Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Years Day

The water greets us with shimmering shades of turquoise, blue and green. Our intimate group of three couples just celebrated New Year's eve by going to Staniel Cay Yacht Club where we enjoyed a pig roast/turkey/dressing and Baileys/Nassau royal cheesecake and fireworks.
We danced to Caribbean music with each other and then everyone else. Note our hips are loose today! The restaurant was decorated with swirlies and sparkles for New Years and all the people from the sailboats were there talking, laughing, and carousing. At midnight the fireworks were similar to surround sound with visual. The weather swayed with island breezes and we were feeling young and adventurous after a day of sun and exploration along the Exumas, Cay's.
Captain Mark sailed the Stray Cat through 30 knot winds and anchored us adeptly. At night we could see all the tall sailboat poles with the lights on top decorating the shore which was festive, but the stars and the milky way take the show. Captain Mark takes us to snorkel along the reef under the grotto, so spectacular with the purple waving sea fans and the angelfish with the long arches, butterfly fish, parrot fish, and the pristine corals. Thank goodness we had out short wet suits, as our skin is more sensitive than the Canadians. We listened to music on his catamaran, over 100 CDs to choose from, and took photos of the fire red sunset. We each have been rotating dinner, and tonight was marinated filet's with baked potatoes and salad with a cabernet wine. It is the first time we have wound down in a long time, the boat, the relaxation, the friendships, all help to restore balance. Thank goodness for Captain Mark. Jane Parker Jan. 1, 2013.
Do not push the "reply" button to respond to this
message if that includes the text of this original
message in your response. Messages are sent over a
very low-speed radio link.

The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message
to: "Mark" <>
If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete
the original message text and these instructions
from your reply.

Replies should not contain attachments and should be
less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length.

This email was delivered by an HF private coast station
in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the
SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht
owners. For more information on this service or on the
SailMail Association, please see the web site at:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A cruiser's story

Janice Moyer aboard Dances with Dolphins

Lost Spear

It started innocently. When we bought our boat many years ago, part of the inventory included a Hawaiian Sling. A Hawaiian Sling is used for hunting fish and lobster underwater. It consists of two parts, a "shooter" and spear. The spear is a stainless steel rod about 6 foot long and one quarter inch diameter, with a barb on the end that opens to hold the fish. The shooter propels the spear with rubber band over fairly short distances. Typically one has to be within 2 feet of the target to be effective at all, but more realistically, 6-12 inch launch distances are used to ensure a catch.

Years ago, when Wes was first asked to hunt with others, he showed up with his sling and spear. One spear. The others, sporting 3-5 spears each, and backup slings, asked about his "spares". Apparently it was like golf, you brought more than one ball. Of course, Wes was considering the 6'' shooting distance and wondering just how you could lose a spear. He had practised to be accurate, shooting rocks, and some small fish and was quite confident that one spear would do fine.

The first time Wes shot and hit a larger fish, about 12 lbs, he was surprised to see his spear disappear as the grouper made a wild dash into the holes and tunnels under the coral. The sound is unmistakable, "Ding, Ding, Ding, ding, ding, done." as the spear, pulled by the desperate fish, bent and slowed down as it crashed against the coral tunnels.

Now, Wes isn't cheap, but he sure as heck wasn't about to lose his spear and a tasty meal at the same time. Every tiny hole into the coral was examined to discover where the pair ended up. Twenty or thirty snorkel dives later, up comes the spear and fish. The spear, now with a broad curve in it, was bent "straight" several times before accuracy was regained.

Over the years, Wes has found several spears of various diameters and lengths and now has :"more than one ball in his golf bag". He still hasn't bought one. Let's just call him frugal.

Our latest episode changed everything. His spear, now resting in a large fish comfortably in a deep hole under the coral, is the target of many dives to recover both. As the fish bled, and grunted, and bled, Wes continued to try to find a way to retrieve his prize.

As the time lengthened more and more inhabitants of the coral became interested. Other groupers showed up, teasing Wes with their daring approaches as his spear was otherwise occupied.

We have seen sharks become interested in our catches before, but typically nurse sharks or reef sharks less than 5 foot long, circle around the area at a respectful distance to a larger competitor. Wes has been able to retrieve the fish and spear prior to serious interest from them.

This time was different, a 6 foot bull shark appeared, and made tight circles directly around the catch and Wes. Wes swam quickly back to the small rubber boat that was our fishing vessel and boarded with a spryness that was impressive.

Sharks will often circle a few times, and then move off to again track the scent in order to find a meal. After waiting a short while, watching the shark circle, Wes lost sight of it. I suggested that perhaps we should just leave the spear and fish, Wes indicated that he could just jump int and grab the spear since it was so close.

Donning his mask, he leaned far over the edges of the boat to look again at where his catch was, and see if the shark had made it's retreat.
Wes was lying with his stomach on the edge of the boat, his head well underwater when he turned and yelled "down, down". Seeing his legs rise up as if he was trying to dive in, and knowing how much he hated to lose a spear and catch, I helped raise his legs to launch him off the boat.

Apparently the shark had not vacated, and was making a turn back towards the boat. Wes, understandably, did not want to get in, but rather to get out of the water. His "down, down" shout was meant to hold down his legs so he could raise his head out of the water.

As he twisted himself back into the boat, he sputtered, "NO, NO, Out, Out", Well, at least the objective was clear. We're leaving the spear!

We found the spear two days later some distance from where it was lost.

Yup, I checked, his insurance is still in force!
Do not push the "reply" button to respond to this
message if that includes the text of this original
message in your response. Messages are sent over a
very low-speed radio link.

The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message
to: "Mark" <>
If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete
the original message text and these instructions
from your reply.

Replies should not contain attachments and should be
less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length.

This email was delivered by an HF private coast station
in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the
SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht
owners. For more information on this service or on the
SailMail Association, please see the web site at:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Up Date

Been quite a while since my last post so here's a bit of a catch up:

> Thankfully I've only had to deal with one hurricane threat so far this
> season, lets keep our fingers crossed going forward. That storm was a near
> miss for the Bahamas, the strongest wind was mostly felt in gusts at around
> 45 kts. It was a rain event in most areas but the last thing New Orleans
> needed was a rain event. My guests at the time were relieved when I let
> them know they would miss the main event by one day when they would be
> safely at home.
> Maintenance issues this year were double that of most years in expenses
> and hassle factor.
> I had to haul the boat three times for out of the water work, then things
> just started to wear out like:
> The ceramic top stove, the water heater, freezer, refrigerator, Port
> transmission, anchor, chain, rode, Genoa, starboard head, at the helm VHF
> radio, radar, motor mounts of both engines, props reconditioned on both
> sides. All up $44,000; that bites but it's nice to have new stuff, ha!
> BOAT=break out another thousand, lol.
> Stray Cat is back in the water here in West Palm Beach looking pretty and
> set to go back to the Bahamas where I had such a good season in the Exumas
> Islands. The water is always crystal clear there but this season, well it
> just took my breath away.
> Sadly my older sister Pat passed away after an eight week battle with
> cancer. I was able to get away to New Hampshire to be with her and other
> family members before she passed. The cycle continues, my Granddaughter
> Kathryn gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Ellie. I now have six
> great grand daughters.
> I went to Honduras to check the Bay Islands as a possible place to
> relocate. I'm still thinking about that. I will be going to Cancun around
> the holidays to spend a week with my children, an annual thing we all enjoy.
> I'm looking forward to the winter/spring season in the Exumas with new
> guests and past friends of Stray Cat.
> Mark
Do not push the "reply" button to respond to this
message if that includes the text of this original
message in your response. Messages are sent over a
very low-speed radio link.

The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message
to: "Mark" <>
If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete
the original message text and these instructions
from your reply.

Replies should not contain attachments and should be
less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length.

This email was delivered by an HF private coast station
in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the
SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht
owners. For more information on this service or on the
SailMail Association, please see the web site at:

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Bahamas Adventure

The Texas group met up in Nassau on Monday. After a Bahamian dinner at the
Sea Heaven, a walk along the beach and a good night's sleep at the Towne
Hotel, we hit the Yacht Haven Tuesday morning to meet Captain Mark,
Chef-Mate Deb and to see Stray Cat. She's a beautiful 45-foot Privilege
Catamaran, ready to be set free from the dock to do what she was designed
to do – sail!

But first things first. Cabin assignments and a safety talk. Then off. The
first night is usually spent at Rose Island to get folks accustomed to life
aboard. But with the winds and seas just right, the Captain decided to make
for Allen Cay and so we were off.

To describe the entire 6 days in detail would take a book so here are just
some of the highlights:

*Day One:*

Nassau to Allen Cay: Under sail from Nassau. Visit the Iguanas, snorkel,
and anchor out at Allen Cay with Cornish Game Hens for dinner (well worth
the money for the Chef – three gourmet meals a day plus snacks and no one
had to cook or do dishes!!).

*Day 2:*

There's nothing like getting up, eating breakfast in the cockpit and then
going snorkeling! Perfect start to the day. Haul up the anchor and it's off
to Highbourne Cay for a visit to the store to get ice and to see the nurse
sharks that hang around the marina waiting for folks to clean fish and give
them the scraps. Left Highbourne and went to Norman's Cay for the night. Fresh
Grouper for dinner (after a lunch of burgers and bratwurst).

*Day 3:*

Motored from Norman's to Warderick Wells Cay and the Exuma Land and Sea
Park. No anchoring here so a couple of us helped pick up a mooring ball.
Captain Mark took us to shore in the dinghy so we could hike BooBoo Hill –
a bit of a rocky walk so sandals not recommended as footwear for the hike.
But along the way you can see Mangroves up close and, at the top, Blow
Holes that will take off your hat if you're not careful. The view from the
top is awesome as is the structure built by visitors, many of them
cruisers, who leave their ship's name and the date of their visit. We
trekked down the hill, and then hiked across the Cay to a cute beach. After
a couple of hours ashore, we took the dinghy back to the boat for more
snorkeling and a great dinner of steak on the grill (did I mention the
food's wonderful!).

*Day 4:*

After breakfast we dropped the mooring ball to head off to Staniel Cay to
see the famous Thunderball grotto. Stopped at Sampson Cay first to get ice,
eat ice cream and see more nurse sharks. Some of our party even got in the
water with these guys. Headed to Thunderball grotto, a worthy excursion
just to see the multitude of tropical fish that live there. The group
decided to go to shore to visit the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, see more sharks
and a ray, and to pick up a couple of T-shirts. Then back to Stray Cat for
a dinner of pork loin and twice-baked potatoes.

*Day 5:*

It's pig beach on Sampson Cay this morning. And yes, they are quite large
pigs and they will swim out to your dinghy and will try to get in – and
they will eat from your hand if you're careful. Leaving Sampson Cay,
Captain Mark took us through Pipe Creek, an amazing clear stretch of water
with an unbelievable array of colors. We exited the Creek and headed to a
cove on Compass Cay for swimming, snorkeling and just wading around. After
lunch (shrimp scampi with couscous), we headed outside into Exuma Sound to
experience true "blue water". The wind was just right so we got to sail all
the way back up to Highbourne Cay. Decided to spend the night at anchor at
Highbourne, feasted on a dinner of Chicken Milano and finally had a night
when you could see the stars!

*Day 6:*

Hung around at anchor and ate breakfast waiting for the Highbourne Marina
store to open to get ice and water. The wind was right so up went the sails
and we headed back to Nassau. The trip usually takes at least 6 hours, we
made it in just under 4 and hit close to 9 knots a couple of times. Finally
caught some fish, had been trying everyday to no avail. Unfortunately these
were all small so we threw them back. Anchored at Rose Island, snorkeled
and went to the beach. Met a couple that have lived aboard for 12 years and
played with their boat dog Bailey. Another awesome dinner, this time
Cracked Conch and Key Lime Pie. Several of our party slept outside (an
almost nightly occurrence) and got to see the stars.

*Day 7:*

Sadness – today's the day we had to head to the Yacht Haven in Nassau and
our flights back to Texas.

This was one fine vacation trip. Most of us had never spent time on a
sailboat and it was delightful. Captain Mark is a gracious host, a patient
teacher (we had a lot, lot, lot of questions) and a very competent captain.
Stray Cat is comfortable and spacious with roomy cabins and lots of deck
space so we could spread out and not be in each other's way. And the food
prepared by Deb Starbuck was delicious and plentiful and I'm sure we each
gained a few pounds. It was well worth the extra cost.

We would absolutely recommend a Stray Cat Charter – with no reservations!
Do not push the "reply" button to respond to this
message if that includes the text of this original
message in your response. Messages are sent over a
very low-speed radio link.

The most concise way to reply is to send a NEW message
to: "Mark" <>
If you DO use your reply button, be sure to delete
the original message text and these instructions
from your reply.

Replies should not contain attachments and should be
less than 5 kBytes (2 text pages) in length.

This email was delivered by an HF private coast station
in the Maritime Mobile Radio Service, operated by the
SailMail Association, a non-profit association of yacht
owners. For more information on this service or on the
SailMail Association, please see the web site at:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New website setting sail November 16, 2011

The new website is up and running, and just like anything new, there will be some bugs in the system that need to be worked out.

Ask anyone who's ever bought a "new" boat... it takes a while to fix all the "new boat problems" and end up with a boat that you can actually count on. Same goes for the website, but please bear with us while we work out the wrinkles. Of course, we'll be trying hard to make you wonder where all the problems are, but only time will tell.

The new site allows for a whole host of new functionalities, including a Member's Area for former guests, future guests and friends of StrayCat.

From the date of this post forward, new Ship's Log entries can be found on this website at this link - CLICK HERE

This blog will serve as the Ship's Log Archives, but will also continue to receive the newest and most current posts.

Hope you enjoy the ride,

Capt. Mark

Friday, October 21, 2011

Exuma Adventure Sail

What a fantastic Adventure!!

We met Capt Mark in Nassau, Bahamas after a nice flight and a kind local that whisked us through the airport to our cab. We arrived on a holiday and many stores were closed, but as usual Capt Mark had told us this would be the case and we were fully prepared.

We grabbed a few things from the convenience store and headed out to Rose Island. What a beautiful place. The calm ocean rocked us to sleep with peaceful breezes blowing through the hatches.

We all slept like babies, including our 2 year old Bella!

We woke up to a gorgeous sun rise and a cruiser, Wes off of a neighboring catamaran, who graciously took us over to the beach with his cool Bahamian poodle named Bailey. We did some shelling and looking around as Bailey fished and crabbed.

After some breakfast we motored down to Allen's Cay for some iguana feeding and some beach combing. What a paradise! The water was crystal clear and there was only 1 other boat in the anchorage. That was the Barbara Ann who later fell onto some hard times.

Highborne Cay was next for some snorkeling and provisioning. The marina is beautiful and Bella loved the nurse sharks. The snorkeling on the reef there was fantastic! We saw everything from a large barracuda, to sunfish, angelfish, lion fish etc... It was spectacular!! The marina store is very nice and has most anything you need, for a fee.

The weather was forecast to deteriorate and come morning it had already started. Capt Mark used his spidey sense and told us that we better high tail it back to either Rose Island or Nassau. We had a wild ride back of adventure sailing with South Winds on the aft quarter, Stray Cat handled it like a dream! The waves were still crashing too hard at Rose Island so we continued on to Nassau Yacht Haven Marina. We did some grocery shopping, got a Starbucks and then spent a dark and stormy night there and decided to move on up to Paradise Island at the Atlantis Marina. What an awesome decision!!

We spent 2 days playing, sunning, gambling, shopping and enjoying the 5 star amenities. The Aquarium was state of the art! The water slides were amazing!! We highly recommend this activity especially at the end of your trip, it seems like the ultimate pampering!

We had the most enjoyable time and cannot wait for our return. Capt Mark is most gracious and has the BEST stories. He is an incredible Captain and person and the sailing adventure is truly something you have to experience!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, October 03, 2011


October 1, 2011
Arrived in Nassau. Met Capt. Mark at Poop Deck. Went to bar across the street for a drink then to the grocery store for the week's food. Evening was spent loading and getting acquainted with Stray Cat. Set sail to Rose Island and started to relax. We had a beautiful sunset and a thunderstorm through the night.

October 2, 2011
Pulled anchor and set sail for 5 hour cruise in mirror like waters to Allen's Cay. We saw iguana on the beach then snorkeled reefs and spotted several sting rays. After that we sailed to Highbourne Cay and picked up supplies. Last we sailed to Norman's Cay and anchored for the night. We went for a sunset swim and then grilled kabobs. We are enjoying the company, relaxing and enjoying the stars.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, September 05, 2011

Delay posting

August 2011 -

Back in Italy from 3 weeks now, we keep thinking back to our wonderful week with Cpt. Mark sailing the Northern Exumas Cays.
It took just few minutes with this man and we immediately knew he's the one ! Skillful, discreet, patient with our little ‘troop’ and extremely nice.
Stray Cat is a comfortable and well equipped 45 foot catamaran, which accommodates up to 8 guests. We were a party of 5 friends, including me, my husband Stefano, Randy from North Carolina and another Italian couple, Elena and Alessandro. was not missing at all.
We first spent about one hour shopping food and beverage in Nassau for the week, and then...ready to weigh anchor !
There is plenty to sail in the Caribbean, but the location we chose is amazing for sea lovers: Exumas Cays are an uncontaminated corner of the Bahamas islands. Forget luxury resorts and ordinary tourists places, think to a myriad of almost deserted little islands (the Cays) scattered in this unbelievable Caribbean pool blue, miles and miles of transparent water which call you jumping in every minute !
If you like the naturalistic part of a trip, the delicate smell of the sea, the thousand shades of blue, if you like to be in the middle of nowhere just with your friends, fins, snorkel and your camera, that's a place to be at least one time in your life.
Spots we liked the most: Allan Cay, where a group of iguanas and seagull's are a natural frame of a pinkish sandy beach;
Staniel Cay, were we did a wonderful snorkeling at Thunder ball Grotto, a cave where the light gets in from a hole in the top of dramatic walls, with an incredible number of tropical fishes such as parrots, angels, yellowtail snappers, butterfly fishes and so; Pig Island was an experience: imagine a group of wild pigs swimming and trying to climb in your dinghy expecting you'll feed them !!
Though the marinas were we stopped by for fuel, ice and some more food, such as Highbourne Cay and Sampson Cay were very nice, and we loved snorkeling at Northern Rose Island in our way back.
Last day we had to come back to Nassau few hours earlier than forecasted, since after 6 sunny days weather was promising anything but good. This has been an occasion to have a nice walk downtown and to stop at the local handcraft coloured market in the main street. For whoever is around, take the time to get an ice-cream at Ice Cream's simply delicious.
Special thanks to our Captain Mark, for welcoming us in his boat and guiding us through these beautiful islands.
We all appreciated your company and we hope to spend another vacation together aboard soon !!

A presto,
Elisabetta & Stefano

PS Just few days after our return back to Italy we heard about hurricane Irene hitting Bahamas. Well, for the little we have known Mark, we had no doubts about his capability to face difficulties, but nature can be very rough...and we were relieved to know that Stray Cat and its captain were safe !

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I'll start by saying that Stray Cat and I withstood Hurricane Irene unscathed. I have received more then 130 emails from well wishers, family and friends, thank you all for your good wishes and prayers.
The month started with Tropical storm Emily for which I had to delay the boarding of a wonderful group from France and ended with me asking my guests/friends Ryan and Jen to leave early so I could prepare for hurricane Irene.
Talk about stress, I begin watching as tropical waves leave the African cost marching westward across the Atlantic. Will these waves develop, what of their track and intensity two weeks out, will the Bermuda high deteriorate changing the track, what about the low coming down from the main land, will it redirect the storm. Will high wind sheer hamper development or dry air masses slow development, a lot to keep in mind for two and a half weeks before most people know there is a threat out there.
Sailors/cruisers who know me know I will run in a safe direction to avoid a threat but sometimes it's not possible as was the case with Irene. Things don't always workout the way they might. The mountains of Puerto Rico and D.R. could have diminished or redirected Irene resulting in little or no threat, not this time. Four days out there's a predicted low coming from the mainland, if the timing of it's arrival is just right it will push Irene east and miss Nassau completely, in fact it did move the storm about 60 miles east of Nassau which is probably why Stray Cat was not damaged. Without that jog to the east, Nassau would have been on the dirty side of the eye wall of a cat three hurricane.
When it was clear that there was no safe direction to run/sail away to, I moved Stray Cat to Rose Island where there is an island within the island all surrounded by wind breaking pine.
Getting the boat ready involves removing sails and anything else that represents windage or will just blow away. Shutting off propane, closing sea cocks and the like, dragging the dink up to the woods and taking pictures for the insurance company, two days labor in hot still air; the quite before the storm.
A Bahamian friend took me and others in the eleven miles to Nassau. I got a cab and checked into the Sheraton.
What a relief to find Stray Cat sitting pretty, undamaged at the dock albeit, covered with pine needles and beach sand now two days to put her back together.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Exuma cruise

Richardson (Sylvia, Jessie, Alex)-Robert (Brigitte, Christian, Rachel, Joachim) family
Saturday 6 August
Thanks to Emily have become "Remants of Emily" on the Thursday evening, our decision not to postpone the cruise paid off. At 10 am on Saturday, we met Captain Mark at the Yacht Haven Marina. Stray Cat is a beautiful catamaran with 5 cabins. Jessie, I and Alex are in one wing, Brigitte Chris and Mark are in the other wing, Rachel and Joachim are in an outside cabin accessed from the deck.
After a large shopping expedition followed by an unusual stop in a sex shop that also sold alcohol (no details but really curious!!), we left the Marina around 1 pm. The sky was grey but the wind so good and so we decided to try to get to the Exhumas that night (a long treck of 40 miles).The sea was formed and after an hour or so, the waves were quite close by so the boat was bumping along quite uncomfortably, and Mark decided that it would be too long a ride against the waves for a first day. So we turned round and went to a private island "Rose island" where there is a very narrow entrance man made in the cliff and a very peaceful shelter in the middle. We moored at a pontoon next to a Canadian cat (Friends of Mark). The skies cleared up and we have nice swim and rest. Peaceful evening. We made spaghetti bolognaise for the team.
Sunday 7th
Woke up early because it was really hot during the night. We left around 8.30-9 am. The wind was south-southwest and turning as a sinusoidal throughout. We had a lovely sail averaging around 6-7 knots. We had to tack constantly and so after 30 miles, we put the engine on and motorsailed for the last 12 miles. We got to Allen Cay around 4 pm. Beautiful turquoise waters. Mark took us in the dinghy towards a reef for snorkling. It was very beautiful, lots of colored fish and corals. We then went towards a beach full of Iguananas. Gold sand, birds and lots of ignuanas of different sizes. Joachim who has a natural talent for reptiles started taming them, following the alligator demonstration that we saw in the Everglades. We knicknamed him "Jiguan". Alex got bitten on his finger trying to feed the iguanas leaves as they are blind and want to eat anything that moves .. We also saw a fisherman's boat sorting out lots of conchs. They sold us some fresh lobster ! This beautiful day ended with a culinary feast orchestrated by chef Mark on the outside barbecues: lobster, chicken and corn on the cob. Beautiful evening under the stars.
Monday 8th
Boat woke up quite late. It was decided to have a snorkelling day. After taking pictures of the iguanas, we motored to Highborne Cay, a private island where there is the possibility to buy ice and refuel which we did. We were expecting to see sharks on the way but they did not turn up au rendez vous. Went round the island to snorkel in a beautiful reef. Joachim came back in a haste after being pursued by a large barracuda. Mark explained that they are territorial but that they don't attack and that you should ignore them. Beautiful reef with lots of different corals, and many different kinds of colored fish and a few rays. Like a forest under sea. In the afternoon we motored to the other side of the island to anchor for the night. Happy evening under the stars. During the night, some lightening and wind got up for a while, but no rain.
Tuesday 9th.
Some of us swam in the morning and then we took to go to Norman's Cay. We had a lovely sail with light winds (averaging 5-6 knots). We also put out fishing lines but did not catch anything but weeds ... We anchored around 3 in a beautiful bay called whale tail. The reef was quite sandy and beaten up by the storm so it was less colourful than the day before. After the snorkelling and swimming, we then went to Norman Cay cut, a beautiful bay with a paradise "one coconut tree island" in the distance, which we fell in love with. In the evening we set off in the dinghy to the key, to go to Mc Duff's restaurant. Mc Duff's restaurant was fun, we ate conch fritters, and fish, and drank rum cocktails. The veranda in front of the restaurant was very much out of a book on the Caraibians, wicker chairs, low tables, a beautiful view and lots of mosquitos! The toilets were secluded in nature, quite unique. We hurried back to the boat as lightning and black clouds were amassing over our heads. The air was fresh and the breeze was strong. In the end the storm passed over.
Wednesday 10th
Set off in the morning towards Exhumas landsea park, a national park on a small group of islands, about 12 miles south of Norman's Cay. No wind, so we had to motor all the way. As we approached, we started to discover a symphony of colors, from light green to emerald green and blue. Truly amazing. We tied up to a buoy and got ready to swim when .... Mark called out -- look at the shark! We saw a shadow and all thought he was joking. As soon as we set foot on the ladder, we clearly saw a nurse shark swimming around, not too far from the surface, with little grey fish attached to his back. What a sight. After a while some of us started to get ready to snorkel, as this shark is not dangerous. There was an old wreck beneath our boat, which "housed" many species of fish. Top and king of the castle was a big "bar", with a lovely yellow tail, which swam around quite close to the surface, surveying his kingdom. Lower down were families of fish of all colors. Brigitte was the last to come back enjoying the observation of the various fish around the shipwreck but still keeping an eye on the amazing nurse shark who was laying still on the bottom water bed with his four personal parasite cleaners hooked on him. Marks told us they are called remuras. Later on as Jessie was going in the water with Alex, a massive barracuda swam by which scared them!
Towards the evening, we went in the dinghy and onto the pontoon where the wardens of the park have a little exhibition. On the beach are the bones of a big whale! Quite impressive. Little breeze in the evening, so the night was quite hot.
Thursday 11th
This is our last day and we started early (around 8 am) to make our way back towards Nassau. The few days went very quickly. We first motored to Highborne Cay to get some fuel for the dinghy, some ice and some cold drinks. We were hoping to get some wind in the afternoon and to sail back to Rose island, but the weather was overcast, heavy, and the wind did not get up. Around 4 we arrived at Rose island and anchored round the back of the island near a large reef. Everybody was very happy to be able to swim and snorkel after such a long day on the motor. The view behind Rose island is spectacular, with the world famous island of Gilligan's Island (10 coconut trees) in the background. The reef was spectacular by its width, interesting relief around its edge, some many different corals, sponges, forest like branches and fans, and colourful fish swimming gently around. Xian, Alex and Joachim dived for conch shells and managed to retrieve some beautiful ones quite deep. Lovely sunset and twilight. Tomorrow we will go to Nassau marina in the morning.

We had a wonderful week, discovered a beautiful undersea world, enjoyed the sailing and the company and got a taste of the very special atmosphere of the Exhumas. We are very grateful to captain Mark for sharing this with us.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Knoop/Bruns, Party of 4

So, here we are our last night abroad the Stray Cat, anchored just off Rose Island. Hard to believe a week has gone by already, but what a great week it's been! The Exuma Islands and water are BEAUTIFUL. It's almost like being in a dream. The water is unlike anything I've ever seen. The stars are night are incredible. Stars forever in every direction. It's all amazing! And, Captain Mark is the perfect guide to see this amazing place. Simply, Captain Mark = AWESOME. :)

We started our trip in Nassau where we met Capt Mark, loaded our luggage and gear on the Stray Cat, and then off to get our food provisions for the week. Then we were off! First stop, and anchor spot for the night was Rose Island. The snorkeling and swimming were fantastic!

Day 2 was a long journey across the Yellow Banks to the north end of the Exumas. That long journey was well worth the wait as we came into Allen's Cay which was unbelievable! Water so blue and clear! Then we loaded into the dingy and headed to Leaf Cay for some awesome snorkeling. Tons of beautiful fish and coral. We also saw a Winter Skate (stingray family). We anchored at Allen's Cay for the night. GREAT star gazing that night!

Day 3 we continued south, stopping at the Highpointe Marina for fuel, water and food. Pretty cool to see nurse sharks in the marina as we came in. Gorgeous beach w/powder soft sand. The Stray Cat needed some minor repairs so the captain anchored us on a beautiful reef so we could do some more snorkeling. Again, it was great so we didn't mind the delay. Then we headed to Norman's Cay where we anchored for the night, and went ashore for dinner at McDuff's. Very good food and a neat island atmosphere. Good drinks. Interesting restroom facilities, too.

Day 4 we reached Stanial Cay, our last stop before heading back to Nassau. Capt Mark took us to see the swimming pigs before anchoring the Stray Cat. Then we headed to shore for dinner at the Stanial Cay Yacht Club. Happy Anniversary to the Bruns! Neat place, good drinks and good food. The cracked conch and peas and rice were delicious.

Day 5 we got some last needed food/supplies in Stanial Cay, and then we headed out for the start of the journey back to Nassau. The captain took us through some islands (don't remember the name) as we left Stanial Cay that were just stunning. Gorgeous water, and quite a few beautiful homes! We anchored that night at Little Pigeon Cay in the Exuma Land and Sea Park. Beautiful place! Didn't know places like this really existed outside movies and magazines!

Day 6 was the long journey leaving the Exumas to come back to Nassau. More great snorkeling today. It really doesn't get any better than this. Wish it didn't have to end. It's been a great trip!

Hands down, this has been one of the best vacations ever. Capt Mark - You are the best! Thank you so much for the great time in the Bahamas! We hope to sail with you again very soon!

And now you know everything. ;)

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, June 06, 2011

June 6, 2011

Our party, Manny, Angela, Juan Carlos, Josefa, Nathan, Jacques and Ariana arrived Nassau yesterday around 2PM and at the marina by 3:45. Life is good-we are finally on vacation! Captain Mark met us at the entrance to Nassau Yacht Haven and we were introduced to Stray Cat. After a trip to the market for provisions we had a safety talk and were on our way. Nathan, Jacques, and Ariana helped launch and Captain Mark let me steer Stray Cat over to Rose Island. I had a fantastic aha moment-it was a understanding of how to read the water-what a difference it made! Stray Cat steers like a race car, it took a while to get the feel but once I did, wow!

The kids spent the trip up front enjoying life and probably wondering why mom was driving like a drunk for a while. I saw some heads pop up and look back so I can only imagine what was being said. After setting anchor we had cocktails. The kids played Scrabble while Juan Carlos and I cooked dinner. After dinner the kids got Nathan's high powered laser out and began to point out stars with it, and the boat next to us decided to shine a high powered flashlight at them.
Ariana (much better writer than mom):
After everything had cooled down a bit, almost everyone had gone to the bow of the boat to look for shooting stars and sattelites. Jacques was really good at pointing out satelites, and we also saw a few shooting stars. Contemplating the wonders of space really tired us out, and soon enough everyone was in bed, looking back happily at our satisfying first day sailing.
Today we are all looking to the tropical storm and wishing it away. It looks ominous on the sattelite photo so we are going to sail to Allen's Cay and Highthorne Cay and see what the "experts" say tonight. Everyone wish us luck that we can continue our journey to the Exumas. It has been my dream to take the kids there. To me the Exumas are one of the most beautiful places on this planet. It is almost surrealistic the color of the water and how the clouds can reflect that same color. We are about to sail and we are all looking forward to a wonderful day ahead!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

More notes from France

Honestly is somebody is hesitating for such a trip be confident/
> you have less risk to cross the ocean with mark and straycat than to
> cross the main street of MIAMI
> Mark is a good captain ready to please to his guess!
> Stray cat is not only a boat take care : she understand a lot of
> thing but believe me she is a really good boat
> I am use to sail but I have really enjoy my 8 days with those two
> fellows!!
> Ready to start again: a travel from France is worth while

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Notes from France

I just completed an eight day charter in the Exuma Islands with eight wonderful guests from France who sent this message for the ship's log

Cher Capitaine Mark,

De retour en France à Lyon et à Nantes, nous tenons à vous remercier pour l'excellent périple que nous venons de faire aux Bahamas.
En premier lieu, les 8 membres de l'équipage n'ont pas été malades…!!!
Les paysages étaient superbes et nous ont fait découvrir les Iguanes et les sites coralliens de toute beauté.
Nous avons aussi croisé les requins « gentils » (Nurse Shark) et les grandes raies.
Les difficultés d'approvisionnement ne nous ont pas empêchées de faire honneur aux apéritifs copieux et aux plats français pour lesquels le Capitaine n'hésitait pas à s'associer de grand cœur.
Nous lui adressons nos félicitations pour son professionnalisme et l'excellente ambiance qu'il a su créer.
Il lui reste quelques progrès à faire en langue française…!!!
Bien amicalement.

Marie-Pierre BEAUCHAMPS, Maryse BOUCHACOURT, Andréa et Jean-Pierre CRESSY, Annick et Jean-Marc FABREGOULE, Annie et Michel

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(no subject)

The first day we flew into Miami and took a short taxi ride to Coconut Grove Marina to meet Captain Mark. We stocked the Stray Cat with groceries. Enough food to feed our Captain, my dad, and us: three sixteen-year-old girls. We left the marina for Biscayne Bay where we ate at a Cuban Restaurant, complete with accordion music. We spent the first night anchored in the Bay. A good start to great trip.

Day Two: We left the harbor early that morning, ready to cross the Gulf Stream and make our way to our first stop in the Bahamas--Gun Cay and Cat Cay. On our way across the Gulf Stream, we dropped a couple lines and trolled for fish; we almost got one, but it was so strong it broke our hook! After a six hour sail, we anchored in Honeymoon Harbor to snorkel and feed the hungry sting rays. A short ride took us to Cat Cay, a private island, where went ashore to explore. We stumbled upon roosters, cats, and the best of all--peacocks! We loaded the Stray Cat, where Captain Mark fixed a delicious chicken dinner, and we continued our voyage to Nassau, sleeping in the Bahama Banks with no land in sight.

On Day Three, we sailed for twelve hours which gave us girls plenty of time to tan and sleep on the trampolines. We snorkeled at the edge of the tounge of the ocean. It was quite a work out fighting the strong current, so we were very hungry. Luckily, Captain Mark was there to fix us a great surf and turf meal (salmon and steak). That night we enjoyed the beautiful view of the lit-up Nassau shore line. We anchored outside of Nassau.

The fourth day began with snorkeling an outstanding reef off of Rose Island. We got some great underwater pictures with the fish. Turns out the fish enjoy dog bones too! After gassing up, we headed to the the extravagant Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, where we went through the lazy river and even went on a couple water slides, including
the terrifying Leap of Faith, a slide that rockets you down a near vertical drop through the shark tanks. We ate dinner at a tasty pizza place, and engaged in the Atlantis nightlife. It was great to finally reach Nassau.

And today, we departed Nassau and are headed to Chub Cay, where we're sure to continue our fantastic trip.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Adventure Cruise 2010 - Update

The best laid plans of mice and men...

The sail plan for this year's Adventure Cruise to Central America was completed with all the necessary detail to facilitate guests dropping in and out along the route.

The latest electronic charts, cruising guides, and other supporting publications were purchased and studied. Maintenance issues on Stray Cat were addressed, and things were ready to go, but a thought was nagging in the back of my head, insurance coverage.

After explaining the trip to my agent she sent me two maps, one showed geopolitical areas that are not covered. The second map showed storm threat for particular areas for which there would be no coverage. For that reason, my plan was scuttled...bummer.

Naturally, I asked where I could sail during the hurricane season, she replied South Carolina and points north.  Lesson learned, check with the insurance people first. It's interesting that the underwriters have some of their geopolitical stuff all wrong as to security threats in some areas.

Having said all that, I need to be out of Florida and the Bahamas regions until November. I plan to sail up the East Coast to New England to enjoy the beauty of the islands and coastal towns and villages there. There will be no planned stops going north from Miami unless there is a request to pick people up/drop off along the way or a weather related issue.

The north bound passage will be off shore in "blue water" taking advantage of the northerly Gulf Stream flow and the prevailing southeasterly winds.

The departure point is Miami about July 20th.  The passage will be between six and eight days. If you would like to join me on this cruise, you can contact me by email or phone 954 684 6265 for details.

If you would like to join the cruise as we explore The Long Island Sound, Martha's Vineyard, Block Island, Newport and other classically wonderful ports of call during Aug, Sept or Oct, let me know.

The return trip to Miami and Nassau will be coastal and inland waterway cruising with many stops at the best East Coast ports of call. Look for the details of the South bound cruise here or the news letter in the next two weeks.

Like the last cruise, this is not a charter.  Each person who signs on will be working crew. As such, you will be expected to participate in all ship board duties such as: standing watch, navigating, cleaning, cooking etc.  If you lack the skills or experience, a shipmate or I will be at your side to guide you along. It will be a fun and exciting learning experience for all!

The cost of the cruise is covered by cabin fees: one person occupying one cabin at $100 per day. Two person occupancy is $165, per cabin, per day.

The expense items such as food/drinks, fuel and dockage are shared by the crew who are aboard at the time. This financial arrangement proved to be revenue neutral on the last cruise and was a good value for all.

Contact Me

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sailing on Stray Cat

We are a family of five from Upstate New York. Aside from Mom who had some sailing experiences in the Virgin Islands as a kid, and Dad whose done a lot of motor boating in the Adirondacks and on the St. Lawrence River, we are neophytes to the world of Caribbean cruising. We met up with Captain Mark and First Mate/Chef Carla late on Saturday night, April 17, at the Nassau Yacht Haven Marina. Captain Mark gave us the brief tour of the boat, and scheduled us for the full safety check in the morning. Our staterooms are beautiful and comfortable. To have a head available for each stateroom is a real plus, and the toilets are electric, which are so much easier than the pump heads Mom grew up using.

Sunday morning dawned with cloudy skies and a bit of a head wind. We took off after our safety discussion, and headed for Norman Cay. The passage took most of the day, and the sky was overcast for most of it. It rained on Atlantis, but not on us. Carla warned that you can get the worst sunburn on cloudy days, because you are not thinking about sunscreen. So, we all slicked up...except for Dad. Guess who got burnt? When we got to Norman Cay, we swam to the beach from our point of anchorage, and saw two rays, one small and one large, both peacefully sleeping on the sea floor. We brought back a beautiful conch shell to the boat. Carla made us a delicious dinner of grilled Mahi Mahi with mango salsa, followed by her secret-recipe rum cake.

Monday morning, we left Norman Cay and headed to Staniel Cay. Another long passage, but great weather, and we got to Staniel Cay at night time. We anchored off a small beach accented by a wreck of a yacht. We swam ashore to check out the wreck, and found it had been stripped of everything. Meanwhile, Carla had called ahead to arrange an afternoon, two-tank dive through Staniel Cay Divers for the next day. That night we ate grilled skewers of beef tenderloin, shrimp and scallops, and turned in to rest up for the busy day ahead.

Tuesday morning, right after breakfast, Captain Mark took us by dingy into Pig Beach. Carla loaded us up with baggies full of leftovers, and warned us to feed the wild pigs from the boat...she told us of a particularly nasty run-in she'd had with a pig that involved her getting bitten in an unfortunate (posterior) location. Then, we had a fabulous white bean and chicken chili lunch on board.

Mom and Dad joined three other people for our dive with Jake and Joelle, our dive-masters from Staniel Cay Divers. We had a really rough crossing to Danger Reef, where we geared up while eyeing with some trepidation the seven or so reef sharks circling the waters we were about to jump into. Jake told us not to worry, and suspending common sense, we jumped right in. What an awesome dive -- probably the best one we both have ever experienced. Immediately after getting to neutral buoyancy, we saw a large loggerhead turtle get caught in the mooring line. One of the divers got him freed, and to thank him later, the loggerhead swam right into his underwater video camera while he was filming! There were two large remora swimming on the loggerhead's underbelly -- it was an incredible creature. As Jake assured us, the reef sharks were massively unconcerned with our arrival in their territory, and we quickly - astoundingly - got used to swimming with them. Among the numerous kinds of tropical fish we saw, we spotted a huge spiny lobster, a massive crab, four or five Goliath grouper, and my favorite - the parrot fish, of all varieties and color. The next dive was on Jeep Reef, named for the Jeep that had been sunk there. Less fish, less coral, but still fun. We were very tired, but excited, about our dive adventures, and took some underwater photos which we pray will develop well.

On returning to Stray Cat, we learned that Captain Mark had taken the kids on a tour of the area, showed them Johnny Depp's island retreat, returned to feed the pigs at Pig Beach, and, following a pit stop for ice cream at the Yacht Club, a swim off the boat. We ate a hearty dinner of chicken parmagiana and turned in, exhausted. A brief word about sleeping aboard the Stray Cat -- I mentioned that the beds are very comfortable. They are all fitted with fans which, with the hatches open, provide a soft breeze that lulls the guest to sleep quickly. The staterooms afford a measure of privacy which is unexpected. Our kids would retreat to read in their berths, and they were unaware of anything else going on aboardship unless we knocked firmly on their doors.

The next morning, Wednesday, we did a snorkel around the Grotto, which is a beautiful cave that was featured in the James Bond movie, "Thunderball", as well as the Tom Hanks - Darryl Hannah film, "Splash." The tide was low and the current was light, so it was a perfect experience for all ages. We left for Sampson Cay, where we loaded up on more sunscreen. One of our kids is a fair-skinned redhead, and so we perhaps slather on a bit more sunscreen than the next family. But if we have one important packing tip, it is that you can't bring too much lotion. I am writing this on Friday, and aside from Dad's unfortunate first day, we are all sunburn-free. It makes for a much more enjoyable vacation if you're not in pain and feverish in your cabin for the week. After Sampson Cay, we traveled to Compass Cay where we put into the Marina. There, Carla re-provisioned us with scraps from dinner the night before, and we fed the nurse sharks right on the platform at the dock. It was incredible how they would hold their mouths up vertically out of the water to receive the food from our hands. Then, we took the beach trail to the most pristine, beautiful beach on the other side of the island. The sand was bleached white, and soft as silk. The water was that light-green/blue that we've only seen in the Bahamas. There was nothing and nobody but us and four plastic Adirondack chairs which we hauled into the gentle surf and thanked God for the experience of the nature that surrounded us.

We left Sampson Cay, and made passage to Walderick Wells, the home of the Exhumas National Land and Sea Park, part of the Bahamas National Trust. There, we anchored and Captain Mark brought us by the tender to the beach where the skeleton of a 52 foot sperm whale had been rebuilt after it had beached and died on the other side of the island in 1995. After a late afternoon swim, we returned to the Stray Cat, and enjoyed another delicious feast. The next morning, Thursday, we had a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, and put on our sneakers (the first time all week!) to do the hike up to Boo Boo Hill. The night before, we had scavenged a piece of driftwood, and using a Sharpie, inscribed our family's name, hometown, "Stray Cat" and the date of our landing on the wood. When we got to the top of Boo Boo Hill we left our homemade marker along with the others on that makeshift monument. We were slightly disappointed to see that none of the markers that preceded ours was marked with a year earlier than 2007. When we returned to Stray Cat, Captain Mark explained that there was some controversy about the popular monument, and it had been cleared to keep the area more in keeping with its role of a National Park. However, the community of cruisers protested, and the tradition was rekindled. Hopefully, our marker will still be there when we get the opportunity to return to this area. When we got back to the sperm whale beach, we visited the Park Office, where we found engaging warblers who ate the crumbs from our packed granola bars directly from our hands. There were curly-tailed lizards everywhere, and one faced off against a very large hermit crab for the scraps that dropped from the warblers' beaks. We left Warderick Wells about eleven am, and headed to Highbourne Cay.

After anchoring at Highbourne, we all donned our snorkel gear and visited the reef near our boat. The coral there was beautiful, and Captain Mark gave Mom and Dad spears and a quick lesson with the fish chart as to what to bring back for dinner. We decided to search for yellow-tail snapper or hogfish. Immediately, Mom saw a small hogfish, but not sizeable enough to do anything with. Then, towards the end of our snorkel, she saw three yellow-tail but wasn't fast enough to spear one. Luckily, Carla had all of our culinary needs taken care of - lobster tails and filet mignon!

The next morning, Carla told us she'd seen sand-dollars off the stern, so we jumped in and collected lots of souvenirs to take home. We set sail for Nassau, with an eye to visiting Atlantis on our last night, and returning home on Saturday. This has been an amazing, wonder-filled trip and we are eternally grateful to Captain Mark, First Mate/Chef Carla and Stray Cat herself for making this vacation one of the best we've ever had!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Thanks for a Great Voyage

All the best to you both, and thanks again for a great voyage, Jim

11 March 2010
Up early with plans to sail up to Allen Cay to snorkel. 'Snapped photos of
a houseboat moored nearby, all of us wondering how it got there and how it
could "sail" through the seas. Sailed north on the jenny in a brisk wind.
Stopped at Sampson Cay for fuel and food, and then continued north. We
tried twice to anchor near Allen Cay, but the winds were to strong. We
reversed our course and set off south again for Highborne Cay-navigating a
very tricky channel to get there. We zigzagged through the coral heads
until we came to Swallowtail Bay where we anchored for the night. After a
feast of stir fry and a wonderful pasta dish, we went below to listen to a
howling wind. we felt very much sheltered in our cocoon for the night.
12 March 2010
The weather was somewhat threatening, as a storm was expected that night.
Needing fresh water from the marina on Highborne Cay, Captain Mark
skillfully maneuvered Stray Cat through a shallow cut in the coral reef to
the harbor on the opposite side of the island. We docked, took on water and
groceries and set sail toward Rose Island. We radioed ahead to Dancing with
Dolphins (Wes and Janice's cat), receiving confirmation of the storm, now
expected at dawn. The winds were gusting 15 to 20; we set both the jenny
and the main for a glorious sail! The winds abated a bit and then felt it
almost stop as we cruised through the cut into the sheltered lagoon of "the
donut" (their affectionate name for that end of Rose Island). Several of us
walked around the beginnings of a resort, currently on hold for a turn in
the economy. admiring the extensive bulkhead work. We returned to a
delicious dinner of marinated chicken, prepared by Seddon and barbecued by
Captain Mark. We could hear the wild wind beyond the trees that sheltered
13 March 2010
The front went through at dawn as predicted, with lots of rain, thunder and
lightning. In the morning, however, we went topside to blue sky. After
Marybeth's eggs and bacon, we reversed the cut at full speed to negotiate
the narrow route out into high seas--en route to Nassau and civilization. I
think we were all a little sad, if not resigned, at the thought of leaving
the out islands of paradise. We reached port mid-morning, and made plans for
a day in Nassau. Four of us set off over the high bridge to Paradise Island
to explore Atlantis, while Jim and Seddon who'd just been there at New Years
sought out the Straw Market. Buying an Adventure Pass at Atlantis, we set
out to explore the resort. It was a mob scene of activity, but it was huge
enough to contain it all. The aquarium was like no other -the fish, eels,
rays and sharks all swam in gigantic tanks set in caves and underwater
lagoons which meandered all over the property, interspersed with pools and
splashing waterfalls. It was amazing, we all felt that seeing a schematic of
handling all that water would be fascinating. We hiked back over the windy
bridge high above the harbor to return to the marina for showers. Jim and
Seddon returned from their day in Nassau that included Fort Charlotte and
conch fritters on the beach. We "dressed" for dinner at East Villa, a
restaurant virtually unknown to tourists, that Mark recommended, where we
enjoyed a true banquet of Chinese food. We taxied back to the boat for our
last night aboard Stray Cat.
14 March 2010
Because of daylight savings, we got up early-some rose at dawn-for a light
breakfast; lugged our duffel'sLate up from below. Farewell photos and hugs all
around. We'd had a wonderful charter, filled with many, many memories of a
week together, in the hands of our capable captain and mate.
Thanks so much, Mark and Marybeth!

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Happy guests

Hi Captain Mark and M'beth,
We all reached our destinations stateside...returning one day after yet
another nor'easter slashed her way across the Middle Atlantic and New
England States. We arrived to see many fallen trees and deep puddles, due
to the high winds and flooding rains, but it is now beginning to dry out.
How wonderful that we were in the Bahamas, not even aware.

I am drafting this e-mail first to thank you for a most memorable
week...we all had a great time, one we will never forget. We enjoyed you
two immensely, and felt the same about Stray Cat. Hope to see you again

Second, I just read the first part of our Ship's Log, which you've put
online....guess it's a bit long-winded but fun reading and remembering. I
completed the second half at the Nassau Airport...on Jim's computer. (
Only two mistakes: In the second half of the Log on the 11th, I have us
going to Sampson Cay again...didn't have the first half with me to see
that we'd already gone there on the 10th, and regrettably I spelled "the
genny" wrong.) Oh time! Jim will be sending the 11-14th
portion to you posthaste...perhaps that should read e-mailhaste... perhaps
even today.

Note for your webmaster: In moving around your website, I noticed that he
probably should change the text under ADVENTURE SAIL one place
it says "Adventure Sail 2009 is being booked now, " and you might want him
to add a few more excerpts to update the section under Previous Ship's Log
Excerpts, because the last one in the Excerpts section was December,
2005...great reading them all, though.

Red sky at night, sailors' delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take
warning is a little saying that comes to mind along with "Red sails in the
sunset... " May you enjoy many beautiful sunsets...both red AND gold
..we'll be thinking of you.

Ginny Smith

P.S. Stray Cat in a calm harbor (a la your website) is my current
computer screen wallpaper.


radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, March 12, 2010

(no subject)

THE BAHAMAS March 5-14, 2010

Six of us, three couples from the Northern Lake George Yacht Club in the Adirondacks, set out on a sail in a roomy 44 foot catamaran, aptly named Stray Cat, to explore the Exumas.

Two couples, Ken 'n Enid and Jim 'n Seddon, experienced cruisers, were joined by, Manning 'n Ginny who are not experienced in cruising, but have skippered and crewed in small one-design sailing yachts. Ken, Jim and Ginny "grew up" during summers on Lake George…all learning to sail at the yacht club. So when Jim said that we'd known each other for over 50 years…it was no exaggeration. We were all little kids together--all "Skippers" by the time we were 12 or so.

5 March 2010
At 1700 hours Ken and Enid arrive Nassau Town, hail a cab to the "Poop Deck," to report aboard Stray Cat with a salute to and a warm greeting from our tanned and muscle-bound Captain Mark and his pretty, very fit and very able matey, Marybeth. Unpacked; had a quick bite near the harbor. Back "home," K and E chose a cabin and retired.
6 March 2010 Next morning, after a quick bite, Enid and Ken went into "provisioning" mode and set out for the "Wegmania of the Bahamas." Two and a half hours and two shopping trolleys-full later, they returned to the pier, blithely wheeling them right up to the Cat. Carefully, everything was stowed with efficient direction from Marybeth All conjectured about the weather, and shortly Jim and Seddon came into view. "Ahoy, ahoy, maties!!" Happily, the second they stepped aboard, Captain Mark revved up the engines, and we sailed off for Rose Island, close by. Checked out the island, met Mark's sailing buddies, grilled steaks aboard, watched the sun set…..
7 March 2010 At 0717 hours, set off on a 10 hour sail to Staniel Cay. Anchored, took the dinghy (Stray Kitten) ashore to the Yacht Club for Bahamian cuisine of mahi mahi and cracked conch. Yum. Despite "dinghy butt," made it back to Stray Cat.
8 March 2010
Leisurely breakfast, set off for Little Farmers Cay…fished en route, catching a young barracuda who fought briefly, let us pull him aboard, then jumped, broke the line and vanished…taking the lure with Her. Disembarking, we took a micro-hike, checking out the hilltop, the runway and the beach. Dinghied back to Stray Cat to change for dinner at Ocean Cabin, owned and operated by Captain Mark's good friend, debonair Terry Bain and his family. Ordering the best lobster in the Cays, we ate too much, finishing up with "Do you trust me?" flaming Nassau Royale. "You didn't burn your fingers, did you?" Warmed to the occasion, our dinner soon turned into a musical evening which began with one voice and a ukulele, and progressed to a lively sing-a-long, accompanied by a guitar passed among our three guitar players. Wonderful songs, which some remembered…it was unforgettable!
9 March 2010
Gourmet breakfast; set sail for Black Point Settlement…largest settlement in the Exumas (excluding Great Exuma). Ashore, we set off on a hike to the highest point on the island, overlooking Dotham Cut. Path a bit obscured, but that didn't keep us from venturing on…down to the beach…up across the coral hillocks, down to the beach, up hill to the mangrove forest. We forded a shallow inlet, climbed up again to the high point…incredible view. By now, way off the path, had to bushwhack our way back…which included wading thigh-deep around the mangroves to the very end of the road. Caveat…if you check out the map first, you won't have nearly as much fun. Dinghied back to the Cat to enjoy barbecued pork chops on deck with Mark and Marybeth. Motored up to Staniel Cay again to be ready for "The Grotto," next morning. What a life!
10 March 2010
Up and ready at dawn, Captain Mark dinghied us over to the renowned Thunderball Grotto for an early morning snorkel under the island…opened to the sky by 3 openings in the coral above. The coral garden below was filled with fish, sponges, coral fans and brightly-colored schools of fish. Aboard Stray Cat again, we sailed and motored north en route to Sampson Cay. Docked, checked out the gift shop, purchased water and set off again for the Exuma Cay Land and Sea Park on Warderick Wells Cay. The park is a safehaven and replenishment area for Bahamian wildlife. Passing the sperm whale skeleton, we hiked on the trail up to BooBoo Hill…with a couple of blow holes nearby. The cairn at the top was constructed of driftwood, piled high with signs carrying yacht names or names of couples which and who had "drifted by." We were enchanted by the little bananaquit birds who wanted to eat right out of our hands. Back at the Cat, we spent a relaxing evening after grilling "Bubba Burgers."

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

last night

Alan's cay was amazing. The weather had been questionable, however the morning after arriving in Nassau, the skies were blue and the weather was beautiful. We dug in on the snorkel equipment and decided to take a cold swim out to the reef. It was awesome!

All we wanted was to find a lobster in the coral, spear it, and eat; easier said then done. We snorkeled throughout the day and had found one lobster, but he had the upper hand. He could breath underwater, we could not. We did however see some amazingly colorful fish and wild life and played in the ocean.

Despite the fact that we were determined to catch some fish, our dinner consisted of what we brought along. Sometime after dark, however, we heard a fish strike on the line we'd left out baited with a piece of hot dog. Tyler jumped to the rod, but after a decent struggle, the fish jumped off the line. After tossing the line out again, we had another fish on! One again though, he was gone after a brief struggle and we were left empty handed. Finally, sometime before 11:00 pm, we heard a fish on the line yet again and brought a yellow tail striper onto the boat. It made an amazing breakfast the next morning,

The next day we woke up bright and early and made our way to Hybourne Cay. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the temperature was in the 80s, so we all went out snorkeling. Along our journey to the cay we had left the fishing line out in the hopes of catching a fish. As we approached the cay however, the lour was snagged on some coral. Our first task was to swim out in the blue ocean, find and release the lour. As we swam, we discovered how swift the current was. Once we accomplished our goal, we swam out past the boat and tried to reach the coral rock that had emerged out of the sea. We got 2/3 the way there and had to turn back, disappointed, as the current was to quick.

We pulled ourselves out of the water exhausted, but still excited for whatever was next. We set sail for Norman's Cay. On the way, we decided to troll for fish. Not because we thought we'd catch anything, but purely out of a sense of responsibility; having claimed we were to "harvest the bounty of the sea".

Low and behold, two fish struck on both lines at the same time. Fish on! We brought both on the boat, cleaned them and ate fried chunks of blue fin Tuna. Amazing! We continued on to the cay.

We arrived around 2:30 pm. We had enough sunlight to either paddle to the beach or swim to the reef to snorkel, but not both. Peter, Rachel, and Kate hopped in the kayaks and headed to the beach, while Tyler and I headed to the reef. The coral reef around Norman's cay was surreal. It was like swimming through an aquarium. By the looks on the others faces once they returned to the cat, the beach was spectacular as well. Simply put, we had a day that can only be had in the Bahamas!

As night fell, we could feel the wind pick up and were feeling the cold front rolling in. Our voyage back to Nassau the next day was a challenge. We set off on what could have been an 8 hour trek around 8:30 the next morning. The first half was rough. The seas were in the 4' to 6' range, the wind howled and the skies were dark. About 3 hours into trip, the clouds split, and the sun came out. It had become a beautiful day. While the wind was still blowing and the seas were choppy, we enjoyed the day thanks to a fortunate change in the weather. Our trip was much shorter and much more fun than we anticipated.

Early on the day was looking bleak. The debate amongst the crew was whether to dock in Nassau, or to make the most of things and port in Atlantis on Paradise Island. As the sun came out, the debate ended, we headed to Rose Island just to the East.

As we pulled in to the Rose, we discover an island within an island. While the wind was blowing on the open ocean, the seas were calm inside. Once docked, we went for a hike. We found an sandy beach and walked around for a while. Once back to the boat, we fried up some more fish and cooked up a delicious dinner.

Tomorrow we fly home, back to the Northeast. I'm not exactly looking forward to heading back to the snow and the cold, but I know I'll be back again, so it's okay. What an amazing trip, an amazing crew, and an amazing experience all the way through.
Your friend


radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, February 15, 2010

(no subject)

Ocean ho. We pushed off from Nassau today with a good wind at our back. We sailed and motored south, making great time to Allan's Key, despite the fact that Pete took the wheel for awhile. Once there, we made communion with lobsters, iguanas, and a yellow tail snapper. The lobster retreated deep into its cave, beyond our reach. Luckily, Jason turned lobster red in the sun, so we didn't come home empty handed. The iguanas on iguana beach accepted our tiny offerings of grapes and Kate. We kept the bananas to ourselves, though, as Rachel used them to blend up some amazing concoctions. Tyler landed a good-sized red snapper after hours of night fishing (drinking, eating, and otherwise forgetting a line was in the water) with highly-prized, secret bate (hot dogs). Among the ones that got away were the physics of sailing and two large fish, including what we believe to have been either french kid or a ray.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, February 08, 2010

what did you like

I liked feeding the Iguanas, it was funny when they took the grape and ran off. I liked feeding the sharks at Compass Cay, you can pet the sharks and I got a few pictures of the sharks underwater with my underwater camera. Carla always cooked good meals. It was really fun going really fast in the dinghy.
Ulysses 9

I liked feeding the Iguanas. I liked playing in the waves at Compass Cay. I really like being on the front of the boat when we have big waves. I like feeding the birds called banana quits on Warderick Cay, they eat out of your hand. I liked fishing even though I didn't catch anything.
Lyle 11

I thought the sharks were really cool, they chomped the fish bits really fast. there were smaller fish that got scared by the sharks but they did get little pieces to eat. I thought it was really really fun on our first day when we had the big waves and the boat was bouncing up and down. We fit 9 people in the dinghy when we went to dinner at Ocean Cabin on Little farmers Cay.
Fletcher 13

When we first sailed I got soaked sitting on the trampoline. I swam in the ocean a lot. I paddled the kayak with me and my mom in it all the way back to the boat. I fed the nurse sharks. I like hopping on the waves. I saw a green flash when the sun was going down.
Rose 7

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Up date

Summer is ending here in Miami but you'd never know it by the 91-93 degree temp's we are looking at for the next week. The summer had it's ups and downs; no hurricanes is definitely an upside but on the other hand I can't recall rain as frequent or as hard as this summer brought. It rained in the dry season, it rained in the wet season, it rained night and day for weeks on end.
I was returning from a series of charters in the Bahamas with guests onboard in June. During the passage we dodge a number of very active cells. As we approached Miami a storm with lots of lightning which radar showed to be 24 miles long and 10 miles deep. This storm with tops at about 40 thousand feet loomed 5 miles in front of us; no dodging this one. The VHF sang out with dire sever storm warnings advising all vessels to immediately seek safe harbor, ya right, we were to far off shore for that plan so we rigged for heavy weather and we got it.

The rain was coming down so hard I couldn't see the bow of the boat, the radar was useless no mater how diligently I tweaked it, the wind piped up to fifty knots. Stray Cat has taken me through much worse, she handled this comfortably. My guest naturally were very concerned by the tremendous frequent and loud reports from the lightning- I'm glad they couldn't read my mind; more on lightning later.
Another downside to this long wet summer is one we are all dealing with namely the economic one, it has finally come home to roost. The up side is unplanned time off which allowed me to take on maintenance issues that always seem to pile up when the schedule is tight. I also did some personal health maintenance after meeting a fellow sailor and guess what, he is also an internist who practices close by to Coconut Grove, he is taking real good care of me.

That brings me to Dental care, I managed to loose control of a jib sheet in a strong wind that not to kindly, whacked me in the mouth breaking a few teeth and loosening a few (definitely a downside). That event found me flying to Charlotte for a visit with Jane Parker DDS., Russ Nash DDS., Jeff West DDS. and Mike Kelly DDS. Thankfully they are all long time friends and charter guests (definite up side) and in their many talents did extractions, bone transplants, and a number of implants. I have three more visits to go.

Lightning; the following is a loss details letter I had to write for my insurance adjuster:

Statement of loss

Date of loss: 09.05.09

This detail is presented by Mark Pomerenke USCG licensed, 50 ton Master, the vessel's master at the time of the event.
The vessel was at anchor utilizing ground tackle of 120' of chain to 200' of rode on a 45 pound Delta anchor. The decision to anchor in the Dinner Key Marina anchorage was made at Approximately 13:30 with the approach from the east of several cumulus cells and one towering cumulonimbus formation. These storms were significant in their accompanying high winds, intense rain (zero visibility) and numerous lightning displays.
Thereafter, The vessel suffered a direct lightning strike to the masthead which rises 64' above the waterline. Smoke was immediately apparent from the 120 vac and 12 vdc distribution/ circuit beaker panels and the various radios and displays at the adjacent Navigation table.
The Genset failed, shutting down automatically at that time and the systems such as the A/C's that it provided current to. All circuit and isolation switches were immediately shut off, fuel shut off valves were placed in the closed position, ABC fire extinguishers were at hand, access panels of the port and starboard sole were lifted to visualize the bilges, no personal injuries were experienced, a fire watch was maintained for approximately thirty minutes.
A short while later diesel fuel was smelt and discovered to be caused by a fuel leak at the bottom aft end of the starboard fuel tank which has a sixty gallon capacity. The auto function of the servicing bilge pump failed, a fortuitous failure, had it operated it would have pumped fuel over board.
Capt. Ricky of R&B marine services was called, he came to the vessel with a 55 gallon drum and pump whereupon the fuel was removed from the tank.
The small pin holes found in the stainless steel tank were abraded, dried and sealed with JB Wield. The described repair holds to this day and requires no further repair.
Double head halyards were employed as a safety measure to stabilize the mast section in the event of undiscovered structural damage and failure of the rig.
The insurance agent was notified of the loss on 09. 08 after the Labor Day weekend. Mr. Ken Ferch, claims Examiner called on 09.10 to acknowledge the claim and advise that Mr. Randal Roden marine surveyor would contact me to arrange his inspection of the vessel. Mr. Roden inspected the vessel at Dinner Key Marina on 09.12 at approximately 13:00; taking notes, asking pertinent questions, and took pictures of the thus far identified failed equipment.
The above statement accurately describes the events and actions attendant to the lightning strike to the best of my recollection.

Well that sums it up, excitement of the downside and now begins the dark side; dealing with insurance folks who will be compelled to protect the company. There seems to be near to 45k of loss mostly to electrical and electronic systems. The up side is the boat is operational and so am I.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

(no subject)

ahh sehr nett! ja wär gern noch mit euch mitgesegelt.. aber hatte eine tolle sicht beim ersten flug.. der übrigens 2stunden verspätet war.. hab sogar die stray cat noch aus dem fenster gesehen..
ja war sehr anstrengend der flug. mein gepäck ist auch in miami stehen geblieben aber sollte mir demnächst zugestellt werden.
tja jetzt kämpfe ich den ganzen tag schon mit being landsick aber noch viel mehr mit dem wach bleiben!!! pffff
zumindest scheint die sonne..

also ich wünsch euch noch eine schöne zeit, liebe grüsse an alle bussi!!

aja bei franzi war ich noch nicht oben,,,aber ich ha opa husten gehört--

so, ich scheib jetzt da noch das ship log;

bitte mark geben damit er es auf seine homepage stellt!

The days before getting onto Capt. Mark´s Stray Cat we all just couldn't wait getting on board. Still back home in Austria my father Dieter would always have a big smile on his face when speaking of the beaches and the water of the Exumas, Bahamas and the fact that we would explore this by sailing. His girlfriend Gabi though pointed out the possibility of having too big waves and therefore getting seasick. My sister Linda also had on the one hand a big smile on her face but on the other hand she started to realize that on this trip she might meet some sharks, one of her biggest fears. Her boyfriend Julian was hopefully watching the movie "razor man" (later on board he convinced us of the existence of this movie just in order to win a game we've played. well but we are still doubting its existence...) for him it was the first sailing trip.
Anyway, it sounded like a great adventure..

Since I arrived a few days earlier to the Bahamas I met all of them right at the Stray Cat in the Nassau Yacht Haven.
I remember one of the first things Mark said to me: So, Dieter seems to be a precise person.. Oh, yes Mark he is, especially with Coca Cola cans.. Luckily we never ran out of it..
Speaking of beverages and food I really have to give the best compliments to our chef Deborah. I don't know how she managed to cook these amazing meals in that kitchen on board that just wouldn't stop moving. I wonder how she did not get seasick. After all in the beginning we were quite curious who would be the first.. Mark told us some tricks he would use when he would see someone getting the first symptoms. Anyway we were lucky to spend our days on Stray Cat without such incidents, even though with Capt. Mark on board nothing would have been a problem. Its amazing how he made us feel comfortable on board, with his trustworthy and positive energy.
I think the first nights him and Deborah could not get much sleep, since we, the guests, started wandering around on the Stray Cat to find th best sleeping place. I think after the first nights we have all tested all possible sleeping places on board..the trampoline and the little mattress outside, the bench inside and the rooms.
I think that's also why Mark sent us hiking on one of the islands we have stopped, so we would be more tired of walking around at night. And at least for me it seemed to work. That night I was so tired and exhausted after we have walked to amazing beaches and enjoyed a long bath in the sea...

At one point, during snorkeling, Julian and Linda were just swimming next to a Barracuda. Especially Linda was amazed. After swimming with that fish and having seen many sharks swimming right next to our boat, I think she started to like them..
Also Gabi got rid of her fear of getting seasick (after all she seemed to be the only person not feeling the land move when we had our dinner out at Staniel Cay). Julian discovered his talent of making the most beautiful pictures of some amazing sunsets we saw as well as taking pictures of lizards on the beach. Linda and me, for the first time, had to escape some wild pigs walking towards us at the beach.
And I think now, after this trip Dieter will have an even bigger smile on his face when thinking of the Bahamas.

I could continue writing for ages since we had so many great experiences.
Just thinking of flocking with the fish, the huge "fishball" we encountered, the many many big and colorful fish at that cave close to Staniel Cay, the sun and the wind on board, the stars at night, the crystal clear water, and the baby powdery sand, the kayaks..

just don't forget your sunglasses, sun cream and hat....

Thank you Mark,

all the best to you and Stray Cat

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

(no subject)

May 13, 2009
On board, Jeff & Marcia Kish, Mike (the Heat) and Mel Streng, Paul and Laura Sauer, and Bryan & Carol Albright and Captain Mark

We left Nassau Bahama's today around 1:00 pm. We traveled to Allen's Cay with Captain Mark and Mel guiding us on our way. There were three to four footers on our way to Allen's. The ride was a little rough but we were still able to drink and party on the seven hour tour. Just as the sun was setting we anchored inside of the bay. Jeff wanted to take off to explore the island but Captain Mark said that it was not safe at night. The other boats were chumming the water with their leftover fish bait, perhaps attracting fish we may not like to swim with. Now we are sitting on the boat chilling out to my favorite band OAE. The song Nigh Shift/ Stir it up is on right now. We will wait till dawn to explore. I am going to sign off and join the rest of the crew and enjoy the amazing stars. Life can not get any better.


radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

(no subject)

Monday April13- Friday April 17 2009
Paul, Julie, Elaine(14),Liam(12), Drew(9)

We set out and Captain Mark taught us about navigating, about the GPS, radar, speed and the depth. We enjoyed swimming in the ocean, fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling. We saw many different types of fish and sea creatures such as squid and spotted eagle rays [harmless] which we swam with.

We sailed around Rose Island and Green Island, we found star fish, sand dollars, sea biscuits, shells and conch shells.
In the evenings we watched a movie 'Captain Ron', looked at the stars, and one of the nights had a bonfire on the beach.
Carla's amazing cooking was 5star everyday, there's always enough and we really liked it. Thank you Carla for your terrific effort, it was great.
We had so many wonderful new experiences that will stay with us forever. Thank you Captain Mark.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Saturday, February 28, 2009

More of the last three weeks

Had another theatrical event last week.

CBS or CNBC, I'm a bit shaky on the details, chartered me for the reenactment of a true story involving an NBA star who went off on a Catamaran in Tahiti several years ago. As the story goes the star ended up killing his girl friend, his estranged brother, and the Captain - I hate that part.

The director (another Chris) briefed me in great detail of the story line and how I would be required to maneuver the boat to accommodate his scene structure. A few years back I did a four day shoot for the Macy's spring catalog so I knew from that experience he would want much of me; to my surprise he wanted more than I conjured up.

The two black young men (one of the guys is another Chris) who would play the roles of Star and angry brother (the brother demanded money from the star) and a young white gal who played the stars girlfriend showed up. After they settled in on board, introduced themselves to each other, were briefed about their roles by Chris and by me about safety on board, Chris inquired about the actor Captain who was MIA.

Phone calls ensued, it became obvious to Chris that he would have no Captain actor, and then he looked at me thoughtfully and said "you look like a Captain with your tan and all; you're older then the real life Captain but it can work".

I signed release papers, & later in the day while playing the Captain I was clunked in the head with a wrench and dispatched to actor's heaven; what a short career. This documentary is to air in March.

Here's another one from last week

Dear Capt. Mark,

My name is Francie Anderson and I am the editor of Wando High School's
Tribal Tribune. We are doing a feature story about your sail charters,
and we were wondering if we could use one of the pictures from your
website in our newspaper. We would greatly appreciate your help!


This fine Carolina school has an online version and may have published the article this week on page 21, Since I'm out here in the middle of nowhere if someone comes across the article it would be fun to know about it.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Last three weeks

After three weeks of no sailing it's good to be underway again, I crossed the Gulf Stream Miami to the Gun Cay cut yesterday in very ruff conditions. This morning I'm easting on the Bahamas Banks in light air (on the nose of course) but making good time at about 7.5 kts, it should reach 82F today. The wind will shift to the southeast (no help there) today with a cold front passage later, a shift to the northwest at 15-20 tonight, that shift will be real good for sailing.

I had to delay this passage because the sea state in the Stream has been 8 to 10 feet with wind gust over thirty for the last three days; the result is, cutting it real thin for meeting with my guests in Nassau.

They will be flying in from Austria tomorrow, so Max if you're reading this, I'll make it, but-just.

I went to the premiere of The Heart is a Drum Machine at the Phoenix Art Museum to see and enjoy my son's success. Chris wrote and directed this documentary about music. Along with his friend and colleague Ryan Page (who produced the movie) both were well received by the six hundred people who came to the opening, but most of all by me and my Daughter and Grand Daughter who came over from southern California; yep I'm a proud Dad. Chris's Mom lives in Phoenix and was also there beaming.

I didn't know this, a drum machine is the electronic device a short handed musician might use to set the rhythm and generally be their percussion section.

Chris interviewed about one hundred celebrities to get their thoughts and feelings about music. People like Maynard James Keenan of the rock group Tool, Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips' who also scored the film, Elijah Wood, John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and many more.

The widow of Dr. Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan, you may remember her movie Contact, introduced the movie and concluded it. Ann also picked the music of the golden record that was onboard the Voyager space probes 1 and II.

I'll fill in the rest of my three weeks of non sailing in the next entry.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Back again

I didn't have any luck with that Wifi, no signal, I'll just have to wait till Miami to get online.

Things change fast out here, while near Cat the wind came up at about ten from the south, that blew the fog out and the sun in.
I'm 15 miles from Miami now sailing at about 7 knts on a south wind in the Gulf stream, I'll make the sea buoy at about 6: pm, to late for happy hour at Scotty"s so if I do have a drink there, it will cost $8.00 plus tip. I'm ready to get off the boat though and some human contact could be fun.
All for now,

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Catch up

It's been weeks since I last wrote; guests have written a fair amount though, that kept me out of trouble with friends and family who keep up with my wondering's. There are no guests onboard as I sail from Nassau to Miami so it's my turn to jot a bit.
So far this winter season there have been many days of wind in the twenties and above, a few nights in the high thirties, (which reminds me of the pop group Three Dog Night who took their name from Australian natives that judged the cold of night by the number of dogs they had to sleep with) But for the most part it has been very nice, on the mild side. Looking back, there were about 10 days of sailing the wind on long passages at 8-10 knts, real fun.
Today is not a sailing day, its flat calm in bright sun but it didn't start that way. This morning, after spending the night at anchor on the Great Bahamas Banks ten miles east of Cat Cay, I went on deck with my coffee cup in hand and was enveloped in a blanket of cool fog (very unusual in these waters). The decks were very wet with condensate, as I was looking over the starboard side, I saw a large Logger Head turtle apparently napping or I don't know what for sure, but it finally noticed me and dove real fast. I have read that Logger heads enjoy eating Portuguese Man Of war jellyfish; the down side for them is that, the long tentacles burn their eyes; as a result they don't see very well.
I'm going to sail over to Cat Cay and get a little Wifi time be right back.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Friday, January 09, 2009

Dana up data

December 27-30, 2008

Over the next three days we continued to travel to different Cay's during the day. We arrived at the different cays each day around 1pm or so. Once we got to the anchor or mooring site Gary and I decided to go snorkeling. We found some great snorkeling spots where we saw lion fish, large cucumbers and sea stars, fantastic fan and brain corrals, Sergeant majors, large tangs, angelfish, etc. The snorkeling spots that Mark took us to were wonderful and had a lot to see. Each night we ate on the boat and got as much relaxation as possible due to the closing of our adventure. On the way to Nassau on the 30th we were able to see the original Gilligan's Island and where The Blue Lagoon was filmed. Mark dropped us off for our goodbye's on a dock in Nassau. In Nassau we ate some lunch and decided to do some shopping while we waited to go to the airport. On the way to the airport we drove the cemetery where Anna Nicole Smith is buried. I must say it was a wonderful trip that I will cherish always. Thanks Mark for all of the fun and sun. See you again some other time!

My Favorite Part of the Trip:

I would have to say there are 2 things that stick out for me on the trip we had on the Stray Cat. The first was the snorkeling spot called Thunderball Cave. In this cave was some of the best snorkeling I have seen. (I have been to many places to snorkel and dive.) I would also have to say Farmers Cay dinner at the Le Bleu restaurant was also memorable for me. We had a great dinner and met some interesting people there. What a blast we had!

Dana signing off till next time…….

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chidrens Bay

December 22, 2008-Wednesday December 24, 2008
Ship's Log
On Board: Mark, David, Madeline, Gary, and Dana

Dana's Entry:

On Monday we flew in to meet the Stray Cat in Georgetown, Exuma. After provisioning the vessel we decided to anchor right outside of Great Exuma where we ate dinner at the Chat and Chill Restaurant and Bar. I ordered 2 Kalik Golds, they hit the spot. I ordered the fish and fries, Mahi Mahi, cooked fresh. After dining we moved back to the boat to relax and have some cocktails.

Today is Tuesday. Due to extreme winds at about 25 knots, we have decided to hang around the boat today. We will move tomorrow and fight the wind and waves for either 15 or 30 miles. Tonight for dinner we are having Mark's potatoes that I have heard a lot about accompanied by steak and vegetables.

Wednesday Dec. 24 (Christmas Eve) we had a light breakfast and decided to motor sail 15 miles to Children's Bay. After 6-9 foot swells for 15 miles we had finally arrived. Two of us on board were not feeling very well from the Atlantic swells so we made a decision to cut through to the inside area of the islands where it would be calmer. To cut through we would have to take the boat through a small area where the waves were breaking. After a quick turn and 2 waves that broke on the boat we made it through. On the other side the water was much calmer and was easier on our stomachs. I must say though that Mark gave me a little bracelet to shock some nerves in my wrist area, and suddenly I was cured of my motion sickness. (I will definitely be buying one of those when I get home! Thanks Mark!) So we are on the inside (west) of the islands and begin to find a cove to settle down for the night. Once in Children's cove we took the dingy to land to go for a small hike over to the east side of the island where the waves were breaking hard. Following our hike Gary and I decided to get into the 77 degree water and see what we could find with masks and snorkels. We saw 1 fish and plenty of "ant hills" that were probably clams underneath the sand. We will cook again tonight because the island is not inhabited and will sail to another island tomorrow that has a restaurant. Until then; good night friend.

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: