“What does Sailing Mean to You?” second try…

No Picture This Time! 🙂

Hi there, well I guess my last question “What does Sailing Mean to You?” Got a bit distracted by the picture I illustrated my post with. I will remember that.
By the way, thanks for all the nice comments I got for that picture. (That picture was taken at the Quebec Yacht Club maybe 10 years ago).

Back to that same post, I was trying to get to know your feelings about sailing. Is it a weekend activity, a charter getaway during the winter, seasonal cruising, a full-time lifestyle or a beautiful dream?
Thanks to the few who actually answered.

I hope to take your mind of and wondering for a moment, gently gliding on turquoise waters…. Tell me what you see…I am already waiting for your comments 🙂
Have great day.

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The Bowline’s Secret…

Does “bowline” sound like a scary word? The King of Knots is often feared unless you know its secret. Follow me as I uncover a little trick that might mean the end of your nightmares…

All the way back from the Egyptian time, to the glorious navy ships, the bowline earned its fame as the king of knots.

The Bowline, King of the Knots.

Why do most people swear by the bowline?

Pros: the bowline tightens under load. You can do it with only one hand. It’s an easy one to untie when offload.
Con: it can also untie itself when flapping about on a sail, it’s not unusual to lose a jib sheet after countless tacks sailing upwind.

In my younger years, I too learned the rabbit story years ago, and YES it works! Most probably I fell in the hole a few times before I found the trick! If you too want to do it with the rabbit story, try it this way.

Identify the two ends, one will be called a working end (shorter) the other, the passive end (longer).
1- Hold the passive end in front of you.
2- Take the working end, go away from you
and come back forming a loop over the passive end. The hole needs to be on top of the passive end for the rabbit to exit its burrow! That’s the trick people forget about. If the hole is upside down, it won’t work.
3- With the working end or “rabbit”, go through/around what you need to tie up.
4- Then get the rabbit through the hole, starting under the hole.
5- Turn around the passive end or “tree”.
6- Then, get the rabbit back into the hole.
7- As you hold the working end and pull the passive end, the bowline tightens.

Well done!!

Here is another way. Let’s try it together.
1- Take one end of the line through what you need to tie up because that’s what you need a knot for.
2- Identify the longer end as the passive end, and the shorter one as the working end.
3- With the passive end, make a hole on itself, leaving the passive end underneath (under the hole).
4- As you hold the hole together with one hand, get the working end from under the hole and coming out through it.
5- Now, still with the working end, go around the passive end.
6- Then, get back inside the hole (parallel to the way out).
7- Hold the working end and pull on the passive end to tighten the knot.

Congratulation! (I’m sure you managed it!)

TIP: Whichever method you choose, the secret is… all in the hole! To remember it easily, just remember if the passive end is on top of the hole, the working end should go through the hole starting from the top. If the passive end is underneath the hole, the working end should go through the hole starting from underneath it. That’s it, that’s all.

Now that the famous bowline has no more secret for you, remember to use it with moderation. The bowline might be referred to as the king of knots but, what is a king without a court? There are so many others knots that would be more appropriate in many cases. In a coming post, I’ll share with you my “top knot list”.

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“Are You Rex?”, I Candidly Ask.

This article is about an inspiring guy I met in Australia who taught me more than fishing…

Rex Alexander Bay boat450As Michelle drives her dad’s old Toyota Coaster across the Nullarbor, taking Rex to his final resting place, old memories are flooding back.

It’s early March when I find myself in Alexander Bay, Western Australia. From the campsite, a path leads to a 9 mile wide open bay. The Easterly wind gently shuffles the green coastal heath. My toes sink into the purest white sand I have ever seen, while my eyes wander between emerald patches and the deep blue of the Southern Ocean. Breathing deeply, the ocean breeze fills my lungs, true serenity.

Alexander Bay, Western Australia


On my right, there’s a gathering on the rocks, people are having a lively chat about fishing gear and fish size. Standing tall amongst them, a slim, older bloke, wearing “sunnies” and the iconic Akubra hat, holds his catch of the day.

Rex big fish Alexander Bay450
Rex and the Pink Snapper.

“Are you Rex?”, I candidly ask.

Everyone looks at me, the fisherman turns, surprised, “Are you looking for Rex?”

“I met a Swiss couple by a telephone booth in Esperance”, I answer. “Their enticing description of Alexander Bay brought me here,” “a secluded campsite, a white sandy beach with a couple of people fishing and living the life. A gem, few know about.” They added, “if you come across Rex, say hi from Franck and Carole.”

Here I am, taking a chance by asking the man with the big fish.

Is it intuition or sheer luck? I had just met Rex, the keen fisherman.

The fish of the day, a 2.5’ Pink Snapper is now cut and shared between all. Acknowledging my curiosity, Rex offers to take me fishing. I had never fished before so I accept. After lunch, we board his 10’ inflatable dinghy. One hour later, and a bucket full of herring, we store the boat for the night. Time to learn how to fillet fish.

Manu bonitos Alexander Bay450
2 Bonitos, nice catch.

During the following days, Rex teaches me about fishing tackles, rods, and reels. Cast, reel in, repeat, sometimes fight and land a fish. We have fun, laugh, talk, open up, and develop a lasting friendship.

By coming here, not only I have discovered a spectacular place, I also met an inspiring man who introduced me to angling, a thrilling and skillful activity. Whether trolling, bottom fishing, or casting off the beach, within 2 weeks, I caught 10 different species.

But, most importantly, Rex allowed me to experience the ability to address one of our most basic needs, feeding oneself. There is something organic, an overwhelming joy in hooking and sharing your catch. A unique feeling I will be forever grateful to him for.

Freshly caught squid and fish.

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