Tulum III

Livin' The Dream

October 2, 2014
by ehkahsa

events past finally written

As we sit at a marina with wifi, waiting for the remnants of Tropical Storm
Cristobal to pass by, I thought I would use the time to describe the last
couple of months aboard Tulum 3.
Way back in April, we were hanging around Miami waiting for a weather
window to cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas. The weather was anything
but cooperative, with wave after wave of northerly winds, keeping the Gulf
Stream agitated and unsuitable for leisurely crossings weeks on end.
Occasionally the forecast would call for light southerlies to be coming in
the next 5-6 days, but they would never materialize. We would provision
the boat (i.e.: load a bunch of beer and produce aboard) and then wait some
more, using those provisions up. At the end of May we were still sitting
and waiting for a break in the weather, doing small boat projects and
socializing with our friends in the area. Friday, April 2nd, we spent the
day at the Miami Yacht Club, using the internet, swimming, having lunch and
quite a few cocktails when an afternoon weather report came across
indicating that there would be about a 12 hour window of benign Gulf Stream
weather that very night. I looked at it as a golden opportunity to get the
heck out of Dodge and on our way SOMEWHERE! The thought of more weeks of
waiting was just too much to bear, so I convinced the Master Chief/Safety
Officer (who was admittedly quite dubious of our fitness/sobriety level)
that it was time to go and that we could sober up at sea. We hoisted
anchor on the high tide at 11PM and, in the end, it was a beautiful night
for a crossing with very little wind or seas and we arrived in Bimini about
12 hours later. We spent a couple of days on the dock there, trying to get
a handle on exactly what to do next. While we were there, a large sport
fisher boat went by too fast, kicking up a giant wake that left a trail of
damaged boats behind, Tulum 3 included. It was about 0630 and I had just
gotten up to listen to the morning weather report when all hell broke
loose. Tulum was slammed into the dock several times, coming down so hard
that it tore a chunk out of our beautiful teak cap rail and left a major
crack in the wood. I was furious, but there was nothing to be done as
there was no name on the stern of the offending vessel and I had no way to
chase it down or I surely would have!
On the 6th of May we decided to head out onto the Banks of the Bahamas; a
vast, shallow area between Bimini and Nassau. We were anxious to be moving
even though the forecast was for increasing East winds and we spent a
pretty rough night anchored out there, but arrived safely at Bird Cay in
the Berry Islands the following day. We spent a couple of nights at anchor
there, hoping to move on to Nassau, but the weather was again
uncooperative. After our third night out there with an increasingly ugly
forecast ahead, we made the move to the Berry Islands Club across the way
on Fraziers Hog Cay and got onto a mooring ball there to wait out the
weather. That wait would be a full week and a half during which time we
ran out of eggs, milk, fruit, veggies…basically all of our fresh stores.
When we left Miami on the spur of the moment, we hadn’t done any
provisioning in a while, so we weren’t well stocked to begin with. This
became the beginning of the end of our year-long Atkins diet.
Finally, on the 22nd of May we were able to say our goodbyes to Fraziers
Hog and head on to Nassau with our new friends Gordon and Jeanne aboard
their 42′ trawler, Blue Heavens. Rudolph caught our first Mahi on that
trip, which we shared with Blue Heavens the following night in Nassau.
Nassau has a pretty bad reputation for being crime ridden and a lot of
folks avoid it all together, but we had a fine time there, riding our bikes
around town, eating, drinking, and shopping to our hearts content. We had
our first “Fish Fry’ experience there at Potters Cay. Almost every island
has a “fish fry” which is basically an area of several small, independent
restaurant/shacks where locals and tourists alike gather for cheap meals
and socializing.
Our friends aboard “Bear Cat” had been to Nassau a week or two before us
and when we saw them at Fraziers Hog, they gave us a couple of pass cards
for the Atlantis Resort. They were expired, but they explained that if we
just flashed the cards when asked, they would probably pass muster so we
gave it a go as a “vacation day” on the 26th of May – America’s “Memorial
Day”. Our friends from “Blue Heavens” came along, as did a gal we had met
a couple of years ago in Georgia who was now on her own, single handing her
sailboat “Kirsi”. The Atlantis property on Paradise Island is enormous with
miles of pathways, pool, parks and playgrounds, but the highlight for us
were the aquariums that wind their way throughout the property, some above
ground, others below ground connected by glass tunnels so the fish were
swimming around the visitors on all sides – above included. There were
rays, eels, octopi, iridescent jelly fish, all sorts of beautiful reef fish
and my favorite, some large saw tooth sharks. It was all very cool and our
expired cards got us around the place just fine! Unfortunately, to get
into the pools and water park areas one needed a wrist band which we didn’t
have so the best we could do was grab a couple of cold drinks and sit in
the shade outside of those areas and watch other folks splash around. All
in all a great experience and fun Memorial Day for us.
On the 30th of May, all three vessels headed out of Nassau for Allens Cay
and the fabled Exuma Island chain. Unfortunately for her, Kirsi’s engine
over heated soon after departure and she had to head back to the dock to
make repairs. The poor girl ended up spending the next month and a half
trying to get parts, etc.. and never did make the Exumas. Blue Heavens and
Tulum carried on and spent the next four nights at Allens Cay and Leaf Cay,
two uninhabited islands within spitting distance of one another at the
north end of the Exumas. We did a lot of swimming and snorkeling there,
traded a couple of beers for conch and fish from a local fisherman, visited
the Rock Iguanas on Leaf Cay and generally acclimated to the beauty and
peacefulness of our new surroundings.
From the top of the Exuma chain, Tulum and Blue Heavens made their way
south to Highbourne Cay and it’s very nice, very expensive marina (by
dinghy – no marina fees!) where we anchored for one night before entering
the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park which extends from the Wax Cay Cut in the
north, 22 miles and 15 major cays south to Conch Cut. The Sea Park is one
of 26 national parks and protected areas managed by the Bahamas National
Trust and the taking of any plant, animal, or marine life (including coral
and shells) is strictly prohibited. While in the park boundaries we
visited Shroud Cay, where we dinghied up a beautiful tidal stream to
Driftwood Beach on Exuma Sound and snorkeled a tidal zone then hiked up
Driftwood Hill where a hermit used to live. Rudolph became dehydrated and
collapsed on the beach – a truly frightening affair, but he made a full
recovery after we got him some shade and water. Next was Normans Island,
where we dinghied over an hour for $25 cheeseburgers at MacDuff’s (seeing
the price, Dolph declared, “Well, I didn’t come all this way NOT to have a
cheeseburger!!) and then had a reunion with friends we met when we first
bought the boat five years ago; Jake and Amy aboard “Gypsy Song”. They
were with a boat named “Shameless” and we all travelled to Hawksbill Cay
then to Warderick Wells, headquarters of the Park area. It was a rotten
passage with an unexpected squall that lasted for hours with rain so heavy
we could barely spot the bow of our own boat and frequent lighting strikes
that seemed to be VERY close! We actually chose to spend the night outside
the protection of Warderick Wells due to the lack of visibility and the
falling tide and it was a mighty uncomfortable night out there. The wind
and seas were on the beam, causing the boat to roll uncomfortably all
night. At first opportunity on the following mornings high tide, we made
our way into the beautiful horse shoe shaped harbor. The entrance and the
harbors configuration are both quite challenging and we nearly ran aground
more than once making our way to an assigned mooring, but Dolph was at the
helm and really on top of the depths so easily backed off the couple of
times we touched bottom. Our friends on “Gypsy Song” were not so lucky and
became firmly entrenched in the sand bottom upon arrival. They gave us a
shout on the VHF for assistance, but by the time we had arrived, the Park
rangers were over there with their powerful speed boat and wrangled them
free. Watching the effort it took to get them free with all that horse
power, I’m quite sure our 6 HP dinghy motor would have been of little use!
After they got things squared away, we went aboard and helped them unwind
with a few rum drinks. That all started at 0900 and by 2 PM we were all
done for the rest of the day! One of the better known attractions at
Warderick Wells is “Boo-Boo Hill” where cruisers traditionally leave signs
with their vessels name on top of the hill. “Gypsy Song” had a pretty
piece of teak and used a wood burning tool to make a nice plaque. We
weren’t nearly as prepared and ended up carving our name in a piece of
driftwood while catching our breath at the top of the hill. Dolph had
visited the wells in his only other visit to the area, a summer sea camp he
went to in 1964, so he took me around to the “Wells” on the north shore – a
series of blow holes carved by the sea that make the “Boo Boo” noises the
hill is named for.
After six nights at the Wells, we said goodbye to our friends aboard “Gypsy
Song” who were heading back to Florida and made our way south to what
became our favorite place in all the Exumas; O’Briens Cay and Cambridge Cay
(aka Little Belle Isle). While we were in this area we had great
snorkeling at the Coral Garden, a plane wreck, a reef of stag coral and the
incredible caves of Rocky Dundas.

More to follow….someday – lol

March 19, 2014
by ehkahsa

Fun at No Name Harbor.

ot to try out the Hooka diving hose yesterday. When we reversed to set the anchor the dinghy painter got sucked into prop. Nicely twisted and shredded by the prop. While all this is going on the line decides to spin the Zinc on the shaft making it wobbly loose. This violent wrenching jammed on of the screws in the zinc so no amount of snorkeling or screw drivering would release the offending Zinc. And it was getting cold. After a warm up, Elisa dug through the layers of stored gear in the V berth to liberate the scuba tank and hose and regulators from their dungeon like abode. I donned the gear and went in with a weight belt and tools. The new zinc was soon on snug as clam in it’s shell. Happy ending !! But wait there’s more. Todays morning disaster is a doozy
Part 2
WE anchored at what seemed a safe distance from a 57 foot, 40 ton sailboat in 9 feet of water. Although we were expecting gusts in the 20’s and a change in wind direction, this is a very protected harbor.
We set out 55 feet of chain under the snubber just below waterline. Giving us about 7:1 scope to turn on the wind as it clocked. about 45 feet on the other side A friend in a 26 Island packet anchored with maybe a little less scope, not sure. We celebrated St Patty’s with them. After they left Tulum III in the wee hours, I couldn’t sleep until morning the Big boat worried me one eye was alerted to any motion or sound. The night passed in the cockpit and even with a 45 degree change all was OK. I thought I could rest as the patter of rain, typical of an occluded low, gently fell. Wrong! It seemed within minutes I heard a thunk and Elisa called out the Island packet was on our port side and coming up the steps I was stunned to see it upon us. It was raining and gusty and we had clocked another 35 -45 degrees. I looked to starboard and saw nothing but white, teak, stainless steel and hypalon. Unknown to us the big boat on the other side had 125 feet of chain out and no propulsion. Add 57 boat length to that much chain in 9 feet of water and you have a radius equal to nearly half the entire harbor width. This big boat swept into Tulum III separated only by an inflatable dinghy. Our anchor chain was under the big boat’s keel and the Packet was on our opposite hip it’s anchor under our keel. it appeared our Rocna could not hold all three boats. I say this because the big boat’s anchor chain was pointing straight out the bow hanging a bit showing no signs of fouling. The Packets pretty bowsprit was gouging our port side solar panel, folded down vertical from the safety rail to the Bulwark. Tulum’s spare anchor (starboard) on the bow was tangled in one of the big boats midship stanchions. I was on the foredeck shivering in Tshirt and shorts in a now driving rain with the big boats owner assessing the problem face to face. Strong gusts were swinging him more and more into Tulum III whose position would not allow the big boat to pass freely. Elisa was at the helm, Casper chugging and at the ready. From the gusts, the big boat heaved into us making Tulum’s chain grow tighter under his waterline. I barely separate the boats with my feet on both ship’s cap rails. The Big boat owner wrestled to arrange a massive fender in good position with his wife’s help (who had a broken arm).
A sudden momentary lull the fender was is in place the chain slacked for a moment and I upped the chain to disconnect the snubber. It dawned on me that if this boat had my chain under its keel and wanted to clock into Tulum III, I could not power forward out of this situation. So instead I let out chain as fast as the windlass would pay it out. At first we drifted together then we separated. The Big boat owner and his wife were complaining that I was doing it all wrong that we would get our chain caught in their prop and rudder. But, the chain laid on the bottom as I hoped it would from letting out about 70 more feet of Chain. The big boat swung stern wise across Tulum’s Bow.
I could see that our anchor was to windward so I started windlassing in the chain and Tulum moved up along side the shouting waving big boat owners and passed. When we got our anchor under the bow, Tulum’s Rocna anchor was dug in so deep it took nearly everything the windlass had to Weigh the anchor to the waterline. We were free and clear ! Big boat owners now relieved, I’m relieved, Elisa’s Relieved Phew. Elisa motored us to a more favorable spot and we set the hook out of the danger zone. The Packet ended up in the mangroves. Thankfully undamaged. II wen to check on her and I towed her off the mangroves with the dink She had lost the Key out of the shaft coupler making her escape form the Cluster f*#k. Her owner effected repairs and sailed. but offered to pay for the panel. I’m sure we’ll work something fair out. All I can say for this it that we have to take it upon ourselves to ask other boaters if we are in their swing zone before settling in for the night. We cannot assume others will react or do as we see fit and proper. I know the first to anchor has swing rights. I just wish this guy had warned us about the excessive scope he had out. And I learned he had hit another boat a day before. His Boat was unscathed. Fun In No Name Harbor. It’s full of cruiser’s, and windless the gnats have joined the mob. And that’s the end of the story. D

September 19, 2013
by ehkahsa

Cranky old Westy

Tulum III has been telling us not to leave. Monday, We never left the mooring ball. insted we tracked the problem to the starting battery. We purchased a new one and things were good but we had lost the tide and decided to stay. Tuesday came Beautiful morning but a large northerly cold front threatened to pin us down in Jacksonville after arriving if we made good time at sea. Ok. I get in the water at dawn. Clean the prop. Prep and start old Westy and off we go. Until we cast off from the mooring ball I hadn’t realized just how much I would Miss St Augustine. Monday, I already exchanged all the pretty words of farewell. What made me prematurely homesick was the friends on neighboring boats who came on deck or got in their dinghies waving goodbye and good passage to Elisa, me and Tulum III. For me it was a very moving experience. and the smile on E’s face gave her away while waiting out the last minutes to the Draw bridges warning whistle . One prolonged toot and one short signaling boats and cars alike the beast was waking up. We meandered in the ebb tide basking in the fellowship of our dear friends ’til the magnificent Bridge of Lions yawned its Maw wide giving us way for passage. Old Westy chugged along. We waved to the bridge Tender. 5 short blasts on a whistle signals danger and is also the Bridge tenders warning to all beware. We hadn’t yet realized the full consequences of this warning signal as we brought up the RPMS for passage round the bend and towards the Inlet of the Matanzas River. Under the cannons of the Castillo San Marco. It was there we sensed trouble.

I was at the helm, making E Master Chief. She went below took look around with the handheld temp gauge and check for any leaks. NO leaks found but Old Westy had a Fever of 200 Degrees. about 20 degrees hotter than normal but not damaging hot. Diesels can run hotter than the boiling temperature, if the manuals are to be believed. Westy needs retirement. We feared this problem but thought we’d taken adequate precautions, NOT. Elisa and I swapped caps. The mantle of master chief duly bestowed, the engine demanded it. Once again I was tending Westy below decks cramped and hot. My bedside manner wasn’t amiable to say the least. Why not cuss the thing? Even though I vest it human attributes it is a dumb, soulless, cranky old &^%$#@%^$&%$$*%^ machine, or so one would think. I tinkered without effect. We upped and dropped the RPMS only making Westy hotter still and no tolerable sweet spot was found. E, already turned Tulum III on it’s heels, wisely heading back and for this she was caught in the way of my verbally abusive tirade. People can be momentarily stubborn and irritable when things go wrong. Yes? Denial !! I ‘m Guilty. Acceptance. Apologies. Shouting happens a lot on boats at critical times. It Ain’t just me. Dagnabit

We returned to the mooring ball payed our respects on VHF to friends we’d just said good bye to and had a couple rums (Circumstances being as they are) with toe teatalling Catamaran sailors who dinghied by offering help as we waited for the engine to cool down. Thanks y’all. A few hours later we wrenched into water pumps, through hulls, seacocks & hoses with no signs of cooling water blockage. Lets hope we find some cause. in the days to come. it’s downright unsettling when things go bad for no discernible reason

As the dinner hour came to pass the same friends who had waved goodbye gathered their dinghies and small craft round a sailboat moored next to us. We were picked up and joined a somber, bobbing school of mourners. Painters tied together or made fast to the sailboat. The deceased skipper and their mutual friend “Rick” had passed away in his sleep some days before. Struck down at only 60 years. We had briefly met but did not know him. It was moving, respectful, tearful as friends and loved ones left behind, said their farewells expressing their loss by casting rose petals on the waters and toasting “Libation” (Ricks favorite) shouted with gusto and celebration of his life. The first Squall marched in drenching all the mourners rafted off Rick’s boat “In2the wind”. Captains Sabine and Wes safely delivered us back to Tulum III in the midst of the squall and friends dinghied by and stayed to ride out the early thunderstorms and repeatedly toast Libation and any other damn thing that came to mind. Hugs were shared at parting. The Squalls marched over us all evening and night long.

It’s now Weds and pouring in between squalls.. no let up. The pitter patter, Thunder and lightening overhead, reminds me of how odd Karma can be. How hindsight can reveal events that chang your course for the better despite your protests to the opposite. Fate/Karma, it’s sources inscrutable, defying logic, moves us. We are emphatically reminded how precious friendships are, near and far. Westy’s problems are not yet solved but we are glad not to be sailing through these persistent storms. As usual all our plans are now behind schedule but when I look out the hatch and see the pretty grey and red sailboat I am reminded that life is good. Cruising plans on an old boat are, as usual, carved in Jello.

September 19, 2013
by ehkahsa

July 8 passage Miami to St Augustine

We made it. The engine Overheated we came out of the Miami Government Cut to Bow covering waves in the inlet. we decided to burn up the engine if need be to get outside first buoy past the Rip Rap breakwater. Clearing the ‎#Red 10 Mark we turned south in 20 ft depth raised the main and shut down Old Westy within yards of the Miami breakwater. The sails went up to 18 Kt head winds. No possibility of going below to set up engine repairs.
The course was clear. Get far away from land and pick up the Gulf Stream, a mere 5 miles out. We made it too. All day we were in and out of the teeth of squalls with rain and winds sometimes over 30 Kts. One heck of a sail the First 24 hours and Tulum 3 made good 12.6 Kts in one of the squalls. Our daily average speed was 7.9 Kts. including the 1.25 hour run from Miami Yacht Club and the hours when the wind dropped off. Day 2 the winds died out and we ghosted along with the Gennacker. Nothing made good to 4.5 Kts. The sails snapped and luffed in the fickle puffs as Tulum’s Mast raked the sky port to starboard and back again in answer to the steady march of 4-6Ft 5 second, beam waves left over from some unseen weather system far to our east. The sails waved to gather and dump air like Quixote-esque windmills that cannot fully spin but jerk and complain to the uncaring winds, worrying bystanders below. As wind velocity subsided over the day we were able to go below and repair Old Westy. To our west, Cape Canaveral far from sight beyond the horizon. Elisa pulled the Thermostat cover I fashioned a gasket tacking it into place with some automotive sticky goo called “High Tack. Hoses and cover went nicely into place. Old Westy Started up and chugged along cool as a cucumber (Diesel-wise). No more fuss. We motored on for another 15 hours in 2+ hour shifts watching a cloudy unspectacular sunset. Silvery Flying Fish and Dolphins cruised the airy boundaries of their watery habitat. Storm clouds threatening inconsequentially on either side. And Tulum three waving it’s topmast navigation light port and starboard with each lurching, nauseating roller as if inspired by hollywood’s night time waving of lamps in windows signaling the all clear.
At last I handed over the helm well within sight of the St Augustine Lighthouse and took a sound nap for the next two hours as Elisa dodged shrimpers, commercial trawlers and fishermen of all sorts heading to sea to ply their trade or avocation for procuring the tasty slithery things that come out of the sea. We are now safe and sound in the heart of St. Augustine, a Pirates Disneyland waiting for Hurricane season to pass. Ahhh.
Elisa was the Hero of this trip she was ready and handy on deck at all times for multiple reefs, shakeouts and changes. Seems like she was practicing to win the upcoming Mackinaw race with her Father and Brother. She’s a bit bruised but she is ready. !! Thanks all for reading and to all honorary
Tulum 3 crew.

April 17, 2013
by ehkahsa

Wednesday April 17, 2013

Hola, Amigo’s!

Today, we moved Tulum from our spot off South Beach (after 60 days, I’ll bet the neighbors are pleased) and it went off without a hitch; definitely noteworthy, my friends.
Dolph played helmsman so I could try my hand at raising the anchor. I fumbled with the windlass a bit, allowing a few feet of raised chain to slip back in until D reminded me to tighten the clutch, then all proceeded smoothly, as did the rest of our day. Our friends on Windust weren’t as lucky and are still at anchor trying to determine why their engine was overheating.
We wound our way south along the Miami shoreline passing under 3 bridges and into Biscayne Bay, where the winds were blowing a crisp 12-16 from just abaft the beam allowing us to pull out the Genoa and have a nice run down to No Name Harbor, where we are securely anchored for the weekend.
The hammock is up, the anchorage is calm, and all is well aboard T3.

February 20, 2013
by ehkahsa
1 Comment

20 FEB 13

Welcome to the new web site for the sailing vessel, Tulum III. We hope to share our hopes and dreams, photos and comments, the nightmares and reality, with anyone interested here on this site. Thanks for having a look; be surge to check back often for updates!
Elisa and Rudolph

December 5, 2012
by alsobrsp

Hello world!

E&D 12-23-12 at 5.00 PM

Welcome to our new web site!  I hope to have something worth checking out up and running here soon, so be sure to check back often!