We anchored in Waddington Bay up in the Broughton Islands at the northern end of Vancouver Island. We were waiting out a forecasted 40 knot gale so we put all sorts of chain to help our anchor hold. The gale never did show up where we were at so we went to weigh anchor the next morning. As I'm running the windlass to pick up the chain, something ain't right. I brought in about 50 feet of chain before I discovered the problem.
No problem, I say. We'll just loop a line around the branch, make it fast on the deck cleats, slack the chain, free it and let go one end of the line. This branch will surely bother us no more.
HA HA HA, the branch seemed to say. You should definitely try that.
Predictably, my plan failed. We hauled more chain in on the windlass to shed some light on the situation.
At this point we discovered two more problems. The first problem is that this is not a "branch". It would be more accurate to call it a "tree". The second problem is that our anchor chain has braided itself around, under, through, between and amongst every one of the several branches of this tree. Adding to the fun, one of the branches has jammed itself between our bobstay and hull. So plan B became, get a bunch of lines on the tree, lean precariously over the rail trying to de-tangle the chain with boat poles while fending off the tree that kept wanting to clobber the boat and us and hopefully not fall in the water. Then let all the lines go in some sort of order where the tree doesn't end up tangled in the chain again and doesn't drag one of us down with it.
After a couple hours of screwing around, we finally got the anchor chain free and let the tree drop down to the bottom where it will lie in wait for the next fool to anchor on top of it in Waddington Bay.
(Epilogue: The windlass that came with the boat when we bought it was pretty undersized for the ground tackle we put on the boat. It finally shit the bed last year so we installed a new windlass. I bought one that was altogether overkill (a Maxwell VW1500) for what we needed but it was only incrementally more expensive. As the windlass pulled in the chain with this tree attached, the bow of the boat dropped down in the water. Never once did the windlass slow down or even sound strained. I am now officially a giant fan of this Maxwell windlass and couldn't recommend it more highly. It has also proved it's worth hauling in 400' of prawn trap line with another tree wrapped in it and our anchor chain which caught on lines from an old fish pen in Turnbull Cove. The moral of the story - if you're gonna buy a windlass for the northwest, buy a gigantic one.)
50° 43.0'N 126° 36.951'W