Anchorages

Anchorages are what this book is all about. I believe most anchorages have been covered adequately and they will be found under their own heading accompanied by a map in Part Two of this book. Here I simply want to squash a few fallacies and confirm a few facts.

The first thing most people hear about cruising in Papua New Guinea is the difficulty in anchoring because of the great depth of water. This is essentially true, but only in relation to shoal anchorages. For example, if you come from Queensland where anchorage in ever shoaling depths is possible, then having to drop the anchor in twenty metres may well come as a shock. But after awhile you become accustomed to twenty metres and can even consider dropping the hook into thirty metres.

Actually, I found thirty metres became my arbitrary limit. I made a practise of first searching for fifteen metres, settling for twenty to twenty five if necessary and thinking it my birthday if ten metres was discovered. So, it can be seen, that the anchorages are deep, but not so deep that they cannot be used by a vessel with reasonable winching gear or a strong crew.

The point to be made quite clear is the fact that never was I defeated by a depth that was too great for anchoring. In a couple of places the depth was so great that I could not swing to an anchor but this was solved by tying the stern to the bank. This is a practise that is entirely practicable and sensible in Papua New Guinea because the tidal range is so small. Thus, if you cannot swing to the anchor because of the limitations of a shoal ledge, leave the anchor down on the ledge then take a stern line ashore and sweat it up. This not only bites the main anchor in but also places the vessel fore and aft to the swell in many places where the anchorage is not entirely movement-free.

Ninety nine times out of a hundred you will be anchoring in mud off a fringing reef. Thus, the best anchor by far is the plough, or CQR, and because the weather is mostly gentle, rope may be used as the main cable with ten metres or so of chain trace between it and the anchor.

At those remote anchorages where the anchor must be dropped into, or amongst, the actual coral, the Admiralty or similar cable is ideal.

Partly because of the easy weather and partly because of the quality of most holding grounds, there is no excuse for a dragging anchor anywhere in Papua New Guinea. It happened only once to me when in Raua Harbour, Bougainville, where I dropped the anchor fair and square into a rusty forty four gallon drum! This was discovered only feet from the reef on the other side of the harbour.

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