Ocean Expedition, Transitioning to a new type of adventure.

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climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 21, 2015 - 01:07pm PT
This year I have done two trips to the tropical oceans. The first was in May on Oahu to visit the place I lived the first 5 years of my life. I had some very good clear memories of the place and even managed to find one of the homes we lived at by landmarks and a neighbor of ours who still lived there. (Nanakuli). 40 years had passed and I knew I was going to love Hawaii.. part of me had missed it ever since we left.

I loved the water and the snorkeling and exploring so much that I made a trip to Puerto Rico in September.. went all over the place , rented a boat in La Parguera, snorkeled across a mile of bay on Culebra..WOW .. yeah the Tropical Oceans are calling..I'm as excited as I was when I first started climbing mountains.

Been studying non-stop learning about a whole new world (to me).

I have some small amount of experience using inflatable boats (zodiac type stuff), Been watching youtubes of various things own a copy of Chapmans piloting..blah blah ..am now a certified n00b ready for "yer gunna die" on the ocean.

Have a new dream.. Pretty serious about taking 3 months off .. buying a small R.I.B. or similar unsinkable small cabinless craft (13 to 17ft) 25hp outboard (plus smaller backup) planable at 20+Knots and heading out across the Caribbean from Miami down the Bahamas. If I catch good weather and have gained enough experience/confidence perhaps continue past the Dominican and Puerto Rico, to the Virgin Islands and onward. Or perhaps just chill out never go past Exuma..lol.

Anyone here with experience cruising the Caribbean? Contacts for purchasing a reliable very inexpensive tender type craft and motors in south Florida?

The basic concept is akin to a car camping roadtrip in small station wagon.. many boaters would consider it foolhardy.. a few old timers.. not at all if patient with weather.

Splitter!
Splitter!
Credit: climbski2

10hp Boat rental La Parguera P.R.
10hp Boat rental La Parguera P.R.
Credit: climbski2

Two
Two
Credit: climbski2

Lunch on a Deserted Island
Lunch on a Deserted Island
Credit: climbski2
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
Nov 21, 2015 - 03:07pm PT
Sounds like a great adventure!
Follow the new dream Derek,
we ain't gettin any younger.

Any more sweet tropical photos to share?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2015 - 03:31pm PT
This is where I spent my first day on earth, Mom and Dad took me swimming right here on May 24th 1971. Age 1 day.

Makapu'u Tidepools
Makapu'u Tidepools
Credit: climbski2

2015 #1 Beach in the world? Nice for sure.
2015 #1 Beach in the world? Nice for sure.
Credit: climbski2

Best skinny dipping spot evah!
Governors House Beach P.R.
Governors House Beach P.R.
Credit: climbski2

Top 10 beach in the world? Is very nice..found better.
Top 10 beach in the world? Is very nice..found better.
Credit: climbski2

Great Egret
Great Egret
Credit: climbski2

Fan Culebra
Fan Culebra
Credit: climbski2



GuapoVino

climber
Nov 21, 2015 - 05:35pm PT
Very cool plan. Have you thought about using a sailboat instead of an open cockpit motorboat? I'm working towards doing something along those lines and bought a very small sailboat, taught myself to sail and have been taking lessons in bigger boats. Recently I've been going down with my folding kayak.

A good website for cruisers is noonsite.com. You can find info on cruising to different locations.

There's a good Facebook group called Sailing and Cruising. I think it has about 5000 members and it seems like half of them are cruising around the Caribbean. You can ask almost any question, especially about the Caribbean, and somebody will have an answer.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2015 - 05:49pm PT
TY for the facebook reference!

I have looked at micro sailboats as an option but I have no experience and no good way to gain sailing experience. Also one main concern I have (perhaps unwarrented) is speed. Crossing the gulf stream can take off 3 to 4 knots. Which on a perfect weather (calm) day knocks out perhaps half or all of your speed. Plus i simply have zero sailing experience. I do have whitewater rafting experience and powered inflatable experience. I have confidence in that type of craft in seas far worse than I plan to ever risk.

I am a big fan of speed=safety. Mountains or ocean this seems applicable especially if using craft not normally considered seaworthy. ie under 25 feet or so. That said no one in the powerboat community would consider 20 to 25 knots particularly fast.. however it is very speedy if looking at sailboats in calm seas.

I have to do this on a very low budget. Time I can have in abundance ..so I can wait for those 1 ft or under days and then zip across any longish crossings..hopefully with a buddy boat but perhaps not... with such a small slow craft that invites ridicule.. (60 miles max from what I am seeing) in say 3 to 4 hours at most. With a 4stroke 25hp tohatsu or mercury that would be under 6 gallons fuel.

I am definately talking out my ass a bit since I have such rediculously limited experience. But the more I research the more this seems very doable

Rental anchor line 2 short. Anchor wedged into boardwalk
Rental anchor line 2 short. Anchor wedged into boardwalk
Credit: climbski2
GuapoVino

climber
Nov 21, 2015 - 06:26pm PT
Go on FB and find a guy named Shannon Falcone. He's a professional sailor (Americas Cup crew, etc) and right now is in the middle of a 1000 mile trip through the Caribbean in an open cockpit motor boat. You can find some pictures of it on his FB page. He started in Ft Lauderdale and is going through the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Virgin Islands to his home island of Antigua.

You can find plenty of videos on YouTube of people crossing from FL to the Bahamas on small boats and jet skis. Isn't it about 70 miles? Seems risky but a lot of people do it.

climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2015 - 06:31pm PT
Miami to bimini is about 60 miles... been done on jet skis many many times but always with buddy boats... back in day stories I have read of many folks doing the crossing in 14ft Whalers and a compass. leave early in AM calm... not many doing stuff like that last decade or so apparently. Kinda hard to miss Bimini even if only dead reconning.. just aim a bit south..hit the shelf and turn north if need to. Of course GPS makes this ridiculously easy.
--



Sweet.. Falcone is doing pretty much the trip I'm thinking about but with hella (30x to be exact) more power. I do have one advantage though...dirtbag and minimalist camping capability. WOW he is on Day 5 and apparently already crossing to Hispaniola. ..My plan that would be about day 30 to 60 lol.

He is in way too much a rush to enjoy that amazing world he is crossing. How ya gunna meet any pretty girls going that fast?

Wow the sat update page shows he is already in the Virgin Islands. Weather is crappy last few days too...lol... 8ft plus seas..gives me a lot of confidence. Dude shoulda gone with a hydrofoil in the summer and knocked a day or two off that speedrun.
GuapoVino

climber
Nov 21, 2015 - 06:50pm PT
This guy is going a lot slower



http://youtu.be/syJXrbWU1Aw
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 21, 2015 - 06:56pm PT
hey there say, ... wow, you guys... this is very interesting...

best wishes to you, on your separate adventures, boat-wise...
:)


also:
thanks for sharing the pics, climbski2...


:)

climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 21, 2015 - 06:56pm PT
Hell ya Guapo! that's what I'm talkin bout!! Slightly different but basically the same.
GuapoVino

climber
Nov 21, 2015 - 07:17pm PT
There's a few people on here that are actually doing it. Base104 has some old posts with pics of his 27' Albin Vega. I've seen a few more people posting some awesome pics and stories.
Dropline

Mountain climber
Somewhere Up There
Nov 22, 2015 - 09:01am PT
Although speed can equal safety, speed doesn't assure safety. Ocean weather is at times poorly forecast. With just a little wind your itty bitty boat will be going nowhere fast. If you're in the gulf stream and there is any wind at all out of the north you will be utterly screwed.

If you do embark on this Gilliganish adventure, bring an EPIRB at least. That way if things go seriously wrong the coasties will be able to find you. And bring a Type I PFD.

The two teen boys who disappeared off Jupiter FL this past summer were in a boat similar to the one you are considering. Although young they had a lot of time on the water under their belts already. Things went wrong for them. They had no EPIRB on board and were never found.

"After nearly two days of searching, the Coast Guard said Sunday that teams had spotted the 19-foot boat in which the teens had been traveling. The capsized vessel was discovered 67 nautical miles off Florida's Ponce de Leon Inlet, the Coast Guard said."

Good luck. A trip report would be great.


PS- Don't put too much faith in what safety an "unsinkable" boat provides. If a wave flips your boat upside down then it will be useless to you. The boat those teens were on was found capsized but still afloat and the two were nowhere to be found. In another Florida accident, http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/improper-anchoring-flipped-nfl-players-boat-in-gulf-accident-that-killed/987524, an unsinkable Everglades 21cc flipped due to operator error in the Gulf of Mexico. Three of the four men aboard ultimately died. Again, these guys had no EPIRB. The lone survivor recounted how they could see search aircraft in the distance and how one search aircraft flew right over without seeing them.
john hansen

climber
Nov 22, 2015 - 10:35am PT
One time a friend and I took a ten ft zodiac with a 15 horse motor, out of wiapio valley on the Big Island.
We were going to putt over to Wiamanu valley about a mile down the coast.

There is a current that runs between Maui and Hawaii island, about 2 knots or so.

We got about 1/2 mile out and the motor died.

After a few minutes we got it started again and immediately headed back the way we came, with our tails between our legs. That was a very sobering few minutes till that engine started up.
We would have had no chance of reaching shore with our two oars. Next stop, Guam..

Every couple months , I read about a lone fishermen in 18 or 20 ft boats being overdue. They always search a few days but rarely find them. Happens all the time over here.

The ocean does not care about you or your little boat. You can respect it but it does not respect you.

Be careful out there.



climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 22, 2015 - 01:49pm PT
Ty for the tips and issues to consider. I do have a short list of things that are my main concerns. Flipping or getting separated from the craft at the very top. Loss of propulsion being 3rd. Microburst or other rapidly occurring weather issues are very much a concern. Clearly getting into a life threatening situation would be a real failure... but even requiring assistance is something I do not wish to occur and is simply not something I'm willing to take much chance of. I am glad to be very patient and wait for perfect crossings (preferably with new friends and multiple boats) or just be content to explore the Florida coasts if that becomes the only safe course.

Beacon and waterproof handheld VHF are among things that I will have to be wearing and have secured well to my person on any crossing. Developing a dependable system for righting the craft if flipped is also something I want to master. (although I really really really should not allow any serious risk of that to occur)

One of the reason I want to start from Florida is to be able to take whatever time I need to get things sorted out along the keys and really know If I trust the equipment and conditions.

This is a medium term goal..Within the next 18 months depending on finances.

Really hoping develop some contacts with people in the caribbean and Florida who can help point me in some good directions. Locals are indispensable sources of information.

2 really trustworthy inexpensive used small outboards are going be a key to pulling this off
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Nov 22, 2015 - 02:00pm PT
climbski, you can't buy sailing experience. Learning to sail isn't that
hard, but learning sea sense doesn't have short cuts. You can read a lot
of stuff that will stand you in good stead IF you can remember it when the
sh1t hits the fan but usually book learning doesn't stick too well or
resurrect itself under duress. The sea is at least as unforgiving as the
mountains. But I gather you already know all that. Good on you for being
sensible. A good stout power boat is not to be looked down upon, either,
especially if it has redundant power systems.

signed,
Cap'n Pissgums

Cap'n Pissgums, at yer service, matey!
Cap'n Pissgums, at yer service, matey!
Credit: Reilly
Sailing in Alaska - keepin' one hand on the bottle and the other on the
throttle, so to speak.

And do some research here:
http://www.yachtingworld.com/features/epirbs-plbs-and-man-overboard-aids-62213
SGropp

Mountain climber
Eastsound, Wa
Nov 22, 2015 - 09:29pm PT
It always seemed like taking the lessons you've learned climbing mountains to the ocean is the logical next step.

Starting in 1979 , I started making a series of long voyages in small human powered boats on the east and west coasts of Canada and Alaska. This was in either a traditional rowing dory, a wood framed canvas and rubber folding kayak or a light single fiberglas kayak .

The shortest trip was 5 1/2 weeks , the longest 5 months to Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador.

I either went alone or with my wife. These were all on a very minimal budget, no publicity or sponsorship of any kind, no electronic gadgets and the most basic equipment.

In the course of seven seasons, we covered over 6,000 nautical miles by oar and paddle on some very wild and and rugged coastlines .

The longest open crossing was about 25 miles on the central coast of Labrador. We made it halfway across before an offshore gale came out of the barren interior, sweeping the kayak with endless breaking waves just a few degrees above freezing. The boat was like a living thing, flexing and moving like a wild creature swimming in the frantic sea.

At that point, i realized that a properly designed, built and loaded small craft was capable of enduring far more punishment than it's human crew.

The dory was the same way, with enough sea room the best tactic in a heavy gale was to lie in the bottom and let her drift stern quarter to, rising to every breaking sea .

The trick is to have enough time to allow you to travel when conditions are favorable, lie low on shore when the weather is bad. Even a really small boat can carry enough food and gear for a month in cold conditions, probably more in more temperate climates.

Prepare to be self sufficient, don't count on being rescued or even being seen if you fuk up.

There is a long, long tradition and history of extended travels in small boats all over the world, most of it undocumented and unremarked.




Bargainhunter

climber
Nov 22, 2015 - 09:55pm PT
SGropp, that is an amazing post!

The longest open crossing was about 25 miles on the central coast of Labrador.

Holy Shit! You state that so casually!

While I get Climbtoski2 is into mechanize boat travel, I'd suggest that he look into some small sailboats that, while not as fast, will likely in the long run provide more enjoyment, quiet, sustainability, and adventure.

Check out the West Wight Potter boats in 15 and 19 feet. They are blue water worthy and but with retractable keels and can be trailered and beached easily. I'd love to explore the BC coast in something like that and use it to approach mountaineering objectives. The Voyager 20 is a fixed keel boat that's a bit better for cruising and handles better, but isn't beachable like the Potters.

More than 20 years ago I sailed from San Diego to Hawaii on a 39 footer with two others, kind of a tame trip compared to climbing adventures. I was hoping that we'd hit rough weather and have to bail into the life raft for survival, but that adventure never happened...


For more adventures like SGropp's, read Jill Fredston's book "Rowing to Latitude".


healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Nov 22, 2015 - 09:57pm PT
Went back and forth across the pacific twice with the navy on large ships - both about 600ft, one 10k tons, the other 20k tons - both of which, in typhoons and 80-100 seas, might as well been frigging corks. I've always considered the sea far more unforgiving than the mountains as a result.

It should be noted there are essentially next to no bodies of water which are truly benign, even Lake Michigan where I grew up is an extensive wreck graveyard.




Bottom line is, unless you have a seriously seaworthy craft (even if small) and heavy weather experience, then the name of the game is having a more than necessary stretch of good weather for each leg of the passage and definitely the EPRIB / leash / survival suite (even in warm water) as mentioned by other folks above.

That all said, good luck with your new adventures.

P.S. Have a friend on Maui who, in his sixties, rowed a dory to Lanai from Lahina and back on a fairly regular basis. He seemed to have an innate sense of how to compensate for the current out in the Au'au channel.
Bargainhunter

climber
Nov 22, 2015 - 10:13pm PT
What Healyje said above must be heeded:

definitely the EPRIB / leash / survival suite (even in warm water)

There is quite a bit written on survival at sea.

Chance favors the prepared mind. We had a hand pump reverse osmosis water maker for our life raft as well, fish hooks with long steel wire leaders (bite proof) and hand lines, boxes of Powerbars, sun protection, etc.

It could be weeks before you might be found...

Cue the "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald..."
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
Nov 22, 2015 - 10:15pm PT
Piss easy!

Credit: moosedrool

"On April 19 at 4:18 PM, Polish kayaker Aleksander Doba, 67, became the first person to paddle across the Atlantic Ocean at its widest point 5,400 miles from Portugal to Florida. Doba, with his unruly gray hair and beard, stepped off the dock and onto the grass at New Smyrna Beach weighing 26 pounds less than when he left Lisbon on October 5, 2013."

http://www.mensjournal.com/adventure/watersports/a-record-breaking-atlantic-crossing-by-kayak-20140429

Moose


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