Sunday, September 14, 2014


Years ago we used to live in the Exumas at anchor off of Saddle Back Cay. We had a loose arangement with one of the owners that let us use the main island as a base in exchange for keeping people from messing with it. Now you would think who would be around to try and break into 70 year old shacks to see what was in them in the middle of no where. Boaters . Sail boaters, power boaters, mega yacht owners . Living at anchor or sitting on the bottom there over a three year period using the main hill top house as our day place it was amazing how many people would just walk right past my generator and art work, the diapers drying on the clothes lines, our boat at anchor at the bottom of the hill , the barking dog and come right into the house and say what a cool place it was. We had to explain that all the islands are privately owned as this one was for the past 80 years . And enjoy the view on the way down.If we locked the house up and went for a few days sail someone would always try to break in .
 Funny there were no locals for at least 45 miles around so it always came down to being the boaters. Why is this?
This past August after our Daughter Lillian went back to collage after hanging out with Bequia and me I sailed down to Saddle back with a nice north wind curtesy  of hurricane Christobal . I wanted to get away from our place to see some  really clear water ,  visit old friends ,explore old haunts and to have some time to finish some art commissions with out interruptions . The sail down was great with "Sinclair"our Aries wind vane doing the work when there were no coral heads to watch out for. We have done this trip dozens of times so can do it in the dark if needed.
The time there was great except for a few nights of horrendous lighting and rain squalls up to 40 knots. 
I always anchor well so had 3 anchors out being 75 lb. fishermans with 350' of line and chain each and the main anchor chain with a 66 lb Bruce. In one fierce squall we dragged one kedge back 65'.  We were anchored in 3' of water over beautiful sand but the wind was something . The squall just slowly drug this one anchor through the sand . I have to confess that I converted during the worst lightening storm of my life in one of these tempests. I am now a child of the God Thor . I will continue to pray to him to spare my boat and all it's electrical needs from now on every time I see a flash and boom in the same instant.

Sailing wing and wing towards the Exumas which are 52 miles away from our place. This takes us on average about 9 hours .
" Sinclair " the wind vane is an Aries Mark  IV that I bought for $600.00 dollars. It is 45 years old and was never used. The name comes from the used junk dealer that I bought it from. I have used a Navick  
Vane on small boats which work great but are a pain to adjust . I had an Aries Mark III for awhile in aluminum that was very good. I really liked how you could adjust the vane in the dark by feeling the clicks on the adjustment line. On the Hogfish I used a Hasler vane that I found at Sailormans for $150.00 . This to me was the best vane ever as that huge vane blade really works well in light winds. The only complaint is that it is big and hard to rig to some boats. I traded this vane for my mast on HFM. On HFM over the past 24,000 miles we have used a Monitor that I bought for $250.00 from a burnt wreck . The plastic was not melted so I figured it would be alright. This vane works very well when it does but they have a flaw in that the geared teeth sometimes come loose which is a pain to realine . Also because they are all stainless steel mine was always cracking. The Aries we now have is the best ever as it is super simple ,very strong, and made up mostly of bronze. Plus it steers very well.
I could go on for hours about all my past relationships with my vanes as you have to really get to know all their habits and treat them well. For me going offshore they are one of the most important parts of an offshore boat.

Bequia after a hard days sail.

This is little Spirit cay where I went through my lightening conversion .

The dock at Saddle Back cay where tourist now come by boat for the day. That's a nice Benny Albury skiff.

I am going to write a book called " 50 Shades of tan" 

 A mermaid for a northern client .

Naked turtles about to be colored.

In the process of painting and staining my turtles.

All done

The water really is clear in the Exumas.

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