UA-31290512-1

Monday, May 5, 2014

Not So Krazy Lady

cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Kathy of Nancy Lu hamming it up for mah jong
teacher Ann of Krazy Lady at Hog Cay, Ragged Islands.
“When I was a 16-year-old exchange student in New Zealand, some guy asked me to go sailing.  That was it.  I was hooked,” Ann Gates declares.  “When I got back I told my mom I was getting a sailboat. ‘Sure,’ she said, not really believing me.  Then I showed up with one on a trailer….” 

That was 40-some years ago.

“Sailing in Lake Ontario prepared me for sailing just about anywhere, even much bigger seas,” Ann explains.  However, she adds, “What’s different about sailing the Bahamas is that the smaller waves here are just a few seconds apart!”

cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Kathy hams it up again at our
mah jonglesson from Ann.  Kathy
was a natural!  Also present GWT,
Andy of Andante and Mark,
Kathy’s hubby.
Today, Ann’s single-handing (solo sailing) a 28 foot Aloha sailboat through the Bahamas, befriending cruisers, vacationers and locals wherever she goes.  She laughs about how her son doesn’t get how important it was for her to buy a boat “only three feet longer.*  She named her boat Krazy Lady, “spelled with a ‘K’ because I don’t know how to spell.”

All kidding aside, it takes some moxy as well as skill to single hand.  While Ann jokes about working her way through her nine lives (like the time she parachuted and got suspended, cartoon-like, in the tall bendy tip of tree branch”), she’s smart about safety.

sailing, cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Ann leads the way through the tight exit cut
at Hatchet Bay Pond, Eleuthera.
Thus, a bit sheepishly, she recalls when Henry, the Exumas Land and Sea Park ranger, tracked her down when a panicked friend and safety contact decided far too much time had passed since she sent her last “Spot Tracker” location indicator.  “I’m sure she’s fine,” Henry assured Ann’s friend, "I just saw her last night at our Superbowl party."  Still, he wended his way out to Ann’s boat and made sure she let her friend know she was okay.

We first met Ann and her single-handing buddy-boat pal Andy Buck of Andante** in the Exumas, but got to know her better when she rounded up us few cruisers at the bottom end of the remote Ragged Islands to play Mah Jong.  Besides Ann, none of us knew how to play that complicated game. Maybe it’s all her years teaching “hormones encased in skin” middle schoolers phys ed, Ann was such a great teacher we all had a great time.

hiking, bahamas plants, cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers
Ann and Andy at Levi Preserve, Eleuthera.
Ann’s also a great snorkeling buddy; she keeps a keen eye out for her fellow snorkeler as well the marine life. In the Ragged Islands, her boat was perfectly positioned to watch a turtle mama in her tot.  She spotted the only lionfish I’ve seen in the wild when we snorkeled.

Despite her apparent devil-may-care attitude and outgoing nature, when I asked Ann about blogging about her, she said, “Don’t say where I am now, or where I’m going.  When Cloud 9 blogged about me, it creeped me out when I was recognized from it.  And I know three women single-handing cruisers who were active bloggers and were murdered.”  Scary!  Ann reassured me she hasn't heard that non-solo sailors blogging is a safety risk.

spelunking, hiking, cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Spelunking with Ann and Andy at
Hatchet Bay Caves Eleuthera.
Wayne and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with Ann and Andy.  They’re cautious when it makes sense to be (“Let’s hold off on that Abacos passage; waves are 1 ½ meters and winds too light to sail.”).  Yet they're daring and curious enough relish a good adventure … road trips, hiking, swimming, spelunking (exploring caves), marine institutes and more.

We hope we’re fortunate enough to encounter Ann and Andy again.  Meanwhile, we wish them fair winds and following seas; we know wherever they are, they’ll have a good time.  As Ann says, frequently, wide-eyed, grinning, her arms outstretched to embrace the great outdoors fully, “I love my life!”

If that's what being a Krazy Lady is all about, sign me up!

hiking, swimming, cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Ann and Wayne at Queen’s Baths, my favorite
spot on Eleuthera.
*For non-boaters, each extra foot is exponentially larger, not just longer.  It makes a big difference not just in living space, but also in how much fuel and water a cruiser can carry, and more “boat on the waterline” generally is faster than less. 
**Ann and Andy began boating together upon meeting in the Bahamas this year.  The two have each other’s back; important for a solo sailor, especially when sailing to remote areas.

anchoring, cruising life, cruising activities, cruisers

Journey, Andante and Krazy Lady moored together like
three muskateers, ready for another adventure!
Location Location
May 5, 2014.  BAHAMAS.  By the time this posts, we'll be anchored off Royal Island (N25.30 W76.50), waiting for enough South or East wind to overnight sail to the Abacos; at least 58 miles.