This online document is a means of sharing the adventure of traveling on America's waterways with friends and family. Last Dance is continuing to take her crew to historical, natural, beautiful, and interesting places. Enjoy the ride.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Commercial Traffic

Shipping of materials and goods was once accomplished solely on the waters.  Ships carried goods around the world.  The Erie Canal was built to be able to ship goods from Europe and New York to the midwest and to ship raw materials from the midwest to New York and Europe.  The canal is credited with the building of New York City into a major city in worldwide terms.  To move something from one place to another is still called "shipping."  Railroads and, later. federal highways and trucks changed the face of shipping.  Shipping on the water makes up only a small part of commercial transportation today, but still exists as some products are more easily and economically transported in large qualities on ships.

The above freighter is powering up the Hudson River toward Albany, NY.  A closer look in front of the boat's bow will reveal a rock pile with a red marker on top.  This ship must round that marker, taking it on his starboard side.  Last Dance is traveling in the opposite direction and must find water deep enough to pass the ship on its port side.  Large ships cannot make tight turns.  A bit of communication between the two captains made for a safe, but close pass.

The Erie Canal was originally all commercial traffic.  Today, all the traffic is pleasure boats, with a few exceptions, one of which is illustrated in this image.  A tug is pushing a barge through the canal, followed by another commercial boat, a work tug.

Another freighter on its way up the Hudson River.  From its high water line, it is empty and will be picking up a load.  Two tugs follow the freighter and will position it at the dock when it arrives.

The two tugs.

A fuel or oil barge heading north on the Hudson River with a tug tucked in and connected behind.  The tug has two flybridges, a lower one for when it is underway by itself and a higher one to provide visibility when pushing a barge.  For the size of the hole they make in the water, they do not throw off a massive wake.  Looking at the bow of this barge, you can see that the water us pushed up about 6 feet higher than the water alongside.

Here the tug has move alongside pushing the barge on the hip.  The tug would have pushed from the stern, as in the other photos, but has moved alongside in the anticipation of docking not too far away.  From the side, it can maneuver the barge next to the dock.

The New York City Harbor had many commercial vessels at anchor awaiting a place at a dock to load or unload.  This ship was one of those.  After we passed, it hoisted anchor and ran past us in Raritan Bay, just south of Staten Island, on its way to the commercial docks on the north side of the island.

Note that the anchor is still down in the water as it travels.  This is the method they are using to clean the mud off the anchor.

Heading up Delaware Bay from Cape May, the chartplotter indicated three vessels approaching from behind, moving twice the speed of Last Dance.  There were three freighters in a row heading up the bay, which leads to Philadelphia.

The first was a liquefied natural gas tanker.

This ship displayed the flags of the countries it visits, along the starboard stern.  Most ships can visit any country and any port, but LNG onshore facilities are only in a few places.

Ship two in the line was a tanker.  Note that the red marker is between the ship and Last Dance.  Heading up a waterway from the sea the red markers are to be passed on the right, to starboard.  Last Dance is out of the channel giving the commercial traffic the entire channel for their use.

Ship #3 was another tanker.  From the large No Smoking sign, it would seem they are transporting something flammable.

As soon as the three ships heading up the bay passed Last Dance, a freighter passed heading south.  There were opposing commercial ships heading up and down the channel.  A good reason to be out of the channel giving them all of the space.

The Chesapeake Bay also had heavy commercial traffic at the time of our journey.  This freighter and Last Dance had courses that intersected.  No question as to which vessel has the right of way.  The handrail on Last Dance is in the image to give some perspective.

As we were leaving the south end of the Chesapeake Bay, nearing Norfork, a ship gave a securite' call stating that they were entering the channel at a high rate of speed and that boats in the area should stay clear.  In the image, you can see the ship will be passing the green buoy to his port.  Last Dance should be also, but with deep water the decision was made to completely get out of the channel, passing the green to starboard.  Container ships have become one of the largest segments of the shipping industry.  It is easy to compartmentalize the shipments ashore and quickly load the ships.  A negative for the other boats on the water is that 1000s of containers have fallen off ships, some floating just under the surface, a huge hazard - huge in that they are very large and huge in that they could damage a boat to the point of sinking it.

After the container ship passed Last Dance, it stopped, two tugs grabbed hold of it, and they turned it completely across the channel right before Last Dance's bow.  Have no images of that move since the crew was busy navigating a way around, but did catch one after we passed with Last Dance's flag in the foreground.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

A Pair of 48s and a Pig Roast

The DeFever 48 is a bit different design of boat from Art's hand.  The design is a trunk cabin, like Last Dance, with an aft deck roof.  There are three staterooms, a big plus for those traveling with kids.  Those who own a DF48 praise her design, comfort, and seaworthiness.  But, there are few DF48s and the Last Dance crew have seen very few in the 1000s of marinas passed in their journeys.

As Last Dance approached the docks at Shady Harbor Marina, on the Hudson River just south of Albany, there were two DF48s docked stern-to-stern.  Quite a sight for fans of Arthur DeFever designed boats.  C U Later is the boat on the left and Inshallah is on the right.

The two DeFevers had not met before the docking at Shady Harbor.   Both are recently purchased boats and both are cruising the Great Loop this year.  It was sheer happenstance that the two boats arrived at Shady Harbor the same day, then were assigned the same dock by the dockmaster.

C U Later is a 1987 DeFever 48 tri-cabin with 135 Lemans and two generators.  Michael and JoAnne Konczal purchased her in August 2018, keeping her at Riviera Dunes Marina, Palmetto Florida, while they prepared for the Great Loop.  It was a convenient location, not far from their dirt home In St Peterburg.  They began the Great Loop January 2019, spending time in the Florida Keys and the Bahamas before beginning their journey north.

Inshallah is the younger and stronger of the two 48s, built in 2002 with 220 hp Cummings for power.  Mike Bell and Marilou Zachary purchased her in May 2017. Mike took a couple of years to do a lot of projects and upgrades while getting to know all the systems.  Being an electrical engineer with mechanical talent provided him the skills to get everything in great shape.  In 2019, both retired, beginning their cruising adventures by taking off on the Great Loop, leaving from Jacksonville in April.

Both couples had done much research on boats before beginning their search for the "perfect boat."  Both had decided that the DeFever design was their first choice and looked a DF44s and DF49s.  Again, both couples stumbled upon a DF48 and instantly fell in love with the design.  It is a very comfortable and stable boat.  A great cruising home.

Why did 3 DeFevers, all who began their journeys from Florida, wind up at the same marina in New York at the same time?  Pig Roast!

And how did a reggae smiley face and a palm tree become the logo of a marina in New York where the water freezes in the winter?  We don't have an answer for that one.  So, back to the pig.

Brian and Kathy Donovan are the owners of Shady Harbor and are the ultimate of hosts.  For the third year, they have offered a pig roast for those headed up the Hudson River on the Great Loop and for their local customers.  The Pig Roast was not just a meal enjoyed with new and old friends on a Sunday afternoon; it was a weekend of activities.  Beginning Friday, there were two docktails, a clam boil, coffee and bagels, bonfires, raising of the flag and a blessing of the fleet by a Bishop, and a Sunday morning event for the women with bottomless mimosas and bloody marys.  When not at an official eating event, time was spent in the Boathouse, the restaurant at the marina.   The Boathouse is not the typical marina restaurant with sandwiches and frozen stuff thrown into the fryer.  Kathy Donovan has put together a high-quality restaurant with an interesting menu.  Saturday night is Prime Rib night.  Glen chose the smaller cut with crab legs, enjoying the meal to the fullest and having enough left over for another meal – melt-in-your-mouth beef. 

The Loopers did show up.  The image to the left is a screenshot of Brians phone with the Nebo App.  Nebo will record a boats daily journey and email a map the next day.  If the user chooses, the location of the boat can be made visible to others - a few friends you choose or to everyone with the app.  The American Great Loop Cruising Association worked ou a partnership with Nebo so AGLCA members are indicated on the map by an AGLCA logo rather than a dot.  As you can see, there are a lot of logos on the map of the marina.  And, not all Loopers are using this app, or have the app activated on their phone, or have chosen to make their location public.  So, there were many more Looper boats at Shady Harbor than shown.

Oh, the pig.  We said we would get to the pig.  Here it is.  The Pig Roast capped all the weekend of events on Sunday afternoon.   Closely watched by the chef from the Boathouse, the pig slowly cooked for the entire day to golden perfection.  Everyone brought a favorite side dish, a long table of food was set up in the garage, and the fellowship over food began.  Good food does make for successful social gatherings.

The third DeFever?  Last Dance, of course, seen here on one of the fingers of docks at Shady Harbor.

The Pig Roast provided the opportunity for the crews of three DeFevers to become acquainted, spend time together, share stories, and develop a bond.  Many thanks to the Donovans for a great cruising social event.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Canada, Georgian Bay

Above is a view from Last Dance while anchored in the eastern harbor among the Bustard Islands.  It is easy to see why this is a favored anchorage.  Left - One of the smaller islands had a flat top which served as a great spot for Rocktails.

Looking out the entrance to the anchorage in the Bustards, a story of the dry weather an careless construction plays out.  In the distance, smoke can be seen rising on the mainland.  Above the entrance, a waterbomber is banking into a turn as he circles the islands.

The dry weather made for perfect tinder when a construction crew, which was blasting rocks, created the fire.

For a couple of days, the waterbombers circled the islands in the morning and afternoons as they gathered to fight the fires.  Seeing them fly over at low altitudes was a fascinating sight.

Then, on the third day, the flight pattern of one of the waterbombers changed to fly right over the treetops and drop even lower as it flew over Last Dance.

This view is from the aft deck of Last Dance looking under the boom.  The pilot seemed to get lower on each pass.  Their close passes were never explained.

Along Colins Inlet a beaver hut was observed with an unusual feature.  The long winter nights must become boring for this family of beavers who decided to install a satellite TV dish.

At the anchorage by Keyhole Island, pink kayaks were seen.  The older of the two girls, age 6, decided that she liked a kayak she spotted at a park the previous summer, claiming that she could paddle it.  She was given a chance and proved she could.  Santa brought both of the girls kayaks for Christmas.  The girls were often in the water with their parents.  A great family activity.

Also spotted at Keyhole one day was a juvenile Black Bear.  The dry weather was robbing them of their traditional food source of blueberries, causing them to search farther and roam into areas of human habitation that they normally eschew.

A colorful sunset appeared while at anchor in Beaver Stone Bay.  The quickness which the colors appear make it difficult to capture your own boat as part of the image.  It did provide an opportunity to share a special image with another cruiser with their boat lying inside the sunset.

Last Dance crossed paths with Short Vacation while cruising along Georgian Bay.  A photo had to be captured of the two Defever boats.  Bob and Barbara Dein began DeFever Cruisers, an association of people who own and cruise on offshore capable boats designed by Arthur DeFever.  Under their leadership, DeFever Cruisers became an outstanding resource for people traveling on the water, DeFever owners and those who own Some Other Boat.  Bob and Barbara owned Last Dance for 12 years, and began DeFever Cruisers when they owned this 40 DeFever Passagemaker.  They decided to enjoy a bit more space, purchasing a DeFever 44 Offshore Cruiser, which they named Gondola.  An appropriate name for a boat hailing from Venice, Florida.  The Shorts purchased Gondola, and it became Short Vacation.  A good bit of DeFever and Dein history is captured in this image.

The Georgian Bay cruise south created a number of opportunities to spend time in beautiful anchorages and many opportunities to share time with friends, both old and new.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Canada, North Channel

From her over-winter berth in heated storage in Charlevoix, MI, Last Dance headed north into Lake Huron and the skinny bay known as North Channel.  The Last Dance crew had found these waters to have the best anchorages anywhere on the Great Loop.  The objectives for the summer 2018 cruise was to spend time in the outstanding anchorages and spending time with the Canadians and cruising boaters who had become friends during previous visits.  Above the crew enjoys Rocktails with other cruisers in the anchorage at Covered Portage.

There are 31 previous posts in this blog about the North Channel, plus posts on the blog documenting the first loop - Last Dance Loop One   No place else in the eastern part of North America has impressed the crew to this degree.  Only the Maine Coast is worthy of an argument for equally delightful cruising waters.  You can search this blog for posts on the North Channel by going to the top left-hand corner and entering - North Channel - which will bring up all the posts.  For a quick glance, the last post from the 2017 cruise is in the link below.

North Channel Ramblings

Harbor Island

The first stop in the North Channel was an anchorage inside Harbor Island, just north of Drummond Island. Harbor Island is a descriptive title as the bay inside the island is a totally protected harbor.  It quickly became a DeFever Rendezvous with a DeFever 40 Passagemaker, a DeFever 44 Offshore Cruiser, a DeFever 34 Passagemaker, and a DeFever 45 Pilothouse sharing the anchorage.

Anchoring is a social activity.  The crews of the DeFevers all gathered on the aft deck of Hallelujah, the DeFever 44.

Long Point Cove

Long Point Cove is a favorite anchorage not known by all who cruise the North Channel.  This anchorage, which looks too small on the charts to provide sufficient room, makes for a well-protected harbor with kayaking, hiking, and fishing opportunities.

The other favored activity in the area of Long Point Cove is blueberry picking.  Heading out for a hike without a container for blueberries is a great mistake.  Pockets do work for blueberry storage, but are not the best option.  It was early in the season for the blueberries to be fully ripe, but the bushes showed great promise.  The promise proved untrue as no rain fell in the next two months and the blueberries became dry to the point of looking like they had been burned with a torch.

Fox Island

Even the popular anchorage at Fox Island proved to be uncrowded.  This anchorage had some fish waiting to be boated, including a large Pike, and is always a great place for kayaking.  Usually, it is a bountiful blueberry picking area, but it was at the time of the visit here that the blueberry bushes began showing stress.  It was also here that the lack of blueberries, a main food of the bears, began showing signs of the stress on the bear population.  Four bears were seen while at this anchorage, a place that no bears had been seen on previous trips.  One was even spotted at mid-day, a time when bears tend to be out of sight.

Explorations were made in the kayaks and longer trips in the dinghy.  While the island is low, not providing the climbing-type hikes of Long Point and Mary Ann Coves, Fox Island is actually a group of many islands and islets, all waiting for exploration.

This pink granite rock among the islands had the appearance of an eagle head.

The Benjamin Islands

One of the most well-known and popular places in the North Channel is the Benjamin Islands.  A couple of days were spent at the favored anchorage between South Benjamin and North Benjamin Islands, but the large number of boats and forecast unfavorable wind direction made the cove in the south edge of South Benjamin Island appealing.  The move turned out to be a good decision.

The Benjamins are another area ripe for exploration by kayak and dinghy.

Mary Ann Cove

Mary Ann Cove is a protected harbor along the southern shore of Baie Fine.  It has high ridges protecting the cove from winds in any direction.  It also has a great hiking trail and good fishing.  In this image, taken from the deck of Last Dance swinging at anchor, a rare fog settled into Baie Fine creating a quiet, calm atmosphere.

The trail itself is an interesting variety of rock formations and various plant life.  The reward though is this view from the top of Frazier Hill at the end of the trail.  Looking west, Frazier Bay lies to the left, Baie Fine the skinny piece in the center, and McGregor Bay to the right.

Many factors kept Last Dance in Mary Ann Cove longer than normal - six days.  One was that friends made in Canada would journey to the cove to share time together.  Another was that the fish seemed to be most willing to take a variety of baits and make their way to the dinner table.

Small Mouth Bass were the most plentiful, a great benefit since they are great eating.  This 18" guy made a couple of dinners.

Sharing experiences is the true joy of cruising and exploring along the waterways.

Baie Fine

The morning Last Dance left Mary Ann Cove was a calm, clear sky day. It made for an even more spectacular photogenic journey through the amazingly spectacular Baie Fine.

Covered Portage

Hiking up to the top of the ridge surrounding this most protected anchorage at Covered Portage is a required task if you are going to fully enjoy this spot.  Time was spent again with friends.

One of the peaks along the ridge had a couple Inukshuks, the man-like stack of rocks.  They seem to always draw one's attention, like dolphins swimming in the boat's wake.

Another cruise through the North Channel again delivered many great experiences.