Smoking the Fleet

Back in the 1950's and 60's when he was in his 30s and 40s, my father loved to smoke cigars. And he also loved the water, sailboat racing and wooden boat-building.  While racing one of the wooden penguins he built, he lit up a stogey.  When asked what were the advantages to smoking on the race course, he would confess smoking helped him wind races.

Six-Towed Riddle

Most humans born with five toes at the end of each leg walk with relative ease. To them five toes is part of a whole foot. To them each foot also represents a step, maybe forward or backward.  Of those with five toes most have yet to step foot onboard a sailing catamaran.  And as I make this strange analogy, I imagine almost no one has ever needed six tows and four legs to return home from the Bahamas to Florida.

Helping Ourselves

Gary Larson's Far Side cartoon of a stranded shipwrecked sailor alone on a desert island and Jack Sparrow's pulling his Black Pearl by himself across a desert reminded me of how best to ask for HELP.  As absurd as the images suggest, there is truth in each. During Mystique's 2018 Bahamian voyage, Lainie and I faced more than enough rescues and truths during FIVE separate situations.  Eventually, we laughed as each of the incidents sent us valuable messages about receiving help.

Unraveling Weft, Warp and Woof

Once anchored near Cambridge Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea Park in 2017, a park ranger named Henry stopped by my Mystique. Noticing my yellow quarantine flag flying near my spreaders, he motored over to ask me some questions. Wondering if I had checked in with Bahamian Customs and Immigration, he asked what my boat’s flag indicated - that I hadn't yet done so. Then Henry asked why I had not checked into the Bahamas at either Bimini or Nassau.

Y Knots

While walking on a Chub Cay beach the day after our rescue, Lainie found three coral Y's washed up on the shore and we asked WHY? Since the answer didn't at first appear to matter, I then considered WHY NOT? And the it dawned on me. We had tied ourselves into a Y KNOT.

Saint Brendan's Day

He lived close to ten centuries ago so I never met him. He, however, I suspect helped Lainie and I sail home safely from our challenging sail into the Bahamas.  Today is May 16, a day commemorating the Feast of St. Brendan; so it is a day of gratitude.

Lainie Reaches New Heights

Anchored near Spirit and Long Cays in the Exumas,  Mystique's main halyard suddenly came unhinged, disconnected and detached from the head of our mainsail. Somehow the shackle had unscrewed itself.  And when it happened I heard the pin drop and the 15-20 knot easterlies tossed and twisted its released pulley into a Gordian knot dangling 55 feet above deck. Hoping for the wind to calm, we waited four days to fix it.  We knew we were stuck if we couldn't use our mainsail.

With Drawn Eyes

Two Bahamian islands in the northern Exumas seemed like the perfect place for Mystique, my 40’ catamaran, my first mate Lainie and I to anchor. Little did we suspect in early February 2018 for ten glorious days a short distance from Spirit Cay and Long Cay, we would have front row seats to watch magical moments. 

Weighing the Coast Guard

In 1972 crewmen on the Coast Guard icebreaker Griffon grapple with a giant navigation buoy on a great lake near Toronto. Eleven of the buoys; some 20 feet height and weighing five tons; were lifted aboard by ship's crane and unloaded at the Island Airport for maintenance.  But the image that is often portrayed doesn't always reflect the true character of an organization's leadership.

 

Slack Tide

As I motored Mystique into Bimini harbor in early evening, the tide felt slack.  Steering between the entrance buoys, I felt fortunate Mystique neither had to fight against or go with flooding current. Neither being pushed nor pulled would aid my steering in the dark. Or so I imagined.

Got Ya Back

She knows I’m here and there for her. She can count on me everywhere we go.  She trusts me to come through when she needs me.  Lainie knows I have her back.

White Rabbit Therapy

Today is the first of April. And it's April Fools Day.  It's a Sunday. It's also Easter - a Christian holiday  It's been spring officially for almost two weeks now and society is still perplexed why a white rabbit is still the focus of our attention.  And why eggs and rabbits are often associated with each other for the celebration of Christ's resurrection. Rabbits don't lay eggs! And what's up with hiding and hunting for color-dyed hard-boiled eggs?  And getting our kids to gorge themselves on jelly beans, chocolate eggs, and bunny rabbits? Are we so far gone not to recognize the sugar-coated commercial message? What happened to the concepts of rebirth? rites of spring?