10 Feb 2007 – Staniel Cay from the Masthead

Grace from the masthead
East from our anchorage over Thunderball Cave
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Our friends on Spoony anchored next door

We return to the boat after the Valentine’s Day Festival.  The boys are exhausted and not happy about leaving.  It’s a screaming and tantrum filled return trip.  But soon we get the boys down for much needed naps.  While they are sleeping I need to take a trip up the mast.  The anometer (wind speed meter) on the masthead has ceased to spin.  Although the wind has been calm for the past few days, I know it’s not 0.0 knots. 

I don my rock climbing harness (I find this is much more comfortable than the overpriced Bosun’s chair I bought before I knew any better) and clip onto the main halyard (the line that pulls the main sail up the mast) and the spinnaker halyard.  I start shimmying up the mast and shrouds while Megan works the winch with the main halyard.  We go about 10 feet at a time.  Then I stop, she cleats the main halyard and takes up the slack on the spinnaker halyard as a safety.  So in theory I should never be able to fall more than 10 feet.  When you’re up there and the boat’s rocking, theories don’t make you feel that much more secure.  But today is calm and there are no wakes from passing boats so I’m feeling pretty relaxed.  I reach the top and find even the masthead is covered in greasy salt spray.  It is amazing that spray can find its way over 50 feet up!  I spray the anometer with silicone and give it a spin.  Back in action!  Megan yells up that it’s reading 3.7 knots of wind.

This is now my third trip to the top of the mast and I’m starting to feel much more comfortable up here.  Before heading down, I ask Megan to send up our old digital camera in a bag on the flag halyard so I can share this experience with her.  The view is amazing!  It’s pretty neat to look down on Grace and see her sitting in crystal blue water.  To the west is uninterrupted sea, to the east I can look over the islands which house Thunderball Cave (yes, from the James Bond movie) to the deep blue Atlantic, to the north and south the Exumas stretch out.

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