I want to conclude the Bahamas Adventure with the Christmas Disaster

But before I tell the rest of the story of the summer Canada trip, in which there will be midnight dives, midnight docking, 12 knot currents, flying trawlers, flying people, swinging booms, crushing dinghies, crashing seas, the bureaucracies of the world at their best, BoatUS on the edge, Canadian customs, the ever vigilant USCG, pilot ships, thunderstorms, rain, ships passing in the night, lobster pots, lobsters, big tides and of course fog, fog and more fog.

I want to conclude the Bahamas Adventure with another lesson learned and disaster narrowly averted.

Christmas Eve, My crewmate, Chantal, and I returned to Bayshore Marina in Nassau.  She would be leaving to visit her parents the next day and I would be picking up Julie and two of our friends, Karen and Jason, who were coming back for more adventure, having shared some of the shenanigans of Maine this past summer.

The trade winds had continued to blow steadily out of the East and ESE at 15 to 22 knots for the entire week.  They were forecast to continue the next few days, so I decided to use the following seas they would produce and head to Andros Island.  Overall course would be WSW, so the winds and seas would be just off our stern and provide a great ride, as Dauntless loves having her rear end goosed.

I had already noticed and thought about two issues, two yellow, if not red flags. The first being the lack of anchorages in the area we were heading for and the second being that no one ever mentioned cruising to Andros island.  Everyone talked about the Abacos, the Exumas, Nassau, etc.  here was this big island, just 45 miles west, whose only redeeming value was that they produced much of the fresh water for Nassau.  Furthermore, looking at our planned anchorage, it would require an hour long threading of a narrow, unmarked channel.  I would use my very accurate, so far, Explorer Charts, and my Navionics app on my Samsung Note, as well as the Navionics chart on my Raymarine Chart plotter (6 years old data).  I felt confident that we could handle whatever came our way.

But I figured we would be getting off the beaten track. How bad could it be?

What was I thinking?
What was I thinking?

So Christmas Day starts out rosy and pink.  Beautiful sunrise, we get underway, backing up out of the marina, everything ship shape.  I had even written out and gone over some new household procedures with our guests, since a few things had changed since the summer.  I was feeling very organized and experienced!

Hubris.

First hour, we have to head SE to get around New Providence island (the island Nassau is on), it’s a bit of a rough ride with 3 to 4 foot seas rolling the boat 10° to 20°. But after an hour we turned southwest and the ride totally smoothed out.  A little after noon, we reached Tongue of the Ocean, where the water went from the Bahamas depth of 10 to 20 feet to over 4,000 ft. deep.

I took this opportunity to stop the boat, putting her in neutral.   The month before, I had taken a similar opportunity to take a swim.  Any thoughts of swimming quickly evaporated as dauntless broached (waves turning the boat perpendicular to the waves) within two minutes with a vicious roll almost 40 degrees.  As I used the wheel to pull myself up, I quickly put her in gear and pushed the throttle up to get steerage back.  No damage done, a little lesson learned.

Our charts indicated a very narrow marked (with pilings) channel extending ¼ mile due east of the Island, after which we would turn south and thread our way another 45 minutes south to an indicated anchorage at ———-

We did this, arriving at our planned anchorage about 4 p.m., about an hour before sunset.  Andros Island has a reef protecting much of the east side.  We had worked our way south, with the Island about ¼ mile to our west and the reef, indicated by a line of angry breakers, about ¼ mile to the east.

Seas had built to 4 to 6 feet out of the east.  The period was relatively short, about 6 seconds, but we were protected now by the reef and just had some small chop, though with continued strong easterly winds to contend with at anchorage.

Christmas Sunset over Andros Island. What you can't see the island, ...
Christmas Sunset over Andros Island.
What you can’t see the island, …

After getting the anchor set, letting out 100 ft. of chain in only 6 ft. deep water, I didn’t like what I was seeing.  In the Exumas, we were normally anchored just west of the cay.  The cay would protect us from the wind and waves and the beach would be very close, sometimes within 100 feet of white sand and blue, clear water.  I wasn’t seeing that here.  Instead, even though the reef protected us from the large waves, there was a surface chop that made the water turbulent.  The Island also was far away, maybe a half a mile, though the shallow water was very close.  Lastly, we were in a narrow channel, the wind was strong out of the east and to the west of us was shallow water and the island itself.  In other words, if we dragged anchor, we would be on the beach before I could ever say, WTF?

We had dinner, watched another pretty sunset and at 7 p.m. two hours after our initial anchoring, as I am finishing my glass of wine, I look at the window and to my dismay, I see we’re dragging, slowly for sure, but dragging none the less.

I call everyone to Action Stations.  Fire up the engine, decide where we need to be, haul anchor, move to the new spot, drop the anchor, set it, and wait.  It’s not holding.  We try again.  No luck.  And now, our situation is made even more uncomfortable, as we are sitting perpendicular to the wind, producing a yawing motion.  While not terrible, I figure let’s try an experiment, let’s put out a stern anchor!  With my motto being, there is a first time for everything, we talked it over and while we did not need a stern anchor, it wouldn’t hurt to try it now.

We did, and after an hour of moving, fiddling and other hijinks, we came to the conclusion that it was a waste of time.  Luckily, through foresight, luck, the gods or all three, it turned out to be relatively easy to retrieve (I am sparing you the gory details, but suffice it to say, this was an hour long production).

So, it’s 9 p.m., dark, windy and I’m ready for bed.  45 minutes later, the anchor alarm (Drag Queen) goes off. I just up, even bother to put on pants, start the engine and for the third time move the boat. I’m back in bed at 10 p.m.  Before even closing my eyes, as I think about the past few hours, I realize that Dauntless has moved roughly a foot a minute ever since we got here, so in one hour, we will again have moved 60 feet and what am I going to do then?

I screwed this pooch and there is only one answer.

Things that Go Bump in the Middle of the Night

Are Never Good.

This was written while recovering from an interesting experience.  One that I would hope not to repeat, but alas, one does not always get what one wants or even deserves!

The following was written July 18th, 2013 off of Jewell Island, Maine.

Just a few posts ago; I made the comment that learning takes work. So I had another learning experience last night.

Jewell Island Overhead July 2013
Jewell Island Overhead July 2013

The scene, I was anchored in the cove west of Jewell Island, there is also a spit of land to the west, making the cove about ½ mile long, but only 400 to 500 ft. wide.  The channel is considerably narrower and is probably less than 120 ft. wide.

This was my second night anchored in the same spot.  I actually stayed at this location because my anchor seemed well anchored.  Winds had been blowing 10 to 20 kts from the south, which is the same as the cove orientation (N –S).  I had about 90 ft. of chain out in about 6 ft. of water on a falling tide at this point.

1st red flag I ignored, about 12 hours earlier, about mid-way between high going to low tide, a sailboat anchored just to the SW of me and I asked him how much water he had where he was and he said, 8 ft., while at that time I only had 5 ft.  (I ignored it because I had been here for almost 24 hours already).

2nd red flag I ignored, there were 6 sailboats anchored in cove, spaced pretty evenly, and in line, but I was actually about one boat length (40 to 50 ft.) east of their anchor line.  But again, I had held well, so decided not to move a little more to the center (I was off center by about 50 ft.)

Line of other boats
Line of other boats

Just after dinner, I noticed a strong line of thunderstorms, associated with a cold front, moving from the WNW to the ESE just west of Portland.  Some spectacular lightning for about an hour.  Not knowing what to expect, but understanding there could be ferocious winds, I decided to start my main engine and stay up for the squall line’s passage.  Winds were strong, 20 kts out of the south and under those conditions, Dauntless seems to like oscillating between SE and SW, with half the time due South.

Much rain, lightning and then clearing skies right after.  The winds went calm. This was only a yellow flag. So about 11:00 p.m. I head for bed.  Anchor alarm set, I had it set for 80 ft., a little less than usual, (I usually use 120 ft.). I’m reading in bed about midnight, when I hear a noise, like a small bang from the deck above me (master cabin is forward).  But there was still some residual thunder around and thought maybe that what I heard.

3rd red flag ignored, Investigate all strange noises, immediately.

4th red flag…About 10 minutes later, my water bottle fell over.  What did I do? NOTHING. I figured I had put it on the counter too precariously.

Within about 5 minutes the boat like just fell over, listing about 25° I almost fell out of bed.  Hooray, I didn’t ignore this one.

I had trouble getting to the pilot house, felt like I was on a sailboat again. Dauntless was tilted to port about 25° increasing to almost 30° within 30 minutes.  I was too panicked to do anything about that though.  When I had grounded before, it was always symmetrical.  Clearly this time, I had some higher, harder ground right under the keel, so the boat flopped over.  I thought about what thru hulls I had on the now underwater port side, only the two head sinks. I went to close them and noticed smoke coming from the 120v outlet on the counter top. I felt the smoke, it was hot. I immediately turned off the inverter and then turned off all the 120v breakers. Smoke stopped and then I realized the outlet was half under water.

Went to other head, but no issues. I closed the thru hulls anyway.  Checked the bilge, thankfully no real water flowing, though some water was coming in seam under sink in midships head.  A trickle that was moving to forward bilge.

Finally, Dauntless seemed not to be increasing its list anymore. A few things in the galley went crashing, including a jar of instant coffee, which turned out to make more of a mess than anything else.

I took off what little clothes I had on and decided to walk around the boat, looking for any damage, on the outside.  Port side, my deck scuppers were just under water, there was only about 2 feet of water. Rudder seemed ok; prop was not in the mud, as I could turn it. (Did notice a nickel sized gouge in one blade), But at least the keel seemed to be protecting the prop and rudder.  Walked around stern, to starboard side, water here was about 4 feet deep.  Decided to use this opportunity to clean out two thru hulls that I thought may have been clogged for the last few weeks.  Felt good about that.

Crawled back into boat, dried myself off and wedged myself onto couch to wait to see what would happen next.  Low tide was just about here at this point, 12:45 a.m. at nearby island.  But now I had time to think. Who should I call, it was after midnight? I could call my wife, but then I would just worry her. I had enough worry for both of us.  I could call some other boat friends, but do they understand rounded full displacement hull shapes? I could call a few people who know Krogen’s, but then why wake them up? The situation was not getting any worse.  I could call BoatUS, but if they send someone out, they’ll just say let’s wait for the tide to return.

So I just worried. I was really calm on the outside, but inside I kept trying to envision the reason the boat was so listed and therefore what would happen as the tide started to come back in.  I remember reading a story of a sail boat in Alaska that was grounded in a similar way, but as the water came back up, the engine room ventilator came under water and the boat filled with water before it could right itself.  I started to worry irrationally that maybe the boat would just roll totally on its side. I realized that that would take some lifting force on the right side to happen and it made more sense that the port side would lift as the water came back and that Jim Krogen actually knew how to design a boat that would not turn turtle at the first opportunity.

I probably feel asleep for 45 minutes, and then when I awoke, I thought the list was the same, it certainly wasn’t worse and the tide had turned.  The beach was only 6 feet from the window at this point so every 5 minutes I tried to look at the same rock to see if there any difference.  About 2 a.m. I thought to download the inclinometer for my phone, did so, and measured a 25° list (I had guessed about that between 20 and 30).

At this point I checked the list about every 5 minutes and it was clearly getting better by about 1° every 5 to 10 min. Sure enough, by about 3 a.m. 2 hours after Low tide, the list was about 10°. By 4 a.m., it was close to normal and I decided to start the engine.  I did and noticed the exhaust was still about a few inches higher than normal, in other words the keel was still resting on something.

About 4:30 a.m. I decided it was time to do something.  I decided to not use the prop, just in case, but to use the windlass to pull me towards center channel. It worked.  Whenever the tension on the chain became a lot, I let it rest as the boat pulled forward. Once I could tell that boat was totally floating and had moved about 30 feet, I used the engine to move mid channel.

But now I had another problem.  I was surrounded on two sides by these dark sail boats that only had small anchor lights 50 ft. in the air.  A number of times as I tried to set my anchor, I was worried about backing into one of these boats. I thought that I better not make a bad situation worse by hitting another boat. So now was not the time to get giddy and make a bad problem far worse by hitting someone.

I took my time, shined my hand held spotlight on other boats a lot and 45 minutes later I finally got my anchor to set where I thought would be good.

I had good water and at 5 a.m. I went to sleep.  Getting up at 9, I noticed one of the sail boats leaving and I spent another 30 minutes moving to a better location where I was clearly in the middle of the channel.

Now, just after low tide, I still have 8 ft. under the boat, not 5.

In hindsight, besides the warning signs I ignored above, I think this occurred because since I had first anchored here, the winds were southerly, sometimes weak, sometimes strong, but pretty consistent, so Dauntless pretty much stayed parallel to the shore and although I was near the side of the channel; I was still in the channel.  Then, after the storm front moved thru, the winds went a little westerly, but then died.  I went to bed thinking that calm was good, but instead, it allowed the boat to move towards shore, without setting off the anchor alarm. The bow was still pointed to the middle of the channel, but my keel was now over the beach essentially.

Now, the boat’s all cleaned up and I’ll go to sleep early tonight.  I love this spot. I soaked in the water off the swim platform after cleaning the boat to cool off.

I think happy hour just started too.

Science News & the Miami Boat Show

How are they related?science news cover

https://www.sciencenews.org/

Julie recently sent the following email to her science teachers:

Hi science team, 

I just spent 45 minute reading new discoveries about the following: 

  • How sleep “flushes” out the brain
  • New research in progenia, a disease that prematurely ages children 
  • How molecules in 1% of our exhaled breath can diagnose certain diseases
  • A pink fairy armadillo that is almost impossible to find
  • Earth might not be inhabitable in 1.75 billion years
  • The primordial comet ISON 
  • New “robot” limbs for paraplegics that are controlled by human thoughts

I could go on– there was more and it was all in Science News.  I truly enjoyed it, and I remembered Richard telling me many times that he thinks all science teachers should read this magazine.  He has subscribed for years, and as an earth science and physics teacher, he said that the background knowledge he gained from it allowed him to teach a range of content he otherwise could not have handled if he had only relied on his meteorology degree.  

To you– a group of young, inspired teachers at the beginning of your careers– I passionately recommend that you personally subscribe to Science News.  It’s very important that nourish your sense of wonder and fascination and discovery that will not get fed unless you intentionally feed it.  Start nourishing your passion early and don’t for wait a fictional future when you think you’ll have more time, or teaching will get easier.  Think of this year not as a hump to get over, but as the beginning of an ever-expanding possibility to have fun, feel fulfilled, and learn with your students.  Now is when you need to be reading and having fun.  Set the precedent now to be a science teacher who loves science.  

Why Science News?  Because it is truly a “digest”– it engagingly summarizes articles from hundreds of science journals.  It is a blast to read.  

And if this inspires you to go even further and subscribe to more magazines, and seek more professional development and events about science, including those closer to your subject area, wonderful.  Gorge yourself on reading fun things about science, math, history– it’s all related.  You have inspired me to write this to you, and I will call out similarly to other departments.  

Ciao, enjoy this break!

Yes, I still love reading Science News, even though now it is a bi-weekly. Maybe once I get my tablet, I will get over the loss of my weekly treat.

So, I spent a full day at the Miami Boat Show. As opposed to boat shows I have attended in the past, this one was business for me as I have a number of upgrades and changes that I want to get accomplished this spring before our Atlantic Passage in July.

Among the changes I am thinking about, planning or getting done:

  • Paravanes (flopper stoppers), being fabricated now in Miami
  • Wallas DT40 Diesel heater
  • Bicycle for me to use in my travels
  • Isolation transformer to convert 220V to 110 V
  • K-30 Pentax Camera + zoom to be able to take better pictures and restart that old hobby
  • High capacity alternator, so I also have a spare
  • SSB HF radio
  • Coastal Explorer great looking navigation software
  • AIS Transponder, so you guys can track me and hopefully big ass ships will see me and not run us over
  • AIS and VHF Ant, old VHF Ant is broken in any case
  • Captain’s license , can’t hurt and I will learn something I probably need to know
  • Fridge and Freezer, it’s between two Italian companies, Isotherm and Vitrifrigo, which will cut my daily power consumption my two thirds, making life on the hook better without the generator.  Also will be adding
  • Solar Panels on top of Pilot House
  • Rogue Wi-Fi.  So I have more choices for internet connectivity
  • Village Water Watermaker
  • Samsung Tablet will become third backup (actually my fourth, but who’s counting) and let me bring it with me wherever to monitor boat functions and its movements.

So, as you can see, I have my work cut out for me.  Luckily, I have a lot of help in some really good friends, Paul, here in Miami, Richard from Providence (no, not me, another Richard) and Dave in Ft. Pierce, who is a true master of electrical and boat systems.

So, how are Science News & the Miami Boat Show related?  For both Julie and I, it has always been about learning and putting systems in place that lead to better teacher teams for Julie and increased efficiently for Dauntless and I.

Also, feel free to email me at DauntlessNY@gmail.com should you have any comments or questions.

Some pictures of the last few days, mostly of the Miami River taken yesterday and the Coconut Grove area can be found at:

Winter in Miami

Crossing the Gulf Stream

 Rocking and Rolling

 Last day of January 2014 – Dollar Harbour to Florida

Dollar harbour anchorage turned out to one of the best of my whole Bahamas Adventure.  Due to the strong current the boat was rock steady all night, though it did do a 180° in the middle of the night.

Wind is out of the SSE, 15-22 knots.  On weather, I pretty much only look at the NWS products and even at that, I use them a guide, but…  For example, the product I’ve been using here is:

AMZ001, with the subset AMZ117 BAHAMAS INCLUDING CAY SAL BANK, while relatively general, for today, E to SE winds 15 to 20 kts, seas 6 – 8 ft. Atlc exposures and 3-5 ft. elsewhere.

While relatively general, I like this product because it does not imply significance, in either specific time or location, that cannot be reasonably forecast,

The winds are actually SSE, so I probably won’t be able to maintain my desired course of 281° (with the GS pushing me north, the resultant COG would be 301°), which would land me at Miami.

15 minutes later I’m pounding into 4-6 ft. waves from the SSE.  I want to get well clear of the wedge rocks before I try to go W or NW.

Turning thru 270° Dauntless is rolling 25° on each side of vertical.  Not tenable.  I settle on WNW, 300° heading. This gives me a following sea 30 to 40° off my stern, tolerable.  I estimate (using my handy Clinometer app) that most of the rolls are on either side of 10 °, but 1/3 of the rolls are 15 to 18° and 1/9 of the rolls are 25-28°. I take a Cinnizine (Stugeron), thanks Dutch friends for bringing it.

Dauntless' Tracks Outbound and Return
Dauntless’ Tracks Outbound and Return

I also am reassured that should the conditions get worse for any reason, I do have a number of alternatives: I could head further north, as the Krogen does extremely well in a following sea or I could abort and head NNE to Bimini.

Four hours later, I am about in the middle of the Gulf Stream, I had increased speed to 2000 rpms, the most I have pushed my Lehman for any length of time, but with a speed over ground of about 9.2 knots, it does make the ride better.  The seas have been 6 to 8 feet; I hand steered a while and did discover that my hand steering I could almost keep a course as low as 280, BUT it’s a lot of work, so I have adjusted the autopilot a few times and discovered that I can set it to react well to those largest waves. Once I understood that the ComNav Autopilot manual is really poorly written, in that they use poor analogies.  Instead of explaining exactly what a certain adjustment actually does, they simplify too much.  Many companies do this, but they don’t understand their customers.  Meaning, those customers that will take the time to read their 3 inch think operating manual could use the exact description, instead they dumb it down, but dumb people won’t even read it in the first place.

So in trying to figure out what they really mean, for example Counter Rudder, seems to be an exponential function and in this case, by increasing it to almost max, Dauntless is able to react to large waves that want to pull the bow up (broach) faster than I can do it myself, and in fact, is more consistent.  So, the last few hours are actually easier, then also, as I got to the west of the main GS, the waves have diminished a bit to 4 to 6 ft.

By 16:00 I am entering the Port Everglades ship channel.  My crossing is done and our Bahamas adventure is over.

All’s Well that Ends Well.

As I get caught up with my postings, you will notice a mixture of tense.  Please bear with me as some things are written just as they happen, some after the fact, some before the fact and some not at all.

My current plan is to also post some pictures directly with the blog, but also to make a link for all the pictures for a given trip.  I’m also working on the duplication issue, so bear with me.

I’ve also uploaded some short videos of this crossing at http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public/

Richard on Dauntless currently in Coconut Grove

How I almost Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory or When a Shortcut, Isn’t!

Chubb Cay to Dollar Harbour, 30 January 2014, Thursday,

It’s Oh Dark Thirty, really, 3:00 a.m.  If I want to get to Cat Cay today, it’s 76 nm @ 6.5 knots, that’s 12 hours, plus the usual hour of hijinks, so I either leave now or drive in the dark. Since for the first few hours this morning I can follow the route I took back in December, it’s better for me to leave now in the darkness, but on a known route.  I also can’t wait to try my new driving lights, but as there is nothing in front of me, I don’t see anything.

Hauled anchor, at 3:45 a.m. and am now underway.  I’m very close to the cold front.  Forecasters had it between Florida and Bimini, but the winds switched around last night to the NW meaning it or part of it, passed thru, however, as I get underway, I notice the winds are again from the SE and I can sense buildups just to my west.  Sure enough, in about an hour, I am going thru heavy rain for about half an hour.  Once again I am passed the front, hopefully this time for good. (Sadly, was not the case and the third time, was at the most critical time.) As the sun came up at 6:30, the very light NW winds just caused barely a ripple on the ocean.  Good cruising weather.

I picked up a hitchhiker for about half an hour.

A Tern Takes a Ride
A Tern Takes a Ride

Been anchored here in Dollar harbor (thanks to Active Captain) 30 minutes, since 17:15, a 14 hour day,  just got out of the shower and now, finally It’s Miller Time, but I’m having stiff drink.  As my mother would say, a highball.

So let’s go back to the videotape. The plan worked well. Would have worked even better had I remembered to look at my Explorer Chart Book of the Bahamas, which was three feet away on the chart table in front of my face all f…day.  (the downside of getting up at 3 a.m.?)

So all was going well.  By leaving so early, the seas were flat for the first 9 hours, it wasn’t till early afternoon that the southerly waves picked up in the shallow water west of the tongue of the ocean.  Small waves about a foot, but once in a while they would hit the boat strangely and cause a disconcerting thump.  I’m making good time too, 1600 rpms, but averaging 7 knots.

At this point, it’s midafternoon and I’m only about 10 nm Southeast of the Cat Cay lighthouse, and I am following the exact route I took coming out, but am wondering why I took that route as it seems a little off from what my Navionics charts are saying.  Especially when I got to the real shallow area that I had come straight thru last month.  Shallow, so cruising slowly for an hour, like 5 kts, with only 1 to 3 feet under the keel.  Luckily, as the water got skinny, I made sure I was exactly on that track, though I did test it, by going north and south of the track to see if it improved. It didn’t.  OK, so I get thru that part and now I’m 3 nm SE of the lighthouse, but it my Navionics says I can try to get to Dollar harbor by coming from the NE on the east side of South Cat Cay.

Interesting. Not one to pass up an opportunity (to save an hour)I slow down even more and give it a try, within minutes the rudder becomes sluggish, I immediately make a sharp U turn and add power as the depth sounder stopped sounding, which means it’s in the mud, sand.  Within a heart stopping  30 seconds, I have at least some water underneath.  OK, all is good, I retrace my steps, get back on course a and once again head NW to the lighthouse and the gap between South and North Cat Cay.

Now, in part because of the wasted time, this storm that has been building is now here, so I go thru the narrow cut south (must hug shore to within 100 ft) of the lighthouse in raging seas and wind.  100 m visibility in heavy rain and wind.  When I get to the west side, it is far worse, as there seem to be two different wave trains and their both 6 to 8 ft.  I realize at this point, that I need sea room no matter  what the seas, so I continue west into the deeper water, >40ft, before I turn South,

Now, I’m wondering what to do, The rain is so heavy, I can’t see the inlets or the rocks just to my left, I don’t trust my chart plotter or my navionics App and the wind is from the North, so continuing on and crossing the Gulf Stream is out of the question.

A light dawns, Like the sun burning though the morning fog, I remember my trusty Explorer Chart Book.  Open it to the pertinent page and low and behold it has all the answers.  It showed why I had previously taken the route I had, plus it showed that the only way to the Dollar anchorage was from the southwest.

I decided to play it safe for once and come all the way south of Wedge Rocks as the channel there looked a bit deeper and wider, on the chart, so I just gritted my teeth and accepted that I would have a rough ride for the next 30 minutes.  The visibility was still bad enough I could not the rocks or breakers, so I wondered about turning into the inlet when the time came, but as it was it was all anti-climactic.  As soon as I was south of the rocks, I turned, and the seas died down to just 2-3’.  Looking at the chart it confirmed the AC advice and it was a piece of cake.  I had 14 ft. of water all the way to this anchorage. There was some wind, but absolutely no boat movement (and for a full displacement boat, that says a lot).  There is a strong current which is keeping Dauntless parallel to the channel, but this is the quietest anchorage I have had in the entire time in the Bahamas.

Here are two videos, but it’s hard to get WordPress to play nice with pictures. So go to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public  for the rest of the pictures in descending chronological order.
Finally,  It’s Miller Time and here is one of my favorite Miller time T-shirts at http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public

Leaving Nassau, Let the Shenanigans Begin

See How Unconscious Foresight Saves the Day

Image
Dauntless’ Last Nassau Sunset

Or as some may call it, plain Dumb Luck.

I had spent the last few days getting the boat ready to depart for the roughly 200 mile trip back to Miami.  But in reality, there was little to get ready, so I spent the last days riding the little Nassau buses around and just observing life.

In these last days, I ended up totally changing my views on the people and the Bahamas.  It’s hard to explain why I started with such feelings of trepidation, it’s not like I am unaccustomed to foreign places and cultures, but in any case, I left with the genuine fondness for the life and the people.

Image
This size bus

I found the people warm, generous and very honest.  There is a respect that pervades Bahamian society and it manifests itself in many ways.  The buses are small (for a NYer) 25 seat buses that zip around on assigned routes, but not assigned stops.  Therefore you can flag your bus down anywhere along their route and get off the same way.  One pays as they get off.  Everyone sits down and when the bus is full, a little third seat folds down into the aisle.  More than half the riders give a salutation as they get on, usually “good afternoon” to the bus in general.  The seats are relatively small, as I was struck on one tall, lanky man got on with a big backpack and instead of plunking it down on a vacant seat next to him, he proceeded to squeeze himself into the seat with backpack on, and then proceed to do this Houdini thing, where he switches it around from his back to his lap.  Unlike NY, people don’t sprawl all over like it’s their living room.  It was that incident which made me observe better and the realization came as to how respectful everyone is, young and old, to others.

No one plays music or really disturbs their fellow passengers in any way.  Now as to the music, about half the buses do have some type of music blaring.  I never did figure out how the driver could here as a passenger would call out, “bus stop”.  But they always did.  Also the music, some combination of reggae and rap, on Sunday, became gospel music, on all the buses!  A few buses had church radio stations on during the week also.  I was struck my how efficient they system was, reminded me of Seoul, Korea, in that it consisted of a lot of busses, traveling as quickly as they can, as often as they can.  The exact opposite of what the NYC transit system has become, in which the buses in particular, are run on a schedule that guarantees that while they may be on time, it’s only because they are so slow and too large.  They take forever to load and then crawl along slower than a walking pace.  A system clearly designed by someone who never takes the bus.

Image
School Kids

All school kids wear uniforms and while each school had a distinctive look, there was no variety within a school.  Many high school level schools had a uniform that was opposite for boys and girls, meaning, girls would have a red skirt and while shirt, while the boys in the same school would have white pants and a red shirt.

Coming back to the marina for the last time, as I said goodbye to those who had watched over Dauntless in my absence, I was saddened to say goodbye.  They were generous with their time and efforts. They adjusted my lines as need be and made sure the boat always had electricity.  Couldn’t ask for a better stay or experience.

So it’s time to move on.

I am alone now.  I departed Florida two months ago with a crew mate, Chantal, who turned out to be really great.  A good learner and she tolerated my idiosyncracies, what else can one ask for.

Image
Before Sunrise

I had trouble sleeping I was so excited about leaving.  There is something that is so magical for me in the early morning hours being underway.

We even thought about naming the boat Dawn Patrol, but thought it was a bit corny, though it did appeal to my patriotic (for lack of a better word) side, to show an appreciation and thanks to those who have the usually thankless job of watching over the rest of us (military, fire & police, etc.) while we are fat, dumb and happy all cozy in bed.

This was going to be the third time I left this marina, so I felt I should nail it (back in the day of BMW’s vs Alfa’s, third time around the track was usually my fastest time, as I kept on trying different ways to better my time).

So I went to bed thinking of the lines I would use as I was single handed.  I was starting the engine just at high tide, so I knew I had almost an hour before the current really started going, as I had to back into it.  I knew I needed to get away before it really started running its 2-3 knots.  So, all is going as planned (I also wanted to run the engine 20 minutes, even though I had run it yesterday, 15 minutes is the time it takes to manifest any fuel issues).

As soon as I took off the stern port side line, the boat snugged up to the pier, easier for me to get on and off, and I have rub rails and am not afraid to use them.  The boat did move forward a bit, so I retied the Stbd stern line tight to the piling, so the boat would not move forward.  The spring lines came off and two port lines, I then retied the one bow starboard line with a loop over the piling, with its eye over my forward cleat, and me taking the bitter end to near the pilot house door.  This would be the last line I would release and as the boat moved backwards, the line would slip around and off the forward piling, while still connected to the bow cleat.

Worked like a charm, for the most part; I ran to the stern, undid the line and pulled it quickly into the boat (no lines outside). Quickly stepping back to the pilot house, putting it in reverse as I heard the bow lightly kiss the slip goodbye, cute I thought, as I released the bitter end of the line that was looped around the piling. As Dauntless boat backed out, we wwere free,  perfectly I thought.

Had to make a quick left, parallel to the slip I had been in, to stay in channel, then a sharp right in about 200’ between some ferry and the marker.  All is going well, I’m in the Nassau channel passing under those two bridges to Atlantis. Did you catch what I left out?

Image
Sunrise leaving Nassau

Yes, my bow line was happily streaming under the boat, but in what I’d like to call “unconscious foresight”, though many of you will probably say is simply dumb luck, I had used a short bow line, only 25’. I immediately ran out and pulled the line it, thinking what disaster it could have been had I used one of my normal 50’ lines.  I’ll give myself some credit, as I did use the shorter line, conscious of the time it takes to pull it in.

Sitting here now in Chubb Cay, with good holding in 6’ of water, with 80 ‘of chain out.

The winds are constant SE at 15 knots, but there is a southerly swell, so I am rocking and rolling a bit, but if this boat didn’t roll, I would think we were aground.

Tomorrow it’s Cat Cay and then crossing the Stream.

More pictures can be found at     http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Dauntless-Public/i-M94RJzH

Dauntless’ Bahamas Winter Adventure Summary

A Summary of our Bahamas Winter Adventure

Image
Dauntless at Rest

We departed Key Largo 10 December and returned to Miami, 31 January 2014.

Overview of the Dauntless' Bahamas Adventure
Overview of the Dauntless’ Bahamas Adventure

In those 53 days, I had to leave dauntless and return to NYC for 23 days (I didn’t want to miss the snowstorm).

Total days on boat (not including 23 days I was in NYC) 30 days, of these 30 days,  two thirds of our days were spent moving from one place to another.  Most were small moves, but we had a third of the time that we had a full day, 6 to 8 hours, or more, of travel.  The only time I spent more than two nights in the same place was the 5 days in Nassau, when I came back from NY, as I got the boat ready to return to Florida.

We traveled 700 nm in 135 engine hours, averaging 5.2 nm/hr., consuming 215 gal of diesel.  Now, this =1.6 gal/hr., but the fuel consumed includes 47 hours of Generator time.  We did have a little Inverter problem, which meant that we had to run the generator probably 50% more time than normal to charge the batteries.

But even with that, if I subtract about 40 gal from our use, the main engine only used about 1.3 gal/hour! Which equals 4 nm/gal and at $4.00/gal cost of fuel, a rough estimate is $1/nm.

KK42-148 has been exactly what we needed and hoped for.

Thank you Dauntless.  Now, I do happen to have a few shenanigans to relate.

In fact once I left Nassau, the order of the day seemed to be a shenanigan a day keeps Bost on his toes

Light Her Up Boys

It’s 19° in NY and at least 77° here in Miami.  I’m sweltering, But don’t worry about me, I have A/C.

Coming through customs in Nassau, the agent asked me what my purpose of the visit was and I replied, I have about here and she replied, “oh, vacation” and I said, it never occurred to me that this is a vacation and not just a warmer place to work.

I finally finished my lights project.  For those of you who may have read of my shenanigans coming down the ICW one night, I decided to go back to my roots.  One of the first additions to my first car was changing the headlights to the then banned quartz halogen (Cibie) headlights and I then added  two extra lights, a fog and a driving (Baby Oscars).  Never could have too much light for those middle of the night drives around Mt. Rainier.  If I recall correctly, we could do it in 4 and a half hours from the UW campus and back.

Mt. Adams Summer 2008

Getting ready for dinner before the Sasquatch made his presence known.
Getting ready for dinner before the Sasquatch made his presence known.

These pictures are not of Mt. Rainier, but of the area between Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens that Julie and I camped in 6 years ago.  I loved the logging roads of western Washington and Oregon.

OK.   Back to the story.

So Dauntless now has one halogen spot (Hella) and two fog lights (Chinese), with two switches near my right hand below the instrument cluster, going through the switch/breaker in the pilot house panel.

Some details on the lights. The Chinese LED’s are advertised as available in 30 or 60 degree light spread, but I think those numbers looked good to the manufacturer and have no basis in reality.  But then that’s what I expected.  I actually bought one of each and it looks like the one that is supposed to be 60° had something sprayed on the inside of the lens (to call it a lens is being very generous).  In any case, both are very bright (even brighter than expected) and very broad (as expected).  The Hella is exactly as advertised.  Even on Amazon, they give a great diagram of the 
Lights light pattern for each type of light, from spot to driving to euro to fog.  I actually got the driving versus the spot, as I can’t see Dauntless going 100 mph (yes, here I do use statute miles, why, because we are on land and our speed is measured in mph), so I don’t really need to see 900 meters down range, 500m will do quite nicely and gives me a bit of a broader beam to catch something let’s say at 200m that my Chinese lights may miss.

And no, I won’t have them on when other boats are around.  For some reason I seem to find myself traveling sometimes for days without seeing other boats.

Like when we went to Andros Island and then decided to leave at 10:00 p.m. as I realized what an untenable position I had put us in.  OK details to follow in tomorrow’s posting.

Back on Dauntless in Nassau, Thursday, January 23, 2014

I’m sitting in the salon, back on Dauntless, having just returned from my three week trip home to NYC.20140124_063540 Dauntless

The boat looks like I never left; it was such a relief to walk down the slip and see nothing strange, she wasn’t listing, the electricity was on and I had no infestation of the insect people, etc.

This marina, Bayshore Marina, has been fantastic.  No problems at all.  Safe and secure, with nice people.  I found it on Active Captain, and I will be putting a post there also.

It was the longest I have been away from her since we bought her last March.  I got a lot of stuff done in NY that needed me there, saw some good friends and ate some wonderful Korean food again, but as the days absent go on, the anxiety builds. You all know what I mean.

So now, I’ll spend the next few days doing some small things and wandering around Nassau,Pepperoni Pretzel but I will be heading back to Miami, sooner, rather than later, as I have found a fabricator and rigger who will do the paravanes (flopper stoppers) for me.

Red Sky in Morning, Sailor Take Warning

Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Red Sky in Morning, Sailor Take Warning
Certainly true today.

20140121_071801_e 100th st

Looking forward to my last blizzard of the season, as I’m returning to Dauntless in two days. I have had a great time in NY with Julie and seeing old friends, but now, I’ve got things to do and people to see.

I look forward to sharing my travels and preparations with you, as I prepare Dauntless for this summer’s passage.

Scotland 2011

Malo 42
Helle 3
20110801 Scotland 103
Oban
Caledonian MacBrayne
Caledonian MacBrayne
Anderton Boat Lift
Anderton Boat Lift
20110801 Scotland 006
Narrow Boat in Canal

So just weeks after our foray into Tennessee, Julie and I were flying to Manchester, England to visit two sets of friends, my childhood friend, Eve (who was/is like a sister to me), her husband Nigel and our Dutch friends, Jan and Carin on their 42 foot sailboat Helle 3, in Oban, Scotland.

Highlights of our trip included:

  • Visiting the Anderton Boat Lift
  • Seeing numerous English canals and narrow canal boats
  • Driving the interesting roads of northern England and Scotland on the left side of the road
  • Eating haggis as an appetizer
  • Sailing to St. Kilda in the Outer Hebrides
  • Being on the open ocean for the first time in our lives on a small boat and loving it
  • Being on heel and not loving it
  • Riding on a little bus with everyone speaking Gaelic
  • Traveling on the Caledonian MacBrayne
  • Staying our last night in York, England and realizing that this is the York in New York.

Besides the pictures here, follow the link for pictures of our entire trip.  Sorry they are not yet all labeled, that will continue to be a work in progress.

Pictures of Northern England, Scotland & Outer Hebrides Trip 2011

Trawler School – February 2010

 

Since the boat chase had clearly become almost an obsession (don’t all good things start that way? Yeah, and some really bad ones too!), I figured it was time to get Julie involved.  This needed to be something we were both in tune with.

As teachers, it’s clear that a picture saves a thousand words, and actually doing it, saves a thousand pictures.  So, during our winter break (a week off in the middle of February), we found ourselves in Ft. Lauderdale at Capt. Bob’s Trawler school.  Captain Bob was the epitome of a salty dog, a bit gruff and old fashioned, with a nebulous past.  But he was also a fantastic teacher.  He managed to differentiate the instruction so that Julie, who knew practically nothing about boats or boating, was not overwhelmed, and I was not bored.  He also had the right mix of classroom and on water cruising.  All in all, a great choice, at a very good price.

Some observations and lessons learned:

  • We really enjoyed our 4 days on the water.
  • We confirmed that we didn’t like the layout of “galley down”
  • Slow trawlers are still interesting, even at 7 knots.
  • We still didn’t like manual pump toilets.
  • Capt. Bob also turned out to be a fantastic cook and salad maker.
  • Julie took the longest solo drive of her life, 1000 miles, as she had the task of bringing the car down from NY, as I was once again calendar challenged.  She had a great time and found the best fried chicken ever.
  • Given the opportunity to swim with the dolphins, as one showed up while Julie was swimming at our anchorage, even as we yelled our encouragement, she took a second look at the 7 foot dolphins as it slid just past her for the second time, and she was out of the water in about 0.3 seconds.