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Treasure Seekers

Occasionally I receive emails via the blog from readers I didn’t know I had. Usually, they were doing some kind of internet search and ran across something in the blog that interested them. This week I heard from Captain Ray Hixon in St. Petersburg, Florida who is preparing for a trip to the Virgin Islands and was looking for advice on the best route down through the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and on to the east.

He included his contact information so I gave him a call to discuss his trip. I told him I was no expert but I was happy to discuss it with him. I quickly told him I would not use the route we used two weeks ago on Bailiwick if I was headed in the other direction. The trade winds blow steadily from the east at 15 to 20 knots and it’s not wise to run upwind against them in any kind of boat. I recommended he get hold of Bruce Van Sant’s excellent book “The Gentleman’s Guide to Passages South”. It describes a “Thornless Path to Windward” working one’s way down through the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and then along the coasts of Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Most interestingly, it describes a technique of using the night and early morning land breezes to work eastward along Dominican Republic without fighting the Trade Winds.

The more I talked with Captain Hixon, the more fascinated I became with his trip. It turns out he is moving a pirate ship to the islands to put into service taking tourists out for cruises. He was kind enough to send me this picture:


The boat is apparently some 80 feet long and runs on a single engine at six to eight knots, about the speed of Steel Magnolia. The ship has an eight to nine foot draft when full of fuel which will cause them to stay in open waters through much of the Bahamas, and to be careful choosing anchorges or fueling stops. Captain Hixon has three other people helping out on the trip, which he will need for what promises to be a long and sometimes arduous journey. Right now, they are waiting to see where Hurricane Igor will go before departing.

It turns out that this is not the first “Treasure Seeker” pirate ship that Captain Hixon has tried to move ot the Virgin Islands. I found an article from the St. Petersburg Times describing his harrowing adventure when the previous pirate ship sank on the same trip which you can read by clicking here.

I wish you a safe passage Captain. Please pass along updates so that we can follow your trip. And by all means, send more pictures.

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Reader Comments (4)

Morning John, it's been much too long since I've contacted you. Have followed your blog, always hoping for more posts.

You can't imagine how surprised I was/am at your latest post. The "TREASURE SEEKER" is the ex "C. G. RICHTER" a Washington Island ferry. She is ice strengthened and for many years was the only regular ferry running in the winter between Washington Island and the Door County Wisconsin mainland. The W.I. Ferry Line put her up for sale only after "ARNIE J. RICHTER", their new ice breaking ferry, proved herself in service for a couple years. www.wisferry.com

Capt. Hixon contacted me to assist in moving the boat during the process of buying her, but ultimately with his own crew and a bit of advice from a number of sources he moved her himself, following STEEL MAGNOLIA's route down the river system to the Gulf. I also do technical work for the ferry line on their computer systems and installed the web cams, which you can view on their site.

BTW, based on your photos, STEEL MAGNOLIA looks great, even before the yard work.

Hope all is well with you and yours. Fair winds and following seas.

September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Jacobs

We recently witnessed the Treasure Seeker being towed by a tug into the Caicos Marina and Shipyard in the Turks and Caicos Islands. She got this far but remains tied to the dock. One of our blog readers sent us your link after we posted a photo of it taken from our house. You can check it out at: http://2gringos.blogspot.com/2010/11/november.html.

November 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLa Gringa

We are finally in ST Thomas

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercapt Ray

John, The Treasure Seeker is doing fantastic in Charlotte Amalie. Finally got everything approved and we carry 149 in local waters and 12 in open sea.
Trust you are well.

September 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCapt. Ray

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