Great Lakes - Florida Keys
Cruise Log & Pictures, 2008.
Departing from Brands Marina in Port Clinton Ohio.
Tues Aug 26, 2008 The Boat is at Brands Marina and we are now in Columbus preparing to head up to the Lake. I highly recommend Brand's Marina to other boaters. It's a very boater-friendly full service boat yard, and you can do as much of your own work as you like. It's not quite as fancy as some of the other "resort" marinas but they have a very loyal following of boaters who have been there for years. It seems to be predominantly sailboats, but there are also many powerboats, including us.
After selling our previous boat "Creative Touch", we bought a used 35' Pequod in a boatyard in Marathon Florida. We use the boat in our training business for a variety of uses and are taking it back to Florida. It's name when we bought it was FUNATIC, but we renamed it the MV Nova after my mom, who died in Dec 2006 just after we bought it. We got a great price because essentially NOTHING worked! It had a sound hull though and the plan was to restore it while on the hard there in Marathon. I knew we had to start by removing and rebuilding the engines, and that was just the start. It turned out to be too much to drive back and forth from Ohio to the Keys hauling a tool trailer to do this, so we got a great price on having it trucked over the road up to Brands Marina in Port Clinton Ohio. Good thing too -- It's taken us a year and a half to refurbish this boat (I optimistically thought I could rebuild it all in 2-3 weeks!). It's fully functional and seaworthy but much work still remains to be done. We've replaced both Cruisair (Chevy Short Block 350ci) engines with two new longblocks and essentially replaced or rebuilt almost all of the accessories and mounts. Both transmissions and V-Drives were rebuilt. Most of the electrical system was redone, and we added a house bank of 6v batteries and small inverter. Plumbing was totally redone, and the hydraulic cylinder and system was replaced and redone for steering, including adding in the Simrad Autopilot from our old boat. We also put the JRC radar from the old boat onto this one, installed new GPS, Depthsounder and tied it into an NMEA buss to interface with the computer. Installed new fuel flow sensors, mermaid airconditioning, and a ton of other things. I'm still working on getting the generator running as we prepare to depart from Brands. I had it running for 60 seconds on ether. I just bought a new carburetor and will attempt to start it again before we leave.
STATS: Aug 26, 2008. Reset all to "0".
GPS total trip log: 0, Northstar total trip log: 0,
Engine Hours: Port 0 Starboard 0, Gasoline purchased:
0 Gallons Cumulative.
Thursday Aug 28, 2008. Depart from
Brands Marina at 0645 - make 0700 Bridge opening on Portage River.
Chilly out - about 65 degrees. Winds E to SE at 10-12 mph. Seas 2' while west of
Catawba Island, but picked up some 2-3 ' with occasional higher when in open
water past Kelly's Island. Overcast and dreary but water manageable. I went
below while Lisa monitored the autopilot and computer, but couldn't do much work
because I actually got seasick. I can't remember the last time I ever got
seasick, but the boat was pitching and rolling - nothing extreme - but I guess
we haven't done long term cruising legs now for more than 2 years. I pretty much
acclimated during the day, but now I can appreciate this more from the
standpoint of our landlubber friends that come aboard. Was going to do regular
work on the computer but couldn't do it today. Averaged about 7.9 knots and took
about 9 hours to get to Chagrin Ohio.
Friday Aug 29, 2008. Depart from Chagrins Lagoon Yacht
Club at 0730 - Nice Day! - MUCH better than yesterday - a "gimmee" from
Providence. Waves start at less than 1' with winds less than 5-7mph from our
starboard quarter. During the day it calmed down even more so that the water was
almost glass - with gentle 6 inch swells as a following sea that we rode right
along with. Were supposed to have a front pass through with thunderstorms but it
materialized. Actually got work done today on the computer and internet
while Lisa piloted. Took a shower aboard enroute in the afternoon. Came up on
the flybridge naked and Lisa took my picture with the Conch flag flying in the
background. Made Presque Isle Harbor entrance in Erie PA about 4:45pm - went to
Lampe marina just outside the harbor for fuel first - gasoline was "only"
$3.889/gal - MUCH better than CLYC yesterday at $4.59. While on the gas dock a
couple of ODNR officers walked down the dock and wanted to speak with the
"skipper" - they had the look in their eye of unabashed authority and appeared
to be swelling up for confrontation - even before the first words. They were
polite enough though. Wanted to know where we were registered (for non-boaters
this can be a complex issue - there is more than just registration - there is
also federal documentation - and local law enforcement is not very familiar with
this). I explained that we were registered in Ohio but documented in Florida and
were heading back there. They finally got around to it - they were looking for
the Ohio (or any State) registration numbers that have to be prominently mounted
toward the bow of a vessel. We don't have any - documented boats aren't required
to have them. We did have our Ohio registration sticker on the windshield up
under the sun screens so I showed it to them. In their favor I have to say they
were satisfied and didn't ask to board us or look at our federal papers. Headed in to Presque Isle
Yacht club who I spoke with earlier in the day to get a slip - but confusion
when we got in. No one seemed to really be in charge and did not know where to
go. Tied to a sea wall on T-dock but lots of rocking from swells. Went in and dockboy didn't know where to put us - said we needed to wait until the Commodore
got back - maybe 8pm. It was only about 6pm and we didn't want to wait, with
unknown assignment, and getting up by 4am tomorrow - so called Wolverine
moorings marina next door and they had a slip. With our boat US discount it was
$1/day, versus the $1.25/day at the YC who had no reciprocity for us. Moorings
is nice place. Restaurants within walking distance. Locked gates. Showers,
restrooms and laundry. Slip A2. The Canadians are showing up in mass tonight to
party hearty for the start of this memorial day weekend. Went to Smugglers Cove
Restaurant for Dinner - seared Ahi Tuna and Mako Shark - was good.
Saturday Aug 30, 2008. Depart from Presque Isle, Erie PA, Moorings at Wolverine Park Marina. Left slip at 7:05am and out of Harbor at 7:25am. Really foggy - but not heavy fog - just all over. It finally burned off into the clouds. Winds have picked up a bit - 10-12 knots and seas are not high - about 2-3 feet, but very choppy and uncomfortable. At least they're off our bow. Went full throttle today at 3500 rpm and about 14.5 knots through the chop and into the wind. This pounds a lot but doesn't wallow around like cruising at 7 knots in the same thing. Just sucks fuel. Partway into the morning we had our first "incident" on this trip - I was sitting in the helmseat at the Flybridge, eating a sandwich. Something snapped and I went over backwards. I had been sitting there resting back in the seat with the seas pounding like a riding a mild mechanical Bull ride. I landed on my back (still in the seat) with my feet sticking straight up and still holding my braunschweiger sandwich in one hand. Lucky I didn't hurt myself or crack my head. I was OK. Lisa thinks it's hilarious. The bolts mounting the seat to the pedestal had worked loose during all the pounding and finally snapped out. We fixed it, but need bigger bolts. Later in the morning the seas started to flatten out and it was much more comfortable - speed went up to around 16 knots at same RPM's. Made it to the mouth of the Niagara River at about 12 noon. We bypassed the lock and canal and went directly up the river under the Peace Bridge. WOW! All of the water from all of the Great Lakes flows into this river to go over Niagar Falls, and this is the narrow portion of the river. Talk about current! Since it was flowing with us we went at full throttle under the bridge and down quite a ways on the river. Eddies - whirlpools - chaotic chop - it was very animated water. It looked like we wouldn't clear the next railroad bridge but the chart height said we would, and with this current there was no being timid - just commit and tear off the radar tower and bimini if it didn't work - but cleared OK - looked pretty daggone close to us. Made it into the side canal to continue up toward the New York Canal System (Erie Canal), and Smith boys Marina where we are keeping the boat for a few weeks. Hope to see Dan and Nancy Little tonight since they live here in Buffalo not terribly far from where the marina is on Tonawanda Island. Port Engine started to overheat somewhat (about 200 degrees) toward the end of our run into the mouth of the Niagara river, but had run fine for the 5 hours previous at full throttle - will check coolant. Tied to dock at Smith Boys about 1pm. Glad we ran fast today. Position on G Wall 43 01.994N, 078 53.161W. 225.3nm total trip distance - GPS, and 209.3nm on Northstar sonar. 25.5 Total Engine Hours this trip. Run today was 6.0 engine hours, 70.7nm. Smith Boys will do some work on our generator, and we should be back here by the 3rd week of September to continue into the New York Canal System.
Monday-Tuesday Sept 15-16, 2008. Maintenance work in Buffalo NY: Drove back to Smith Boys Marina to check out the overheating problem, and Generator work. Seems the Port sea water pump burned out its bearings, so replaced it with a rebuilt pump - and adjusted belts on Port and Stbd Engines. Smith Boys could not get generator running because could not order specific ignition parts without specific engine model, but thought it was inadequate spark. Pulled those parts and brought back with me for potential replacement. Had help from Dan Little to take boat over to Wardell's boat yard to get fuel, then back to Smith Boys. Getting it ready to just take off when we get back next week.
--- stay tuned. - NEXT LEG IS THE ERIE CANAL and NEW YORK STATE BARGE CANAL SYSTEM.
Forward to Next Trip Segment - Buffalo NY to New York City, through the Erie Canal and down the Hudson River
Boot Key Harbor website created and maintained by Capt.
Gregory T. Absten, Marathon. - A Boater's Guide to the Florida Keys & Cuba