Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

21 January 2018 | Miami - Biscayne Bay
20 January 2018 | Biscayne Bay
19 January 2018 | Virginia Key, Florida
18 January 2018 | Miami. Marine Stadium anchorage
17 January 2018 | Miami
16 January 2018 | Lake Santa Barbara near Sea Ranch Lakes, FL
15 January 2018 | Munyon Island near North Palm Beach
13 January 2018 | Vero Beach
11 January 2018 | Vero Beach
09 January 2018 | Clearwater, FL
08 January 2018 | Lakeland, FL
07 January 2018 | Vero Beach City Marina
06 January 2018 | Indialantic, FL. Across from Melbourne
05 January 2018 | Titusville
04 January 2018 | Titusville - Cocoa - West Marine
03 January 2018 | Titusville Marina
02 January 2018 | Titusville
01 January 2018 | Titusville Marina
31 December 2017 | Titusville Marina
29 December 2017 | Flying back to Titusville

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.

Playing bridge ... where’s Trump

16 January 2018 | Lake Santa Barbara near Sea Ranch Lakes, FL
Sunny and 70
Today was bridge day - lots of them. Yesterday we did well with the timing and milling around and waiting was kept to a minimum. Today was pretty good, but there was still a lot of waiting. One bridge we missed by five minutes, so we had to wait for 25 minutes. That was painful. Sometimes there would be a current running, so you couldn’t just sit in one place. Never a dull moment. We spent the day traveling with the three of us and one other boat - four total. Half were Canadian. At one bridge, there were two additional boats waiting - six total. Again, half were Canadian.

Two of the bridges were around Trump’s Florida property, Mar-a-Lago. When he is there, the bridges open less frequently. Luckily, that was not an issue today.

The powerboats and homes here are getting more and more impressive. Clearly, there is a lot of money in this area. This area is also much like Venice with all the canals. Nearly all the homes have access to water. There is always an inlet with houses on both sides. If the ICW is the main drag, the inlets are all the side streets.

The day was capped off with dinner with my brother Paul and his wife, Lori. The restaurant was at the last bridge we came under. We took the dinghy back there and had to tie up to a ladder. Luckily, when we left after dinner, it was high tide, so going down the steep ladder to get into the dinghy was easy ... maybe two steps. Much better than when we climbed out of the dinghy before dinner. Tomorrow we will motor right by their house, which is nearly on the ICW.
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Canal and River
Photos 1 to 33 of 33 | Main
Army (West Point) has a sailboat?
Bear Mountain Bridge: When completed in 1924 it was the world
Part of a long train
Busy Labor Day on the Hudson
Busy Labor Day on the Hudson
Busy Labor Day on the Hudson
Bridge on the Hudson
Bridge on the Hudson
Mid Hudson Bridge
Hudson River: Looks like Erie Canal ...
Hudson River: ... except for the tall buildings.
Busy train tracks
Massive crane on the Hudson
Boat on the Hudson
Riverview Marina
Boat on the Hudson
Lock dropped us 40 feet. : Instead of doors that swung open, it had a lift gate.
Solid wall at entrance : When the lock was full of water, I drove over that solid cement wall.
Highway rest stop at Lock 13
Sunset and old aqueduct : Schenectady Yacht Club
Docked at Schenectady Yacht Club
Schenectady Yacht Club
Utica: Too shallow for me to reach the dock.
Do I really need to leave the boat?: Don
Sunset on the canal
Lift bridge all the way down
Blue herons along the canal
Bike path along the canal
Fire station/showers at Lyons
Baldwinsville lock