October 17, 2017  
 


Adventures of the Damn Yankee
Ahoy shipmates! Here's your chance to experience sailing the Caribbean! Our guest writer aboard the Damn Yankee provides a weekly narrative relating the adventures of life at sea. Join the crew aboard the 36' Catalina as her First Mate recounts the exploits of a couple who have moved into the lifestyle many dream of living. Insightful and compelling, Gwen Schuler will keep us posted in a series of articles and photographs as she and her husband Jim set sail for adventure. Dock here regularly!

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Lord of the Reefs
Installment No. 14
Bahamas

One Particular Harbor
Installment No. 13
Lucayan Marina Village, Bahamas
It’s Better in the Bahamas
Installment No. 12
The Bahamas
The Crossing
Installment No. 11
The Florida Keys
Changing Channels
Installment No. 10
Wrightsville Beach, SC
Follow in our Wake
Installment No. 9
Beaufort, N.C
Into the Ditch
Installment No. 8
ICW, The Ditch, Virginia
Down by the Waterside
Installment No. 7
Norfolk Harbor, VA
Mileage, Majors and Norfolk
Installment No. 6
Norfolk Harbor, VA
Adjustments
Installment No. 5
Zahniser's Marina, Solomons Island, MD
Portlights and pianos, Boat Show Week
Installment No. 4
Annapolis, Maryland
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me, but my darling when I think of thee.
Installment No. 3
Great Oak Marina, MD
There's a glitch
Installment No. 2
Upper Chesapeake Bay
Let the Adventure Begin
Installment No. 1
Fairlee Creek, Maryland

Lord of the Reefs
Within 100,000 square miles of Atlantic Ocean lie 700 islands scattered across the waters of the Bahamas. Recent approximation submits that 75% of the country lies underwater while its shores are rimmed by part of the world's great barrier reefs.

Installment No. 14 -- Bahamas








It is the sea that prevails here. To navigate across, we trusted the sweep of current and the precision of charts. To fish upon or to submerge beneath we relied upon a native son. Jim and I thank Bryan for sharing his expertise and extending his friendship.

Some lords of Ireland ventured from her shores to escape Cromwell's rule. Others boarded ships for what they considered a better life away from English domination. In the sixteenth through seventeenth centuries many Irish lords relinquished titles and relinquished lands to rove far from familiar rocky crags to adventure across an ocean.
Some sailed secure in wood propelled by canvas to the shores of the Americas. Others found safe harbor and a balmy solace embraced within the islands of the Bahamas.
Fact or fiction, it matters little because it could have happened that way.
In the twenty-first century the blood of one such Irish lord flows un-distilled through the veins of one David Bryan Collins. A sixth generation Bahamian, lord not of an estate surrounded by the lush green grasslands of Ireland but rather lord of the tinctured coral reefs that fringe illimitable cays surrounded by aquamarine transparency. He is not so very different from his ancestors. The covenant is the same.
He holds a stewardship of vast proportion measured not by the solid soil of acreage but in the endless ebb and flow of tides over the ocean floor.
Standing at the helm of "Sugarfoot" his twenty-two ft. Boston Whaler, Bryan is a breathing dichotomy. Age-old pirate or new age preservationist, he is either and carries both with equanimity.
Bryan's vocation and avocation coalesce to offer a conduit from one age to another. As easily pictured at the helm of a barque as an open skiff. The sea is his firmament and his refuge. You read its lure in the green depths of his eyes. Like the Bahamas shallows they glitter unfathomable and possibly treacherous.
A sage of sea and sand, apprenticed aboard the Calypso II. His time with the Cousteau Institute under Jean Michel Cousteau only shored the soundness of his father's early tutorship. The experience advanced Bryan's knowledge of sea life while allowing him to hone his underwater skills.
Under-sea night diving with National Geographic to document never photographed rims of coral and the sea creatures that live within only deepened his commitment.
Participating in marine studies to salvage the conch population at Stocking Cay, Bryan's heart and knowledge contributed to the success of these projects.
A desire to share his very personal passion moved him to found Native Son Adventures in 1990.
Under his direction and guidance a client can choose diving the reefs to find themselves suspended within the glory of a gallery whose sculptures are formed and shaped in rainbow coral.
Groupers, dizzily adept at changing colors are not quick enough at camouflage to conceal themselves from Bryan's acute eyes. The sudden flash of yellowtail, the glisten of red snapper or the vivid flurry of angelfish, are as immediately recognizable to Bryan as he is to them.
Snorkeling through the brilliancy of aquamarine, sea grass waves slowly with the tide's drift. Spasmodic points of silver are barely discernible as fish until Bryan indicates the symmetry of movement with a slow sweep of his hand.
Born to land and sea, both represent home. But it is the lure and splendor of what lies beneath that lives in Bryan's heart. A familiar place since early childhood beginning with his first free dives until by adolescence he could read the patterns that formed the plains and hillocks of the sea floor as it rises and falls; along with explicit indicators of sand and coral that mark the sequence of color variation that signals the water's depth. Easy to fix upon the covert locations of feeding fish.
Bryan's sure hand with sling and spear promises the succulent delicacies of hogfish, conch or Caribbean lobster grilled over a native fire pit and eaten alfresco on a secluded beach.
To the manor born, he reclines impossibly lean, features sharp as shell; barefoot, astride an outcrop of limestone with a golden stretch of sand at his feet and the sapphire shimmer of ocean behind, Bryan speaks of history and heart.
The genial host of his environment, he shares comedic tales of his pirate days along with his parables of aquatic preservation dramatic for its urgency.
Bahamian by birth, a son of Ireland by genealogy, Bryan sustains the nobles' tradition with each measured beat of his flippers overseeing his realm of water and reef. His will and way remains as true and strong as were his forebears' allegiance to rock and soil.

   
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