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Moorings near Boddam Island, Salomon Atoll, BIOT

By SY Adina — last modified Aug 01, 2016 01:54 PM

Published: 2016-07-28 23:00:00
Countries: BIOT (Chagos)

Moorings near Boddam Island, Salomon Atoll, BIOT

Coral heads seen at low tide off Boddam Island

These notes are based on the experiences of yachts visiting BIOT in 2016.

The area designated for yachts anchoring near Boddam Island within the Salomon Atoll is classified by BIOT as “Southwest of a line between Iles Diable & Poule 05 21.05S 72 12.51E / 05 21.45 72 13.17E”. Anchoring is NOT recommended as the bottom is coral. There are several coral outcrops (bommies) which have moorings on them, set-up by yachts based here in previous years. Should all of these moorings be used you will need to find a suitable bommie and make up your own mooring using chain and rope.

It is important you arrive with the sun behind you or above you and have one person keeping a good lookout. There are numerous large coral heads and at low tide some can be seen just above the water. The use of satellite images to help you plot a route to the mooring area is recommended.

Advice on mooring:

On arrival tie your boat to any existing rope or chain as a temporary measure, keeping watch while you work to ensure the mooring is secure.

Dive to check the mooring.

Note: the moorings are generally shallow enough to free dive, but if yours is a deeper one you will need scuba gear – strictly speaking the use of scuba kit is prohibited, but you would hope BIOT officials would understand the need to safely secure your boat.

In 2016 we found that more often than not the chains around the bommies were in good condition. However, the chain leading from the bommie towards the surface (i.e. the buoyed chain or lead) was often in POOR condition. You need to check for any chain that has corroded or is thin. Most yachts attached new chain they had brought with them on points where the existing chain was still good and lead this up. Or, if the chain had thinned in parts they used new chain and shackles to make loops of chain to bypass the weak sections. Any existing rope should be treated with the greatest degree of scepticism. Ideally you should add your own lines. You will need shackles to attach your lines to the chain and many people simply left these behind on departure by slipping their lines. Ideally use your own shackles to be sure of their strength.

You should ensure you are secured to a second chain wrapped around a bommie as a back-up. Many yachts use their own spare chain for this – usually 10-15m will do the trick, ideally use at least 10mm thick chain. Attach a large shackle to one end of the chain and lead the other end around the bommie and back through the shackle forming a loop. Attach another shackle to the free end of the chain for buoying the chain using a float and one towards the end of the chain for a line to be attached to. You can then lead a line through this shackle and back to a secure place on-board. Ensure there is enough chain leading up to clear the bommie, or your line will chafe against the coral. There are plenty of fishing buoys in the ‘yacht club’ ashore which you can use to help float the chain.

Each day check your rope/chain. Independent lines will tangle when the wind shifts. You will be surprised how easily your lines can chafe!

You may see black tip reef sharks but they won’t bother you (hopefully).

When you leave, tidy your mooring, aim to leave it in good condition for the next visitor!

Positions of Bommies with chain/lines

05 21.226S / 072 12.489E
Three different bommies with chains around each. The first yacht here in 2016 used one chain on an existing bommie and laid a new 10mm chain around another bommie which they left in place when they departed. They shackled these two chains together and buoyed the chain. Shackles were attached and two different lines, one from each chain, were lead back to the boat. The ropes were left behind but had chafed so the second yacht here in 2016 separated the chains and using a shackle on each chain added new mooring lines and lead them back to the boat. The downside is the lines had to be checked each day as with the wind swinging they would twist around each other.
Depth 6m.

05 21.319S /  072 12.630E
Chain around bommie plus rope to an attached submerged float. Yacht here in 2016 used this and added their own chain. They used two lines up to two separate pick-up buoys.

05 21.160S / 072 12.574E
12mm chain around bommie leading up to a rope float. Chain worn on lead up to boat so as a back-up the yacht here in 2016 shackled a piece of 8mm chain to the part that is worn. Two shackles added to end of chain and lead own lines from these to the boat.

05 21.344S / 072 12.498E
Mooring is around a bommie in 5m of water but swings to an area of 3.5m. Yacht here in 2016 added a shackle to an existing 10mm chain 1m beyond the worn end and looped new 8mm chain around two existing wraps of chain on the bommie. There is a shackle on the end of this chain which will take a 13mm rope.

05 21.194S / 072 12.469E
12-15mm chain around bommie. Loop of 9mm chain attached to that as a lead. Two separate ropes added to lead in 2016 - one is 19mm samson braid and one is 16mm 3-strand. One other chain there as a lead, but links have worn and should not be used.

05 21.16S / 072 12.5E
Several chains around bommie with two chains leading to surface with old floating buoys. Yacht here in 2016 added a shackle to each chain and lead own lines from these to the boat.
Depth 6m.

05 21.253S / 072 12.644E
Large bommie but no chain. Yacht here in 2016 dropped anchor to the side of the bommie and with two people in the water guiding the way steered the boat to wrap the chain around the bommie twice and then shackled the chain back onto the chain leading from the anchor. A snubber was added. You would need at least 25m of chain to make your own mooring on the bommie. Total of 60m was used to go around twice and up to the yacht.
Depth 12m.

Tom Partridge and Susie Plume
Yacht Adina
www.yachtadina.co.uk

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