Log of SV Free Spirit and ships company

The chronicles of the schooner Free Spirit and her crew, embarking on an open ended journey upon the great rolling heap. Free Spirit is currently pursuing humanitarian and commercial goals in the Dominican Republic, on the island of Hispaniola. Working under the Ocean Reach USA and Paradigm Research banners, she is serving as logistics headquarters, workshop, and development laboratory for many ongoing projects. This is the log of her journey.....

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Books and more, at the Schooner Free Spirit Chandelry
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Day's Catch (or salvage) In Staniel's Cay

Although Blayde may have a strange face... If you were holding a fillet from a 10 foot Bull Shark, you may have one too! Paul, Bretton and Matthew met some local fishermen, who said that we could take whatever meat we could use from the shark. They kill the shark to prevent any dangerous situations for tourists, but due to their local beliefs, are unable to eat them. We enjoyed the feast though!

Here is what we got, before cutting it into usable meat.

Another of the local catches is Conch (pronounced Konk), and if your harvest it and pound it a lot is a real treat!

A day's catch from spear fishing and diving; Lobster and fish! What an amazing gift from the ocean!

Isn't she beautiful???

Sunday, May 17, 2009

White Point, Bahamas 3-17/3-19

One day we were able to take a little trek around the uninhabited area of Black point Island with Nathalie and Olivier. These particular flowers are not that amazing, until you consider that they are growing alone out of pure rock face. To me they were very strong to have overcome all the obstacles to come alive!

This is something that I will not even try to explain.... It overwhelms me...
The trash in this very small area was shocking, and it was the worst that we saw in all of the Bahamas. It is obvious that this area is not frequented by the locals!

I will be the first to admit that Tamer had a hard time dealing with the fact that he had run out of French Vanilla creamer for his coffee. This was all I had to offer him in his time of need, so I did :-) In reality, the trash that came into the little harbor here was absolutely disgusting. I was shocked by how much of it must of come from really far away.

Here is looking out over the West side of the Island. This is the beach where we would land and have our campfires. I was unable to fit Free Spirit into this picture, but P'tit Louis is gorgeous in the anchorage.

Some of the scenery from the West side of the island, also the Atlantic side, which is much more aggresive on the terrain than the Bahamas Banks.

The Mushroom :-)

A scenic picture of the Atlantic side.

And yet another, although if you look carefully to the middle of the right side of the picture, you will see Nathalie and Olivier from P'tit Louis.

Sing the tune everybody..... "I'm a model, you know what I mean, I do my little dance on the white rock" :-)

Nathalie in a field of ???? Overlooking that West side of the island.

Free Spirit and P'tit Louis rafted together, with one of their dinghy's headed out to pick up crew for the bon fire... A later post...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Free Spirit Update ~ May 6th, 2009

Hello Dear Readers!!

I wanted to put this post in and give everyone a brief update of where we are in our travels. I know that the blog tends to lag a bit, and not stay on real time. Hence is the life of sailors :-) Since we have been in The Bahamas, our internet has been very limited. But, whenever I have the chance, I do a few posts to keep everyone updated. I am sure that you are all wondering 'where we actually are'.

Right now I am sitting in paradise, outside at a picnic table, on the island of Rum Cay. The town has around 60 full time residents, a marina, 2 very small grocery stores, and a few scattered businesses. I have spent the day off the ship, to catch up with internet business, and for the blog, pleasure as well. The breeze has been blowing steady all day, just enough to keep you cool. The only sounds I hear are, gulls calling, fish jumping, nurse sharks hunting, and water lapping at the shore. I am only briefly interrupted by the welcome conversation of fellow cruisers sharing their sea travels. It is at times like this that I wish so desperately to be able to share this experience with you all, in person.

We are slowly making our way to the Dominican Republic to spend the Summer months for hurricane season. We plan on doing some yearly maintenance to Free Spirit as well as some exploration off the boat, to explore the sights there. We are all practicing up on our Spanish, and really look forward to experiencing the culture of their country.

The crew and family of Free Spirit are doing very well, and are finding a rhythm to create harmony in our new lifestyle. The hardest adjustment has been to not be in constant vacation mode. Although the boat has been the vehicle to take us to all these amazing locales, it is also our home. At home, there are still all the same day to day tasks that we all have. But.... With a twist....

~ On the boat we are always in water conservation mode. We attempt to only do the dishes once a day to help with this effort. All the water must be heated, as we do not have a water heater. We have managed to get our water usage down to about 6 gallons a day for the 7 of us. If we have all of our fresh water tanks full, this gives us about 23 days of water. To refill the water, one must take a dinghy (usually towing a dinghy) to shore to fill the jugs. Then, after returning we have to hook up the water transfer pump, which requires the generator to be running to get the water into the tanks. All the water we bring aboard also needs to be treated with a very small amount of bleach. The toilet is flushed with only sea water, but our showers are limited to about 2 a week. Keep this in mind the next time you hear a faucet running for no reason :-)

~ I know that I did a brief post on laundry in Marathon already, but some of you may not have seen it. Although I have toyed with the idea of doing the washing by hand, it would require a huge percentage of our fresh water to accomplish it. We generate about 8 loads a week for the 7 of us. To make a trip to do the laundry, the laundry must first be gathered and sorted. Then after being stuffed into duffel bags, each must be put into a trash bag to keep it dry on the round trip dinghy ride. Usually, the dinghy ride is about 20-30 minutes each way. Once on shore the bags have to be nicely stacked on a wheeled cart to be taking to the closest Laundromat. Due to the high cost of drying here in the Bahamas, all the laundry has to come back to the boat wet. Then for a day or a day and a half it has to be hung out on all available lines to be dried. Then, as for everyone else, folded and put away. Think of me the next time you throw a basket of laundry in the washer/dryer :-)

Grocery Shopping
~ Did you know that sealed pasta in plastic bags is not water resistant? Really, the provisioning is not to terribly different from shopping ashore. Although, the prices here in the Bahamas are extremely high, and most fresh items are not readily available. What is tricky, is not having much refrigerator space in a tropical climate. I do have a 5 cubic foot freezer aboard, so I am able to stock up appropriately on meat products. Usually a provisioning trip is paired with laundry/water/fuel. Nathalie and I are becoming experts on just how much of a load her dinghy pulling an inflatable dinghy can handle. I have started to bake all of our bread products due to the higher prices and availability. This includes our bread, pretzels, english muffins, cakes, pan bread, pita bread, corn/flour tortillas, cookies, etc. My next tackle is learning how to do bagels! If we are doing any extensive traveling, I have to plan what will keep ok until the next provisioning point, which we sometimes do not know. The idea of running down to the store to grab a few things is now alien to me :-)

Just a sampling of a day in the life of cruisers..... Love to all!

'Underwater Workin'

Part of our mission to help people, was tested when Tamer and Olivier took on the task of helping a fellow boater replace one of the props on his catamaran. I was glad that the camera was not forgotten, so I could share with you. Of course, as I am not the one diving and replacing props, I am not sure of the details of the task. But, what I do know is, they were able to take an afternoon and fix everything good as new!

Olivier wanted to be sure that I shared the ones with Tamer 'chained up'. He needed the extra weight to keep him down under the water.

Good job guys!! I am super proud of them!!

Staniel's Cay

I always hope that my fascination of sunsets do not bore our visitors... I feel that they are really just too beautiful not to share :-) Many times we arrive at a new anchorage just before sunset, and this time is savored.

Looking out across the Exuma Banks just off of Staniel's Cay.

We did not spend a lot of time in the community of Staniel's Cay, but what we did have time to see was beautiful.

Bretton and Matthew doing coral head watch while we looked for a good place to anchor for the afternoon at Thunderball Grotto.

Just off the dinghy dock, there were tons of Nurse Sharks swimming around looking for scraps from the fishing boats. At first, I was a little intimidated, but soon learned that they are harmless to humans.

Just a little slice of the flavor of the community.

The anchorage that we stayed at for the few days we were there, was just north of the town and Thunderball Grotto. One of the things that the island near our anchorage is famous for are the wild pigs and goats. We would see the goats occasionally, but as soon as we got the dinghy close to shore, they would run and hide.

Unlike the swimming pigs!! They are trained enough to know that if you are coming to see them, you MUST be bringing them some sort of food.

As soon as this one heard our motor, she started swimming towards the dinghy sniffing around.

Of course, we brought some old produce and scraps to feed her, so she was not disappointed :-)

Mind you, although pigs are generally friendly, she was aggressive and big enough, that even the boys were slightly nervous to get too close.

After 'playing' with the pig for a while, we headed up the cliff behind the beach and did some exploring. The view was amazing! We were anchored just behind the tree on the right side of the picture.

Exploration is a huge part of learning...

Another view from the top.... The family that came just after us (on the lower left hand side of the picture) had some treats for the pig as well. But, when they started to get close to the beach, the pig actually tried to jump inside their dinghy a few times! The ladies aboard were having a harder time seeing the humor in this situation than we were :-)

Matthew, Paul and Bretton doing some small cave exploration with P'tit Louis' metal dinghy.

A pic of my little angels!

Thunderball Grotto ~ Staniel's Cay

Here we are getting ready to snorkel the world famous Thunderball Grotto. It is the setting for some select scenes of a few different movies, including the James Bond movie 'Thunderball'.

It is a under/above water cave that you can swim into during the low tide. During high tide, it is possible to get in, but the current is really strong during the changing of the tides.

It was by far the most amazing underwater scenery and sea life that we have yet to see. There were hundreds of fish of many different varieties.

Due to the fact that we definitely have a lot to learn on fish identification, I cannot tell you what types these were. But, there were toms of them!

This is the view of the 'ceiling' of the cave from inside.


Sea fans

There is sooo much variety and intensity of the colors underwater...

Fellow adventurers.

The fish are really used to people, and would swim right up to you to say hello.

This was one of the few smaller entrance/exits to the cave.

Bretton took this shot looking from inside, to us outside in the open water.

It was an amazing afternoon, and we all had an amazing time!


Introducing Propcalc 4.0

Use Propcalc to easily match your hull with your engine, transmission, and propeller
Put the known data in the top fields, then hit the Update button to get the answers.
Results, of course, should be verified by a Naval Architect or qualified surveyor.
Data is provided for three bladed propellers of average type
For two or four bladed props, use the modifiers shown below.

Fill out the fields as follows:

Vessel LWL (ft) = Waterline length
Vessel Disp (lbs) = Vessel displacement
(max) HP = Rated Engine Max HP
Engine RPM max = Engine RPM at Max HP
Engine RPM cruise = Desired or estimated cruise rpm
(Cruise or Max) Kts = Speed to work the calculations for
Slip = Propeller efficience. 45% is average for a displacement cruiser.
Gear ratio = 1: Gear ratio of transmission
SL Ratio Adj. = This value will be added (or subtracted, if a negative value) to the calculated S/L ratio.

Key information:

If the "hp required" is greater than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too low for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is significantly less than the "cruse HP", you have your cruise RPM set too high for your engine parameters.
If the "hp required" is greater than the "Max HP", then your target speed is too high for your engine/hull parameters.
The S/L ratio is calculated automaticaly based on your input. It can be adjusted if necessary, but normally it should be left alone.
If the calculated S/L ratio exceeds S/L MAX, then the results are likely to be non-predictive. Try a lower speed requirement.
SL Ratios of 1.1 - 1.4 are typical of displacement hulls. Semiplaning or planing hulls can go higher.

Typical propeller slip values:

Sailing auxiliary, barges, etc less than 9 Kts............45%
Heavy powerboats, workboats 9 - 15 Kts....................26%
Powerboats, Lightweight Cruisers 15 - 30 Kts..............24%
High speed planing boats 30 - 45 Kts......................20%
V bottom race boats 45 - 90 Kts...........................10%


it is possible to get irrational answers by irrational input , I.E specifying excessive speed for hull type and length
Any attempt to exceed hull speed (1.34 times the square root of the waterline length in feet) with a displacement hull are likely
to fail unless the hull is extremely fine (multihull) or otherwise exceptional. In such cases, an S/L adjustment would be in order.

2 and 4 bladed props:

For two bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by 1.05, and the pitch by 1.01
For four bladed propellers, multiply the diameter by .94, and the pitch by .98

Vessel LWL (ft) =
Vessel Disp (lbs) =
  (max) HP =
  Engine RPM max =
  Engine RPM cruise =
  (Cruise or Max) Kts =
  Slip =
  Gear ratio = 1:
  SL Ratio Adj. =
  Prop rpm max =
  Prop rpm cruise =
  Pitch =
  Diameter =
  Static Thrust =
  Cruise HP =
  Cruise HP% =
  SL Ratio =
  DL Ratio =
  SL Max =
  HP Required =