Posts in News
"The foot feels the foot when the foot feels the ground." - not the Buddha

Found in Ernest Wood’s 1971 “Zen Dictionary” (page 91-92), in an essay which tries to explain the term “Naturalness”: “The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”. The words are Mr. Wood’s, and not the Buddha’s as commonly misquoted. Each one of us may have different interpretation of this philosophy. It sounds intriguing yet meaningful.

The story of the barefoot Bandit is most intriguing as to how did this 19 year old teach himself to fly with no formal education or training? He allegedly had been stealing to survive in the woods for many years as a child and living barefoot. He was quoted as saying “Shoes are for losers!”.

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Criminal in Nature

Colton Harris-Moore (born March 22, 1991) is an American criminal and former fugitive. Harris-Moore, a.k.a. the Barefoot Bandit, started his naturalist journey by living in the wild at the age of seven, and would break into vacation homes, steal blankets, food and water before disappearing into the forest for days.

He was charged with the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in property, including several small aircraft, boats, and multiple cars, all committed while still a teenager.

He fled to the Bahamas on July 4, 2010, allegedly in a plane stolen from Indiana. Harris-Moore, still only 19, was arrested in Harbour Island, Bahamas, on July 11, 2010, after police shot out the engine of the boat in which he was attempting to flee. Kenneth Strachan, security officer at Ramora Bay, spotted the Barefoot Bandit, helping police nab the man who had eluded authorities in three countries, leading them on wild chases as he stole planes and boats and dodged the law while amassing a huge following on social media as a kind of renegade folk hero. 

In the end, the Barefoot Bandit turned out to be a tired teen ready to surrender from an adventure that simply got out of hand. Two days later, he was extradited from Nassau, Bahamas, to Miami, Florida, and transferred on July 21 to the Federal Detention Center, SeaTac in Washington.

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He became known as the "Barefoot Bandit" by reportedly committing some of his crimes barefoot, once leaving behind 39 chalk footprints and the word "c'ya!". Despite the widely reported nickname, officials said that he more often wore shoes. His ability to constantly elude law enforcement further added to the folklore surrounding his alias.

Today, Harris-Moore is out of prison, paying restitution to his victims, and hopes to be a pilot. Why did he do it? He can’t answer that. He has however said he didn’t turn himself in at the time because he truly felt like he was on a “spiritual journey.” “There is no other life that I would want and I’m happy with the person I’ve become,” he said. “I’m proud of how far things have come and it could be totally different… Not too many people come out the other end still looking at what I’m looking at.” says Harris-Moore.

An interesting perspective of the events is by Erica Sayers titled Putting Shoes on the "Barefoot Bandit": Stories from my State Department Internship in the Bahamas. 

JULY 2019

There is no getting around Poseidon: 'Hell has no fury like a woman scorned'
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Why are ships always female?

Old sailors used to answer this with a sexist joke: "Like a woman, a ship is unpredictable." A more likely suggestion relates to the idea of goddesses and mother figures playing a protective role in looking after a ship and crew. Linked to this is the common practice of giving ships female figureheads and names, often after deities or members of a shipowner's family. Christopher Columbus famously crossed the Atlantic in a ship called La Santa Maria, named after the Virgin Mary. 

Another theory comes from the roots of language. Many Indo-European languages have "male", "female" and sometimes "neuter" words. English instead has evolved into using neuter words such as "the". So it could be that making ships female and calling them "she" is an example of a really ancient, English-speaking practice of giving a gender to an inanimate object. It's worth noting that Lloyd's Register of Shipping now calls ships "it".

Significance of Naming a Boat

Naming a sea vessel is an important tradition before the inaugural launch of the ship. The majority of vessels are named after important female figures, either historical or personal, with the names often including important women in the captain's life. There is an extensive, precise ceremony that most captains follow to ward off any bad luck. The name is chosen, mounted or painted on the ship, and the ship then cast off on its maiden voyage following the blessing.

Yacht spotters will recognize the 130-foot Christensen Motor Yacht Sweet Escape, previously as Lady Zelda (2003-2010); and as the former Alteza, 1993-2003. (Alteza is a title of respect used when addressing a person of noble rank.) Furthermore, Sweet Escape was launched in 1993 by Christensen Shipyards, after many delays as a result of changes in company ownership and ownership of the actual hull being tied up in those issues. At one very brief time with Christensen Sweet Escape was hull #10 and sometimes even more confusing was actually hull #11!

It’s well known that renaming a boat can bring bad luck. Sailors have sworn since the dawn of time that the unluckiest ships of all are those who have defied the gods and changed their names.

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The Boat Renaming Superstition, and how to get around it…

According to legend, every vessel is recorded by name in the ‘Ledger of the Deep’, and is known personally to Poseidon, or Neptune, the god of the sea. To change the name of a vessel without consulting Poseidon is to invoke his wrath, so in order to change a boat’s name, a traditional ceremony is used to appease the gods of the seas.

The first thing that must be done when renaming a boat is to purge its old name from the Ledger of the Deep, and from Poseidon's memory. This will involve wiping out every trace of the old boat name, and reciting a short ceremony to remove the boat’s name from Poseidon’s records. Poseidon did not have the internet so this has been a challenge for Yacht Sweet Escape, to say the least, as she had 3 previous names.

You must conduct the renaming ceremony immediately after the purging ceremony. The next step in the renaming ceremony is to appease the gods of the winds. This will assure you of fair winds and smooth seas. You re-christen the boat with alcohol. First offer some to the water, some to the boat, then to everyone else to toast the new vessel.

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MARCH 2019

Restitution: The Real Cost of Chartering
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Superyacht Lady Zelda sold by Northrop and Johnson and Fraser

19 APRIL 2010, MALCOLM MACLEAN

"We now have a very happy seller and buyer who, by the way, is a very experienced charterer and we will see her back on the charter market with a vengeance! Good to see people like this coming back into the market."

Christensen Sweet Escape: Magnetic Personality

Arunas Chesonis wasn’t seriously looking to buy a boat. The CEO of Sweetwater Energy was perfectly content to charter, something he’d been doing with his family for the better part of a decade. 

The service (by Captain Paulo Guedes) is what kept Chesonis coming back, and the fourth charter was the charm. The global recession had begun, and (Captain Paulo) Guedes had been doing some thinking. He knew there were a lot of gems-in-the-making on the brokerage market, and he knew they could be had for a great price. He’d asked the owner about moving up to a bigger boat to expand the charter crew and guest options…

“We were talking about this one day on the boat during one of my charters,” Chesonis recalls, “and I just asked him, ‘Would you consider doing something with me?’”

Two months later, Chesonis was a yacht owner and (Captain Paulo) Guedes was his personal captain. The 130-foot Christensen Lady Zelda became his own Sweet Escape, and he set about refitting the 1993 build with Guedes’ charter ambitions in mind. In 2010, they converted two cabins so that the twin beds could be arranged as kings, and they removed the bar from the top deck so that it would become a more spacious sunpad area…www.yachtsinternational.com/yachts/christensen-sweet-escape-magnectic-personality

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A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for

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After years of a heavy charter schedule and crew moving around, the company changed to the present ownership early 2017.  With a wonderful inherited reputation for charter, Sweet Escape immediately picked up and started what was intended to be a minor refurbishment.  Unfortunately it was during this time that the true cost of the heavy amount of charter had on the very special MY Sweet Escape came to light, none of which had appeared in the survey.

Through painful trial and tribulation, multiples of major issues were painstakingly revealed and addressed.  There were some casualties in the process with missed charters as the revelation of major issue after mechanical issue unexpectedly occurred.  Surmounted by feelings of grief and tremendous levels of stress, all parties involved were deeply affected.  Every step of the way felt like a never ending uphill battle. The heavy stream of kind, skilled crew and contractors never faulted trying tirelessly to meet deadlines only to be presented with another kink in the chain.

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It was apparently clear that the renaming ceremony was not preformed correctly and Poseidon was not satisfied!  A massive price was paid as result.  Now properly christened and a very long list of mechanical and decorative issues meticulously addressed, the worst is seemingly well behind Sweet Escape. (Could you kindly knock on some perfectly sanded teak after reading this please?) Motor Yacht Sweet Escape is truly magnificent.

Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor

After what was undeniably a triumphant Mediterranean Season in 2018, a recent yard period, and a completing a successful 5 year survey, Yacht Sweet Escape has an upcoming busy season again in The Bahamas.  The Antigua Yacht Charter Show, 4-10 December 2019, will lead to a nostalgic visit to the BVI’s where Sweet Escape’s journey began in 2012.  Now under the command of Captain Paul Garfield, having been at the helm for the last year, a finer crew could not be found!  With all the repairs and additions, toys and all around love, Sweet Escape is at her best! Poseidon seemingly agrees!

March 2019

Pretty in Pink: Julia Roberts Stuns in Conch Pearls, the national Gem of The Bahamas

The most high-profile position at the Oscars is the person who presents the “Best Picture” award. That honor on Sunday went to Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts.  The Oscar-winning actress and producer skipped the red carpet so no one saw her until the end of the program when she appeared wearing the most fabulous of earrings by high jewelry artist Cindy Chao, The Art Jewel.

The Architectural Earrings, from Chao’s collection, consists of two pear-shaped diamonds with a total weight of 20.28 carats, with 16 conch pearls, and pavé diamond all set on 18k yellow gold.

Conch pearls are a beautiful by-product of the Caribbeans culinary delicacy. Caught primarily for its meat, the Queen conch is eaten throughout the Caribbean and the USA, raw in salads or cooked as chowders and fritters.

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Overfishing in many of the locations in which the Queen conch is found has forced all but three conch-producing countries to ban fishing to protect populations, which it is predicted will not recover for decades. This means fewer conch pearls are coming to market. Only one in ten thousand queen conches can yield a conch pearl, out of which only about 10% are of gem quality.

Prior to the introduction of the cultured pearl in the 1920s, natural pearls were as highly prized as rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Once cultured varieties flooded the market, however, pearls lost their exclusive tag.  Conch pearls, on the other hand, are formed completely naturally and only found in very specific areas in the Caribbean. So far, no cultured conch pearls have come to market, making them exceedingly rare.  The desire for uniqueness among jewelry buyers has never been stronger, and conch pearls fit the bill perfectly.

The Gem of the Bahamas, the lustrous pink conch pearl, carefully set in hand crafted designs by Frieden of Switzerland. pink-pearls-conch-pearls-julia-roberts-coin-of-the-realm-high-jewelry-bahamasa-yacht-charter-lady-gaga-oscar-tiffany-diamond

The Gem of the Bahamas, the lustrous pink conch pearl, carefully set in hand crafted designs.

You can find the gem of the Bahamas, the lustrous pink conch pearl, at Coin of the Realm Jewelry store in Nassau, New Providence. Coin of the Realm is a long standing, family run boutique with exceptional pieces from around the world. They also specialize in an extensive collection of rare Bahamian coins, stamps and of course the national gem of the Bahamas, the conch pearl.  Stop at Coin of the Realm before or after your charter onboard Yacht Sweet Escape; experience and observe the conch in its natural habitat in the shallow, warm waters of The Bahamas before they are all gone. Numbers are decreasing globally. The Bahamas is one of only a few nations where substantial populations of queen conch remain.

March 2019