Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

01 September 2017 | Riverview Marine Services
31 August 2017 | Waterford
30 August 2017 | Waterford, NY
29 August 2017 | Schenectady Yacht Club
28 August 2017 | Fultonville, NY
27 August 2017 | Great Lakes
27 August 2017 | Utica, NY
26 August 2017 | Rome, NY
25 August 2017 | Brewerton, NY
24 August 2017 | Baldwinsville, NY
23 August 2017 | Lyons, NY
22 August 2017 | Fairport, NY
21 August 2017 | Spencerport, N Y
20 August 2017 | Middleport, NY
19 August 2017 | Niagara Falls
18 August 2017 | Buffalo
17 August 2017 | Erie Basin Marina, Buffalo
16 August 2017 | Buffalo
15 August 2017 | Buffalo, NY
14 August 2017 | Dunkirk Harbor, NY

Last day in Miami

22 January 2018 | Miami
Sunny and 70’s
Today was our last day in Miami. Tomorrow at 4am we leave for Bimini in the Bahamas. We split up today on our errands ashore. Roger and Keith went to West Marine. I stayed with Tari and Lyn at the laundromat. Going to West Marine would be a money losing proposition for me, so I stayed away. If I had known ahead of time about West Marine, I would have picked up a spare bilge pump. My pump is new, but a spare would be prudent. Kristtaney needed a new toilet, and that was Keith's big project for today.

I tried out my mask and fins for snorkeling. I had some issues which should get better as I get more expert at this. Nothing like the feeling you are suffocating. I checked on my paddle wheel. It is not frozen, but something is stuck inside it so the wheel can only rotate a small amount either way and then is stuck. Maybe a barnacle is in there. When I checked on my propeller, it had a barnacle and other growth on it. Barnacles are very sharp and I tried to dislodge it by hand. I won't try that again. Keith had a barnacle tear his dinghy and had to patch the hole. I also checked my zinc on the shaft and that seemed intact.

One constant on this trip since Buffalo, NY and the Erie Canal has been trains. Just like when the Boy Scouts camp, there is always a train off in the distance, or in some cases, just across the parking lot. As you lay in the boat at night, you hear the trains. Starting tomorrow, we will be leaving the trains behind.

Bahamas here we come!

Beach landing

21 January 2018 | Miami - Biscayne Bay
Sunny and 70’s in the afternoon
Tuesday is still looking good for the Bahamas. In the meantime, we did what we do best ... Walmart. To get there required a beach landing with feet in the water. Coming back with bags of groceries, you have to unload the car (Uber) and move the bags to the beach to load onto the dinghy. We have our own bags and fill those first to limit how much plastic we use. I use any plastic shopping bags to line my wastebasket on the boat. This time for sure we’re done - until the next time.

A few days ago, while sailing down the ICW, a small sunfish type boat came sailing by my stern. As he passed by, he called out “AHOY GLENCOE”. Glencoe is a town near where I grew up. He was responding to the homeport of Waukegan on the back of my boat. In the marina the other day, someone on a boat leaving the harbor asked if I knew Bill X (I don’t remember the name). He asked because he thought he recognized my boat name from Lake Michigan.

Hopefully only one more day in Miami, not that this is a bad place to be. When the sun came out this afternoon, it was pretty warm and a great day to be at the beach, and many folks took advantage of that.

To Marathon, then not to Marathon.

20 January 2018 | Biscayne Bay
Sun then clouds - 60 to 70
Brother Paul came out to see the boats today. He had never seen my boat. We picked him up from the beach with the dinghy. He was comparing my boat to the last boat my Dad had and the one he remembers when he was younger.

The water here seemed very clear and clean, so I ran the water maker for an hour. That gave me a bucket of water and was way more than I think I used for the day. I still find making fresh water very cool.

Roger did not want to wait here for the next weather window and had his heart set on getting to Marathon in the keys at the south end of Florida, where his friend was. So we all agreed to that. I would go the ocean route due to my 6’ draft and they would take the ICW. Then Roger talked to his friend, who basically said that plan was nuts (in less tactful language) and explained the crossing was very short here and would be much longer and harder from Marathon. His friend was actually trying to get north to near where we are to make the crossing. He also talked about a Tuesday weather window, which is what I had mentioned to the group. So that was good to hear and when I looked just now, Tuesday looked even better than previously. After that, things look pretty bleak for a number of days. Fingers crossed that the weather comes in as forecast. Cue the music ... if we ever get out of here ...

Keith and Lyn took this picture of my boat.

We moved ... just around the bend.

19 January 2018 | Virginia Key, Florida
Cloudy, cool.
We were anchored where they stage the Miami Boat Show, which will be next month. But that anchorage was supposed to be closed now. We also needed fuel and were to meet up with Roger and Tari who were coming back from visiting their friends. Due to the shallow water, we had to take the long way around to the marina. Also, the Waterway Guide said the marina was too shallow for us, but it turned out to have plenty of depth. I guess the lesson is to call and find out. We are now anchored on the other side off the bridge. It should be a bit warmer tonight. Forties with no heat is chilly. I didn’t bring a sleeping bag. Being this cold wasn’t part of the plan.

Roger ran his water maker today and filled his tank. The water maker is huge, and the output is impressive. Keith and I filled our tanks the old fashioned way - with a hose.

The wind is not cooperating. The worst wind direction for our two plans is from the east, so that is the wind direction. We could go south to the keys, but our first anchorage on the way is no good with an east wind. So we are staying put for now. Paul is coming tomorrow to see us and visit the boats.

Windy night

18 January 2018 | Miami. Marine Stadium anchorage
Sunny and 60. 42 overnight
The wind is picking up again as I write this, after a blustery night last night. I was on deck three times last night. The forecast was for 30-40 knot gusts. Sound travels all too well through solids, like my deck, so I kept hearing this slapping noise right above my head. Then I would go out on deck in 45 degrees with the wind attacking me to see what was loose. I decided it must be the cover over the dinghy, but while I was out there, nothing was flapping around and I didn't hear anything over the wind. There is a taut wire at the mast for the spinnaker pole track that goes nuts when the wind gets that high. That one can be heard over the wind. I found a piece of foam to shove under it to keep it quiet. Not a restful night.

Roger and Tari went to Boca Chita Key to visit their friends who are island caretakers. Keith and Lyn visited a vet to get papers to bring their dogs to the Bahamas. I stayed behind and got caught up with my newspapers, did some maintenance and worked on some stuff for the concert band I belong to. I also started looking for a weather window to go to the Bahamas. Right now it is all north winds, which folks do not want. Crossing with north winds is not recommended. So when folks like the conditions, we will cross to the Bahamas. Until then we will cruise southern Florida. I know - I have such a tough life and you all are feeling so sorry for me.

Cutting in line ... making fresh water

17 January 2018 | Miami
Cloudy and 70.
Today was another morning spent racing from bridge to bridge. One we missed, so that resulted in milling around for 25 minutes. Of course, that was our last bridge before going out into the Atlantic. While racing to an earlier bridge, one of those huge power boats at a slip just before the bridge decided he also wanted to make the bridge and couldn't wait for us to pass before he pulled out. Why he had to cut in line instead of going after the last boat, I don't know, but he just kept backing up as I came charging toward the bridge. The power boat just in front of me veered around him, but that was not an option for me, so I came to a screeching halt (so to speak) as a woman in the back of the boat directed traffic - meaning she was motioning me to stop. I could only hope she was trying to make the same bridge. She was.

The wind in the Atlantic was lighter than predicted, or maybe it got lighter as predicted, but ahead of schedule. It started out behind us and there were two jibes. So we ended up mostly motor sailing. Kristtaney hoisted main and genoa and looked like a real sailboat. There was a fourth boat out with us and the rest of us just hoisted the genoa based on predicted wind strength and direction - both of which were wrong. We went three miles out so we could empty the holding tank and I wanted to test my water maker. The water was a clear, deep blue. I've waited a long time to test it; almost 10 months. It worked. I made fresh water! The only problem with going three miles out is that the Gulf Stream is so close to shore here. So we were just clipping the edge of it and being slowed down about 0.8 knots.

The Miami Harbor is a busy place. A container ship came out as Paradise Hunter and I were coming in the channel. There was not a lot of wiggle room to give way and the ship gave it the gas just before he went by us. Boy did that churn the water ... washing machine time. There were also several emergency calls, so we got to watch the Coast Guard and sheriff's high speed boats go whizzing by. First one way, then later going by us the other way.

We are anchored at another boat show - the upcoming Miami Boat Show. They are building the slips right now.
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Main
No Photos
Created 22 January 2018
Traveling down the Chesapeake and the East Coast
53 Photos
Created 11 September 2017
Erie Canal and Hudson River
33 Photos
Created 18 August 2017
Great Lakes part of the journey.
45 Photos
Created 15 July 2017
Boat prep and races prior to departure
12 Photos
Created 14 June 2017