Look up in the sky.  It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's Spreaderman.  Don't think I'm confused.  It's definitely not Superman or Spiderman up in the rigging.  It's Spreaderman standing on our mast spreaders guiding us through the coral reef as we sail the turquoise waters of Coral World.  Whenever we do shallow water sailing, we always put out a call to Spreaderman to keep us out of trouble.

This is what Spreaderman is looking for when we come into an anchorage.  He wants turquoise water in all directions as far as his eye can see.  As long as the water is totally turquoise, there will be no rocks or reefs to ruin our day.  This anchorage in Conception Island in the Bahamas has scattered coral heads that could punch a hole in our hull if we don't pay attention to where we are sailing as we approach the island.  The water between the two sailboats in this picture is between eight and fifteen feet deep, and there are no brown coral heads in sight.

This water is four to five feet deep over a white sand bottom.  When I anchor in water like this, words like paradise start popping into my mind.

When Spreaderman looks down, he is checking the color of the water; dark brownish patches are rocks or reefs, greenish patches are sea grass, and turquoise is sandy seabed.  Isolated patches of coral are called coral heads or "bommies".  On the right side of this picture, you are in paradise, and on the left side you are in purgatory or worse.  If you run into this reef day or night, it could be the end of your voyage.

You can't see coral reefs when the sun is directly in front of you.  The reflected sunlight  blinds you to the presence of dangerous reefs.  That's why you only enter tropical anchorages with the sun high overhead or behind you.  Thousands of boats have  been lost when they sailed directly onto a reef they couldn't see because the sun was in front of them.

If this what Spreaderman sees from his perch on the mast, something has gone badly wrong.  The yacht is surrounded by coral heads, and it's time to back up, slowly and straight, to avoid disaster.


We stand on the spreaders rather than using a true crow's nest on the mast.  We got an estimate in Australia to see how much it would cost to construct a real crow's nest, and they reckoned it would require about a thousand dollars to fabricate and install one.    That's big money to spend on an item that will only be used when navigating in coral.  That's why we use our spreaders as our poor man's crow's nest.

I installed fold-out mast steps all the way to the top of my fifty foot mast.  Those steps are the stairway used by Spreaderman as he navigates Exit Only through coral in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and South Pacific.

When it's time to go aloft for a look, Spreaderman folds out the mast steps and climbs to the first set of spreaders one-third of the way up the mast.  From twenty-five feet above the water, it easier to detect coral reefs and bommies that lie dead ahead.  His elevated point of view prevents Exit Only from getting boxed into coral traps.


When you anchor among coral heads, you need to look around your boat for 360 degrees to make sure there are no bommies that could cause a problem if you drag anchor or if the the wind or tide shifts during the night.  When it's pitch black on a moonless night, there's no way to tell the location of the coral heads.  Coral reefs don't move, but boats drag anchor and swing their position with changes in wind and tide, and prudent mariners make sure there are no threatening coral heads in the vicinity of where they drop their anchor.


When you make a mistake, God forgives you, but coral does not.  Coral punishes you relentlessly for every mistake you make, and it punishes you in the middle of the night during your time of greatest vulnerability.

So what do you do when you anchor in coral?  Call Spreaderman, and let him take the worry out of Coral World.  After all, there's nothing more beautiful than putting your anchor down in six feet of crystal clear turquoise water, and when Spreaderman makes sure you're not near any coral heads, you know beyond all doubt that life is good.

Log 1 Peter Pan Around the World
Log 2 Weapons of Mackerel Destruction
Log 3 Pirates of the Malacca Straits
Log 4 Kissing Cobras
Log 5 Debriosaurus Rex
Log 6 Go Ahead - Live Your Dreams

Log 7 The Man Who Built His House on a Rock
Log 8 Ambivalent Eagles
Log 9 One-Shovel Full at a Time
Log 10 Hitchhiker's Guide to Planet Earth

Log 11 Keeshond

Log 12 The Red Sea Blues

Log 13 Feel the Freedom

Log 14 The Danger Zone

Log 15 Lucky Man
Log 16 Dream Machines - Land Rover Defenders

Log 17 Trade Wind Dreams
Log 18 Logs With Fins
Log 19 Everywhere, Everything
Log 20 Shark Slayer Is History

Log 21 Viking Funeral - Burial at Sea
Log 22 Improbable and Impossible

Log 23 Keep on Trucking
Log 24 Dream Machines II
Log 25 Bodysurfing Whales
Log 26 Hitting the Wall
Log 27 Surviving the Savage Seas

Log 28 The Next Step
Log 29 Welcome to Barbados
Log 30 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers
Log 31 The Man with the Unplan
Log 32 Dali Dolphins
Log 33 Flying Like a Turtle
Log 34 The Foolish Man Built His House on a Pitch Lake
Log 35 Go West Young Man
Log 36 Crossing the Atlantic in a Row Boat
Log 37 The Unsinkable HMS Diamond Rock
Log 38 Catamaran Capsize in 170 mph Winds
Log 39 When Are You Coming Home?

Log 40 Master and Commander of Anegada - Frigate Birds
Log 41 Baths of Virgin Gorda - Batholiths of Central Arabia

Log 42 Free at Last
Log 43 Stalking the Wild Manatee

Log 44 Spreaderman
Log 45 Attack of the Flesh Eating Bees
Log 46 Sharks and Coconuts
Log 47 Stingray Picnic
Log 48 Boo Boo Hill
Log 49 Whale Slayers
Log 50 Noddies (Not Naughty)


Log 51 Exumas Land and Sea Park
Log 52 David and Goliath
Log 53 Turquoise Clouds of Paradise

Log 54 Momma Nightjar
Log 55 Maximillian The Great
Log 56 Chiton Kingdom
Log 57 Flying and Holding On
Log 58 Far Horizons
Log 59 Clouds Are a Sailor's Friend
Log 60 Getting Connected
Log 61 Fear
Log 62 Grand Schemes and Other Important Things
Log 63 If Jellyfish Had a Brain
Log 64 Cousins That Don't Kiss
Log 65 Swimming With Sharks
Log 66 Perfect the Way You Are
Log 67 Space Travelers
Log 68 Aliens
Log 69 Monsters of the Mind
Log 70 My Butterfly Collection
Log 71 Somewhere Other Than Here Societies
Log 72 Five-Hundred Pound Spiders
Log 73 Red Sea Sunsets
Log 74 Gibraltar Sunrise
Log 75 Big Sea - Small Ship
Log 76 Just Cruising
Log 77 Castle Mania
Log 78 You Must Know the Sea
Log 79 Flying Like a Goat
Log 80 The Joy of Photography
Log 81 Universal Camouflage
Log 82 My Rainbow Collection
Log 83 Indian Ocean Reward
Log 84 Fiber W
Log 85 Turkish Reflections
Log 86 Mirrors and Mirages
Log 87 Lycean Tombs Rock
Log 88 Rigging Emergency
Log 89 Pamukkale
Log 90 Volcano Land
Log 91 Sniffing the Air
Log 92 Why I Don't Kite Surf
Log 93 Resurrecting Exit Only in Turkey
Log 94 Greased Pole Competition
Log 95 Tsunami Damage
Log 96 Afraid of Living
Log 97 Living on the Edge
Log 98 Borneo Adventure
Log 99 Uligamu Tree Tender with Full Benefits
Log 100 God's Fireworks Display

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