We're back in Florida once again. What a trip down this year! The weather was almost more than I could handle. We had that low pressure system moving up the coast almost all the way down. The winds were blowing every day providing us with a real nice rock and roll ride. It got too rough a few times and we had to duck into a marina and hold up until the wind laid down a little. We ducked into the Melbourne Landing marina and really had some gale force winds hit us there. We spent three days there before we ventured out again. We had some damage to our flybridge while we were there. The wind blew our bimini off and ripped it up so I had to take it down, what was left of it, so it wouldn't flap around in the wind while we were underway. We have been making that 2,000 mile trip to the York River in VA every year since the summer of 2014. I think we might just have to find a place to spend the summer a little closer to Florida. We have to be north of 30 degrees latitude by July 15 for our insurance to remain in affect so we have to go north, maybe just not the whole 1,000 mile trip. It's very expensive and it seems something always breaks down and needs repair along the way. It's a boat after all! We are staying at a little marina on Nettles Island this year because we couldn't get into Ft. Pierce City marina. This is a nice spot and we have everything we might need here or nearby. Nettles Island is across the river from Jensen Beach FL which is just north of Stuart, FL. If you happen to find yourself in the area, stop by and say hello.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
We're home! We pulled into Ft. Pierce, FL on Friday, December 2nd and completed our loop. It took 8 months and we traveled almost 5,000 miles. What a trip! It was fun, exciting, scary at times, and really awesome other times. It was the adventure of a lifetime and now we can cross it off our bucket list and go onto the next on the list. I just don't know what that might be yet. It's good to be home safe and sound once again. Thanks to all of you that followed us along our way it was really great hearing from you, we missed all of you and hope to be able to catch up with many of you now that we are home.
Monday, November 21, 2016
We've made it across the Gulf of Mexico. We are currently in the city marina at Tarpon Springs FL. It took us 25.5 hours to make the crossing and I was up and almost awake for the whole timp. It was a very interesting and disastrous crossing. We met up with a couple guys in Carrabelle that had a 1974 Chinese Junk that they wanted to cross the Gulf in but they didn't want to cross alone just in case. There were seven of us loopers there that were going to make the crossing on Friday as that was the last weather window for another week or more. Everyone they talked to wanted to run faster than they could go until the came over to our boat. I told them we would run between 7 & 8 mph and they said that was about what they would be comfortable running at and asked if they could follow us across. I said sure, and we set up a meeting place to start across. Friday morning we met at 10 o'clock and headed out across. The forecast was for 2 foot seas and gradual calming Friday night. Then Saturday it was supposed to kick up with the passing of a front which would produce some strong winds out of the northwest and seas in the 6+ foot range so we had to go with what they said we would encounter. It was really rough at first, with two foot seas and occasional 4+ foot groups of waves. We were pounding really hard because we were heading right into the seas. We watched the guys behind us and they were pounding pretty hard as well. At around 40 miles into our crossing we got a call from them, (The Lucky Lady) and they said they were taking on water and had stopped to check it out. We turned around and headed back to them and they were quite a ways back by that time. When we arrived they were making preparations to abandon ship. The boat was riding a little low in the water by then and they said it was filling up pretty fast. They were towing a dingy into which they loaded everything they could salvage on short notice and rowed over to us where we unloaded the dingy and took them aboard. They weren't able to determine where the water was coming in but it was faster than their bilge pumps could handle so the decided they had better abandon ship. I called the Coast Guard and informed them of the sinking, and gave them all the information about the boat and it's location. I told them we had evacuated the survivors and would be taking them on to Tarpon Springs FL. I asked them if they wanted to return to Carrabelle or go on to Tarpon Springs. They decided to continue on with us and then fly home from there. We stayed on site until she finally went down which took about an hour but she finally settled slowly under the water, a sickening event to witness. The guy that owned the boat Jim was heart broken since he had purchased the boat and completely restored it over several years of very hard work with the help of Bobby who was traveling with him. I really felt bad for them because I know how I would feel if that happened to the Molly B. Thank God we were there to lend a hand or who knows what might have happened to them. I did take a series of pictures a couple of which are below. For now we are all safe and sound in Tarpon Springs and the guys left last night for home.
This is the little Chinese Junk that was following us across the Gulf.
The Lucky Lady is going down.
Friday, September 16, 2016
We're making pretty good progress but we are really taking our time and going slow trying to kill some time. We can't be south of 30.5 degrees Lat. before the 1st of November because of our hull insurance as I mentioned before so we are going slow. We stayed at Green Turtle Bay for three weeks and had a good time there. We went out to dinner with some other loopers to a 5 star restaurant in downtown Grand Rivers. That was really great to spend some time with fellow loopers, even some famous ones. The dinner was really expensive but we had a great time. The Nina and Pinta sailing vessels were there giving tours, very impressive. We headed up the Tennessee River and anchored at Panther Bay South anchorage. On the 7th of September we headed for Pebble Isle Marina. We stayed there for a week and met up with the Nina and Pinta again. We left Pebble Isle Marina on the 14th of September and anchored at Lick Creek anchorage. Quite a large bay off the river, but very little water inside. we anchored in about 8 ft. of water on very soft mud. The anchor held all night but if a strong wind would have come up we most likely would have dragged the anchor because when I backed down on the anchor it moved but held ok without any power on the boat. It was nice and calm all night so no problems. We arrived at Clifton Marina on the 15th and will stay here until I get my computer fixed. I'm having trouble connecting to the internet and with my rear view camera so I hope I can get it fixed. I had a tech lady here all afternoon and she got the internet problem fixed but couldn't get the camera to work yet so some more help is coming to try to figure it out. We ran into the Nina and Pinta again here at Clifton. I asked them if they were following us and they said they got here first so we must be following them. I guess there're right.Below are a few pictures of the Nina and Pinta.
The Molly B and the Pinta
Sunday, August 21, 2016
We made it the rest of the way down the Illinois River and into the Mississippi River.We passed Grafton, IL on the 16th of August where we had a chance to meet up with some friends but didn't know about the meet because I couldn't check my internet so we missed them. We did stop at the infamous Hoppies on the 17th of August where we met some real nice folks on the loop as well. From Hoppies we anchored at Rockwood Island at mile 102.5. What a night, there was drift wood coming down the river by the ton. Huge trees and rafats of brush and branches. I thought for sure we would get out anchor rode snagged by some of those trees. From Rockwood Island we anchored at Little River Diversion Canal which would have been a nice anchorage except for the floating debris coming down little river. We weren't so lucky this time, we got a huge log around 13 or 14 inches in diameter snagged on our anchor rode. I tried to dislodge it with my boat hook but only succeeded in breaking my boat hook. I finally had to use the boat to push the log off my anchor rode. Then twice more that night we got fouled by logs. It's funny we didn't lose another anchor that night. We traveled 218 miles down the Mississippi and into the Ohio. Nothing but barges as far as the eye could see. I saw as many as 30 barges rafted together being pushed by a tug, quite a site! We turned up the Ohio on the 19 of August and had to weave our way through all the barges that lined both sides of the river and even a few anchored in the middle of the river. These tow boat drivers on the Ohio and Cumberland didn't want to give us little pleasure craft drivers the time of day. Most wouldn't even reply to a call. I guess they didn't like us very well. The only time I heard from one of them is when I was in the middle of a pretty sharp bend in the river on the Cumberland and the guy couldn't make the turn until I cleared the bend, then he called me and let me know about it. He had to back up to wait for me to clear the bend because he said he needed the whole river, bank to bank. I don't think he was very happy. He could see my AIS around the bend because I could see his, but he didn't bother to call me until it was too late and he had to back down. I didn't bother calling him because none of them would answer me anyway. He was down bound so he had the right of way and I told him to do what he had to do and I would stay out of his way. He said he needed the whole river so he had to back down and let me clear the bend. He was a little more cordial on the radio after that. We cleared the Barkley lock at around noon on the 21st of August and landed at the Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina. We are going to spend a couple weeks here because we need to kill some time before we hit the Mobile Bay. I can't go south of there until after the first of November because of my boat insurance.
St. Louis Gate Way Arch
They really churn up the river!
Friday, August 12, 2016
We have traveled a long way since my last post so I will attempt to get everyone up to date. We managed to complete our trip down Lake Michigan. We had some really rough seas a few times and the weather forecast never seemed to match what we actually encountered on the lake. We met up with my brother and his other halves kids at Muskegon, MI. We had a great time and took everyone out for a little trip around the lake on the boat. We headed south again and made it to Chicago on the 8th of August and stayed at the Hammond Marina before heading down the Calumet River.We decided to go down the Calumet River instead of the Sanitary Canal and into the Illinois river. We were a little concerned about going down the river through south Chicago. The stories abound about lines being cut, boats set adrift, and all sorts of things happening to boats along that stretch of the river but we made it without any problems at all. Going down the Illinois river has been quite uneventful so far except for the commercial barge traffic. I've never seen so much Tug and Barge traffic. Some of these bigger tow boats can push a raft of barges three wide and five or six long. They fit into the locks with inches to spare all the way around without the tow boat. We had to wait over three hours at the Marseilles Lock because of a double lock through of a tug and barge. The tow boat had so many barges that he had to lock through after the barges were lowered. That took over three hours and there was another double lock through waiting behind us but the lock master took us and another pleasure boat through before the next double. We've had some long waits at a few of the other locks as well. You just don't know how to plan your day because of the locks and commercial traffic. I try to make around fifty miles a day, but can only make thirty some days. The only problem with that is there isn't always a place to tie up or anchor so you really have to wing it. The river is pretty easy to navigate and the current is quite slow. We are making over eight mph though so there is a little current pushing us along. We are currently in a little town called Rome, IL at a marina called Hamm's Holiday Harbor Marina. Nothing fancy, but very accommodating and the price is right. We have about 178 miles to go to the Mississippi, and then up the Ohio to the Tennessee. It's been a challenging, Interesting, exciting, and sometimes a little nerve racking trip so far but it's been fun too.
Until next time,
Thursday, July 28, 2016
The weather settled down again as we headed out into the North Channel. This is another really beautiful area. Lots of islands and some really challenging navigation in the inland channels. Lots of rocks again but beautiful. We pulled into our first anchorage at McTavish Island and dropped the anchor. It didn't set the first time so we pulled it back up to try again and the bolt between the two swivel shackles broke and the anchor dropped back into the water. We lost our Rockna anchor. I just couldn't believe it, I was really upset but nothing much I could do about it. I had a spare, a Fortress anchor which I attached to my chain and managed to get it to set for the night. Only a couple more days at anchor and we were in US waters at Drummond Island. We cleared customs and the next day headed for Mackinaw City Michigan. It was a good run across the northern part of Lake Huron and into Mackinaw City but bad weather again delayed our journey into Lake Michigan. We finally got a break in the weather three days later and headed out for Little Traverse Bay. We spent one night there and then headed for Grand Traverse Bay and Northport Harbor. We are still here today, and will be heading out early tomorrow morning for Frankfort Municipal Marina which is 72 miles from here. We were going stop a Leland Township Marina which is about half way to Frankfort but they are booked solid until Saturday because of a sailboat race so we have to try to make Frankfort in one day. That 72 mile run is going to take around 11 hours so we have to get an early start. The weather is supposed to be good although the winds are going to kick up a little from the northeast but the seas are forecast to be two feet or less so it should be a good run hopefully.
I was going to attach some pictures to my last post but didn't have a good enough wifi connection to do so, so here are a few pictures of some of the locks and the rocks.
One of the towers on one of the hydraulic locks
This is the cylinder that lifts the container, water, and your boat up or down.
This is a view from one of the hydraulic locks. You can just make out the channel down below the lock. This is a lock that dropped us down instead of up.
This is a picture of one of the houses sitting on a huge rock on one of the islands.