September 2015 – The Crossing

The logistics of this move dictate that we meet Captain Geoff in Fort Pierce, park his vehicle at Harbour Isle Marina (our new winter home) and drive our rental across the state to Fort Meyers.  Then when we make it back, Captain Geoff will have his wheels!

2015-09-14 Geoff, Nick and IAfter spending hundreds of hours on conference calls with Captain Geoff while he crawled over every inch of our new-to-us vessel, we had never met face to face until we drove into the West Marine parking lot in Fort Pierce, FL!  We bought a few last minute items and started our drive to Fort Meyers.

Bright and early the next morning, we provision the vessel and I go off to return the rental car.  When I return to the dock, Tracy is ready to cleanse the vessel of its previous name and ask the Gods of the sea for permission.  After we’re satisfied that it’s safe to leave the dock with the blessing of the Gods, and we’re about to shove off from the dock in Fort Meyers, a Florida thunderstorm hits.  Twenty minutes later the sun is shining, the roads are steaming, and Captain Geoff unties the lines.

First order of business is to top off the fuel tanks so we can start clocking runtime.  Captain Geoff calls ahead to insure they have enough diesel for us and they quote $2.45 per gallon, so we head for Caloosahatchie Jack’s.  By the time we get there the price has dropped to $2.10 per gallon so right away we save $0.35 on 300 gallons or about one hundred dollars!  Who says boating is expensive!!!

This crossing gives both Tracy and myself our first opportunities to handle the vessel.  Captain Geoff switches from a repair Captain to a Teaching Captain and quite simply, with his guidance and expertise, by the time we docked her two days later at Harbour Isle Marina, we had some real good experience on our resume(s).

Our first leg ends at Labelle Marina and Geoff lets me back her into the slip.  She doesn’t hit one pylon and I’m pretty proud of my docking job.  Day two and we take the cross-lake route.  Water levels are real good, but we want to make some time, so we decide against the rim route.  We get some more exposure to locks and how to maneuver in both up-river locks and down-river locks and we pull into Hutchinson Marina for the second night.  On the next morning, before leaving the marina, we fuel up and pump-out as we get ready for the last leg of our trip, Stuart to Fort Pierce.  I take the helm coming out of the marina channel and just as I’m turning the vessel into the ICW main channel, the bottom shutters and shakes as if we’ve either bottomed out, or hit a submerged log, etc.  The guys decide on the log theory. I decided we hit bottom and made the men throw the bananas overboard.   More about bananas on a boat at the bottom of this post.  -tc  A vibration starts at higher rpm’s, so we decide to back her down and limp our way north to Fort Pierce and Harbour Isle Marina.

We have selected Harbour Isle Marina for it’s superior design in terms of potential hurricane protection.  Basically, it’s designed in a circle, virtually surrounded by four story condominium buildings.  Our Insurance carrier has been very particular in our selections due to the fact that during hurricane season, we’ll be absentee owners all winter, leaving the vessel in Florida while we’re in Connecticut.  So we’re particularly pleased with our choice of Harbour Isle Marina, and it’s convenient to Captain Geoff as he works on additional projects including the new issue with the starboard propeller and shaft.

End of this chapter is that we arrive safely in Harbour Isle Marina, tie her up real well, hook up shore power and water, then return to Connecticut to let Captain Geoff work his projects over the ensuing months.

Banana_and_cross_section“There are many theories on why people believe bananas are bad luck for a boat. One superstition is that boats carrying bananas don’t catch fish. The origin of this belief dates back to the Caribbean  trade of the 1700s. The wooden sailing vessels of that time had to move quickly to deliver bananas before they spoiled, and fishermen had a hard time trolling for fish on such fast-moving boats. They also may have  traveled more quickly and less carefully due to the delicate nature of their cargo, compared say to ‘coconut’ boats.   This second belief developed after many boats never made it to their destinations, and most of the doomed boats were carrying bananas.

One of the creepier superstitions is that banana cargo could actually kill a man. In actuality, fermenting bananas do give off methane gas, which could conceivably get trapped below deck and kill any crew members unlucky enough to be working in the hold. Another popular theory was that venomous spiders hitched rides in bananas, and once those bananas were onboard, the boat would be host to any number of lethal critters. And then, of course, there’s the theory that banana peels cause crew members to slip and fall on deck!”   -tc