8.05.2011

I love my money fund manager

I talked to my financial advisor today and told him I was calling to say goodbye before I fell on my sword due to the recent drop in the stock market. He said wait I have good news for you. He went to cash with a good percentage and also invested in a hedge fund two days before the drop. We are actually up and put the sword away. Looks like we may be sailing again before we know it. Thank you Brad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6.27.2011

Bimini | Bahamas | Ashley Saunders | Dolphin House | Resort

Our last day in the Bahamas turned out to be a quite amazing experience. It was one of those moments that you can’t explain why it happened but it was one of those moments that you wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on.

The Captain and I strolled around Bimini to prepare our legs for the upcoming 3 day sail through the Gulf Stream. During our casual stroll we arrived at a narrow road that lead up a slight incline. There was nothing extraordinary about this road but we felt motivated to turn and hike up it.
When we reached the top of the hill we noted a strange sight to our left, it was a building that was designed and built using a distinctive technique.
As we admired the masterpiece we noticed a man with a huge smile spread across his face

walking towards us pushing a bicycle. “Would you like to see inside?” he asked? “Of course!” was our response. He introduced himself as Ashley B. Saunders and the creator of this work of genius. He invited us inside and began to give us a guided tour and with each room we became more enthralled with this man’s imagination and creativeness. Ashley began building his dream in 1993 and named his building; “The Dolphin House”.

He embarked on this project by hauling tons of sand up the steep hill from the beach with help of family and friends utilizing a wheelbarrow. Next, he allowed the sand to sit for months so it would be washed by rain water to clean the debris and salt from it. After the sand was rinsed enough he used it to mix with the other ingredients to make the concrete for his foundation. After the foundation was cured he built the exterior walls utilizing cinder blocks with double layered steel rods coated with anti rust to decrease corrosion.

Ashley’s philosophy was explained to me as follows; “you should build like it is meant to last forever”; he also described the relationship between steel and concrete like a husband and wife, a relationship that provides support and strength to each other. I would bet that this building could definitely withstand a hurricane!

The interior is made up of building materials that consist of left over scraps from other projects on the island, scraps from buildings that were destroyed , scraps of whole and broken tile, bottles, marbles and all types of various items that he found washed up on the beaches over 10 years.



He utilized natural resources such as rocks, various shells including heaps of conch shells which some he ground down and made paste to coat the walls. He also receives items by mail from individuals who have visited him.

They send him items to use such as broken vases, souvenirs that they no longer want, coins from all over the world and even stain glass from old church windows.

The front lower level of the Dolphin House
consists of a museum that displays

several old items such as a pirate’s cannon,

a dress that belonged to his grandmother

and even 2 drivers’ licenses from Shawnee, Kansas.

Next door you will find a gift shop named, “The Shabby Boutique” which sells various items such as shells and jewelry that is made from items found on the beach such as sea glass, shark teeth and shells.

Ashley’s living quarters can be found on the lower level in back of the house. The apartment is modestly charming and is decorated with various objects that he has collected over his years living on the island.

Next you walk up the stairs that are located on the
side of the building where you will find 2 rooms that Ashley rents, each room includes a kitchen, living area, bathroom

and 2 bedrooms and are 32 steps from the beach.

The rooms rent for $50/per person/per night.

In the living area you will find a

Caribbean fireplace,

a library with a supply of Earnest Hemingway books

and a TV.


There are all sorts of items embedded

in the walls to make art and d├ęcor including an old anchor chain that

Ashley built into a pillar with parts exposed.

It is difficult to witness all the unique forms of art,

I would lay a wager that you could spend days in this room and still notice something new such as a size five woman’s sandal that he found on the beach embedded in the corner of the living area.

The bedrooms each have a theme, one of the rooms is called the mermaid room due to the 5 mermaids in various areas of the room.
The other bedroom has a fish theme which includes a broken mirror that Ashley

fashionably disguised with coins that he formed into palm trees.

The roof is open for sun bathing or relaxing to enjoy a sunset cocktail. The roof overlooks the Atlantic Ocean to the west
and to the east the Caribbean Sea.


There is also a fruit garden behind the house where you can find bananas, mangos and, papayas.
Ashley believes in utilizing resources that are natural or that most people consider trash as to save our environment from further clutter which is slowly destroying our planet.

Ashley also believes if you want to do it right, do it yourself which he practiced in building this magnificent building.

Ashley is a magnificent man that was born and raised on Bimini. He attended the University of Wisconsin where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Next he did his post graduate work at Harvard. His aspiration is keep the history of Bimini from being eternally lost therefore he is the President of the Bimini Historical Society. Ashley was the 2000 winner of the prestigious Cacique Award,


a distinguished poet

and the author of many books including 2 volumes of books named,

History of Bimini. His lists of accomplishments are astounding!




Ashley comes from a generational family of craftsman, they build wooden bone fishing boats, crafted display boats out of seashells,
there are musicians in the family, Earnest Hemingway was a big part of their lives and his banjo playing uncle,

Nathan Saunders, is mentioned in Hemingway’s book titled, Island In the Stream. Uncle Nathan also wrote a song about Hemingway called, The Big Fat Slob.



Ashley and his family are definitely well diverse and very interesting to spend time with.

5.27.2011

Mahi Mahi | Bimini | Bahamas

At last we caught the big one!!

At the beginning of our passage from Nassau to Bimini we customarily and eagerly threw out our fishing lines to begin our fishing quest. It wasn’t long before the pole began playing its wonderful song…the Captain leaps up and yells, “FISH ON!!” Within a few minutes we had detained a 3-4 foot Mahi fish. He put up a grand struggle but we swiftly landed him in Mary Rose. This fish may have been average size but he was tenacious and was not going down without a zealous battle. We attempted to squirt rubbing alcohol into his gills to stun him so he would stop thrashing us with his powerful tail but he wasn’t going to have any of that, our next strategy in this battle of fish against man was to throw a wet towel over his face to disorient him, but he wasn’t going to cooperate with this line of attack either. I guess this fish decided in his tiny little mind that he was not going to be anyone’s lunch today so in one quick motion, although it appeared to be in slow motion to the Captain and myself, he did a back flip over the bull work, right between the stainless steel rail perfectly executing his escape, landing in the water where he shot off like a bullet! As our meal raced off into the deep blue, the Captain and I stood bewildered as we looked down into the water, speechless! It was a bit discouraging but we didn’t give up instead we put positive energy out into the universe and immediately re-baited our lure and threw the line back into the water; maybe today will be our lucky day!

I must admit that I felt defeated by the previous fish so this time I made sure that I had everything prepared just in case it was going to be our lucky day, wet towel within reach, gaff handy, alcohol squirt bottle full and in place, OK I was ready! The hours slipped by slowly with not even a hit, we were running out of time quickly since we would soon reach the banks and would need to pull in our lines.

(Note: We only fish in 200+ feet of water whereas our chances of catching a Barracuda diminish greatly.)

During the last mile or so from the banks the Captain requested that I start to bring in the lines. I reluctantly pulled the hand line in while I attempted to convince the Captain to allow me to wait a little longer before bringing the pole line in, to shut me up he finally agreed under the condition that if we caught a Barracuda I would be the one to would remove the hook and release it. I eagerly agreed! When we reached the banks the chart plotter read a water depth of 600+ feet and diminishing swiftly, time was slipping away and there was nothing I could do to stop it! I would go to sleep tonight knowing that I remain defeated by a fish! Just as that thought scampered through my brain the fishing reel began playing its wonderful song…once again the Captain scurried up and yells, “FISH ON!!” I fretfully stand in the back ground chanting a quick prayer, “Please don’t be a barracuda! Please, please, please!” The Captain seizes the fishing rod; all of a sudden I notice a look on his face that was a mix of trepidation and exhilaration, he bellows, “What ever it is, it is BIG! I can barely hold on to the pole! ” I looked down at the chart plotter and notice that Mary Rose was zipping along at 6.0 knots; I depowered her by dousing sails. Slowly Mary began slowing down, 5.5, 5.3 and finally stopping at 4.2 knots. I look up at the Captain as he battles with the fish, it continues to strip out the line, the Captain had his strong massive hands gripped tight around the rod as he tried his best to gain control of the situation and I continue to chant, “Please don’t be a barracuda! Please, please, please!” I start to think out loud, “Just my luck, I hound the Captain to allow me to leave the pole out and agreed to the Barracuda nonsense and now we have caught the biggest Barracuda in history! Just my luck! Please don’t be a barracuda! Please, please, please!” At last the fish is close enough to the boat that we can see it speeding through the water, propelling back and forth, cutting through the water with extreme precision, recklessly trying to find a release, an escape. I uncontrollably yell out, “IT IS NOT A BARACUDA!!” The fish continued frantically to wage a battle against the Captain, fatigue was setting in on both sides of the war. At last, 40 minutes later, blistered fingers, aching muscles the war is over, I have the gaff firmly placed in the fish’s side and wrestle with all strength to pull him on board, with a loud thump the fish hits the teak deck, but he wasn’t finished, he re-gained his strength and was ready to wage another campaign, the flopping of his massive body and tail resulted in copious amounts of blood to be tossed, covering the cabin top, in through the port holes splattered on our clothes the cushions inside the boat, it was visually clear that a battle had been waged.

When all was over, we found ourselves blessed with a 5 foot long Mahi Mahi with a guesstimate weight of 50+ pounds.



Thank you Mahi Mahi for your tremendous spirit.

Challenge | To ALLCruisers and Beach Bums | To Help | Save Our Sea Life and Beaches




The Captain and I were flabbergasted when we arrived at the Jumentos and caught a glimpse of the plastic trash that covered the beaches. Yes we are aware that most ocean side beaches have all sorts of trash on them but here it is mostly plastic rubbish. It is atrocious the amount of plastic that litters these beautiful uninhabited island beaches. We all realize that plastic takes years and years to be broken down as well as they kill humongous amounts of sea life.
There is a massive whale skeleton on exhibit at Warderick Wells, the cause of death for this magnificent creature....suffocation from a plastic grocery bag.

We as a people must come to the place within ourselves where we find this very disheartening as this is a conundrum that cannot be allowed to continue. We must come to the understanding that we hold the key to the future of our home, this wonderful planet that we were gifted.
As cruisers we should always remember to dispose of our garbage appropriately to protect our planet for the next generation to follow us.
The proper way to dispose of garbage in remote uninhabited island areas is to burn it and then bury the remains.
The Captain and I had our own garbage bag of trash from Mary Rose that required burning so we gathered it up and jumped in our go fast dinghy to the nearest beach. As our own trash burnt we gathered all
the trash within a 200x200 sq ft area and threw it in with our trash.
Yes it wasn’t a large area but if everyone out here cruising would do this small mission just think of what the impact could be!

Our challenge is when you visit a unpopulated area and need to dispose of your garbage by beach burning,
as you burn your own garbage gather items from the beach and add it to your pile, especially the plastic items.

Our children and grandchildren will thank us one day as we retain ownership and accountability for our planet!

5.18.2011

Fish Hook Removal






During our recent visit to the Ragged Islands the Captain had the misfortune to lodge a large grimy fishing hook into the outside of his calf on his lower leg. He was attempting to toss a hand line out into our fishing spot that resembled a stock pond. We were pulling fish in so quick that it was hard to keep pace. Anyhow, during the process of tossing his Bahamian style hand line into the water the line with the hook flipped up on its forward motion and…. ouch! The Captain hooked himself! He said it didn’t hurt much going in but he was sure it would hurt coming out. He babbled off a list of items he wanted me to gather; heavy duty wire cutters, forceps, alcohol….the adult beverage type with the final words, “Please hurry!” So off I scurried to gather the requested items as swiftly as I could as well as my own list of items; rubbing alcohol, peroxide, band-aids, topical antibiotics, and a piece of chocolate to go with the rum. Upon my return I discovered him sitting serenely in the cock pit attempting to eradicate the piece of bait that still held fast all the while assessing the damage to his leg. He blurted off instructions as he eyes remained on the wound and his mind on the impending pain he was about to endure. He instructed me to take the mack daddy wire cutters and cautiously cut the eye of the hook off. As he pulled his skin back taut so I could cut the eye of the hook, when unexpectedly he seized my hand and confiscated the wire cutters, he explained that he would feel more at ease doing the cutting himself. He reached down and grabbed his leg while I attempted to hold the skin taut a smile crossed his face when an abrupt click broke the awkward silence as the cutters snipped off the eye of the hook. The Captain looked up still smiling and said, “That was the easy part”.

Next he instructed me to grasp the end of the hook where the eye once was with the forceps and forcefully twist up and out, “Just as you do when you have a fish on that needs to be released” he explained so calmly. So I anxiously but carefully cleaned the hook, the wound and the skin around the area. Next I vigilantly took the forceps and grasped the end of the hook until the forceps locked in place, I took one deep breath and held it, with one eye closed and in one swift motion up and out with all my power I propelled the hook through the muscle and ligaments that held it securely in place, surely that did it I told myself. I opened my one closed eye and to my surprise only the tip of the hook came through the skin, the barb remained in the Captain’s flesh!

I looked up at him with disbelief; he looked at me with pain in his eyes and sweat frantically dripping off his brow. He sat back took a shot of rum and a bite of chocolate while I prepared myself to continue this torture to my Captain. After a few minutes of rest I once again attempted the same process but the hook would not budge. Now at this point in time I have sweat dripping off my brow and I am psychologically feeling and sharing the Captain’s pain as this hook stubbornly remains captured in his muscle tissue. The Captain finished indulging in the chocolate and took a few more sips of rum before he took the forceps into his own powerful hands in an attempt to remove the hook.


The sweat dripping profusely from his forehead, his hand shaking and a determined look in his eyes he set forth to divide and conquer. Unfortunately it took in excess of 35 minutes and many sips of rum to set the hook free.


I insisted that the Captain take oral antibiotics for at least 3 days and have the wound cleaned with peroxide and topical antibiotics applied twice a day
in which he agreed to do. 5 days later I am pleased to announce the punctures remain free of infection.

I think most of us know that Captain Montgomery can be a difficult man to get along with,



he is hard headed, bossy, controlling and downright cantankerous at times. But after observing some of the shenanigans this year involving other captains that are sailing out here on the high sea I decided that it was time to give credit where credit is due. Not only can Captain Montgomery remove fish hooks embedded deep in his own flesh



but most important he has many times guided Mary Rose and crew safely through many complex situations



with never a hint of panic or anxiety. He is a giving soul
who enjoys, as much as I do, the spirit of giving for only a smile and thank you in return. He is kind hearted being who will stand and fight for those he loves and also for strangers being wronged. If he cares about you he will go out of his way to give you what you want or need.





He is blessed with wonderful friends and family and I have great admiration when I see them interact together.

His grandchildren adore him.

He can make you laugh during hard times, he enjoys playing with others.

He is a man who can wear many hats.

He is strong, smart, determined and



not afraid of hard work. Captain Montgomery is a guide




and a teacher


he is not always polite but as he will explain to you if asked, “I’m not here to make everyone happy, my job is to make sure everyone is safe.” One cannot forget how the Captain is also a lady's man!

So during those times when I am frustrated with the Grinch I remind myself how genuinely lucky I am to be the crew for such a wonderful man, captain, and friend.

My love and respect go out to you Captain Donald Montgomery.