Cruising Logs: 2007 part 3.
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Understanding Chaussey

  In fact the cumulus disappeared , the sea breeze died , and just as we were resigned to finishing the passage under engine – a NE wind sprang up and gradually built so that by the time we were approaching the Islands , we had 22 knots of breeze and were sluicing along at 9 knots.

  At HW Springs , the outer approaches of the  North Channel into Chaussey appear be open water , so once the spi was out of the way I didn’t feel it necessary to drop the main . In good visibility the leading marks are superb – but the further in you get , the narrower the channel , and the less room you have to round up. As a result we charged through the moorings at 7 knots , dropped the main in the South entrance – and under rather more control proceeded to try and work out where to moor. It would have been more seamanlike to have slabbed a couple of reefs – or just come in under a small jib – but in fact it went well enough , as the Channel was very familiar from our last visit.

  But where should we  anchor? We had arrived at a difficult time  as night was falling ,  all the rocks were covered , and a strong weather going tide meant that some of the boats that had anchored were sailing their hooks out . On the other hand the moorings looked horrendous with up to 8 boats  abreast. Eventually we came alongside a British motorboat who had picked up  ( unbeknown to all of us) a fishing boat mooring and so had less of a crowd attached. Apart from a French boat who came alongside in the night having bent a stanchion in the bunfight at the mooring trots  , we spent a peaceful enough night , but resolved to search out a place to anchor the following day.

  Port Marie is a little Bay to the West of the Sound  , and with the wind still in the NE , we slipped out and anchored there in the morning , spending the day exploring the main Island on foot and identifying the best place to anchor in the Sound in the forecast NW wind . Sure enough , when the wind did change , Port Marie became fairly uncomfortable and at first light were ready to move – but as our anchor was underneath a French boat – we had to wait for them to wake up.

  Once moved however we were ready to explore , and slipped off into the eastern rocks in the kayak , searching for the main passages through the Eastern rocks and isles.. A short portage was required when the ebb tide left us stranded for a while – but we were soon away paddling though what initially seemed a deserted rockscape , except at each turn  we found a French boat at anchor , or dried out , their crews hunting for lunch on the rock pools and shallows . The North of the archipelago was open to the fresh NW  wind , but the kayak handled it well and eventually we rejoined the Northern end of Chaussey sound and turned gratefully downwind. We had made such good time that we were too early to cross the watershed so we slowed down and looked around. To our delight , up popped a seal who proceeded to entertain us by trying to swallow a large flat fish , and having finished that , came up to see if we would provide a desert! Eventually he tired of our company , but this still left a 2 hour wait for the tide – so we carried the kayak over the saddle and drifted back down to the boat.

  So , for future reference  , anchor overnight  at the southern end of the sound – or in Port Marie in a NE wind , and spend daylight low tides exploring round the archipelago. Unless you have the place to yourself, avoid the mooring trots!

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