The Mast-Head: Old Iron Anchors

We were able to raise what turned out to be a massive iron anchor from the sand

   A story that popped up in the last week, about an old anchor hauled up by some members of the Lester clan while they were fishing in the ocean off Amagansett, reminded me of a similar find my family made quite some years ago.
    It probably was in the mid-1970s. My father had restored an old menhaden fishery striker boat, putting a long-shaft Seagull outboard on the back so we could putt around Gardiner’s Bay.
    One day, someone (I can’t remember who) noticed what looked like an anchor on the bottom in a couple of feet of water. Some time later, using the striker boat and the lifting power of a rising tide, we were able to raise what turned out to be a massive iron anchor from the sand. Slowly, we ran the boat, with the anchor slung underneath it, to the beach in front of our house.
    There, the anchor rested for years — all five feet and a couple hundred pounds of it. It would be exposed by storms, then buried by sand, then exposed again. We figured it was being preserved this way; had it been left exposed it would have rusted to nothingness quickly. Then, one winter, it was gone.
    Subsequent heavy erosion never revealed it, leading me to conclude that someone with one heck of a strong back and a big truck had noticed it and decided to take it home. I think about that anchor every now and then, and wonder where it ended up.
    It has been a long time since anything as interesting has appeared around the bay, the result, I assume, of the fact that Promised Land’s fish-processing plant ceased operation years ago. Lately, the rusted things in the water are likely to be steel fence stakes. And, ever since Hurricane Sandy-related dune-restoration efforts, I have found bits of asphalt washed out from what passes for sand these days.
    I keep looking, of course, because there is good stuff still out there. Or at least I hope.