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.

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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

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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.


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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.

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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, www.tribaltribune.com. Since I'm out here in the middle of nowhere if someone comes across the article it would be fun to know about it.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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…….

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