Last Chance ... A Two Year Journey

Leaving the Great Lakes for a Caribbean/Pacific adventure

25 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
24 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
23 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
21 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina slip C100
20 April 2018 | Titusville, FL mooring field
19 April 2018 | Cocoa, FL
17 April 2018 | Cocoa, FL
16 April 2018 | Melbourne, FL
15 April 2018 | Vero Beach - last night
13 April 2018 | Sea Ranch Lakes, FL
08 April 2018 | Lakeland, FL
05 April 2018 | Vero Beach, FL
04 April 2018 | Heading to Fort Pierce
03 April 2018 | Leaving Chub Cay
02 April 2018 | Chub Cay in the Berry Islands, Bahamas
01 April 2018 | West Bay near Nassau
31 March 2018 | West Bay, New Providence Island
29 March 2018 | Highbourne Cay
27 March 2018 | Warderick Cay
26 March 2018 | Warderick Wells Cay

Row, row, tow your boat ...

25 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
Sunny, mid 80s
Let’s see, what should I blog about? Defrosting the fridge? Doing laundry? Filling my water tank? Better call Tari and Roger ... I need something more interesting ... and they do not disappoint.

They were scheduled to be hauled out to check their prop - it was vibrating badly and motoring was noisy after their close encounter with a crab pot. After they left for the scheduled haul out, they were told there was a delay, so they motored about killing time. But the strange thing was, nothing felt amiss - no vibration. But Roger, being the type of fella that he is, couldn’t leave well enough alone, so he wondered what would happen it he put the engine in reverse. It turns out bad things would happen - very bad things. Now they had the noise and vibration back, only much, much worse. And they had lost all ability to propel the boat using the engine. So now they needed a tow to the travel lift. At this point you’re probably wondering if there were any way they could make this more interesting. How about if they have to back into the travel lift, even though they are being towed? That would make it more interesting, right? And so that is what happened.

It turns out the Max Prop was destroyed, or at least the gearing on one of the three blades was destroyed. The original fixed prop that it replaced was still on the boat, so back on it went. Next up is a new, more powerful windlass to replace the woefully undersized one that now no longer works.

There. Now wasn’t that much more interesting than what I had?

Tomorrow I continue on north toward St Augustine.

What just didn’t happen ...

24 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
Sunny and 83
Lehr support wanted a video of my propane leak. So this morning I got ready the soapy water, propane tank and hose, phone for the video. Hooked up the tank and applied the soapy water. Ready, set, ACTION! Started filming and opened the tank valve and ... and nothing. No hissing. No propane escaping into the air in a cloud of vapor. Nothing!? Really? I hooked up the tank to the back hose used by the twist on canisters. Still nothing. Took the dinghy out for a spin. No issues. It was like the leak never happened. Yesterday, I squirted WD40 into the leaking area hoping to dislodge any foreign matter or salt crystals. And then it rained heavily twice. It really did leak - I didn’t imagine it ... I’m pretty sure.

I met with Pete today. He showed me all his work on his boat. He is learning to do everything from wood working and sewing, to diesel repair, to welding so he can build arches. His other big project is to build a houseboat of his own design based on other designs. Then they would sell their land house and move into the houseboat. No property tax, landscaping, etc. I look forward to seeing it several years from now.

I thought it would be interesting to list all the things that came up for renewal while I was on this journey:
Vehicle registration and insurance
Coast Guard documentation
Boat insurance
ILL drivers license (could not access website while in Bahamas)
IPASS transponder
PERF racing certificate

The Three Islanders

23 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina
Cloudy and rainy. Some wind with the rain.
The two boats on the right, in the foreground, are the two local Islanders. My boat is the blue hulled boat on the left side of the dock, in the back.

Not much going on. It keeps threatening to rain - especially if you step out of the cabin and try to do something, then it does rain. There was a break this morning, so after my haircut (the excitement builds), I wandered around Space View Park. I have passed this park dozens of times without ever turning in and walking around. Glad I walked through it this time. Many monuments and plaques with names of folks who worked on the space program and the astronauts. Many fun facts and also special tributes to those who lost their lives in the space and shuttle program.

Last night, several of us gathered around on the dock, exchanging stories and telling tales. There are several solo sailors and many folks living on their boats. Most of the permanent resident boats here never leave their slip - sailing on the ICW isn’t really a thing. Several boats still are damaged from Hurricane Mathew. Torn off bow pulpits with wrecked bows (holes in the deck) is the common damage.

Mike and Mary live on the Islander 36 that I didn’t recognize. I felt better when they asked me what kind of boat I had. When I replied that it was an Islander, they still weren’t sure if it was an Islander 36 like theirs. There are some differences in my 1979 version versus the early 1970 versions. They have a cute small dog named Puddles. I expressed my reservations about a dog named Puddles ... was the name indicative of some type of undesirable behavior? They assured me that was not the case, but rather that was the name the dog came with from the shelter.

I’m working with Lehr on my leaking propane connection issue. So far, they are being very responsive. I guess whenever I leave the dinghy for any length of time, I should turn off the propane at the tank, like one does with a grill.

Always fun with Roger and Tari. If I were still with them, I could write about their windlass issue leading to a hard grounding needing the tide to come in to get off, snagging a crab pot, subsequent prop issue which now requires a haul out. Half the stuff that happened to them, they wouldn’t even let me write about. I’m thinking 🤔 that all that time I was with them ... they probably made my blog! Look what I could be writing about. Instead, I’m writing about getting a haircut!

Giving the can the slip

21 April 2018 | Titusville Municipal Marina slip C100
Cloudy, windy, low 70’s
It was windy and boisterous on the mooring ball, or can, today. At one time, I saw a touch of spray come over the bow, while on a mooring ball! It was getting to be too much, and I had no way to dinghy in. Looking at the weather, the wind forecast said it would be more of the same the next few days with one model suggesting gusts up to 31 knots. This wasn't working for me, so I called the marina late this afternoon and got the last slip. They said seven boats came in today.

This morning I tried to use my Lehr propane motor with a camp canister. Even though it plugs in with a different hose in a different spot, it also leaked, from the same earlier spot. So that meant no dinghy, which pretty much forced me to take a slip anyway. Now the thing is, I tied to the ball the way St Augustine recommends. But in this windy situation, that was a big problem, because I couldn't get my lines off the can. With so much wind and waves, I couldn't hold the line with my hands, and struggled to pull the boat even a little bit closer to the can. Sailing gloves were necessary just to avoid rope burn. Using the engine and laying on my stomach on the bow hanging out over the water as much as I dared, after some bit of effort, I got the lines off, without using my knife.

At the slip, the boats on both sides of me were interested in my comings and goings. The boat to port came from Maine and is still trying to get south. The ICW is a brown color from all the vegetation, and not very clear, so they were hoping to see some clear blue water soon. They will find it as soon as they leave the ICW.

My sister ship is here in a slip slightly diagonal to me, on the same pier, but opposite side. He had a few anchor dragging horror stories, including a 3am snorkel in the ICW to deal with prop/shaft issues. I don't think the ICW is polluted since there are plenty of birds and dolphins here eating fish, but it doesn't look very inviting. In fact, I recently googled if it was even okay to go in the water. Next to that Islander 36 was another Islander 36. It was not in good shape, with its destroyed bow pulpit missing and laying on the dock, and I didn't even recognize that it was my model boat. The boats have some changes over the years as they were made, so I have an above deck anchor locker that they do not have, but still, even with all the cruising hardware, I should have recognized it.

So now I am sitting here in the calm of my slip, listening to the wind, and the slapping of other boat halyards, refreshed from a hot shower with running water. After so many months of being anchored, I felt a strong urge to turn on my anchor light as the sun set. And tomorrow morning, the first thing I will think about when I get up is turning it off.

Weather or not - here it comes.

20 April 2018 | Titusville, FL mooring field
Sunny and calm, then came the north winds
Last night I got to witness a 10 minute power outage onshore. Much more fun to see from my perspective on the boat than to be in it. Entire buildings and the park suddenly went dark. Then later lights came back on again.

It was calm this morning when I pulled up the chain and anchor ... full of mud and mussels. At least the deck wash was working so I could rinse it off. On my way out, I motored by my sister ship, the blue Islander 36, but no one was out in the cockpit. Vince has been following my blog from the beginning, and is actually friends with the couple on this boat. Small world.

At Titusville, I motored into the marina to pump out, get water and register for a mooring ball for the next several days. Pete and Sue from Sasha are in Sanford, and their boat is in this marina, so I am hoping to get to see them. However, Pete just had ankle surgery, so we may not connect. The weather is making up for lost time - no, it is not snowing. It is windy from the worse direction, so it choppy and the boat is bouncing, and the chance of rain the next few days is 60-100%. Basically, I am getting exactly what I dreaded. One weather app says Sunday might be okay to go ashore. A different app says that would be the worst day. We shall see. At some point, the forecasts should converge.

After I picked up my mooring ball (first try and this time from the cockpit, not the bow), my sister ship motored by and headed into the marina. I wonder if they stayed there and picked up a slip, maybe the same slip I stayed in last fall? The one I now wish I was staying in? Oh well.

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 ...
Vessel Name: Last Chance
Vessel Make/Model: Islander 36 (1979)
Hailing Port: Waukegan, Illinois
Last Chance's Photos - Preparation
Photos 1 to 12 of 12 | Main
Too many lines: Each time I replaced a line, I kept the old one on the boat, just in case.  But now I have to get rid of clutter and excess weight, so I can carry more important clutter and excess weight. When you load a cart with all the lines, it is surprising how much weight that is.
Sunrise off Kenosha: Traveling from Manitowoc to Waukegan coming home from the Solo Mac race.
Sunset north of Milwaukee : Off Ozaukee, WI. Traveling from Manitowoc to Waukegan coming home after the Solo Mac race.
Bruised arm: Not sure where this came from, but it
Entrance to Mackinac Island harbor
Passage to Mackinac Island: Coming from the bridge toward the island. There is a steady stream of ferries coming and going through this passage.
Third place: Awards banquet. Third in my section.
Pearl Mist: Not your usual Mackinac Island ferry.
Motoring to Chicago: Coming up on Navy Pier as I head to DuSable Harbor. Solo Mac starts tomorrow.
Raft up in Port Washington: Raft up after the race. A bunch of us are leaving right after the luncheon/awards ceremony.
Double Handed race: Spinnaker run up to Port Washington, WI
Stormy Weather in Winthrop: Hoping this all goes away for the race the next day.