Got a call Monday from a Chesapeake Beach charter boat captain. He had lost a big Danforth anchor on Saturday when the rode broke while bringing anchor in. He planned to cut back a worn section of rode - but made one too many trips.
Only day I could get free was yesterday ( Tuesday ) and we agreed to meet around 11-12 and go out on his boat. Took my dive equipment to work and once done - headed south.
Got to Chesapeake Beach and saw whitecaps from steady north / northeast breeze. Predicted to lay down - my only concern was getting into boat if rough. Going over is easy
The captain and his son helped me load the tanks , marker jug and other gear onto a sweet 40 footer. The boat that lost anchor was one slip over. It had higher sides and not boarding ladder.
Talk about a nice dive platform. We headed out and found a 2 foot chop that got better once over on east side. We discussed the plan and soon were at the saved way point where anchor was lost.
Circled slowly and put on the marker in 30 feet of water. They explained how anchor rode broke as anchor was being pulled from bottom. This changed my search pattern - instead of a long 30 feet piece of chain to find - my target was now an anchor and pile of chain. We discussed at length where the saved way point was in relation to possible anchor position and moved marker jug about 50 feet to east.
The boat has a Lowrance side scan and we used it to " look " at bottom. Chop made it tricky but we saw a very likely target about 25 feet from jug. Appeared to be a jumble pile of chain - but easy to see what you are looking for in mind's eye.
Got geared up and went over - water was crisp at first but soon got used to it. Double checked everything and went down line to bottom. Water was some what clear - I could see 3-4 feet. Got to bottom and gave jug line 4-5 tugs. Guys pulled it up out of my way as I pushed a 4 foot metal stake deep into the mucky / sand bottom. Attached a reel with line and pulled off 5 feet to start a slow circle search.
Water clarity allowed me to see my compass and I started at north and swam counter clock wise. Once back to north on compass - I pulled off about two arm spans and went around again. Had some current - this made half the circle tough but other half was easy.
Round and round I went - each time getting to north - circle got bigger and took more time to complete. Noticed a small 7-8 inch fish sorta following me - turned light on it and was surprised to see it was a small Black Sea Bass. No mistake in identity - as it became my dive buddy - swimming tight along side me.
Had out about 40-50 feet of line when I spotted a short piece of rope at edge of vision. Let out extra line to reach it and saw chain - then the shank of anchor
. Got close and saw a doubler crab hiding in chain pile - hated to disturb the lovers but swished them out.
Pulled chain as I reeled in line - idea was to retrieve the metal stake. Got chain fairly tight but was short of stake. Clipped reel to it and swam along line to pull stake - then used line to find way back to chain. I carry two lift bag but knew they were no match for the anchor so I hooked one to the chain and inflated it. Up it went and I used it to slowly go up to surface. 30 feet of chain and 30 feet of water - lift bag was just barely at surface. Guys saw me and let down boat anchor and drifted back to me. Tossed me a 1/2 rope - I secured it to shackle.
They pulled it tight - I went back down to try and help free the anchor from where it had dug deep into sand. Put second lift bag on it and inflated - then dug sand away as best I could - but still anchor would not move. Came back up chain and swam away from boat - they cleated off rope and bumped boat forward. They got it free - they had to muscle the monster into boat.
One they had it - came back and picked me up. High fives at mission accomplished - captain pointed boat towards west as I got gear put away. Offered a cold beer - sure did not refuse - tasted so good.
We got back about 4 pm - they were going to get extra help to transfer the anchor to other boat. Captain had strained his back pulling it in - so I had to settle for photo of anchor on deck. Just for fun - I often take photo of recovered items with owner - posed with fingers in L shape.
Did not ask what it weighed - guessing 60 lbs or so. One thing - it sure holds bottom.