2.22.2010

Update

We have just posted 3 blogs... sorry no pictures attached at this time. The wifi lately is slower than snail mail! When we arrive at DR we should be able to recieve high speed and will update all the previous blogs with many great pictures.

As a reminder... you can click on the picture of Don and myself on the main page at it will re-direct you to our photo album. There are a few new pictures ther.

Peace and hugs and always remember .... Follow your dreams!

Georgetown Bahamas to Rum Cay, 2-16-10

First….this is not a “how to” on the passage from Georgetown to Rum Cay, but rather a review of our own experience aboard Mary Rose V.

Next….. a word on Georgetown…….Georgetown seems to be the “in” destination for hundreds of cruisers in the Bahamas. There is a cruiser net every morning about 8 AM after Chris Parker weather reports. The cruiser’s net is the boaters version of the famed tradeo program in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The net starts out with a good morning from the daily host with a short bit of recorded music that has something to do with current events. An example of this is the day it rained they played, it feels like rain drops fallen from the sky. Then the daily net schedule goes something like this…….weather report gleaned from Chris Parker, Advertisements of local businesses, Boaters general (buy, sell, barter, trade). Note: It is illegal for cruisers to buy, sell, barter, trade without paying duty in the Bahamas. Then the net continues with boats departing and new arrivals. It is a bit too much for us but we did manage to procure a Sony Single Sideband receiver from a cruiser using the net. Now we can get National Weather Service reports as well as Chris Parker. Georgetown in general is way too over populated with cruisers in our humble opinion. All the people and boats was a bit of overload after cruising the remote cays of the Bahamas where we were often the only cruiser at anchor or in sight. Then there was the typical suburban gossip chain at the dinghy dock with grown men standing around doing a bit of “he said – she said” about rumors of permanent moorings in the harbor. There are all sorts of social events scheduled everyday. Volleyball, bachie(sp), basket weaving (not lying), to meeting the family film producer from New York. Phewwwwwwwwww, this is way to much, got to get out of here! It was a great place to replenish food, fuel and water before we set out to more remote islands and longer legs of our journey south and east. With that said we are glad to leave the suburban cruising lifestyle behind.

We pulled anchor Monday night about two hours before dark and made our way south to Foul Cay at the south end of Elizabeth Harbor. This would save us about two miles the next day and allow us an early start to make the pass through the channel cut at day break. We found two other boats anchored in the Foul Cay area and snuggled in close to them for the night. We had a quick dinner and hit the bunk for a 5AM alarm.

We were up early and admired the beautiful predawn sky displaying hues of pink and orange through mostly cloudy skies. We just knew we were going to have a great sail. We had the perfect weather forecast from Chris Parker and we had followed Van Sant’s (author of passages south) instructions to the last letter for the perfect weather window and the pre trip staging at Foul Cay. The Admiral took the helm as I pulled the anchor and she made good speed from our anchorage to the harbor through the cut and out into the sound with a perfect pass, right on course. We talked about how this looked like a perfect opportunity to set the cruising spinnaker and have a great sail to Rum Cay, 50 miles to the east around the northern point of Long Island. We decided to delay the Spinnaker set and opted for full main, a yankee head sail and the staysail. We had all three sails set and were making top speeds of 6+ nautical miles (nm) per hour. The winds began to build and a squall line appeared some 20 – 30 miles to our north. We discussed pulling a reef in the main but decided that we were OK and the squall line was far enough away to give us time if conditions warranted. The winds were out of the northwest and we were on a northeast course when the winds began to build and our heeling angle was a bit uncomfortable. We completely reefed the yankee head sail and proceeded with only the main and staysail. Our boat speed continued to exceed 6+ kts with main and staysail. It was not too late to reef the main but we choose not to as the boat was sailing upright and under control given the angle of the wind and swells. It was a comfortable ride. As we approached Santa Maria point on the north end of Long Island the wind driven troughs of the waves and swells increased dramatically and we were seeing 10-12 ft seas.

These conditions continued until we reached the lee of Rum Cay. Or maximum speed on this passage was an astonishing 9.6 kts with a moving average of over 6 kts. NO MORE BAD JOKES ABOUT THE WESTSAIL BEING SLOW.

One big mistake we made on this passage was that we towed the dinghy rather that put her on deck. We will not make long open water passages again towing the dinghy. The seas and wind were way too much to go looking for a dinghy that might have broken loose in transit.

All in all, it was a great passage and we are at anchor at Rum Cay waiting for the next weather window to make our way south to the Dominican Republic (DR). We will most likely make one or two more stops before making landfall in the DR.

Captain Don Montgomery

Anchor Rode Chaffing - Georgetown, Bahamas 2/13/10

Anchor Rode Chaffing - Georgetown, Bahamas 2/13/10

Mary Rose V had two very nice CQR anchors on her bow when we bought her with 250 feet of three strand nylon rode attached to the 25 foot 3/8 inch chain on the anchor end of our ground tackle. One weighed 33 pounds and the other was 44 pounds. We knew that we needed at least one anchor with a minimum of 75 feet of chain for the Caribbean trip that we are on. We also felt that it would be better to have two types of anchors so that if we experienced difficulty with the CQR holding we would have an alternative to try for a better hold.

The Admiral and I went to the St Petersburg boat show in December of 2009 and we saw a Delta style stainless steel anchor for sale with a show special. After about two hours of nonstop whining from the Captain, the Admiral cheerfully agreed that we indeed had to have the stainless steel anchor with the boat show special price that was too good to pass up.

We met the vendor after the show and we went back to the marina with our new ground tackle in hand. We purchased our anchor from Captain Jack at Seven Seas, his phone number is 410-340-8244. His business is in the Ft Lauderdale area but he makes regular trips throughout Florida. We were very pleased with the anchor and the service we received from Captain Jack. He came by to visit a few weeks after the purchase just to make sure everything was OK. We give Captain Jack a very strong recommendation.

While we were in Georgetown, we received a weather forecast for a strong frontal passage with squalls that could deliver winds in excess of 40 kts. The whole harbor was a buzz about the threat of the squalls and the wind forecast. Cruisers made a run on the town and loaded up on water, stores and fuel like they do in the Midwest when a blizzard is knocking on their door. We knew we had to prepare and we looked at the possibility of moving to another anchorage but there were few options available to us with our keel depth and none seemed to offer any more protection from the wind direction. So our storm preparation at anchorage was to batten down the hatches, make sure the anchor was surely buried deep in the pure white sand 10 feet below our keel and then increase the scope of our anchor. We choose to anchor with the delta on arrival at Georgetown due to the soft white sand bottom. There was no apparent need for the all chain anchor. So now the dilemma was do we change anchors and move from nylon rode to chain? I made the decision to say on the delta with nylon rode and 25 feet of chain attached to the anchor. I felt that the stretch of the additional nylon rode would be better for staying dug in and not dragging anchor. We had already had some strong winds and we knew the anchor was well set and dug in tight from several days at anchor and healthy winds. We let out more anchor line to increase our scope. We were in about 10 feet of water and the bow is about 4-5 feet from the water line. So that’s 15 feet times 7 for normal conditions or 105 feet of anchor line. I increased that to 125 feet for the storm that was headed our way.

The wind began to blow straight down the harbor and the waves stated to build as well. At times it felt more like we were sailing rather than at anchor. The waves were coming at us nonstop and were at least two feet high. Mary Rose stained at the anchor and you could feel the rode stretch as tight as possible and then Mary Rose would spring forward and begin to hobbyhorse a bit. We set the anchor drag alarm on our GPS and never once felt like we were in peril or about to drag anchor. However there was one boat without crew that did drag anchor about 2 AM. We were made aware of it on the VHF by a captain doing an all night anchor watch for the protection of his boat. We were grateful to him for his effort even though the dragging vessel was no threat to us. Fortunately we did not have any other boats anchored directly forward of Mary Rose. The watchful captain repeatedly blew a warning horn after he made his VHF announcement giving the location of the boat dragging anchor. The dragging boat simply slid past all the boats aft of it and the anchor reset itself in shallower water before the boat went aground.

I inspected our anchor rode for chaffing the next day and was surprised to see that there was significant evidence of chaffing in less than 24 hours. The chaffing had the appearance of melting the nylon rode. So it is safe to say that the constant movement creates heat at the rub points on the nylon anchor rode. The lesson we learned from this experience is that you MUST adjust your anchor rode early and often when conditions are extreme. All damage to the anchor rode could have been avoided if we had simply let out a foot of rode or taken in a foot of anchor rode every couple of hours during the high wind period. We will monitor our chaffing more closely from now on and take preventative measures early and often. If we had decided to go to all chain we still would have had the same issue with chaffing of the nylon snubber that we use to prevent the shock due to lack of stretch when anchored with all chain.

Remember check early and often for anchor rode chafe in extreme conditions and move the anchor rode in and out every couple of hours when conditions warrant. We also reposition our anchor rode every 12 – 24 hours under normal conditions just to prevent chaffing and extend the life of our anchor rode.

Captain Don Montgomery

Reality.. Smack In The Face

My first “authentic” ocean passage began 2/18/2010 bright and early at 300 am. We pulled anchor at Rum Cay and started our 30-36 hour 3 boat flotilla south towards our destination of Mayaguana. The following is brief note regarding my experience and what I received from this trip. The Captain and I do 3 hour watches and this night when my first watch was finally over I climbed below tired, cold and exhausted, I desperately needed to sleep for my designated 3 hours. I tried to find a comfortable and safe way to sleep in the pilot berth and found myself being thrown to and fro and my mind running constantly…why did I do this, what was I thinking, this is not fun at all etc, etc, etc. I looked around the cabin at all the navigation charts, shoes and fowl weather gear that was lying all over the floor, I listened to various items crashing and banging around within the lockers and galley cabinets, the loud clatter from the sails due to sudden wind shifts. I observed the multiple bruises that cover my body as a result of being tossed around like a rag doll and my aching sore muscles from guiding the tiller through the colossal swells as well as trying to maintain as much balance as possible while ambulating around the boat. The swells were up to 10 feet in size and continued to roll at us every 6-10 seconds like a slow motion rollercoaster. The occasional rogue wave would implement a sneak strike from the blackness that left us clueless as to which bearing the next attack would come from. This went on for 20 hours. I found myself second guessing my inspiration that lead me to make this decision to bid farewell to the sanctuary of land life to a life where I find myself today surrounded by trillions of gallons of water, waves and winds. That night I sat on this wonderful, beautiful 32 foot boat that felt more like I was sitting in tumbling Maytag dryer. It would be much easier for this journey if the water was always clear turquoise blue with slow gentle swells but what I was living through at that moment I found a bit overwhelming. I realized the need to sort out these regrets and confusing thoughts that continued to race through my mind. I was sitting in the cockpit during my next late night/early morning watch when something invaded my mind insisting that I stand at the spray hood over the cockpit entrance. I verified that the light was on the autopilot to indicate that it was functioning properly as well as my current bearing and heading displayed on the chart plotter. I stood up to comply with this intense impulse that was overcoming me. In the beginning I found myself feeling a little frightened and very intimidated as I peered into the pitch blackness that surrounded me. It appeared that we were going 100 mph as we sped through the night. My knuckles were white from the pressure of holding on very tight to Mary as we rolled up and down and were tossed side to side. I all of a sudden had an epiphany…this is must be what total faith and trust is all about, I had little control, I had to trust the information that the chart plotter and radar displayed, I had to have faith in my skills and in Mary for her integrity to keep us safe. I was overcome with emotions as I finally began to understand this concept. At that split second I stepped out in faith, I released my fears and insecurities. Mary and I became one for a few moments. We glided through and over the swells at 5.6 – 7 knots into the darkness. It was an amazing experience yet some what disorienting, it felt like we were skiing down steep mountains tops, the clouds at times appearing as bridges and trees over my head, the feeling that at any moment we could lose control as we were accelerating down the hills. This new perspective gave me a sense of total freedom that I have never in my life felt. I sat down and started sorting out my feelings regarding my questioning whether I made the correct decision by going on this journey. I began listing the good times as well as the bad times that I have experienced. I changed my focus to all the wonderful experiences I have had during the past 939 nautical miles (for all the land lovers this equals 1127 statute miles) over the past 34 days. I have learned to comprehend that with every situation we find ourselves in during our lives there will be positives and there will be negatives and the tricky part is learning to discern if the positives out way the negatives or visa versa and how much are you willing to give to make it happen. Yes, I have encountered several uncomfortable moments, several bruises, many missed hours of sleep, no showers for multiple days but in the mornings when the sun is rising in the east I realize there is no comparison to the blessing and gifts I have received in return. My life has been changed forever in a positive way. After careful analysis I have come to realize that one must step out in trust and take the bad with the good in any given situation, whether in relationships, jobs, and even dream chasing. No the cruising life is not all glitz, glitter and glamour but even so I have realized that it is good for my soul!

2.14.2010

Exuma Park, Warderick Wells


Exuma Park, Warderick Wells

We found ourselves holed up at Warderick Wells Park for several days waiting for yet another cold front to pass. I can think of far worse places to find myself stuck for Warderick Wells Park is a stunning place with crystal clear turquoise blue water and pure white beaches with ultra fine sand. The moorings are lined up outlining the crescent shaped beach which results in the boats swinging together and forming a line that reminded me of synchronized swimmers. When you first arrive at the beach next to the camp headquarters you are met by a real whale skeleton, which definitely put me in awe when I realized the size of this massive mammal. The park covers 176 square miles and it is prohibited to fish, dive for lobster or conch, collect shells, or take even a leaf from the park for this reason you are allowed to take only photos and leave only your footprints, which is what we did. There are multiple trails to walk and climb. The first one we chose was a trail that took us to a place called Booboo Hill. To our surprise the trail consisted of mostly volcanic rock walking and climbing. I was not prepared for rock climbing as I of course was wearing my flip flops. Half way up the trail guess what happened?? I blew out my flip flop! So there I was on a volcanic rock hill and only one flip with no flop. The Captain was kind enough to allow me to wear his as he stumbled back down the hill. It was charming to watch him maneuver back down the rocks wearing my too small for him blown out flip that was producing a massive flop with each step! At the top of Booboo hill you are encouraged to leave a memento. We noticed that most people left drift wood with their boat name painted or burnt into the wood. The next day we adventured out on another trail that also leads to Booboo Hill. There were many caves on this trail as well as a swinging bridge. This time we searched for a piece of drift wood as we walked so we could leave a memento on the hill. We reached a crest that overlooked the sound and to our amazement we noticed a rock that looked just like a lion. What are your thoughts?? Lion huh! Another of nature’s art projects! We came upon a magnificent pristine beach where we hung out for quite sometime. I made a face out of an old coconut and trash I found on the beach as the Captain spent some quiet meditation time. I also played around on the beach taking photos as well as taking in all the beauty of this enchanting place. After some time I noticed that the Captain was no longer in his meditation spot. I began searching for him. After a short search I found him attentively placing rocks in a column on top of a hill. I collected a few rocks but my curiosity was too much for me to hold back. So I inquired as to the purpose of the rock pile. He stated that he had been pondering the idea that he needed to make a tribute, a special place for his dad. He said that he had not found the right spot until now. This was the location to build a tribute dedicated to his father, Charles Montgomery, whose birthday was quickly approaching as well as to all of our loved ones who are no longer with us on this earth. From that point on we silently and tenderly placed rocks one on top of another. I had to wrestle back the tears numerous times as my mind wandered to the memories of my son, Jerry. We both
knew in our hearts when the tribute was completed. We stood back and noticed how superbly all the rocks fit together. At that moment we stood there astonished by this wonderful piece of art that was sent to the Captain through the heavens. I can’t speak for the Captain but I would bet he was feeling the same as I was, a bit melancholy but mostly grateful that we had been blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives for the time we did. The finished tribute faced a majestic breathtaking view in all directions. How long it will stand there before people or winds knock it down is unknown but in our hearts it will forever be there looking out at the water that stretches on for eternity. The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly as we found our hearts and souls at peace. Eventually during our stay we did find a piece of drift wood on one of our walks, the Captain wrote the name of Mary Rose on it with our initials with a piece of charred wood. We climbed our way back to Booboo Hill left Mary’s mark in the mound of other boat names. We are thankful to have spent some time in this magnificent place, we found a few moments of soul touching peace, spent time in nature and had the opportunity to meet the headquarters pet nurse shark!

Peace and fair winds!

Beans & Rice Or Seafood For Dinner?

Dinner while cruising can be quite the experience. You can never be sure what the evening meal will consist of. The Captain was getting a little tired of beans and rice so I fixed it up a little and added chicken to the beans and rice, well as you can imagine that became old in a record amount of time so I added pork to the beans and rice. Nonetheless, to get to my point we were both a little tired of anything that contained beans or rice. So it was time to go find some seafood. Isn’t that what life on a boat is all about?? Plentiful amounts of fresh seafood rather than beans and rice!?
We had heard that the area in which we were anchored at the time (Allen Cay) had abundant amount of conch that was ready to harvest. We decided to brave the chill in the air and don our skins to see if we could luck out and find a few conch to have for dinner. We stood on the edge of the boat having a discussion regarding which one of us would jump in first. The Captain made the decision for us as he gently shoved me over board into the cool blue water. The brisk temperature change was quite invigorating. It only took a few seconds for my body to regulate to the water temperature. Soon after the Captain took the turquoise blue plunge letting out a yelp as his body hit the cool water. (NOTE: Always make sure you put your swim ladder down prior to jumping ship esp after pushing your crew overboard, luckily the Captain had installed a pull clamp release on the ladder to use in just such circumstances...karma)We began snorkeling around the cove and to our wonder there were countless conch shells lying on the sandy bottom. The first few we dove for had already been harvested but with our dedicated determination not to have beans and rice for dinner our search continued. It was a challenge trying to decide which ones to keep; there are rules as to which conch can be harvested. The lip of the conch shell must be fully developed, which in my opinion can be a bit subjective. So after going through the several we collected we narrowed our search down to the restricted number of 6. Woohooo no rice or beans this night!! The next challenge came with extracting and carving the conch.

Here are the instructions:
Ø First you take a hammer and screwdriver you make a hole in the shell at the 3rd spiral down.
Ø Second you carefully insert a knife in the hole you just made against the center column cutting away the white tendon from the shells central column.
Ø Finally reach into the lip of the shell and grab the meat firmly near the claw and pull the meat out following the contour of the shell. If it is resistant check to make sure the tendon has been cut completely away from the shell.
After the meat has been removed you trim it up removing all part that appear unappetizing, in other words all the appendages and excess tissue. Once the meat is trimmed and looking yummy, pound the life out of it, we used a hammer that was of course cleaned first! Now you are ready to prepare your favorite recipe. We made ceviche, without beans and rice of course! Anyone that has a favorite conch recipe please share!

The conch was excellent for a change but we soon found ourselves back to the beans and rice.

Our next dinner experience involved fishing. We were anchored in Leaf Cay and decided to go for a troll in the dingy to see if we could catch a fresh fish. We prepared our fishing pole and set off with the usual dedicated determination, this time to catch a fish. We were trolling and it was no time at all before we got a hit. The fish was huge approximately two and half feet long and putting up a nice fight! Once we had him reeled up to the dingy we realized that we forgot the pliers on Mary which meant we had no way of removing the fish from the hook. As a result we fed the line out, with fish in tow we headed back to the boat. We were keeping an eye on our dinner during a trip back to retrieve the pliers when we noticed a large indistinguishable figure following behind our dinner. I would guess half way between where we caught the fish and our final destination we noticed bubbling and churning motion in the water. As fast as a speeding bullet what ever creature that was following us made a lunge in the air and gulp.. our dinner was bit in half, leaving us only the head! We are not sure what it was following us and I can say for certain after our last shark encounter I don’t want to know. Needless to say we had beans and rice for dinner… this time spiced up with a bit of chuck roast!

2.12.2010

Iguanas, Starfish, Turtles…. SHARKS

We have been fortunate by having so many opportunities to see many great animals. It is a fantastic chance to sit back and watch the animals in their natural habitat. I have watched frisky Iguanas chase the Captain, ocean turtles and stingrays move smoothly through the water with hitchhikers on their backs, I watched starfish slowly inch their way across a white sand bottom with destinations unknown, graciously one afternoon a flying fish hitched a ride with us, I have swam with dolphins and dove for conch. I have even seen a nurse shark up close and personal but all of this falls short to a couple of days ago when the Capt and I were snorkeling around a nice secluded bay searching for the days dinner, conch. The sun was shining, the water clear blue as a swimming pool just shocked with chlorine, the weather warm with a nice sea breeze blowing. We were approximately 50 yards from the beach, gliding through the calm waters, each in our own little worlds with our own private thoughts going through our minds. Suddenly the Capt came to a screeching stop and I noticed this sudden change out of the corner of my eye. I turned back to see what had caught his attention. As I did he calmly waved for me to come back towards him, as I began getting closer to him he pointed and there in the distance approximately 30-40 feet was a indistinct outline that looked quite intimidating. As this object began sliding closer to us we saw that it was a black tip shark. The Captain grabbed me just about the time I grabbed him and one way or the other I ended up behind him. The shark was pacing the waters, gliding back and forth, his eyes on us and our eyes on him. Even though the water was clear blue there was a murkiness lurking about him. He did not appear to be frightened or intimidated by our presence. He was slowly creeping his way closer and closer. The Captain motioned for me to start swimming to shore. Which I did without argument! I did my best to keep down my thrashing as well as make head way towards my optimal destination in one piece all the while keeping a close eye on my Captain. During one of my glances back I noticed the shark’s relentless curiosity as he attempted to approach the Captain too close for comfort. I saw him swing our conch bag, which was empty, at the shark in his attempt to spook him off. No luck, this shark was determined to check us out. The shark continued to approach the Captain, this time the Capt made a fearless sprint at the shark. The sudden movement caused the shark to have a fleeting second guess of his motives as he retreated. But, this withdraw only lasted a moment as the shark resumed his exploration of us. At this point the Captain decided to join me on my swim to the beach all the while swimming backwards keeping a close eye on this magnificent creature. We stood on the beach together as I fought off a nervous breakdown and we re-evaluated the situation. What did this shark want with us? Why was he not intimidated by our presence? Lesson we did learn … we learned that our ignorance of not only cultures but creatures can remove a blessing that may have been. What if this shark had become accustomed to the local fisherman and divers feeding him and he just wanted to see if we had any food for him? What a blessing it may have been to have had a close personal encounter with this muscular, sleek creature? How wonderful it could have been to see God’s creature up close? What a rare pleasure that may have been, people pay hundreds of dollars to go on shark dives. Can they be that dangerous? Instead of enjoying the blessing before us we let our man made fears and our own imagination fill our minds. We have decided to learn more about sharks and their behavior so if we ever have this unusual opportunity again we will be more knowledgeable on how to handle the situation.

Georgetown, Grand Exuma, Bahamas 2-12-10







We made it to Georgetown. We have internet access and will update our blog and add photos. We are waiting for yet another front to pass and the squalls are predicted to have up 50 mph winds. More later.

Cold Fronts in the Bahamas 2-10-10

Cold Fronts in the Bahamas 2-10-10

Not sure when this will get posted but I am writing it on 2-10-10. We arrived at Leaf Cay on 2-6-10 just ahead and during the passing of the previous cold front. We planned our arrival at Leaf Cay so we would have the choice of at least three anchorages to gain protection in the clocking winds of the passing front. We have moved twice since our arrival, once to Lee Stocking Island and then back to Leaf Cay. Today we are experiencing another passage of a cold front with minor squalls but powerful winds. We are thankful to be in the lee of Leaf Cay. Favorable conditions are forecast for a departure tomorrow to arrive at Elizabeth Harbor, Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas.

The wind direction is quite predictable with approaching cold fronts. The wind starts out of the south clocking to the southwest to west and then just as the front passes the winds shift northerly. They can blow for days anywhere from northwest to northeast. There may also be a squall present at the leading edge of the front. When we hear of an approaching front, we start looking at the charts for anchorages that will give us protection and destination points that allow us to sail in the Lee of the islands with favorable winds. We choose to stay put this time as the entrance to Elizabeth Harbor can be extremely hazardous in marginal conditions. The Bahamas Cruisers Guide list not one, not two, but three cautions for this harbor entrance. We will not attempt to enter in any marginal conditions. We are about a 6–8 hour passage from Elizabeth Harbor and we will remain here until the weather settles.

The wind is like nothing I have experienced before. It is not just the velocity but the sounds, the pressure, the vibrations. The wind speed indicator has recorded gusts in excess of 30 mph and sustained winds of 25 mph. Just a few moments ago the hull of the boat was vibrating from the forces of the wind and tidal current. You do not always lay to wind at the anchorage here even with 30+ wind speeds. Mary Rose has been lying at anchor at about 90 degrees to the wind for the past few hours. This is because the tidal current directly opposes the wind and Mary Rose has a full keel. The pressure of the tidal current flowing across her keel generates enough force to oppose the wind. There were times that the anchor chain was slack and we were in a bit of a hovering position directly over the anchor. The wind is pushing one direction and the tidal current pushing the opposite direction.

Our current ground tackle consists of a 45lb CQR anchor and about 60 feet of 3/8 chain. The anchor location is marked with a small round yellow float to give us a reference of where our anchor is dug in and to allow other boaters the ability to see exactly where our anchor is located. The anchor marker is quite helpful in these conditions since we are seldom laying bow to anchor.

So we sit and wait, read, exercise, plan, study and get back some of the time we put in the time bank the last two years. Nobody Moves – Nobody Gets Hurt!!!!!!!

Captain Don Montgomery

Farmers Cay to Leaf Cay near Lees Stocking Island 2-6-10

Farmers Cay to Leaf Cay near Lees Stocking Island

We woke early and had “big daddy” breakfast! What’s on the menu for the “big daddy” breakfast? Bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast, fresh squeezed juice and coffee this day and it can vary based on what is on hand. After breakfast we discussed the timing and location of our next passage. We decided that we wanted to move when the winds were westerly so that the next cut would not be an issue. We also wanted to arrive on a rising tide so that if we happened to run aground we could float off and move to deeper water. We also wanted a passage of 5 hours or less. As we reviewed the charts for potential sites that fit our criteria we spied Leaf Cay near Lee Stocking Island. The cut looked good and there were several anchorage sites with protection from various wind directions and it was an estimated 4-5 hours south of Farmers Cay. We had thoughts of remaining where we were to enjoy another day at the festival but the westerly winds dictated our departure. We began the mental departure check list and we were off the hook and sailing in less than one hour. We still had the first reef in the main sail from the last passage and we decided to not use the head sail and set the staysail for this trip. The winds were out of the west at 25+ mph with gusts that approached 40 mph. The seas were 2-4 with swells from the west for most of the passage. We were sailing in the Lee of the islands. The reefed main and staysail was the perfect combination for this passage. We had excessive heeling angle twice and that was easily corrected with the traveler and sail trim. We had a moving average speed of 5.0 kts and a top speed of 8.0 kts as recorded by the dashboard features of the Garmin Chart Plotter. Did I mention that we managed 8 kts while we were towing our dinghy with the motor on it? We were very happy with the performance of Mary Rose in these conditions. We were about two thirds of the way to our destination when we noticed a squall looming off our stern and it appeared to be overtaking us rapidly. We decided that our current sail configuration was adequate and we donned our foul weather gear. The Admiral fired up the radar and confirmed that there was indeed a heavy band of rain behind us and it was overtaking us. We discussed what to expect when it reached us and what we needed to do in advance and during the squall. We closed up all the openings on Mary Rose and settled in for the attack. We expected a wind shift and it happened right on cue. First the rain and I DO MEAN RAIN! Then the wind shift with a temperature drop of a few degrees. The winds clocked from west to north and increased in speed and the gusts were more frequent. It was wet and loud (more on loud later) but never very rough. When we left Farmers Cay we were not expecting a wind shift to the north so we did not rig our boom brake and we did not rig it as the squall approached. This goes on the “to do” list for the next approaching squall. With the winds right on the stern there was always the possibility of an accidental jibe. With the winds blowing at up to 40+ an accidental jibe could cause serious damage and or injury to both Mary Rose and Crew. The admiral did a perfect job keeping a watch on this situation with main sheet in hand and ready to execute the maneuver to safely jibe Mary if the winds continued to clock. We never entered into an accidental jibe but we did have the staysail flutter a few times which is the early warning that you are nearing the wind angles for one to occur. The east to west cut was comfortable with the north winds and we found a great anchorage, we arrived on a rising tide and we are the only boat in sight! SWEEEEEET!
Captain Don Montgomery

ADMIRALS PERSPECTIVE:

Departure from Farmer’s Cay was a bittersweet moment for my self. We met numerous cruisers as well as locals that were a blast to hang out with. We also had the promising opportunity to have participated as crew in the local boat races. But as I adjust to the wonders of a cruisers life we must also adjust to the few down falls which includes packing up and leaving when a weather window opens up, even when we are not quite ready to go. The window opened so off we went gleefully to our next adventure to meet new people and discover what surprises that await us at our next stop. We were flying along as the Capt previous stated when the squall approached, the winds began to blow harder with gusts >40. Quite a few times Mary heeled to her port side which resulted in a nice salt water wash down for her deck and crew. I was rather thrilled as I watched the rain approach. You see living on a boat, water is a luxury. Water consumption is monitored closely since we only carry 80 gallons on board and when it’s used up it is gone until we come to a port that has potable water. It had been several days since we were able to shower, trust me, we get pretty smelly sometimes! Which is another down fall to cruising.. very limited ability to shower and body odor. Baby wipes has become the new words for showers! Any way let me get back on track.. my hair and body had been covered in salt to the extent that when I brushed my hair it was as if I had a salt shaker hidden some place! I was so thrilled to be able to at long last have a fresh water rinse! The rain came and after the initial squall line passed, the winds calmed and the rain poured down. I began blissfully absorbing the fresh clean rain water. I felt like a little kid playing in a summer rain shower. I was also able to capture a couple of gallons in a jug for later use. The problem began approximately 30 minutes after I finished playing in the rain. I was finished playing but it continued to rain and rain and rain. Then it became cold. So there I stood in my foul weather gear wet, cold but clean. I find myself feeling gracious more often these days. I am appreciative for the shower and gracious for the small stuff that I once took for granted. Once we arrived at anchor and we had the rain catcher in place, the clouds cleared and the rain stopped.

Isn’t life funny sometimes!!