There we were, in La Gomera, snorkeling around the anchorage looking at all the little fishies, when on the bottom we saw an anchor lying sideways that didn’t appear to be attached to a boat.
After diving down, looking for chain, and taking a picture we decided that it must have been dropped at some point? And who knows, maybe this is a free anchor for us? It’s certainly not set as it should be (in the correct orientation).
(Yes while writing this now we can see the 3 links of anchor chain just covered by sand)
We went back to the boat to prepare to try and retrieve it, bringing back the dinghy, a bouy and ropes etc.
After another dive down to ~10 meters we had a rope around the anchor, however just as we attached it we lifted the anchor revealing the chain attached to it. (sadface)
After a more thorough investigation, this anchor was indeed attached to a boat, however, the boat was much further away than we were expecting for the depth (they must have had lots of chain out), and was not in the direction you would expect it to be (the anchor was pointing the wrong way and the chain running back underneath it).
The conclusion here is that they anchored by dumping their anchor and a bunch of chain as fast as possible, never really pulled back on it to set it properly. So rather than dug in, it just lay at an odd angle on the surface.
For comparison, this is what our anchor looks like while set…
Note you can barely see it, as most of it is beneath the sand.
We had to dive down once again to remove the ropes! No free anchor for us, but also glad we didn’t actually pull it up at all…
Make sure you set your anchor!!!! Otherwise 1) you might drift off and 2) We might come and try to steal it
You can read more about setting an anchor on WikiHow (but I am sure there are better resources).
6. Use your engine to give the anchor a final hard set.
This is called snubbing the anchor, and jams a set anchor more firmly into the bottom. Have your helmsman reverse hard until the rode straightens out, then kill the engine.How to Anchor a Boat – WikiHow
Check your bearings again as your helmsman does this, to double check the anchor hasn’t pulled free.