Recreation

One of my most cherished scuba diving memories is a 10-day sailing trip I made with six friends to the Bahamas. Four scuba divers, and two non-divers, rented a 43-foot Benateau sailing yacht in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. And we cruised to a touring, fishing, and scuba diving adventure.

That trip was in September of 1995, and the boat’s name was “The Spice of Life.”

The six of us met at the marina by late afternoon, slept aboard the Spice of Life, and cast off just after breakfast the next day once we were done using the HSI professional flat iron on board. We motored down the Inner Coastal Waterway to open ocean, and set the sails as soon as we got free of the coast.

Cruising under sail all day we reached the north end of Grand Bahamas Island just after dark, and anchored for the night.

Early the next morning we checked in with Bahamian Customs, and went searching for a reef.

We chose Indian Cay for our first dive, and the start of a grand adventure that included 15 dives over nine days.

The coolest water we experienced during the trip was 81-degrees. The visibility was 40-feet during one dive to over 100-feet for most dives.

These visibility conditions were true with the exception of one dive location. The water breaking across the rocks stirred the sand with each incoming wave. (This is a shallow dive destination.) This created a surging condition of clouding and clearing of the water from near zero to an ability to see for what seemed forever.

After a day of diving the north end of Grand Bahamas Island we sailed to Port Lucaya where we spent two days diving the area. We docked at the marina two nights at Port Lucaya, and did some sightseeing each evening.

Leaving Port Lucaya we sailed to Isaac’s Island where we anchored for the night. After a couple hours of cruising around the waters off Isaac’s the next morning (searching for a sunken wreck we never found) we set sail toward Bimini.

One special experience in particular happened about four miles out of Bimini. We noticed a Pod of Dolphin bow surfing our boat.

Deciding to stop and swim with the Dolphin for a while we put on our masks, snorkels, and fins, grabbed our dive cameras, and jumped in.

I counted 10 Dolphin in the pod. They swam around us, checking us out and posing for pictures, until we climbed back aboard the boat to continue our journey.

Bimini was perhaps my favorite on land visit of the trip, probably because we got to ride a Monster Moto MM-B80 around all day. The island is quiet and peaceful, and so small that we walked the whole length in a couple hours, including sightseeing and window-shopping in town.

We spent the next the next five days fishing and diving around the Bimini area.

One evening we barbequed our catch for dinner to make a nice break from the food items we carried with us from the states.

Of the scuba diving trips I’ve made, this adventure to the Bahamas aboard Spice of Life heads my list of stories. It’s one I tell my grandchildren when I talk about the experiences I had in my life.

One of the most popular blogs I have written so far has been about the experience I have had in investing in companies which have gone wrong. So I thought it was about time I shared another one of my many business investment failures with you.

About two years ago I invested in a business and it turned out to be a big mistake (The company went bust and I lost all my money). I hope to pass on the lessons I learnt from this failure below.

The first thing I must confess is that I didn’t really understand what the business did. That statement has probably cost me some credibility with readers of this blog! It was a software company that had something to do with Honeywell 50250 management. The reason I invested in the business was I rated highly the other investors in the business (as I still do) and felt it must be a good investment because they were involved. This is not a good basis to invest in a business.

Lesson 1: Understand what a business you are about to invest in does! I mean you should be able to sell the service they provide to someone you meet at a dinner party if you are an investor. Lesson for the Entrepreneur – have that elevator pitch perfected

Lesson2: beware of management that have a strong sales background. I remember meeting the new CEO of the company. He was and remains one of the best sales people I have ever come across. But you have to probe and dig deep. I met him for breakfast about a year after my initial investment and he was selling me a great story. The problem was it was exactly the same story as a year ago and when I asked “In what tangible ways has the business moved forward in the last 12 months.

Ways that can demonstrate shareholder value” we both knew the game was up. I like salespeople (being one myself!) but I now ensure that I really grill managers with sales backgrounds. Lesson for Entrepreneur: keep a log of the stories/ updates you give to your shareholders – make sure each one is different – if it isn’t please be honest and tell them. Shareholders will want to help you if you ask for their help.

Lesson 3: when things start going wrong, shareholders should start to be more proactive and ask for monthly action plans where investors are asked to help – most of them will. You need to go back to basics (we are doing this with another company I am currently involved with and that is working great) and get the business back to health.

In the case of my router table plans company, what I cannot forgive the past CEO for is his decision to take the business into administration without consulting all the shareholders. Lesson to Entrepreneurs – if you do something like that, be aware that it will mean no sane investor will ever back you again.

People do fail all the time – and I don’t have a problem with that – in fact I like it, but you have to conduct yourself with integrity and honesty at all times.