SPREADERMAN SAVES OUR BOAT ONCE AGAIN
Look up in the sky. It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Spreaderman.
Don't think I'm confused.
It's definitely not Superman or Spiderman up in the rigging. It's Spreaderman standing on our mast spreaders guiding us through the coral reef as we sail the turquoise waters of Coral World.
Whenever we do shallow water sailing, we always put out a call to Spreaderman to keep us out of trouble.
This is what Spreaderman is looking for when we come into an anchorage.
He wants turquoise water in all directions as far as his eye can see.
As long as the water is totally turquoise, there will be no rocks or reefs to ruin our day.
This anchorage in Conception Island in the Bahamas has scattered coral heads that could punch a hole in our hull if we don't pay attention to where we are sailing as we approach the island.
The water between the two sailboats in this picture is between eight and fifteen feet deep, and there are no brown coral heads in sight.
This water is four to five feet deep over a white sand bottom. When I anchor in water like this, words like paradise start popping into my mind.
When Spreaderman looks down, he is checking the color of the water; dark brownish patches are rocks or reefs, greenish patches are sea grass, and turquoise is sandy seabed. Isolated patches of coral are called coral heads or "bommies". On the right side of this picture, you are in paradise, and on the left side you are in purgatory or worse. If you run into this reef day or night, it could be the end of your voyage.
You can't see coral reefs when the sun is directly in front of you. The reflected sunlight blinds you to the presence of dangerous reefs. That's why you only enter tropical anchorages with the sun high overhead or behind you. Thousands of boats have been lost when they sailed directly onto a reef they couldn't see because the sun was in front of them.
If this what Spreaderman sees from his perch on the mast, something has gone badly wrong.
The yacht is surrounded by coral heads, and it's time to back up, slowly and straight, to avoid disaster.
We stand on the spreaders rather than using a true crow's nest on the mast.
We got an estimate in Australia to see how much it would cost to construct a real crow's nest, and they reckoned it would require about a thousand dollars to fabricate and install one. That's big money to spend on an item that will only be used when navigating in coral.
That's why we use our spreaders as our poor man's crow's nest.
I installed fold-out mast steps all the way to the top of my fifty foot mast. Those steps are the stairway used by Spreaderman as he navigates Exit Only through coral in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and South Pacific.
When it's time to go aloft for a look, Spreaderman folds out the mast steps and climbs to the first set of spreaders one-third of the way up the mast.
From twenty-five feet above the water, it easier to detect coral reefs and bommies that lie dead ahead.
His elevated point of view prevents Exit Only from getting boxed into coral traps.
When you anchor among coral heads, you need to look around your boat for 360 degrees to make sure there are no bommies that could cause a problem if you drag anchor or if the the wind or tide shifts during the night.
When it's pitch black on a moonless night, there's no way to tell the location of the coral heads. Coral reefs don't move, but boats drag anchor and swing their position with changes in wind and tide, and prudent mariners make sure there are no threatening coral heads in the vicinity of where they drop their anchor.
When you make a mistake, God forgives you, but coral does not. Coral punishes you relentlessly for every mistake you make, and it punishes you in the middle of the night during your time of greatest vulnerability.
So what do you do when you anchor in coral? Call Spreaderman, and let him take the worry out of Coral World. After all, there's nothing more beautiful than putting your anchor down in six feet of crystal clear turquoise water, and when Spreaderman makes sure you're not near any coral heads, you know beyond all doubt that life is good.
Awesome music video that captures the essence of what it's like to sail offshore in a catamaran around the world when conditions are less than perfect. David Abbott from Too Many Drummers sings the vocals, and he also edited the footage from our Red Sea adventures. This is the theme song from the Red Sea Chronicles.
Sailing up the Red Sea is not for the faint of heart. From the Bab al Mandeb to the Suez Canal, adventures and adversity are in abundance. If you take things too seriously, you just might get the Red Sea Blues.
If you like drum beats, and you like adventure, then have a listen to the Red Sea Chronicles Trailer.
Flying fish assault Exit Only in the middle of the night as we sail through the Arabian Gulf from the Maldives to Oman. And so begins our Red Sea adventures.
Sailing through Pirate Alley between Yemen and Somalia involves calculated risk. It may not be Russian Roulette, but it is a bit of a worry. Follow Team Maxing Out as they navigate through Pirate Alley.
Stopping in Yemen was just what the doctor ordered. We refueled, repaired our alternator, and we made friends with our gracious Yemeni hosts. We also went to Baskins Robbins as a reward for surviving Pirate Alley.
After you survive Pirate Alley, you must sail through the Gate of Sorrows (Bab Al Mandab) at the southern entrance to the Red Sea. The Gate of Sorrows lived up to its name with fifty knots of wind and a sandstorm that pummeled Exit Only for two days. Life is good.
Join Team Maxingout as they sail through Pirate Alley and up the Red Sea
See what it's like to cruise on a catamaran before you spend a bazillion dollars purchasing one
After watching the Red Sea Chronicles you will be able to see yourself sailing on the ocean of your dreams
Although I like the feel of a paper book in my hand, I love trees even more. When people purchase an eBook, they actually save trees and save money as well. Ebooks are less expensive and have no negative impact on the environment. All of Dr. Dave's books are available at Save A Tree Bookstore. Visit the bookstore today and start putting good things into your mind. It's easy to fill your mind with positive things using eBooks. No matter where you are or what you are doing, you can pull out your smart phone or tablet and start reading. You can even use electronic highlighters and make annotations in your eBooks just like paper books.