I am not a liar
Anegada, the northern most island of the BVI, is known to be very shallow. Boats running aground in the area or worse, being wrecked here, is apparently quite common place. So much so that the island is considered off limits by many charter companies. After a beautiful sail to Anegada from Virgin Gorda in almost perfect conditions, we wanted to see just how shallow it really was.
That’s not exactly true but we did unintentionally test the limits of the shallow anchorage. After making our way through the long, marked entrance channel, I maneuvered One Love around the back of the mooring field to find a place to anchor. The water was reasonably clear and I could see the bottom. That is not always a good measure of the depth of the water though as we have many times been able to see the bottom in 30′ or more of water. The light was good, I was moving slowly and monitoring our depth gauge intently. Imagine my surprise when the boat abruptly stopped its forward motion when our depth gauge still read 6 feet!
There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground and those who lie about it. I am not a liar!
- Note: We were under the impression that the depth gauge had been calibrated to show the water under the keel. It was obviously off by at least 6′.
Without too much effort I was able to back One Love off the sandy bottom where she had lodged herself and following that, find a spot with a bit more water to anchor. Shortly after settling in I was eager to find out just how messed up our depth calculations were.
Using our portable handheld depth gauge we took readings adjacent to where the depth transducer is installed and found the water to be 8′ deep. As we typically like for the gauge to read the water under the keel, the display at the helm should have been reading 3.5 feet. Instead it was showing 10′, quite a difference! When I checked the setting I found that the installer had set the offset to a positive value instead of a negative one, resulting in that 7 foot discrepancy.
All is well now though, I have adjusted the settings to what we want them to be. If you’re going to find out that your depth gauge is not set properly, this is a relatively painless way to do it.
A good morning rainbow in Anegada