Tumultuous Uproar

A cruising boat with a racing problem...

Logan and the poop eating fish

16 April 2016
I thought that would get your attention. Lisa and I anchored in Red Hook, St Thomas, where we were to meet Logan and his cousin Dave, flight nurse from Alaska. Dave is battling Pneumonia and will arrive a few days later. But we enjoyed Red Hook as a true cruiser's harbor vs. the cruise ship port of Charlotte Amelia.

The water here is crystal clear as it is everywhere. We could see a lot of fish and turtles in the area. That brings me to the topic of this post. It starts with Sophie. Most people we meet have questions about living aboard with a dog. Their principal question has to do with, ahem, waste disposal. Sophie has an astro-turf pad with waterproof liner that lives in the cabin. She rarely uses it but any port in a storm. There is a string attached. We simply tie it to the lower lifeline and toss it overboard. After a soak it is tied to the upper lifeline to drain and dry. Then back it goes in the cabin. The seawater does a great job of sanitizing and there is no odor.

Sophie prefers to “go” outside in the cockpit. We have trained her to pee on the grating behind the wheel. A few bucket-fulls of water rinse it out the scuppers. Number two is in the area of the grate or on the helmsman seat behind the wheel. Turd tongs (I have a pair on each hand) toss the nuggets overboard and the surfaces are scrubbed (so are my hands!).

Logan arrived two days ago. We often throw food scraps overboard to see who eats them. The previous night we saw large, shark-like fish gobbling up the food scraps. They were about a meter long, seemed smooth skinned and had an upward turned mouth and gills or corrugations on top of their head. We asked at a fishing shop about these strange fish. “Remora, just like those that follow sharks around but much larger, they are harmless.”

When Logan arrived we went through the Sophie waste disposal process. Sure enough the Remora swam out and completed the waste treatment chain. Those stupid fish! They loved Sophie's recycled lamb and brown rice kibble.

It's great to have Logan here. We motored to Newfound Bay, a secluded bay on St. John that is out of the park system. It was idyllic. Anyone cruising the area should go to this anchorage and enjoy! We saw a lot of turtles and rays, a cool shore compound that is only accessible by boat for picnics, fresh conch and good snorkeling. One other boat shared the anchorage, a large pirate ship, Goddess Athena, a day charter boat. Richard, owner/captain and head pirate had a few days off and went to Newfound, one of his favorite anchorages.

After dinner we fished with conch guts (I made a passable conch salad) and caught a nice Mutton Snapper. I decided not to clean it unless I caught two, enough for a meal. At dark, I let him go and just left the rod in the rod holder. Who knows what might be on the line the next morning.

It was the middle of the night and I got up to check the stern rail, pulling up the bait to check it too. The conch guts were still firmly hooked so I threw it out again. I was just settling back to sleep and heard a loud “Bang!” Lisa woke up, “What was that? Sounds like the fishing pole.” I raced up to the deck and sure enough the pole was gone! The rod holder actually broke off! It didn't take me long to decide not to swim after it!

I went back to bed with mixed feelings. I hated to lose the rod/reel and rod holder but what a fish! The next morning I spotted the rod and broken part of rod holder not far from the boat. I snorkeled down the 20 feet and retrieved both. Logan was instructed to stand by. I handed the rod to him quickly so he could reel in whatever was on the end. I didn't want to battle the monster on his home surf. The hook was empty and bent which let the fish get off. The reinforced plastic rod holder just snapped. What luck that the fish got off right after breaking the rod holder or that rod could have been miles away. I was glad to get the rod back, will tie it on next time and hope I'm not catching any poop eating fish.

It's great to have Logan on board. Today he said, "This just feels so natural, like I have been sailing with you guys a long time." You have Logan, but mostly on Veloce and not in the tropics. Great to have you aboard.
Vessel Name: Tumultuous Uproar
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau 42s7
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Russ Whitford & Lisa Alberte plus Sophie our Jack Russell Terrier
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