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Old 27-01-2013, 12:17   #376
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Reading another chapter of your adventures always puts a grin on my face, Captain BO!

Mardi Gras is 12 Feb this year. You could probably make it to New Orleans in one piece between now and then. Just sayin. I won't be there though. Won't be home until the end of March. Just watch out for those Northers! Get some doozies in January and it aint really over until March. I got a feeling you would fit right in, in New Orleans.
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Old 28-01-2013, 05:34   #377
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

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Reading another chapter of your adventures always puts a grin on my face, Captain BO!

Mardi Gras is 12 Feb this year. You could probably make it to New Orleans in one piece between now and then. Just sayin. I won't be there though. Won't be home until the end of March. Just watch out for those Northers! Get some doozies in January and it aint really over until March. I got a feeling you would fit right in, in New Orleans.
Funny you should mention that. I was thinkin of a mardi gras, but more of a carnival in the carrib. I am a perfect fit for NAWLINS, since I spent my high school years there, on the westbank in Gretna and Harvey. I graduated from West Jefferson High, back when the schools were segregated Male/Female. After high school, I moved up to Covington/Mandeville for a time before I joined the Air Force, and went to San Antonio, then Biloxi, then Cheyenne for uncle sam.

In high school, we would head down to the Quarter and hang out. Rolled a few passed out drunk tourist, and would spend the money eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde. I was a tad on the wild side back then, and running with the wrong crowd. We never hurt anyone, and never took all their money. Nothing I am proud of these days, but that was then.
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Old 28-01-2013, 06:52   #378
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

While I am here, may as well as report my hop from Marco Island to Marathon.

I left Marco on a little late in the morning. I headed for the Little Shark River. I went a little farther out so as to miss any issues with Romano Shoals. It was a lite wind, and all I could make was @ 4.5 knots. I spent the day trudging along south. By the time I able to see the marker for the Shark River's entrance, it was late, @ 10:30pm, and it was a cloudy no moon night. So it was dark, to for me to attempt an entrance. So I just continued south, and decided just to make a all nighter out of it.

Occasionally, the clouds would clear a bit, and the moon would peek through, as I motorsailed along. I was nearing Cape Sable, and on the chart I have, it shows a flashing red marker, 18ft high. I looked and looked but couldnt find it. Up ahead and to my left, I could barely make out a white light, high in the air. I could barely see to my left land about 2 miles off, and I check my location on the paper chart. Hmmm...I thought, the light I see is where that flashing red marker should be, maybe the red glass is broken and the light is stuck. Just pass that white light, I could see another white light off in the distance. I checked my charts, and it showed that there was another flashing red marking in that same vicinity as the second white light I saw.

Now it was really dark, and all I could really see was those white lights, up in the air, and to me seemed to be more or less 18 feet off the ground. So I continued on, but keeping my distance from the markers. As I rounded cape sable, I picked up the other white light, and headed towards it but maintaining my distance.

I passed the second white light, took a look at my charts, and was trying to pick up the flashing red marker for the line to John Sawyer Bank. It was suppose to be off to my oblique starboard. Couldnt see it anywhere! Then I got to thinking, I dont know exactally where I am at, so I better stop and re-think this. I stopped, and sat there scanning the chart. Hmmm...I am not sure where I am, my lats and longs says I am here, but that voice inside my head said, something just isnt right. I decided to turn around, since I know where I came from was safe water, to really re-think this.

This time back to my previous marker sighting, I headed closer to the previous white light marker. When I got close enough, I pulled out the binocs to take a better look at that marker. Lo and behold, it wasnt exactly a white marker, but the anchor light of a very large sailboat. I quickly looked for the other white light I saw, and it too was an anchor light, on another sailboat. Damn, what an idiot I am.

Now confident in my location, I headed back to that unseen John Sawyer Bank marker. I really wanted to just snuggle up between them two sailboats and throw the hook, but since I was now wide awake, I may as well keep going.

I picked up the John Sawyer Bank marker about an hour later, and plotted parralell course. Could see squat, it was so dark. I was lighting a cig, and caught a glimps of a crabpot bouy passing down my port side, so close I could hear it rub against my hull. Well, thats enough with the motor, and shut the engine off. I ran just on the sails, and it was slow going, but I thought, better to go slow that be wrapped up in a crabpot.

The morning came slow as all mornings do when you really desire sunlight. I check my lats and longs on the chart. I was on the right bearing, and not far now from John Sawyer Bank. I fired up the yanmar, and hit the gas. I was ready to be in Marathon so I could take a nice sleep.

I picked up my second marker, right where the chart said it would be. Fine I though, and I could see the 7 mile bridge off in the distance. Wont be long now, couple of hours at best. I was headed to Bethel Bank marker. I could see it off in the distance. I saw alot of boats out and about and a **** load of crab pot bouys in front and to either side of me. Hate them things, takes all the relaxation out of sailing.

I got to the Bethal Bank marker, and started to head towards the next marker. As I passed the Bethal Bank Marker, I noticed it wasnt the same number as on my charts. Perhaps they change marker numbers from time to time, and the chart I was using was like 15 years old I thought. So I kept going....then stopped. These have GPS numbers, let me double check this ****. GPS numbers dont change. Sure enough, I wasnt where I thought I was, and not double/triple checking is a bad way to do this sailing thing.

I doubled back, but as I approached the marker, I couldnt remember which side I passed it on, so I passed it on my portside. I looked down into the water as I passed and admired how clear the water was here, and I could see every blade of sea grass beneath me. WoW! I am really liking this water. I could hear the faint beeping of the depth sounder, but paid it no mind, as its set at 10 feet, and it has been beeping for quite some time. The water was so clear, and then I could see some mudding going on. I looked at the gauge, and damn I was in 4ft of water! I looked over the starboard side, yeah shallow there too...**** **** ****....I looked over the stern, and the propeller was churning up the bottom, holy crap! I gave it some more throttle for some reason, maybe I came just power my ass through this soft bottom, as I was still in 4 feet of water, well 3 feet...well 4 feet, as I kept watching the gauge bounce back and forth. Whew! 6 feet now, 7 feet, 8 feet! I'm a lucky bastard I thought, as I looked at the muddied water behind me.

I sat there for a time, figuring out where I actually was. Somehow during the night, I went a little farther west than I wanted. Not making sure I was on my bearing, and just assuming I was hitting the right markers, I got myself in a not-so-good situation. I found the marker I was suppose to be at, and confirmed the bearing I needed to travel. Bearing 150 degrees will put me to Bethel Bank Marker, and made sure I was headed for that GPS location. I check the depths and it was 7 to 8 feet along that bearing according to the charts.

I got to the Bethal Bank marker is due time, and now it was time to make the turn to the 7 Mile Bridge. Okay, I made it and it will be a nice ride to Marathon, and its still early in the day. I heard the depth sounder beep, looked down, 7 feet, ok its a low tide. no worries. I glanced down at it a few seconds later, 4ft....and as I watched it went from 4ft to...I could hear my bottom touch and the gauge was blinking 0 ft. Oh ****!

I tried to wiggle back off in reverse, nope that wasnt working. I put it in forward and turn the wheel and make the bow go left, then made the bow go right, then in reverse. Nope that wasnt working either. Jumped out of the boat a beam and went knee deep. I admired how clean my bottom looked, and it was beautiful. I walk back to the stern, and was now belly deep. Hmmm...the water here at the propeller and rudder was in 4+ feet of water. I walked up to the bow, and it was dry, and I was in ankle deep water. I climbed back on board, and put the boat in reverse at idle, climbed back over board and tried to push it off. A 13K lbs boat is not easy to just push off a sandbar. Wasnt much else to do but "Make The Call" to my friends at towboatUS. The tide was coming in, but I was tired and really wanted to make Marathon before dark.

The boys from towboatUS, were there in about 30 minutes, and it took like 30 seconds to get tugged off. The captian of towboatUS, said to me. Ya see that marker over there? Yep I said....You see that marker over there? Yep I said....stay between them till you can see the bridge squarely on your beam. Ok, I said. After you clear the bridge go to the very last marker before you make your turn to Boot Key...dont go straight across after you clear the bridge.....He waved his goodbyes, and off I went.

I followed his instructions to the letter. I made it through the bridge on an incoming current, flying along at 1.7 knots. Took me like 2 hours to make Boot Key. I was spent, the sun was going down, I found a place to throw the hook and went to sleep. Only took me ALL DAMN DAY to go like 10 miles, but I was fine, tired but fine, and my boat was probably happy to hear my anchor go into the water.
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Old 28-01-2013, 08:03   #379
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

BO
a CHART PLOTTER would be so much help to you You would always know where you are , now where you are going .......that is on you
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Old 28-01-2013, 08:14   #380
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Another well told tale .

That getting tempted to fit the chart around what you see is a common enough thing. Top marks on the giving yerself time to think, even at the price of it being inconveniant - especially as in someplaces the stuff you bump into ain't mud! and in some places a tow ain't so quick or so cheap (nor even available at all!)

On the navigation front it sounds like you do ok enough on shorter legs but not always so good on the longer passages / when can't always use the MK1 eyeball! to assist with the navigation - just a thought, but maybe you have not quite got the hang of accouting for leeway from the wind (i.e. moves you sideways on the water as you move forward - still affects ya even when motorsailing ) or tidal drift from currents (water moves sideways (or backward or forward) even though the boat doesn't! - albeit am not familiar with your location, so they might not be a biggie but often enuf something) - or a bit of both. Doesn't need to be a lot, but a little over a long time does add up.

Anyway, please keep up the postings (including the "dull" bits (as far as the boat adventures are concerned) where you are not actually going anywhere - that's all part of the cruising thing, and often enough where the fun actually is!)......I am sure folks who are where you were at the start have found this thread of great interest and of use .
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Old 28-01-2013, 08:36   #381
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

ROTFL! Another fine adventure!

Got a dinghy, right? I'll give you a trick. If you take your anchor waaaaaay out astern in your dinghy so all your anchor line is paid out and then set the anchor, you can take the anchor rode to a sheet winch and crank yourself off while you work the boat side to side and then power astern. First time you kedge off like that, you will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

Best way to do it is to make the bitter end fast on your boat, then fake your entire anchor rode into the dink, so as you row away, it pays out over the stern of the dink. Get near the end, toss the anchor and pull yourself back toward your boat a bit before trying to yank the hook into the bottom. If possible, if the water is shallow enough, jump out (with the dinghy secured to your person or the anchor line) and set it.

When you are really desperately aground, you can pull from the top of your mast, through a spare halyard sheave. This heels the boat over so the keel is not pushing straight down into the bottom, and effectively reducing your draft by half or more.

You need to check for prop and rudder clearance first, of course.

What I am trying to say is there are ways to become more independant and not be a poster boy for Towboat US. The bright side of all these groundings is it will help keep your bottom clean!

As for Carnival, Trinidad is really rockin the Carnival thing. You would have a great time there, I'm sure, though I havent been.
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Old 28-01-2013, 14:11   #382
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Another well told tale .


Anyway, please keep up the postings (including the "dull" bits (as far as the boat adventures are concerned) where you are not actually going anywhere - that's all part of the cruising thing, and often enough where the fun actually is!)......I am sure folks who are where you were at the start have found this thread of great interest and of use .

Boy is that the truth. Trying hard to learn from your experiences. We will see how well I manage that once I'm afloat
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Old 28-01-2013, 16:52   #383
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Oh dear. Yup-everything Growley said. Or even if you don't have a dinghy, put your PFD on and swim your anchor out.

Hanging off the boom or pulling the mast over with a halyard will help. Just be careful you don't fall in the water and have to watch your boat leave without you!

Keep at it!
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:18   #384
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pirate Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Best way to describe the ICW to the Brits is something like the Wareham Channel or the Swash...
Nav marks are mainly Withy sticks with a lightpost/mark every couple of miles to line up fore and aft... get to close to the edge and your stuffed...
some parts are dregged better than others... believe Georgia is the worst section...
The bit I did in NC was pretty good but a few folk still grounded if they lost concentration on the sounder...
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Old 29-01-2013, 03:09   #385
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Black you do write well and you can make even simple things come to life. keep at it. And think about what Growly noted. that is the way to do it. If you don,t have a dinghy, take a fender, lay the anchor across it and you can´swim that baby a long ways out.

But since you have a GPS, get in the habit of taking a reading every half hour and make a mark on your chart, then you won't run into a lot of these problems. Obvious, if you are navigating shoals you need to do it more often than every 30 minutes and if well out at sea, then every couple of hours.

get into the habit, and it won,t be any work

good sailing

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Old 29-01-2013, 19:56   #386
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

Great stories! I wish you all the best Blackie!
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Old 01-02-2013, 00:41   #387
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pirate Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

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Originally Posted by BlackOak View Post
.....I got to the Bethal Bank marker is due time, and now it was time to make the turn to the 7 Mile Bridge. Okay, I made it and it will be a nice ride to Marathon, and its still early in the day. I heard the depth sounder beep, looked down, 7 feet, ok its a low tide. no worries. I glanced down at it a few seconds later, 4ft....and as I watched it went from 4ft to...I could hear my bottom touch and the gauge was blinking 0 ft. Oh ****!

I tried to wiggle back off in reverse, nope that wasnt working. I put it in forward and turn the wheel and make the bow go left, then made the bow go right, then in reverse. Nope that wasnt working either. Jumped out of the boat a beam and went knee deep. I admired how clean my bottom looked, and it was beautiful. I walk back to the stern, and was now belly deep. Hmmm...the water here at the propeller and rudder was in 4+ feet of water. I walked up to the bow, and it was dry, and I was in ankle deep water. I climbed back on board, and put the boat in reverse at idle, climbed back over board and tried to push it off. A 13K lbs boat is not easy to just push off a sandbar. Wasnt much else to do but "Make The Call" to my friends at towboatUS. The tide was coming in, but I was tired and really wanted to make Marathon before dark....
That's what I like to read every day. BO keep it comin'
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Old 01-02-2013, 14:24   #388
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

your stories are always amusing and re-enforce why I've spent years learning and climbing the learning curve rather than just jumping in and taking off as so many advise doing.

Are you still planing on selling your boat and giving up? If so that's the biggest reason why just 'doing it' isn't always the best decision. Hope you never decide to take up flying!

good luck and keep on learning. I sailed for the best part of 15 years before I stopped learning something new every time I went out. I've now been sailing for 35 years... and learn something new every once in awhile...just NOT quite as often.
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Old 01-02-2013, 14:49   #389
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

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your stories are always amusing and re-enforce why I've spent years learning and climbing the learning curve rather than just jumping in and taking off as so many advise doing.

Are you still planing on selling your boat and giving up? If so that's the biggest reason why just 'doing it' isn't always the best decision. Hope you never decide to take up flying!

good luck and keep on learning. I sailed for the best part of 15 years before I stopped learning something new every time I went out. I've now been sailing for 35 years... and learn something new every once in awhile...just NOT quite as often.
Imagine how long you would have to wait to do something if you waited until you were an expert.....i started a business. had i waited to become an expert, I would have never started...

bo has years of exp gotten in a short time...some take years to get just a little experience...to each their own....

jumping in is how i have done many a ventures and it seems to work for me....bo seems safe and is out there.

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Old 01-02-2013, 14:49   #390
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Re: Attempted Trip to Bermuda

rock on BO!!!!
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