In the next weeks, I want to finish the Canadian Adventure, The Jewell Island Fiasco was just the beginning. Suffice it to say, just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does. Details to follow, but I assure you 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.
Before all the gory details, I have another issue. I really try to write to my audience, those of you taking the time out of your busy day to read my writings. I try not to just have a travelogue, as the trawler magazines, have that boring niche.
But I do like being responsive to my readers, therefore, please leave comments (if I don’t like them, I can always delete them!) or send me an email if you just want to keep your thoughts, ideas, private between us.
Hopefully, this will be my last week to ten days on the Miami River. I will certainly miss the planes flying overhead as I am just east of Miami International Airport. Reminds me of watching the Mets at Shea Stadium. The planes were nosier back then,
I’ve finished the cap rail project. It was just painting the cap rail and the hand rails. I’ll post some pictures when were all cleaned up and the paravanes are done also.
John and Red have promised me a very nifty, elegant solution for the paravanes and although I had some initial trepidation, I am really looking forward to what they have come up with.
So stay tuned. The bike with the freshly painted orange fenders is my new bike. First new bike since Alaska.
Why orange fenders? I am going to be in Holland next year after all.
A fascinating place, the Miami River, full of real working boats and interesting people.
I promise to write about it more later, but have little time this morning, as this is the big day.
Richard and I have finished out painting project. The cap rail, and forward hand rails have been painted! We have also replaced 95 teak bungs and screws in our teak deck.
Next up, Dauntless is being fitted for her stabilizer paravanes (aka flopper stoppers) today. Long planned and anticipated. One way or another, I will write of the process and outcome (hopefully great).
We had been anchored at Marine Stadium, just east of downtown Miami. A gorgeous site, with a clay bottom, so very good holding for the anchor. We had been here two days, so I was getting hot to trot.
The National Weather Service had been forecasting a frontal passage for that day, Thursday, so I decided it was better to be underway during a storm, then anchored. With land and other boats so close by, being blown about by changing winds is far more stressful for me, then to be buttoned up in the pilot house, with wind and rain lashing the windows.
We stopped at Crandon Park Marina to fill up one of two water tanks. A nice place, with reasonable priced fuel (for southern Florida) and a really helpful, friendly staff. I could see the storm clouds building to our west as we started on the three hour, 15 nm trip south to Boca Chita.
And then it got strange.
My autopilot (ComNav) compass, a fluxgate compass (for those who care), is usually 10 degrees off of magnetic, but at least it is consistent. Consistent that is until you flush a toilet. It took me 6 months to figure out why when on autopilot the boat would make a sudden turn, as the compass heading jumped 30°. Turns out the fluxgate is located within 6 feet of the Lectsan Sanitation Processing unit, so the current thru the processing unit, is producing a magnetic field. Umm, maybe with the new generation of marine mechanics, their video games expertise has superseded the need for electro-magnetic theory. Maxwell’s & Ampere’s Laws? We don’t need no stinkin laws.
Yes, I’m looking forward to the next 30 years with unanticipated glee. Please Mister Old Person, show me how to get my thing (any electro-mechanical
device) working again. Sure, sonny, just grab this and yank here.
Sorry, I digress.
Back to the Present
But, now with the storm bearing down on us, my autopilot compass was 90 to 180 degrees off and not steady wither. Totally worthless, and then the strangeness happened. My Raymarine GPS compass was also off by at least 40 to 80 degrees. Now that never happened before.
My Polar Navy gps was working fine, as was the Raymarine course over ground (cog), but to steer a heading, I, or actually, my crewmate for this leg of the adventure, Richard, no not me, another Richard, was steering, using the good old magnetic compass to steer by.
First, I decided to try to recalibrate the Raymarine compass, as it has always been good till now. It consists of making a number of circles. While we were circling, I figured I may as well recalibrate the ComNav also, as it also needed to do circles. After about 10 minutes and five circles, they each said they were calibrated. We continued south, into strong winds, but only 2 foot waves.
Within, a minute or two, the ComNav settled to it normal state of being, about 10° off magnetic, but it was consistent. In the meantime, the Raymarine went all wacky again. So, it’s Tango Uniform.
I was a bit disappointed to get to Boca Chita before the storm. I actually like storms at sea. There is nothing to bang into and nobody to bang into you. It’s freedom.
In this case, the winds had built to ferocious westerlies, 25 knots gusting to the low 40s. Boca Chita is a small harbor, in the shape of an square with rounded corners, about 300 feet on a side. The narrow entrance faces west, so as I entered, the wind was right behind me and I made a wide circle to the right, intending to anchor in the southwest corner. As I straightened up the boat, near the south wall, the winds were up to 45 knots (50 mph, 80 kph).
The plan was to tie a midships port line and use that as a spring, to bring the boat to a halt as it pivots against the wall as I give it full right rudder.
A great plan; the problem was the “helpers” on the dock. They are incapable of having the slightest clue about boat handling, vectors or anything remotely associated with physics (the whole universe. Now, you can mitigate this incompetence, if you are lucky enough to get someone, who will at least follow directions.
We got the braniac, who decided he could halt the 40,000 lb. boat by holding the line, pulling and putting his whole 150 lbs into the effort. As the boat pulled him down the dock, he almost trips over the first cleat and is almost running as he passes the second cleat, while Dauntless is closing to within 10 feet of the corner wall, I yelled for the second time, this time even more forcibly and maybe even some expletive language, “put the fucking line on a cleat.” Somehow it sinks in, he does, and as I crank over the wheel we come to prefect stop.
Later, I see the helper and thank him. He does not invite me for a drink.
We would spend the next three days amazed that the number one maneuver to tie up was to come straight in, hit the dock with your bow with varying degrees of force, throw someone on shore a line and then have them pull the boat to the dock. If I saw it once or twice, I wouldn’t have believed it. But we saw it almost hourly.
I got to put my electric fuel pump to use one again. This time, while running the generator I was also polishing my fuel and transferring it to one tank to get an accurate measurement of quantity. All off a sudden, I hear the generator lowering rpms, as its output voltage drops from 120 to about 60. I quickly, take it off line and jump into the engine room. I realize almost immediately the problem is that it is sucking air from the empty tank. I close that tank’s feed and reach for the little wireless relay remote that runs the electric fuel pump I installed with Richard’s help in Providence, RI. I switch it on, but no change on the gen, but then recognize that I must close the gravity feed, otherwise the fuel pump just pumps the fuel back to the tank, since that is easier than thru the fuel filters. As soon as I close that valve and open the valves putting the fuel pump in line, the generator goes back to its normal song. I run the electric pump for another 30 seconds, then turn it off, it’s duty well done and the three days it took to find the right fitting and install, well paid back, yet again.
Did I mention the first time I had to use it, I had just pulled away from the slip and in my pre start checklist, and I had turned off the fuel tank we were using?
Starving the main engine like that, as I ran the electric pump; I was happily bleeding air form the engine fuel filters, with a big grin on my face, as soon as the air was gone, I could switch the pump off immediately and the engine fired right up with nary a hiccup.
We are here in Boca Chita Key, part of the Biscayne National Park to get some work done on the boat on the cap and hand rails. I like the dock, it makes easy work and the scenery can’t be beat.
Monday, we will be heading to the Miami River, where with the help of Parks, of Hopkins Carter Marine, he put me in touch with someone who should have an affordable slip for me. Our paravanes are being fabricated as I write this and hopefully their installation will start Tuesday.
I’ll do a posting about the whole paravanes thing after the fact, so I do not have to eat any words.
Here are some pictures of Boca Chita, boats and the wild life. Enjoy
All the pictures (well, most of them) can be found at:
As Dauntless gets prepared for her paravanes, I took the opportunity to attend the Daytona 500 with my friend Richard, from Providence, RI, who will be spending time with me on Dauntless in Florida.
Not my first NASCAR race, as my first race I attended in person was in Riverside California in 1981. See those big, really big cars racing up thru the “S” curves was truly something you had to experience. Having been a Richard Petty fan since the early ‘60s (I still cringe when I hear the name David Pearson), he had no chance on a road course, but it was a wonderful experience.
An experience I probably took for granted. You could wander anyplace around the track. You could bring in your own food, booze and beer. In other words, it was an affordable experience, especially for families.
Now, fast forward 33 years, and I, who can be critical of many things, found this race to truly be America’s Race for these reasons:
It’s fan friendly. They actually act like they care, no love their fans. In the early morning hours, I was able to walk just outside the catch fence, all the way around the track. To watch the sun get ever higher in the sky while on top of the 33 degree bank is awesome.
It’s affordable. While the dopes in major league baseball wonder where the fans are, as they have made their venues unaffordable for families, NASCAR welcomes fans. Bring your 14”x14” cooler filled with whatever suits you. Families can picnic. You can buy affordable food, $4 hot dog, $8 steak sandwich, $6 beer 16oz too!
Virtually no areas in the grandstands are off limits. Move to a vacant seat, no problem. Just wander around, seeing where you like the view best to watch the action, no problem.
A diverse fan base. It doesn’t come across on TV, but the fan base pretty much reflects all Americans, both in age and race.
I did not even get the Fan Pass (that allows you into the infield until the race begins), but drivers are accessible to fans. It’s the opposite of Formula One, where they seem to make a real effort to highlight the difference between them and you.
They had a kid’s event with driver Jimmie Johnson. Kids less than 12. They got to build, yes, build, with hammer and nails, a wooden race car. As many girls were doing this as boys. Really inspiring to watch them hammer away, and while they were given goggles and apron, some wore it, some didn’t. Interesting concept, teach personal responsibility young.
And that leads me to my last point, no nanny state here. Even with lightning and thunder right next to the track, the announcements were very clear; “you were responsible for your own personal safety” it was up to you to stay in the stands or leave. Even when the tornado warning was announced. I was pleased to be treated like thinking adult. All the lawyers who run this country must be up north.
All in all, one of the most enjoyable sporting experiences I have had in the last 20 years. A truly iconic race.
If you like any kind of racing, then check out a NASCAR race at a track near you. You may be surprised.
more pictures at: http://dauntless.smugmug.com/Misc-Public/i-vRr6jLd
We were in 5 feet of water with 150 feet of chain out and we continued to drag slowly, but surely, towards the shallows less than 100 feet away. Been there, Done that. But Not Tonight.
It’s almost 11:00 p.m. So, I get out of my nice cozy bed, put on my work clothes and proceed to make the boat ready to heavy seas. The nice following seas and waves we had getting here would now be on the bow. Steady 20 knot winds, a 45 mile fetch, had built the seas to 5 to 6 feet and with a short 6 second period, we were going to get wet. Nothing I had not encountered before, but now, I had daunting task of making Dauntless live up to her name. 45 miles to go, plus we had to tip toe back up the narrow channel.
I looked long and hard at the chart. The ocean was only ½ mile east of us. The chart showed an unmarked channel that should have just enough water for us to get through. It would save us one hour of the narrow channel.
But with strong winds opposing us, the seas would be breaking at the mouth of the inlet. I thought of Barnegat Bay and the channel that almost ended our dream before it even began. I had learned a lesson, 6 to 8 foot waves are uncomfortable, but only become boat threatening in shallow water. I would not tempt Fate again.
After making sure all the furniture was secured and everything put away, 45 minutes later, I was ready. Everyone else was still in bed; I start the engine and hauled the anchor. I told our guests that we were moving, but all was OK and just to stay in bed, as it was going to be rough.
As I headed the bow north northeast, I once again longingly looked at the chart with the ocean only 15 minutes away. But the lesson of Barnegat Bay held me to my plan and I proceeded to follow my path I had just used a few hours earlier.
An hour later, 00:45 I was turning due east into the narrow, but marked outlet channel, when Julie joined me in the pilot house, as a waning last quarter moon, filled the pilot house with a rosy glow.
We were ready for the angry sea.
We didn’t know what to expect with the oncoming waves. Dauntless does so well with a following sea that one hardly notices 6 foot waves from the stern, heading in to them, is a different story, made even more difficult because we had no leeway to maneuver in the narrow channel. And while we had just come thru this channel, the lesson of Barnegat Bay was always with me, as I still feel that is the only time the boat was at risk, in hindsight, we may have been literally within seconds of disaster.
With short period, oncoming waves, I reduced power to 1500 rpm. Our initial speed of over 6 knots quickly evaporated as we would climb one wave, our bow pointing high to the sky, then almost weightless; suddenly plunge into the trough of the wave, with the bow pulpit almost burying itself into the next oncoming wave. I watched with dismay as our speed went from 6.2 to 5.8, 5.4, 5.1 and finally 4.8 knots. With 49 nm to go, our trip was now going to be 10 hours, of up and down.
Luckily, I had the foresight to put a transdermal scopolamine patch on before departure. I would need it. As the boat settled into its yo-yo routine, I resigned myself to a long night.
Julie wanted to be in the pilot house, so she suggested I go get some sleep. I agreed, I was exhausted and even a few hours’ sleep could make a big difference. I briefed her on our course and conditions and went to our cabin.
The Krogen 42 master cabin in under the pilot house in the bow. As I got into bed, holding on for dear life, I remembered that I had sleep in worse conditions. When Julie and I went cruising with our Dutch friends, Jan and Carin on their wonderful Malo sailboat, in the Outer Hebrides, our first night at St. Kilda bay was every rolly. The anchorage was open to the southeast, the direction of the swell. Julie and I slept very well (after being on a sailboat all day on the open ocean, how can you not?). Thought-out that night, I remember thinking I was on a corkscrew roller coaster. But I slept and I remember thinking many times, now we turn upside down as we roll to the right. Think of a fighter plane making a diving turn to the right.
So, I did not expect a problem with this boat movement which was madly pitching up and down, there was little (for Dauntless) roll.
But as I tried to go to sleep, I noticed a very disconcerting sensation. With each pitch upward, as we crested the wave, Dauntless seemed to hesitate, before the downward plunge began. So lying in bed, I found my body waiting and waiting and waiting for that plunge. No sleep could be had here, so after 15 minutes of up and down, I returned to the pilot house.
Julie then decided to try to sleep on our sofa in the saloon. She went right to sleep, so after a while I decided to try it too. The weightless hesitation was not really noticeable near the back of the boat. With the autopilot set and no boats in sight, I curled up next to Julie like spoons and promptly went to sleep for about an hour.
Returning to the pilot house, all was as I left it. All systems were fine, and we were on course moving at about 4.8 knots. Seas and winds were still strong off our bow (due east) and occasionally, the pilot house would get a bath as the wind would take the top of a wave over the bow. Not green water, but a thorough dousing.
As it became light out, a sail boat passed to our north and we discovered two flying fish on deck. We could see the spot where the fish had hit the salon window, about 5 feet above the decks, 8 feet above the waterline. Though most of the night, I thought the waves were 4 to 6 feet (in Long Island Sound, I had the most miserable 15 miles ever as I headed into 8 to 10 foot short period waves, the boat only making 3.5 knots. Virtually every wave put spray on the foredeck and against the windows and then the really big waves put spray over the top of the pilot house, once seemingly not even touching the pilot house)
At 11:15 a.m. 26 December 2013, we were anchored in Shroud Cay, the Exumas, the Bahamas.
My guests were able to have a beautiful day (remember this was their first day at an anchorage in the Bahamas) and I felt it was a job well done.
I made a mistake in our destination, but instead of exacerbating it, I bit the bullet and the problem was solved.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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:
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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
We departed Key Largo 10 December and returned to Miami, 31 January 2014.
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