Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

10 September 2017 | 9/11 Memorial
09 September 2017 | Lower Manhattan
08 September 2017 | Nichols Great Kills Marina, Staten Island
07 September 2017 | Haverstraw Marina
06 September 2017 | Haverstraw Marina, Haverstraw, NY
05 September 2017 | Shadows Marina in Poughkeepsie
04 September 2017 | Shadows Marina, Poughkeepsie
03 September 2017 | Riverview Marine
02 September 2017 | Riverview Marine Services
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

Leaks and twins

19 April 2018 | Cocoa, FL
Sunny, 80’s
Yesterday morning I got a treat - I got to pump up and launch the dinghy in no wind and flat water. That is especially nice when I transfer the 35 pound motor from the boat, down the swim ladder and mount it in the dinghy. This evening the dinghy was bouncing as I moved it back to the boat. That is more typical. After launching the dinghy, I worked on my anchor line, all 200 feet of it. I decided to stop using the chafe protector that wraps around the line and must be taped each time. I switched to a protector that is slid over the line and tied off. So I slid it up the 200 feet of line, getting stuck every ten feet on a black cable tie marking the line so I know how much I have let out. At 50 feet is a white cable tie. At 100 is a double white so I don’t get lost. Then I start over. The last 100 feet is permanently coiled and tied, since I never use that. We’ll see how this chafe protector works, however I am almost done anchoring here in Florida.

After those two tasks, I went ashore to eat lunch at the same Irish Pub I ate at last time I was here. Just like me to try something new. The new dinghy hose didn’t seem to leak and all was well when I tied up ... once I found a place to tie up. There is a nice long wall, but with only a fence to tie up to, with sign after sign saying don’t tie up to the fence. No cleats, but there were two pipes sticking out of the ground at one corner of the wall. Not really a proper dinghy dock. After walking around after lunch, I went back to the boat. I turned off the motor, and now could clearly hear propane leaking - not from the hose, but from the motor fitting itself. What now?! I could not find any way to stop this sudden new leak. My first thought was I would have to row from now on, which would not work at Titusville. I completely forgot that before I used the tank, I was using the 16 ounce camp propane canisters to run the engine. So I am back to that, assuming that doesn’t also leak.

I am using the Waterway Guide overlays on my charts. They had several navigation aid alerts that were no longer valid, so I went online and posted updates. Within the hour they responded and said they agreed and would remove the alert about the marker being damaged or destroyed. I wish I had been updating this all along as I traveled up and down the ICW. Many damaged markets have been fixed.

This afternoon, the couple from the blue hulled boat anchored kinda far out went by and called out about Islander boats. They have a 1972 Islander 36, so there are two blue hulled Islander 36 boats here. They studied my hull as they went by - the starboard side, which has a severely scratched up patch from the post at the gas dock at Nassau. That motivated me to clean my blue hull. At least it can be clean and look nice, outside of the scratches.

Tomorrow is a travel day. While anchored, there has not been a north wind. Tomorrow I am going north ... so the wind will be from the ...

Another tough motoring day

17 April 2018 | Cocoa, FL
Sunny, low 70’s. North wind has died down.
After a quiet night, this morning was a just a little wavy in the anchorage. Anchoring on the east side worked out well, especially this morning. Being in the lee of a 65’ bridge and it’s runway was perfect. The raised land blocked some of the wind and waves. When I crossed under the bridge to the other side, it was like crossing into another world - an angry place with wind and waves and whitecaps. The ICW is part of the Indian River for this stretch. The river runs north and south and is 1.5 miles wide, so with 18-23 knot winds from the north, it had some kick - and a bit of spray. Instead of 6, the boat struggled to reach 5 knots. That and the temperature made it feel more like a summer day on the Great Lakes during a northerly.

The wind was predicted to abate later this morning, but of course, it hadn’t read the forecast and just kept coming. It died slightly the last hour. I am using new Navionics+ Charts, which include a sonar version with crowd sourced soundings. For normal travel, the sonar maps are too “busy” - too detailed. But when I am anchoring, they are great. After I was anchored and settled, I noticed that everything was suddenly quiet. The wind and waves were gone. It was calm and sunny and suddenly warm (queue the post storm music). I had again seemingly crossed into another world. Off came the light jacket, long sleeve shirt and long pants, to be replaced with more Florida appropriate outerwear.

Polite powerboats: today I was passed by numerous boats, both coming and going. All but one slowed down so as not to wake me. The one that didn’t was okay wake wise. Very considerate. When boats come up from behind, I throttle way down so that I am going slow and they can give me a “slow pass.”

The blog photo shows my pseudo buddy boat from yesterday. They anchored in an anchorage south of me yesterday. They showed up today after I anchored and are now anchored about where Paradise Hunter would be anchored.

Tomorrow morning I will get the dinghy going - no more going along for the ride with Roger and Tari (maybe I can ask my new pseudo buddy boat). A more ambitious soul would do it today. The last time I was here, the dinghy dock was inaccessible. It looks open from here now. I will report back on that tomorrow. I’m sure the suspense is killing you and you can hardly wait to find out.

Just when I thought it was safe to anchor ...

16 April 2018 | Melbourne, FL
Sunny, windy. 60’s
Roger hired a rigger to go up his mast this morning to try to install his new main halyard. He used the topping lift to go up, which can often times also be used as a backup main halyard. Several things were tried, but all to no avail. We simply could not get anything to drop from the top of the mast to the mast opening at the bottom. The rigger finally sewed the new halyard to the bottom of the topping lift and pulled it up to the top of the mast. Then he went up the mast and moved the halyard from the topping lift shiv to the halyard shiv. Very clever and a last ditch idea.

I took my leave this morning after some delay to help, but finally had to go before they tried the last ditch solution. It was windy (15-20 knots) and almost on the nose, or on the nose, depending on the bend of the ICW. When I left Vero Beach and headed out into the channel, another boat was just coming under the bridge. I let him pass and so followed another boat for most of the day.

At Melbourne there is a marked Waterways Guide anchorage on the east side of the channel. The wind was strong from the west and northwest, so I anchored on the west side. When I backed down on the anchor, it didn’t seem to grab at first, but after a bit, I didn’t appear to be going backwards. The anchor app showed I was holding. But just before I sat down to eat my dinner, I checked again and it showed I had dragged. Dinners are not the same anymore without Roger and Tari, so food was sparse and eating was quick. I tried again to anchor, but this time I understood what to look for when I backed down. The bow does not get pulled into the wind - it just drags sideways. So attempt #2 failed and I went across the channel to where I had twice previously anchored successfully. Success - and dessert was my reward. The bad part about the first two attempts, is that the anchor dragged just like I always used to worry about, and I had finally gotten over that fear. But this last time it set as before when I backed down, and everything says I am not moving. Time to trust again - and keep checking the anchor app.

The Last Supper

15 April 2018 | Vero Beach - last night
Cloudy, then frequent rain squalls.
The Paradise Hunter/Last Chance road show is finally coming to an end after nearly nine months of traveling together. It is fitting that the last full day ends with frequent rain squalls, signaling the end of good times with a touch of sadness. At least it is rain squalls, not a mid-April snow storm. That is not sadness - that is madness. I don’t remember any other day of rain like this on the trip. If there was one, it happened last year before we reached the Hudson River. Our trip has been mostly rain free.

Dolphins have been in the anchorage the last few days. Today they were joined by pelicans, looking for fish trying to escape the dolphins, I guess. A fitting tribute to the last days - sharing it with dolphins and pelicans. What else did we do on our last day? Well, the power was out yesterday at West Marine, so that meant a trip today to West Marine. Followed by provisioning at Walmart. Very apropos activities. I didn’t need anything at Walmart, so I escaped with only two bags of groceries. After shopping in the Bahamas, I didn’t understand how my bill could only come to $13.

Our last dinner together was one of our favorites: shrimp Alfredo, accompanied with garlic bread, string beans, and a salad. That was topped off, after doing the dishes, with hot blueberry pie covered with melted ice cream. Strong gusts of wind with frequent downpours provided our background ambience.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, especially when it is your own. Yesterday I was looking for the apples I bought, even checking the car. They were already put away in the fridge. I don’t put things in the fridge unless there is a lot of sunlight left while the fridge runs to cool things off. Apparently I made an exception for the few apples and didn’t remember putting them in the fridge right away. And then the last few days, I have been reminding myself to get my Yeti ice pack back from Roger and Tari. If you followed my apple story, you know where the ice pack already was. [sigh]

Fixer uppers

13 April 2018 | Sea Ranch Lakes, FL
Sunny and 80
Happy Friday the 13th. First one this year.

Boat repairs - there’s always something. House repairs - sometimes things stop working properly, but we let it go because we have a work around, and if it really becomes an issue, we can call someone. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work when you are cruising. You normally can’t call someone, and it seems like anytime you let a boat issue go unresolved, it morphs into something much worse. So you learn to address issues pretty quickly before they jump you. So it was with that training that Roger went from project to project at his parent’s house.

When I visited my brother, Paul, near Fort Lauderdale, he had a short list of things he wondered if I could solve. Chief among them was his generator. It started, but did not produce electricity. He developed a work around, but it was a nuisance. So I got him to take it apart and I looked at all the rusty connections. After touching a few of those wires, he started it and it worked perfectly. I tried to claim credit for fixing it, but he wouldn’t give me any. Go figure! Another strange one was the shower. One turned it clockwise for cold and counterclockwise for hot ... until one day when it suddenly worked in reverse. When one turned it to cold, one got hot water. So I took that apart which got him to play with it and finally get it switched back - after all these years. My boat conditioning led me to attack problems, whereas before, I would just ignore them and hope they went away - which they never did.

What do you get when you cross a golden retriever with a poodle? A golden poodle that doesn’t shed, but likes to play fetch and jump in the pool. It acts like a retriever, but looks like a poodle. Very nice dogs. Shown in the blog photo with wife Lori on her way to play tennis.

I am on the boat in Vero Beach. A cold front with thunderstorms is coming through on Sunday, so I will wait until Monday to leave. Roger and Tari will arrive Saturday.

Snow boats

08 April 2018 | Lakeland, FL
Cloudy, 70’s
Roger and Tari (Paradise Hunter) are staying in Lakeland, Florida where his parents live. We went to Clearwater yesterday to look at the marinas and see my sister. They would like to base their boat in Clearwater when they are not cruising.

Bruce and Chris (Sea Hawk), crossed the Gulf Stream Wednesday, the same day we were crossing. They left from a spot closer to the stream, so they only had a long day sail. They were in Fort Pierce the same night we were anchored there, but we didn’t know that. They are leaving their boat in Florida and returning to Minnesota for the summer, assuming Minnesota will have a summer this year - right now it is still snowing. They will return next winter and cruise again, hooking up with Roger and Tari at some point.

Keith and Lyn (Kristtaney) left their boat in Florida and are currently in Canada - where they claim they do have summers - they live near Niagra Falls. They will also come back next winter to cruise again, meeting up with Roger and Tari.

I, on the other hand, not being as bright, will ship my boat back to Waukegan, and hope there is a summer, and will winter there with my boat (but probably not on my boat). The rudder and keel need some work, but I hope to be back in the water around June 1. I will skip the solo Mac race this year, but may do some other races later on. I would also like to do a 2-3 week cruise in late July/early August. There is a lot of cruising available on the Great Lakes, so for a number of years I can explore different areas.
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Main
1 Photo
Created 8 April 2018
31 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