Sunday, May 30, 2010

Navy Pier Fireworks

We finally got to accomplish something we've wanted to do since we started boating...see fireworks at Navy Pier! We invited our friends Sergio and Lisa along, which was their first time out on not only our new boat, but any of our prior boats. Actually it's been a long running joke that it seems everyone else has been out on the lake with us except Sergio and Lisa! I guess the joke was on us this whole time considering they brought an incredible blue cheese dip, habanero raspberry dip, and something called beer bread which was really good with...u guessed it beer! We grilled up some cheeseburgers, then hit the lake to begin our trip to Chicago.

The ride there was actually really rough, the waves were 2-3 footers when the marine forcasted waves 1 foot or less, but as rough as it got Sergio had a huge smile on his face the entire time! At least the ride home was smooth, actually it was so smooth both Lisa and Dana slept the whole ride home.

We arrived in Chicago around 9:30 which gave us plenty of time to find the perfect spot for viewing! Shortly after we anchored we starting hearing a ton of honking and cheers that seemed to come from everywhere, not just the boats. We realized the Blackhawks had just won one of it's playoff games against Philly! One thing you can say about Chicago is they love they're sports teams!

All four of us climbed on the bow to get ready to watch the show, when a Chicago police boat came by us on plane, and not more than 30-40 feet away on it's way, not to an emergency, but to set up the perimeter away from the pier!! I yelled to hang on, but we think Lisa got the wrong message because she grabbed on to Sergio's arms which were wrapped around her leaving Sergio with nothing to grab on to! They both almost flew into the drink as the boat shifted violently. Now...I support the boys in blue, but come on that was complete B.S. If I had done the same thing to them I'm sure I would be working overtime trying to pay the hefty fines I probably would have received!
Well we didn't let that little incident ruin our night, and shortly after the fireworks started and all was forgotten. It was well worth the trip. Seeing Chicago lit up at night, and watching the fireworks launching over Navy Pier from the lake is something you really need to see to appreciate. What a beautiful city!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let There Be Lights

Before we even new what boat we were getting I knew this was going to be the first modification done! A couple of years ago I came across a video on YouTube of a Searay crossing a lake at dusk with these bright blue lights coming out of the back of it....I knew I had to have it!

After the paper work was signed on our boat, I immediately approached Dennis the service manager at GSC about installing a pair of blue Lumitec Seablaze3 underwater lights on the transom of our new boat. I had originally planned to install these myself, but I just couldn't bring myself up to the task of drilling holes in a perfectly good I left it to the pro!
Dennis did an excellent job on the install of the lights, and while the boat was in his shop I also had him install the mount plate on the swim platform for our new stainless grill! We can't say enough good things about the outstanding service we have received from Dennis at GSC! To say he has gone above and beyond the call of duty is truly an understatement!!

I have to say, once we got to test these lights away from shore and out in the clear waters of Lake Michigan...we were blown away by how bright these lights are! It's like looking down into a well lit swimming pool at night, and the halo of light not only is in the back of the boat, it extends toward the front of the boat due to reflection.

 Click Here for more info:           Lumitec Seablaze3

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The naming ceremony...and Poseidons response to cheap champagne

It took us quite a while to come up with the name of our boat not because we aren't creative, but because we couldn't decide if we should go with a fun or a serious name. Initially it was all serious or elegant names, but so many of our friends loved the name of our first boat, a 1973 Starcraft bowrider named Seapickle that we eventually decided it was too good of a name to be used once!

If you are unsure what a seapickle is you can do a google search and find the definition in the urban dictionary. When we've been asked by kids what it means...well it's a sea cucumbers cousin of course!

It's old maritime lore that when naming or renaming a boat certain procedures must be performed to please the god of the sea Poseidon and the gods of the winds for fair weather and safe travel. We're not real superstitious, but when it comes to boating...we're not taking any chances!

We performed the whole ceremony as instructed by saying a script and then tossing a glass of champagne into the lake in all four directions north, south, east, and west. What happened next was very strange. We where about four miles out into the lake on a flat calm day, and as soon as I tossed the last last glass of champagne into the water four very steep waves, I would guess 3 footers came up behind us, but the strange thing was they didn't extend very far past the width of the boat on either side...very strange. We literally spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure of where they came from because there were no other boats around on a flat calm day.Our only guess is that it was a message from Poseidon himself that either everything is ok, or that we shouldn't of told Bill and Mina to pick up the cheapest champagne they could find on the way to the boat that day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maiden Voyage to New Buffalo Michigan!

Today is our maiden voyage aboard the Seapickle II, and we are loving it!! We spent the morning and early afternoon shopping and preparing the boat for the trip. The weather did not cooperate as well as we would have liked, but after buying a new fleece from Bass Pro Shop in Portage, it was time to head out. We left port ok, and started down the channel to the song "Into the Mystic" from the Swell Season concert, as is our tradition for the beginning of every journey.

Turning out into the lake, we quickly learned that the marine forecast we checked earlier in the day was not quite correct. The lake was very choppy and rough... not a smooth maiden voyage at all. It was mostly one to two footers, but by the time we hit Michigan City we were hitting three and four foot waves. We took turns at the wheel, with our average speed at about 24 mph until we reached Michigan City, and once it got too choppy, we cut the speed down to about 8 mph the rest of the way. Our total trip time was about an hour and a half.

Once we arrived in New Buffalo, we found the marina and slip #13 without a problem, but due to recent heavy rainfall the current of the river was very strong. The first time we tried docking... we hit the dock on the starboard side... second time we hit a pole... but the third time we made it ok! Dana learned how to tie up dock lines correctly and did an excellent job.

We worked up an appetite battling waves for over an hour, and Ben started to set up the grill for the first time! We had been very eager to try it out and grill our first meal. Unfortunately... our planning did not include checking to see if the grill had an igniter nor bringing any kind of lighter or matches... so it was time to try out that microwave!! After a delicious dinner of hot dogs and goldfish crackers, we set out into town to do a little exploring. New Buffalo was actually our first trip together when we started dating (just about 4 years ago), so the walk into town brought back some good memories for both of us.

At the Sweetwater Boating store (the only store still opened by the time we arrived), we picked up a floppy straw hat for Dana and a Cruising Memories Boaters Diary to record our journeys in.

After stopping for coffee and hot chocolate at the South Bend Chocolate Shop, we finished off the night reading and relaxing in the boat. We're looking forward to coffee and a nice breakfast in town in the morning, before heading back to Portage.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Delivery of Seapickle II

Delivery day has arrived and with it came nasty weather. I was already nervous about the considerable jump in size from a 19ft ski boat to a 28ft cruiser, but factor in steady 40+ mph wind, cold weather, and docking for the first time in these condition in front of a crowd and I'm sure you can understand why I was a little stressed! Amazingly with the help of my good friend Billy and the two guys delivering the boat on standby at the dock to catch the boat, I was able to smoothly glide into our slip!

Billy and I spent the next 1 1/2 hours trying to figure out how to install the canvas, while Dana and Mina went to pick up lunch. Figuring out where all the canvas pieces go for the first time is hard enough, but trying to stretch and snap it into place when it's cold out sure didn't make things any easier.