Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lost race buoy search and rescue.

 I guess we were having too much fun after the race as I forgot to pick up the race buoy.  About 5:30AM I bolted awake thinking ohh %*!% I hope the buoy didn't float away in the night.  It was still dark, so at first light I looked over toward where the buoy should be and much to my dismay it was gone.
The weather was pretty bad with frequent squalls and bucketing rain, regardless we needed to find the $300 buoy that went walkabout on my watch.  We hoisted sail resolved to the fact that we might need to circumnavigate the entire inside of Majuro lagoon during our search, a 40nm mile endeavor.  The wind direction was perfect to carry the light weight float the entire length of the 20nm long lagoon.   As we got under-way we started texting and emailing everyone we knew who lived on the downwind side of the lagoon.  Karen on s/v Seal contacted the local radio station and sent out additional email and text messages, a full fledged search was under-way.   Within a few hours a sighting was reported by Pete Metclaf.  I called up Pete and he could still see the buoy in the middle of the lagoon and gave us us a good fix.  

By this time LightSpeed was 3 miles downwind searching the shoreline, so we dropped sail and began to motor directly upwind searching intermittently between intense squalls or blinding rays of early morning sunlight.  Based on Pete's good line of position report from shore we were able to spot the buoy at 2nm with the binoculars, but then would lose it in squalls.
Kathy retrieving the buoy, apparently the anchor line chafed through on something sharp.  So, our next mission is to find our dinghy anchor. Owing to the fact that Karen on Seal works for the Marshall Islands Journal, I'm pretty sure she'll find this news worthy:)