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17 April 2014 | Pacific

Riding out a High Pressure Ridge

11 February 2008 | Anchored north of French Wells, Crooked Island, Southern Bahamas
Rebecca Childress
I always thought High Pressure was a good thing - but its bringing us strong winds, if a low was passing over instead! Southeast 25-30 knots, increasing tonight and tomorrow. We seem to be travelling with two other boats now - Sunshine Daydream, and DragonFly. Sunshine Daydream - Vytas and Tracy are on their newly acquired Morgan 43. They are travelling the Bahamas, and then going to Bermuda to join the ARC to cross over to Europe. They are in their mid to late 30s, and a great couple. This is his life dream to do, and he is really in to it! She seems to be happy to be doing it with him, having adventures she never imagined she would have. The other boat, DragonFly is a Catamaran, about 40 feet long with a couple named Rick and Cindy who are about our same age, who are out for their 3rd year. They return to their home in Marblehead MA for a few months each summer to enjoy the summers and their friends there. They have done the Eastern Caribbean their first year, the Northwest Caribbean their 2nd year, and this year are doing the Bahamas, and then straight through to Cartagena Columbia. They will travel southern Central America before returning home for the summer. They are avid scuba divers and are out doing their thing much of the day. We met them in Conception Island and have been on about the same wavelength for about a week or 10 days, along with Sunshine Daydream. The other day, in Clarencetown, Rick and Cindy walked to another Blue Hole about 3 miles up the coast, Vytas and Tracy rode their bikes, which I am totally envious of them having, and we dinghied up. We could not get in over the reefs at all, but we dove every coral head between Clarencetown and that blue hole - and got nothing except a lot of gas burned up, and a lot of water in the face on the ride back. We had dinner on DragonFly, with Vytas and Tracy a few nights ago. I made conch salad using my last precious red pepper and a conch from that very anchorage, and a big bag of ice for nice cold drinks. Thank you SeaFrost! RicK and Cindy grilled up their Mahi Mahi that they had caught on the way there, and Vytas and Tracy brought a great big bottle of wine. We have been enjoying comraderie every day. We crossed over from Long Island to Crooked Island, about 45 miles, took slightly different routes, and arrived to the same place within an hour of eachother. The Morgan had to motor sail because it is designed for heavier winds, and we only had about 10 knots of wind. Dragonfly and Brick House arrived at about the same time, sailing almost the whole way. It will be sad when we all sail in different directions to continue along our planned routes. I guess this life is full of hellos and goodbyes. I love the hellos, and really dont like the goodbyes. I felt like I had to say goodbye to my fairly newly made friends in Newport too soon, and now I say goodbye to people after days or weeks...its sort of sad to meet all these great people, and know you will likely never any of them again. DragonFly and Brick House may end up meeting somewhere in Central America, as they travel north and we travel south several months from now. We will certainly stay in touch with them. We arrived at French Wells yesterday, but at low tide, not early enough to enter the cut to get in to the anchorage. The other boat with less draft attempted it and said they bumped everywhere going in, and did not see any good way in. Patrick and I scoped it out this morning, and agree with him- there is no way in, and even if there were, its not a great anchorage- strong current, as expected, but little protection despite claims of such ion the guide books. So we dived for conchs and got enough for dinner tonight. We came back and moved the boat 2 miles up the coast to have some better protection with the winds that are now blowing 23-28, and expected to increase overnight and tomorrow. This is not noted as an anchorage in any guidebook or chart, but it seems to be a good one, with a sandy bottom, and relatively deep water ( 10 feet) almost up to shore. Of course the catamaran, with 3 feet draft is practically up on the beach, the Morgan 43 with 5.2 feet draft is a little further back, and we are the furthest out, with 6 feet of draft. Its relatively flat water, just high winds so the wind generator is spinning very happily and heartily! A fourth boat decided to join us this afternoon, and are flying a flag with a red stripe on the top, white stripe in the middle, and blue stripe on the bottom. I wonder what that flag is...seems we may have created a new anchorage! Patrick still wanted to dive, so he went with Rick from Dragonfly for the afternoon. I am on the boat feeling the snubber line on the anchor tension and relax, and trying to keep the conch from crawling out of the bucket and back in to the water. I read 1/3 of a book about the first woman to sail singlehanded across the ocean - "When I set to Sea", and am writing this blog and retrieving email on the single sideband radio.

We are not sure we will go in to the Bight of is very shallow on the chart, but at least its not a tricky route in that shallow water. It would be nice to see what is described in the guidebooks as "virgin cruising area". We would be sailing in 6.5 feet of water, with our 6 foot fraft for about 15 miles.... We also are eagerly awaiting benign weather so we can go to Hogsty Reef- a coral atoll about 60 miles south of here. Quite honestly, I'm a little nervous about the area. The guides say a lot of boats peril here- and I can see why...its not an easy place to see since it is only 8 feet above sea level in its highest place. You have to hope your charts, electronics and navigation skills are pretty darn right, and don't break down at the last minute before entering! Patrick really wants to go, so we will probably go there. It will be cool if all goes well I guess. And he will likely catch a lot of fish to prove to me what a good idea it was...I cant argue with that...

I was just saying to Patrick this morning that it seems I always would run in to trouble on my previous boats, when going by the book, and doing everything precisely right and safely. It seems like every 3rd weekend, we would hit something, rip a sail, or have some other death defying catastrophe. With Patrick, we go to anchorages not on charts anywhere, wind our way in between coral heads with precision I never would have guessed possible, and don't really do things by the book a lot of the time, and we have had no troubles- just my heart and nerve trouble! I have to keep reminding myself that we aren't two beginners out here...Patrick has done this before, and I know everything that can go wrong because they have almost all happened to me in a previous life...Lets hope that stays true - its fun being a little long as my home stays in one piece! Last night, we had a coral head to worry about on our port side. The wind was "scheduled" to change to take us further away from it, but if it was wrong, we would have the chance of hitting it if the tide was at its lowest when we swang that way. The little coral patch would probably be 3 inches below our keel if everything went wrong at the same time. I knew low tide was at 5am so my head scheduled an internal alarm clock to get up and see where the boat was at around 4am. The wind did what it was suppose to do and we were further away from it. Later in the morning- 630am or so, Patrick had a bad dream where he had to kick a dog. He kicked the wall in our bedroom. I awoke startled and announced that we had just hit the rock, and hard! He laughed and told me his dream. I didn't laugh- I really though we hit the rock. Many nights are spent feeling and waiting for something to go wrong. Anchor alarms help me sleep better, but I still have that never ending nervousness that something bad will happen to our boat at night, I wonder how long that will take to go away. Right now it pretty much happens 5 nights out of every 7! I guess I just don't believe that our "luck" will last forever...Patrick says its not luck at all...but I think kharma plays a big role in what happens to us out here. We are suppose to make it further...we are suppose to have more adventures..our trip is not suppose to end yet...

Patrick is back from his fishing/exploring hunt, so I am off to go see what he got! I'm SOOO in the mood for a lobster- so Im hoping that's what he got! He gets bummed out if he comes home emtpy handed...

******************* UPDATE- Patrick came home with but ONE treasure- a HUGE lobster. And our friend Rick got one too! We will eat well tonight!!! I cant believe that's what I was wishing for, and that's what he got- he is such a good provider!!!

Well, we are off to the beach to go seek some famous pink flamingos!!
Vessel Name: Brick House
Vessel Make/Model: Valiant 40 #134
Hailing Port: Middletown, RI USA
Crew: Patrick and Rebecca Childress
Patrick completed a solo-circumnavigation on Juggernaut, a Catalina 27 in his younger days. He has been published in most U.S. and many foreign sailing magazines, for both his writing and photography. He co-authored a book titled "The Cruising Guide to Narragansett Bay and the South Coast of [...]
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Brick House 's Photos - (Main)
19 Photos
Created 8 October 2015
All sorts of tropical animals and insects
No Photos
Created 5 October 2015
15 Photos
Created 17 April 2015
16 Photos
Created 1 March 2015
21 Photos
Created 26 February 2015
24 Photos
Created 21 January 2015
8 Photos
Created 24 December 2014
10 Photos
Created 21 October 2014
14 Photos
Created 17 April 2014
Captured turtle images
21 Photos
Created 3 March 2014
6 Photos
Created 15 January 2014
Additiona Images
4 Photos
Created 18 December 2013
We decided to take the slow route, down the the Intracoastal Waterway, the ICW. We went slowly, and smelled the flowers along the way. We are with old friends of Patricks, new friends of mine...Art and Grace Ormaniec, in Manteo, North Carolina.
2 Photos
Created 26 October 2007
3 Photos
Created 10 October 2007
6 Photos
Created 28 April 2007

Brick House Crew

Who: Patrick and Rebecca Childress
Port: Middletown, RI USA

Where IS Brick House?!?

AT THE END, Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, 'Wow! What a Ride! And I still have my Arizona driver license!! '