easy.
The rain was now coming down pretty hard, and the wind was picking up. As the wind blew, we slowly drifted off our landing spot.
Quickly a third anchor was readied. As I was busy setting up the camera, Courage put a life-jacket on the anchor and started swimming it out.
With three anchors holding us in place, we were able to position ourselves within 6 inches of where we wanted to be. Slowly the water withdrew and Lil Explorers was sitting in a nice bed of soft sand.

Once again we brought out the shovel and cleared out around the dagger board. While inspecting the damage, Courage noticed that some of the fiberglass behind the crash box was delaminating. We will have to haul out someplace where we can spend a day or two repairing it. Not good. We had hoped not to have to go to a yard. So much nicer here at the islands.
Tomorrow we will start heading back to the mainland to see about finding a yard that can handle a boat our size.

Dry run – on the beach?

It is a beautiful day here. Light rain between batches of beautiful sunshine. Warm, yet cool, water. Yes we are in Paradise once again.

The plan is to raise the waterline, try to pull the prop, and see if we can get the dagger board unjammed. There is a beautiful beach, and we are very protected. And to top it all off, there are 16 foot tides.
This morning Courage and I brought Lil Explorers in close to the beach the see what the currents would do to us. We were able to find a sweet spot where she was held in position by a light wind and a current eddy coming around the point.
We played around with getting the anchors in the right position to keep us off the beach but close enough to walk around the boat. As the water would go out we would slowly pull the boat further off shore. One time we went a little too far, and I could not stand. Courage lowered the anchor to me and I sank to the bottom. As soon as I hit I started walking toward shore. I figured I had about 30 seconds before I would have to drop the anchor and head to the surface. If I had calculated the curve of the beach correctly, that would be enough time to make it to a point where I would be able to get my head above water.
The only part I misjudged was my hat. When I went down it stayed on the surface. Luckily it floated, and Courage was able to rescue it for me.

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Espiritu Santo 8.430857, -78.854205 Our Favorite Haul Out Spot.

Over the next few hours the two of us took turns pushing the boat out and cleaning the waterline. Even though the algae was dead from our trip up the freshwater Rio Sambu, it was a hard job getting it off the paint above the waterline. We used a brillo pad and slowly worked our way around the boat.
By this time the tide was almost all the way out. We figured there was no need to be as vigilant with regard to keeping her off the bottom. Suddenly Courage yelled over that the bow was aground. We tried our best but we could not get her off.
An emergency call went out for helpers. Shannon and Teggy arrived to help fill sand bags. The plan was to pile them high under the transom to keep the rudders off the ground.
Courage, Shannon, and Teggy, filled the bags while I carried them and tried to stack them under the crossarm. Once I could not get any more on the port side I switched to the starboard side.
We must have filled close to 20 bags, and were exhausted. Now all we could do was wait and see what would happen. As far as we could see she was sinking nicely into the soft sand, and the sandbags were keeping the rudders from sinking in too far.
The water only went out another two feet. We took the opportunity to have a lunch break, and to figure out where we would want to beach for real tomorrow.
A great spot was selected, and with the help of Teggy, Intrepid, and Innocence, we filled another 30 bags. They are now waiting for us on the beach. If all works as planned we will bring her in tomorrow morning and set her on the beach. Way up on the beach. We figure she should be dry for around six hours.

01/24/2013 Launching Lil’Explorers