Saturday, April 22, 2017

Lake Okeechobee and on to Ft Myers

(4/16) Happy Easter everyone!

We finished out our trip on Saturday (4/15). About Time made the 125 mile run across Lake Okeechobee from Stuart to Ft Myers. The boat will now sit at the Ft Myers Yacht Basin for about 2 months before the owner takes her home to Longboat Key. The run across Lake Okeechobee was uneventful. The weather was very nice and the boat ran great. There was about a 1 foot chop on the lake, but with east winds it was on our stern. The water level was great and we had no waits at any of the locks. We departed Stuart at 6:30 am, hit the first lock at 7:15 am and were tied to the fuel dock in Ft Myers by 2:20 pm. Not a bad day at all.

I got to see and speak to Jerry aboard "Seas the Day", a 2005 Meridian 459. I passed Jerry on the canal between the Moore Haven and Ortona Locks. We chatted on the VHF for a few minutes. Sorry we didn't end up in Stuart together to swap stories and have a beer.

What is even better is that there was a late flight out of Ft Myers back to Wilmington where I needed to pick up my car. I finally got home last night at 1:45am, but I got to wake up this morning in my own bed. That is always nice.

Here are a few final stats for the trip:

Miles: 757
Fuel: 1,504 gallons of diesel at an average price of $2.44/gallon
Engine hours: 38.5
MPG: 0.50
Ave Fuel Burn: 40.1 gph
Ave Speed: 20.1 mph

Heading to the St Lucie Lock at 7:00 am

Getting ready to enter the St Lucie Lock

The Port Mayaca Lock was open onto Lake Okeechobee

Crossing Lake Okeechobee

On to Stuart, FL

4/14 - This post will be short and sweet. Everything went as planned for a change. Pulled out of Daytona Beach at 6:45am this morning. We ran 165 miles to Stuart and tied up About Time at 3:45 pm at the fuel dock at Sunset Bay Marina on the St Lucie River. We plan to run across Lake Okeechobee tomorrow and finish in Ft Myers. We just finished dinner and I'm going to bed. Flat worn out. Running the ICW for 9 hours is a lot more work than running off-shore where you set one or two waypoints. It's all good. Just glad to be here and not sitting in Daytona trying to fix an overheating problem.

A beautiful sunrise coming out of Daytona Beach

The lighthouse at Ponce Inlet - New Smyrna Beach, FL

Some really beautiful water on the ICW near the Ft Pierce Inlet

Always an Adventure

April 13th - So Day 2 is in the books and it was nothing like Day 1. No two days are ever alike. However, the day started out great. We had almost identical conditions to start the day. We pulled out of the marina at 6:45 and went around the back side of Hilton Head and popped out at Tybee Roads and then back into the North Atlantic Ocean. Seas were almost the same as yesterday. We started out with an East swell about 3 feet and 8 second. The forecast was for condition to worsen during the day and for the winds to pick up. The weather man hit it spot on today. By noon, we had very small white caps on the top of the swells and the seas were getting closer together and becoming a bit rough. 

Since we knew the forecast was for conditions to worsen during the day, we decided instead of making a straight line out the Tybee Road Inlet to Ponce Inlet at New Smyrna Beach in Florida, we would follow the shore line a bit more and run inlet to inlet. This way, if the conditions got too bad, we could just tuck in and continue running down the ICW.

We went by the entrances to St Simon, then St Mary's and then onto the St Johns River at 12:30pm . Conditions were getting pretty bad, but we only had 35 miles to make St Augustine Inlet. So we toughed it out and continued on. The St Augustine inlet was a bit sporty coming in today. With the building East swell and an out going tide, we had some pretty nasty waves to contend with. I had been through that inlet over a dozen times and knew what to expect so we made it through without incident. I think Frank had some white knuckle moments as I took the boat through, but I think it also gave him confidence in what his boat can do.

So under the Bridge of Lions in St Augustine we went at 2:00 pm with the same goal to make New Smyrna Beach by days end via the ICW. I think I passed every "Looper", sail boat, trawler and local all heading north today out of Florida. I must have been up and down on the throttle 50 times in 3 hours. By 5:00pm we were coming into Daytona Beach and thinking we would make New Smyrna by 6:30 or 7:00pm. We had our slip reserved and the night watchman was set to fuel us up when we got in.

But as well all know, the boating Gods often have different plans for us. As we were coming under the Main Street Bridge in a no wake zone in Daytona Beach, we get an overheat alarm on the Starboard engine. Well that was odd as the boat was running great all day. So I shut down the engine, ask Frank to drive for a second as I run down into the engine room to take a look. Nothing jumps out at first glance. At this point I am figuring it is the impeller that has crapped out. I put my hand on the front of the water pump and sure enough, it is hot as stove top. I feel the port water pump and it is nice and cool. So... no problem I think. I know we have an extra impeller down below. We are passing by Halifax Harbor Marina. I take the wheel and pull into the marina. Since we are in Daytona, let's act like a NASCAR pit crew. We get tied up to the fuel dock and I have Frank pumping fuel while I am down working on the impeller. We are still going to make New Smyrna Beach.... I think.

Again, the boating Gods have a different plan for us. I change into some work clothes, pull the face plate off the water pump and low and behold, the impeller looks brand spanking new. What???? How can this be? Okay, what am I missing? I open the seacock, water comes pouring out. Well that is not it. Scratch my head. Then scratch my head some more. Finally tell Frank the day is over. Need to get a diesel mechanic to come to the boat and see what he thinks. I start calling local shops and get a guy to come by in the morning at 10:00am.

So we get a slip assignment and start to head over to the slip on one engine. I realize there is no way to get the boat in the slip without the other engine due to the wind. So I think I will quickly start up the bad engine and use it to put us in the slip. Well once I start the engine, the temp starts dropping like a rock. I yell to Frank, pull the line and fenders in, I think we have our problem fixed. We take the boat back out onto the ICW and run down the waterway for a quarter mile up on plane. The temps are steady at 165F, just where they have been all day long. By now it is 6:30 pm and I'm beat. We have already covered 227 miles and I'm thinking that still ain't too bad for a days work. We turn around and dock at Halifax Harbor for the night in Daytona Beach. We still won't have any problem making Stuart, FL tomorrow. That will allow us to run across Lake Okeechobee on Saturday to finish in Ft Myers right on schedule. 

About the only thing I can think of is that we must have picked up a plastic bag or some junk in the no wake zone as we came under the bridge. Once we stopped for fuel, the bag or junk just floated away. So that is my story and I'm sticking to it unless someone on the forum has a better suggestion as to what could have caused this.

All's well that ends well. No two days are a like on the water. You just got to roll with the punches sometimes.

You can see out track as we came in last night on one side of Hilton Head and popped out on the other side this morning.

We hugged the coastline as weather was to worsen as the day progressed.

On to Hilton Head

(4/12) Day 1 is in the books. We had a great first day. We had planned to only run down to Charleston, SC. However, the weather Gods smiled upon us and gave us some wonderful weather. We had bright sunny skies with temps in the mid-70's. Seas were 2 to 3 feet about 8 seconds apart. Just really nice slow rollers. We pulled off the dock this morning at 6:30 and had a nice run down the Cape Fear River. At 8:00 we came out of the river into the North Atlantic Ocean and set our first waypoint 96 miles away at Cape Romain. We arrive at the Sea Buoy at 12:05 pm. I knew at about 10:00 am we were way ahead of schedule and decided to take advantage of the nice weather and get on down to Hilton Head. We called ahead for a reservation and I'm glad we did since the Heritage Golf Tournament is in town and I think we might have got the last slip.

So we set our next waypoint for the entrance to Port Royal Sound another 97 miles away. We hit the channel at 4:00pm and made the 20 mile run into Hilton Head. We tied up 4:50pm at the Hilton Head Harbor Marina and RV Park. They close at 5:00 pm, but said if we got in before 5:00 they would pump fuel for us. I think they are glad they stayed for us since we took on 535 gallons after our 240 mile run today.

Dinner tonight will be at the Sunset Grill at the marina. Frank is loving the new boat and enjoyed playing with all the electronics today. Not too much to look at today, but I did try and snap a few pictures. I'll try another update again tomorrow.

I really want to thank everyone for the "likes" and emails. I really do appreciate it!!

The new owner enjoying breakfast on the flybridge in route.

Half way from the Cape Fear River to Sea Buoy at Cape Romain

Heading toward Port Royal Sound and Hilton Head

Tied up at the Hilton Head Harbor Marina and RV Park

48 Silverton Convertible: Wilmington, NC to Ft Myers, FL

Today (4/11/17) begins another delivery aboard the 48-foot Silverton Convertible, About Time. She was just sold and the new owner and I will be moving her from Wilmington, NC to Ft Myers, FL. I got down on the boat today and completed my usual USCG safety inspection. We will soon run to the store to provision for the trip. The weather is looking great for the next few days so we should have a good go of it and make some miles. I have lost track of how many times I have moved this boat, but I think this might be 5 or 6. The previous owner of this boat is in the final stages of negotiation on a 2016 52-foot Princess that I may be moving up from Miami in a few weeks. I'll keep you posted on that, but right now I am excited to be back aboard About Time and looking forward to the trip with Frank. He has definitely found himself a good vessel.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Another Foggy Day

The weatherman hit this forecast pretty much right on the money today.  We started with a bunch of fog again.  Not a heavy as yesterday, but we did have a short delay.  We got off the dock at 7:15 this morning and ran down the Hudson River about 10 miles before we got socked in with fog.  Fortunately for us, the Hudson Boat Association Club was right at the beginning of the fog.  They had a nice floating dock with plenty of space for our 43-footer to tied up until the fog lifted.
About 30 minutes later after a nice breakfast, the fog lifted and we were on our way again.  We were told at Shady Harbor Marina that the river would be closed all day today due to construction work on the Tappan Zee Bridge.  We checked various web sites and notice to mariners and they were right.  The river was supposed to be closed to all vessel traffic.  We were going to go down to Haverstraw and stop for the day.  As we got closer to the bridge, we didn’t hear any word from the Coast Guard.  That is very unusual as they typically have repeated informational updates on channel 22A.  Not a peep from anyone on the radio.  We called Haverstraw Marina to see if they had any additional information and to make our transient reservation.  They said that the river was open and we would have no problem to get through.  So on down the river we went.
No problem is an understatement.  There was construction around the new bridge, but we went through without any issue.  About an hour later, we were in New York Harbor.  The weather at this point began to go south.  The wind started to pick up and the water was beginning to get very unsettled.  We initially tied up at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club.  After about 30 minutes there, we very quickly decided that there was too much wave action from the river and the marina itself was not well protected.
We untied the lines and made our way to Liberty Landing.  A much better choice for a long stay due to a weather delay.  We were able to fuel up before going into our slip.  We quickly got the boat settled into its new home for the next 3 days.  We had a cold beverage to toast our success before I needed to head for the airport to make my way back to NC.
I will keep close tabs on the crew of Reel’n in the Years for the remainder of their trip.  I’m sorry I couldn’t finish out the trip with them, but I am confident they will have a successful trip down to Carolina Beach.  We already covered 1,350 miles to this point so they only have about 650 miles to go.  Once the weather clears, they should be able to complete the trip in 4 days.
Thanks again to all who followed along.

 More fog

 Fog starting to lift

 Bear Mountain Bridge

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Beautiful Erie Canal

The blog tonight will be short and sweet.  We started the day with lots of FOG.  I hate fog.  We were ready to go at 7:00am, but the weather had a different idea.  Fog was so thick that we couldn't see anything.  The decision was obvious.  The boat wasn't going to move until the fog lifted and we could see.

By 9:30 the fog was almost gone and it was time to hit the water for the final 40 miles on the Erie Canal.  What a difference in temperature a day makes.  Yesterday morning was about 39 degrees.  This morning, the temperature was about 60.  It felt great.  We all were in shorts and T-shirts today as opposed to long pants, sweatshirts and coats yesterday.

The final 10 locks were really a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone on board today.  Randy continued to refine his docking and close quarter maneuvering skills on his new boat and the locks were a great place to work on it.  He is much more comfortable with the boat now and even backed the boat into the fuel dock in a tight space.  We are docked at Donavan's Shady Harbor Marina tonight in New Baltimore, NY.  The owner Brian is a good friend and he and his staff have taken great care of us during our stay.

Mack continues to tell stories during the trip.  He has had us in stitches over dinner tonight at Red's.  Looks like we will have  a bit of a problem tomorrow making it to NYC.  The Tappan Zee Bridge will have the entire Hudson River closed tomorrow as they are doing construction on the bridge.  So we will only make it to Haverstraw tomorrow night instead of Pier 66 in the City.  And so it goes.  Just when you think it will all work out, a new wrinkle is thrown in.

The weather is also going to turn to crap over the next 4 days with the low pressure system on its way.  Seas off-shore of New York Harbor are project to be 7 to 10 feet with wind gusts to 40mph.  So it looks like the boat will stay on the Hudson River until this system blows over and I will head back home to NC.  Randy and Denise will be in good hands with Captain Keith Skipper helping to navigate safely home and Mack will also help with lines, fenders and navigation.  I will try and post one last blog tomorrow to cover our run down the Hudson River to NYC.