Next to the narrow entrance of English Harbour is a small and very popular anchorage. Anchoring in Freeman’s bay resembles French or Italian style parking: Drive in till your front bumper hits the back bumper of the car in front of you, reverse till your back bumper hits the front bumper of the car behind you. Continue like that until you are parked snug as a bug in a rug.
Exodus found a spot and was about to find out that it seems impossible to anchor in this area without being bumped at some stage.
At night when the wind picks up and currents start playing, the sardine can changes into a full on circus, with flashlights sweeping around, people shouting at each other, boats bumping, anchors lifting, ropes entangling. Monohulls and cats transformed in a spooky version of bumper carts.
The wind blows in narrow channels across the bay, pushing the different boat masses in different directions. Add to that sudden underwater surges, and ever changing currents and you end up doing 360 degrees circles while the boats a few metres further are lying dead still. It is quite eerie to see boats lying head to tail, scrambled, as currents start playing around.
This bay is definitely an ideal spot to observe the peculiar behaviours displayed over nationalities:
French sailors as a rule don’t seem to know what is going on. They have no concept of space. They love sailing with their Q-flag long after they have checked into the country. When you advise them on this specific anchor spot, they either pretend-listen and do as they please or they just give you the Gallic shrug, close all doors and do as they please.
An all-male outfit of Austrian young pensioners on a rental cat also means trouble. As there are no clear rules written anywhere on where and how they are allowed to anchor they are at a complete loss. Two possible outcomes: chaos and endless group discussion or do whatever. Drive over somebody else’s anchor, get tangled in the mooring buoy, in the neighbours’ stern anchor and smack into their boat.
English will invite you over for a cup of tea if the boats miss each other with a hair.
Cat drivers of all nationalities typically come and lie in the middle of the bay, cozily close to all the monohulls, not taking into account that with their bigger mass no ways all the boats will be moving in the same direction, therewith guaranteeing collision. They are the only ones that can lie close to the beach, but one consistently needs to point that out to them.
Especially the weekends are busy and you hear anchor chains rattling as boats desperately try to anchor on one spot after the other. It is quite common to see boats drive around the anchorage 5 times and being chased off one spot after the other…
One thing is for sure, there is never a dull moment in Freeman’s bay!