Ever get one of those feelings that sits in your gut a little heavy….signalling something’s not quite right…. but you dismiss it…. Instead you assume it’s last night’s dinner, exhaustion, complacency or perhaps just your own inexperience causing you to doubt your intuition? But you realise at the end of it all, with inevitable muttering of “I knew it” that your intuition is not to be messed with in any way! Lesson learned I tell you.

Having been joined for the weekend by one of Ralph’s friends (Teresa) we set of for nearby Hook Island and decided to attempt our first overnight anchorage at Nara Inlet. After a cruisy (no pun intended) couple of hours with light winds and Hafskip bobbing along at four and a half knots we arrived and sought a spot to hang out.

Armed with our newly acquired second anchor we entered the inlet and spied a very cute little private beach…white sand, turquoise water, etc. Idyllic eh?...idyllic aside from the frigging reef. Frigging reefs have a nasty habit of lying along the coast line, they expose themselves at low tide, but at high tide they can lie just below the surface with only an emerald green shadow as a clue to their whereabouts.

As we turned into this delightful little spot Ralph went forward to get our anchor ready to be released the depth sounder flashed briefly yet alarmingly, but unfortunately I wasn’t in tune with it enough to know what it meant… All I could register was “This just doesn’t feel right”.

At the bow Ralph was busy getting his fingers caught in the anchor chain…he was extremely lucky not to have lost them...but he did mush a couple of them!.. Sheesh if that was me I would have been rolling around in pain, but not Ralph…he stayed up there until we got that Anchor down….right over a reef!... I tell you…next time that depth sounder flashes I’m onto it!!

Having cut the engine, it was time to get into the water and check out the situation and following a brief snorkel (very pretty fish down there) the anchor could be seen clearly fouled by a large piece of coral and our rudder was lightly resting on top of another…bugger…what to do?

Time to get the dive gear out and have our first dive…..

So out came all the brand new gear (our first opportunity to get them wet)… and Ralph with his throbbing, bloody fingers and I hopped in leaving Teresa on shark watch (Nara Inlet is noted as a Hammerhead breeding ground), and given she spent most of the time taking photographs of our anchor retrieval operation I’m pretty sure we would have had great photos of any shark feeding activity.

I wasn’t much help in the process really, poor Ralph did most of the lifting and untangling craftily using his BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) to help lift and move the 45 pound anchor…bloody amazing effort really when you consider his mushed fingers!!

Once free of the coral and certain we could do no damage we hightailed it outta there further into the inlet, found a nice, soft, muddy spot with about 7 metres under the keel and laid out our anchor….easily this time, no drama, no blood and no friggin’ reefs!