How to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ in this world is what New Horizons is all about. Please check out our website at We provide educational opportuinities for at-risk children in Southwest Florida. We are able to provide humanitarian aid to our Caribbean neighbors with our 68-foot cargo schooner, "Star of the Sea." The schooner is also used as a teaching tool for the "Call to Adventure" program that mentors young men at sea.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Isaac Prep

The Star of the Sea was just minding her own business resting from her recent Haitian trip and along comes Isaac. Thankfully all we got was some wind and high tides. It still takes a full day of storm prep to get her ready. Many thanks to Luis Acevedo, my Mexican friend and fishing mate from years past who was in town for a few days and spent the day before the storm helping me set anchors and extra lines. Change is in the air for the 'Star'

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Back to Florida!

We set sail on Thursday afternoon after a morning of make ready and stow. Our friend Joseph the spearfisherman stopped by with one of his children and gave us three octopus and four lobster for lunch. Yum! The sail home was subject to contrary winds, squalls, and way too much motorsailing. We arrived in Marathon on the morning of July 4 and back in Naples the following morning. The schooner had been taking on water from an unknown source for the past three weeks and Shaquille and I took to Ft. Myers for a haulout on July 6th. I'll be driving up to the yard today to try and find the source of the intrusion and hopefully a quick fix. Attached are some pics from the past couple weeks. Thank you for all your prayers and support for this voyage, hope to hear from you soon! Capt. Bob

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

lle a vache offload

The trip down from Inagua went smoothly until we arrived at the west tip of the southern arm of Haiti. Wind went from 15 knots to 35 on the nose and seas from 2-4ft. to 8-10ft.
Being fully loaded and discretion being the better part of valor I reversed course and we hid out in a small cove northwest of the village of Tiburon until the sun set and the wind died down to the point of being manageable. I like to arrive in the dark so as to not telegraph our arrival and because of the delay we didn't drop anchor until 0630 at Port Morgan. Sister Flora's boat came immediately and we offloaded all the Meals of Hope by the end of the day. The orphanage is doing well and our cargo of food, medical supplies, and the dresses and shorts that were made by Sewing Hands were well received. Our Naples contact that supplied 1,000 used tennis balls from Collier's Reserve would have smiled if he could see the joy of the children upon receiving tennis balls! What a hit the balls make and it's fun to see the kids happiness with such a simple thing. Bill Clinton is due to arrive to the island for a visit tomorrow and I had a long talk with a couple of the Secret Service agents assigned to his detail. Things are changing in this part of the world, for the better? only time will tell. We are hoping for the weather to break tomorrow and we will depart for Florida. The schooner is having a few issues of concern and I will be relieved to be back in Florida waters soon!!

Inagua loadin

After enjoying the wonderful hospitality at Bob Pratt's Southside Marina and an uneventful sail from Provo we arrived at Great Inagua early in the morning. Customs went fairly smoothly and once again Brother Carl helped with the money for the transshipment bond. The little harbor was full with captured drug freighters and other local boats so we moved boats around so we could squeeze in for the loading process. We got all the cargo aboard and secured by 1830 and then stood offshore while we made ready for sea and ate dinner. Underway by 2100 for the Windward passage and Haiti!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Land Ho! Cat Island

We had a very calm crossing from the Exumas to Cat Island arriving at 0600 to the Port of Smith Bay. The children from the Old Bight Mission Home arrived to offload cargo in the afternoon when school had let out. Five pickup truck loads later, all cargo was delivered to the home. To our surprise our former shipmate Shaquille Moss who had traveled to Haiti with us last summer had decided to postpone his pilot training for a month and will accompany the crew for the rest of the voyage. On June 8 we had the pleasure of attending Shaquille's high school graduation ceremony! On June 6 Zach was able to make the first delivery of over 500 lbs. of medical supplies to the local clinic here on Cat Island. His charity, Open Vessel Missions, has another thousand pounds of medical supplies aboard that will go to Sister Flora's mission on Lle a Vache, Haiti. We have spent the past few days with some boat projects and a much needed nap and also a little sightseeing on the island. We will leave for Provo. in the morning and after taking on fuel and water there we will sail to Inagua to load in the Meals of Hope that were donated by Estero United Methodist Church. Oh yea... fuel is $6.45 a gallon here.....Yikes

Fair Winds and Following Seas

The ship and crew had a fair weather crossing of the gulf stream on our way to the Exumas where we spent time with old friends and made new ones. "Summer crabs" were in abundance this year and I'm happy to report that there was fewer lion fish to shoot this year than in the past. Zach and Javier were able to visit the beautiful Thunderball Cave in Staniel Cay and we spent a couple days at Little Farmers Cay where we attended a very uplifting Sunday service at the local Baptist Church. On the way to Cat Island now, we should arrive on June 5. Capt. Bob

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Orphanage Sail

The lists are done (are they ever done?) the first load of cargo is loaded and secured, the weather is going to cooperate for departure, I think it's time to go!
Our first stop will be the Old Bight mission home on Cat Island, Bahamas where we will deliver cargo and spend time with the kids. We will also be attending the high school graduation of Shaquille Moss who crewed last summer on the trip to Haiti. Many thanks are extended to all the supporters who have made this trip possible, most notably the Estero United Methodist, the Fountainhead Foundation, and John and Mary Barrett whose financial help made this trip possible. Special thanks to the Call to Adventure crew, first mate Zach Griffen, and artist Marvin Rouse who provided lots of labor in painting and other maintenance. As always please keep the crew in your prayers, we need them and always feel them when things get interesting.
Capt. Bob

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scuba Certification

Congratulations are in order to the 'Call to Adventure' crew for their bravery and hard work in becoming scuba certified! Many thanks to John Davidson of the AMI Kids program in Punta Gorda for donating his time and talent in making this dream come true for the crew of the Star of the Sea.

EC300 Roundup

I'm late posting the results of the Everglades Challenge race that I participated in. This year's race was run in horrendous conditions with wind speeds of 40kts plus at times. I was able to make it to Flamingo (checkpoint 3) after suffering a massive rig failure in the Shark River. My Hobie Tandem Island was a great pick for the race but was not alot of fun to pedal into a stiff wind from my breakdown point to Flamingo (26 miles). The being shipwrecked part was awesome as I was able to sleep.....and enjoy the nature that is in abundance in that part of the world. Ellen met me in Flamingo with the trailer and we loaded up and drove to the finish line in Key Largo to enjoy the festivities. Only 17 of 80 boats finished this year and the fleet was filled with damaged and broken gear. EC300 2013...... Maybe! Thank you to all my sponsors, the race was a successful fundraiser for New Horizons and the children in our programs! Videos can be seen on utube if you search backwaterbobec2012 Capt. Bob

Sunday, February 19, 2012

2012 Everglades Challenge

Alright schooner fans, now is the time for action! The email below has gone out to all of our New Horizons email subscribers. I need another 20 sponsors to reach our financial goal for the race. I will be risking life and limb, well maybe not risking but I know I'll be real sore if I make it, to complete this 300 mile adventure. Your sponsorship doesn't need to be $1.00 per mile every little bit helps. You can use the donate button on this page for a pledge too. If I do drop out before the finish in Key Largo I will send you an autographed picture of my dejected face at the time and place of my retirement! Sponsors will also receive a link to my satellite transponder page where you can view my location in real time!

Fair Winds

Capt. Bob

Capt. Bob will be participating in the WaterTribe Everglades Challenge starting March 3, just around the corner! He will attempt the trying eight-day trek by sea kayak from Tampa Bay to Key Largo, all in the name of New Horizons! Thanks to many generous individuals, we are more than halfway to our sponsorship goal--but not quite there yet. We are praying for additional sponsors at this time so we can make the most of this 300-mile challenge. If you would like to help us reach our goal of 20 more sponsors pledging $1/mile, please contact Bob directly at (239) 248-0647. We thank you for your consideration.

All money raised will go directly into the New Horizons operating fund.

To learn more about the Everglades Challenge, please visit


New Horizons of Southwest Florida

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Call to Adventure

Happy New Year! The schooner departed for another Call to Adventure voyage on December 27 and returned to port on New Year's Eve. First mate Zach Griffin drove down from Arkansas for the trip and bonded with the boys through sail handling and confidence training. We sailed north to Charlotte Harbor in light rain and dropping temperatures. By the following day sunny skies prevailed and stayed that way for the duration of the trip. We day-sailed for the first three days, picking a different anchorage each night. On our final day underway we anchored off of Picnic Island at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River and went ashore for a fogata (bonfire). We continued in our study of the Beatitudes and focused on self control and the decision making process as young men. When asked, most of the crew would say that their favorite part of the voyage was either 'pillaging' the village of Boca Grande or the famous schooner burgers we had for lunch aboard one day. Both Zach and I are very proud of these young men, the schooner is such an equalizer when it comes to teaching teenagers. One of the young men has expressed an interest in crewing to Haiti and the Bahamas this spring, now that would be a New Horizon!
Wishing you fair winds in the New Year.... Capt. Bob