Monday, May 27, 2019


#skipperdarrell #wkglgt

So, we made it to New York. Several complications have cropped up that we have to work around. Fortunately, these complications are not deal breakers. But they are a pain in the neck.
As I write this blog entry, we're tucked in nice and warm at a lovely hotel in Lake George, NY. And if you've been following these semi-rants, the reason we're here and not on the boat back in Brewerton is because the Erie Canal and Oswego Canal are not open. This is due to unusually high waters from snow runoff and extra heavy amounts of rain over the last couple of months. This problem isn't just in New York State either. It's also plaguing Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. So much so that there are marina restrictions, coastal flooding, and navigation warnings about violent currents. Not a pretty picture.
Let me catch you up on some of the details.
We arrived at Rochester, NY on Tuesday, 5/21/2019. The details of that are covered in the previous blog entry.
On Wednesday morning, 5/22/2019, we motored on to Buffalo, NY, to be interviewed for our Nexus border control cards. The purpose of this card is to streamline our entries and exits between the U.S. and Canada. We figured it would be helpful over the next five years as we explore as much of the Great Lakes as we can on both sides of the border. That is still to be proved, but the application process was more involved.

In addition to providing all the necessary information for both country's powers that be to decide that we're good 'ol fashion patriotic 'Muricans and friends to all Canadians (Let's Go Blues, eh!), we had to be interviewed in person by border control agents from both countries. The only place to do that that was anywhere convenient to that part of the country was in Buffalo, NY. We anticipated a grilling of sorts.
We arrived at our appointed times at the modest Nexus office in Niagara Falls, NY. The uniformed staff from both countries cheerfully and efficiently took our pictures and fingerprints. Then, both Lisa and I together were "interviewed" by agents from both countries. Each agent gave us photocopies about how the Nexus program worked in their countries and ... that was it. No grilling. No third degree. No white-hot light shining in our faces. No billy clubs smacked across our heads. All the background checks were done in, well, the background before we arrived. We were in and out in fifteen minutes. No pain, no strain.
We then drove from Buffalo all the way to Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton where we discovered our starting off our 2019 edition of the Why Knot Great Lakes Grand Tour was complicated.
Now, I think it is very appropriate for me to say that the folks at Winter Harbor have been as polite, efficient, accommodating and professional as anyone in the marine business we've come across. Let there be no doubt about that. But they and we are in a tight spot.
The aforementioned weather and water conditions are to blame. The Erie Canal locks are being opened in odd sequences while the Oswego Canal is still closed. That means there will now be a rush of boats from as far back as Waterford, NY, at lock #2 into the Erie Canal all heading west. And, lets' face it, the vast number of the boats all want to head up the Oswego to Lake Ontario, not further west to Buffalo. And, like I said, the Oswego is still closed. That means they are all going to go where? Winter Harbor, or at least Sylvan Beach if they're smart.
So, we're going to not be in a super hurry to get out of Winter Harbor. We simply can't.
And they still have to do a bottom job on the boat.
So, here we are in Lake George where we're looking forward to a relaxing weekend amongst the Adirondacks, making lemonade out of lemons, and Tom Collins out of the lemonade.
Oh, and they have boat rentals!

Thursday, May 23, 2019


Getting to the boat in New York was more difficult than it should have been. And now that we're here, we're not sure what to do next.

I have a tradition of playing Bob Seger's great rocker, Get Out Of Denver, whenever we're getting ready to leave Denver to head to the boat at the beginning of every boating season. The idea is that the hectic nature of the song matches our anticipation of being out of the mountains and high desert plains of Colorado and getting back to sea level and on our boat, Why Knot. 

Usually, we do pretty well traveling. We very rarely have to scramble, and our penchant for planning and Lisa's wizardry at booking flights and hotels usually makes for a hassle-free experience. But the omens that presented themselves to us while getting out of Denver this time were not good ones. 

First was getting to the airport. We always use Super Shuttle and have found them to be reliable and cost-effective. Denver International Airport is an hour's drive from our house, but its automatic scheduling function always allowed for plenty of time to make the trip. This time they did send us a rescheduling notice that they were going to pick us up twenty minutes earlier than originally scheduled: 4:20am instead of 4:40am. No big deal. But the reason they did that was that they added three hotel pickups downtown. That did not go as they anticipated. Everyone was in position and ready, that wasn't the problem, but the schedule was too tight to get all of us to the airport in a timely fashion. 

You know how it is said to get to an airport two hours before your flight? How about one hour and fifteen minutes? (All of us passengers had departure times at 7:00am, and we arrived at DIA at 5:45am.) And that was before standing in as long a security checkpoint line as I've ever seen in Denver. And why? They added a new row of guide ropes that channeled every single flyer to be sniffed by a bomb dog. Great.

Lisa was unusually nervous about the whole thing. (The tight schedule, not the bomb-sniffing dog.) She's cool as a cucumber under pressure, but this whole thing threw her demeanor to crap. I have to admit I was perturbed too – angry actually – and my mind went into crisis management mode. I called Super-Shuttle while we stood in the checkpoint line and read them the riot act, which did nothing except make me feel like I was in control of something. But fear not, we got through the checkpoint and made it to the concourse trains. No problem there, except that damn prerecorded Colorado cowboy was incredibly chirpy for that time of the morning. 

Of course, our flight was on Southwest Airlines whose gates are on C concourse, the furthest away from the terminal, and particularly at gate C-46, one gate shy of being the furthest away from, well, everything. But we hustled like crazy and got to the gate where we discovered ... there wasn't an airplane for us to be late for. Our original flight plan wasn't terrible except for the early flight time out of Denver. We were going to Baltimore first for a three-hour layover. That was okay with us. BWI actually is a very friendly airport with lots of places to eat, and we figured we'd get a nice lunch and wait for our puddle-jumper flight from Baltimore to Rochester, NY. No big deal.

But our flight out of Denver was delayed 2½ hours. We were afraid that would cascade to make us miss our flight out of Baltimore. And it almost did. That is except after we scrambled to get from our arrival gate to our departure gate in Baltimore ... there wasn't a plane for the flight to Rochester either. We were forty-five minutes delayed getting out of Baltimore. By the time we arrived at Rochester, got out luggage, got our rental car, and checked into our room at the hotel, it was 7:00. Accounting for time zone changes, we were on the road, er, air, thirteen hours, and it seemed we spent all of it scrambling.

But, as I'll tell you in the next post, WE MADE IT TO NEW YORK. NOW WHAT? PART 2, that all now seems like mere inconveniences.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Sounds like a Plan to Me (at Least to Montreal)

#skipperdarrell #trawlercruising

To me, creating a cruise plan for an entire season is half the fun of the entire boating experience. It's a natural extension of my work life. Building some sales, service or production plan from start to finish for economy, efficiency and productivity was an important skill-set I could always count on. I was a planning gunslinger; give me a desired outcome, a deadline, a budget, and a dry-erase marker board and I was in my element. Those were the days. But I'm getting off track.

If you've watched any of my videos or read my blog posts, you'd know I go into levels of planning minutiae that I get kidded about frequently. There have also been some very mean-spirited criticism. It's usually along the lines that I'm somehow betraying the spirit of what recreational boating is all about. “It's about freedom and not having to follow rules,” I've been told. Well, if boating is about freedom, then I'm free to plan my little heart out. Besides, my planning has helped us see amazing things and enjoy our lifestyle in immeasurable ways, all with the aforementioned economy, efficiency and productivity.

But for this 2019 cruising season in the Thousand Islands in Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence Seaway, Montreal, Ottawa and the Rideau Canal, even my planning bent is a bit bent over. There's so much to see and do, there are so many options and possibilities, all I've been able to do is plan the major destinations. From almost any point, especially in the Thousand Islands, we could go in any direction and be able to enjoy someplace remarkable.

I guess what I'm saying is that (shudder) I have to wing it once we get there.

Here's what I've got so far.


May 21 – Fly to Rochester, NY. The reason we fly to Rochester and not Syracuse (which is closer to the marina) is that Southwest Airlines does not serve Syracuse. Besides, the Erie and Oswego Canals don't open until May 17th, so we couldn't get to Lake Ontario anyway. Also, our boat is in indoor storage and back in the warehouse about halfway. The locally owned boats come out first. We also have to drive to Buffalo on May 22nd to be interviewed for our Nexus clearance and cards.

May 24 – to (hopefully) Sylvan Beach, NY, 22.0 miles east across Oneida Lake. I see this as a shakedown cruise. We also like Sylvan Beach and being on their free wall over Memorial Day weekend should be fun.

May 28 – Back to Winter Harbor Marina on the west end of Oneida Lake. 22 miles.

May 29 – To Oswego, NY – Oswego International Marina. 32.7 sm, 8 locks.

May 31 – To Rochester, NY – Port of Rochester Marina. 58.0 sm. Another shakedown cruise.

June 7 – To Little Sodus Bay – an anchorage, 48.8 sm.

June 9 – To Sackets Harbor, NY – Public Wall or Navy Point Marina – 54.7 sm

June 12 – To Clayton, NY – Clayton Harbor Municipal Marina 41.0 sm

At this point, it starts to get a little hazy. We'll be coming in and out of the U.S. and Canada several times.

June 19 – To Gananoque, ON – Gananoque Municipal Marina 11. 5 sm

June 26 – To Georgina Island, ON – 10.0 sm. Provincial park docks or anchor.

July 1 – To Alexandria Bay, NY – 1000 Islands Yacht Club, 9.3 sm. Kind of an odd choice. It's on the other side of the main river channel from Alexandria Bay, but I think this marina is more accommodating of our boat, but I could be wrong.

July 7 – To Brockville, ON – Brockville Municipal Marina, 21.4 miles.

July 9 – To Prescott, ON – Prescott Marina (aka Sandra Lawn Marina) 12.3 miles

July 14 – To Moulinette Island, ON – anchorage, 41.0 sm

July 15 – To Creg Quay Marina, 46.9 sm

July 16 – Now, at this point, our next major stop is Port D'Escale Du Vieux Port De Montreal in Montreal. But it's 64-ish miles from Creg Quay with four locks. That's too much for one day. So, I have to come up with someplace to stop for the night, most likely an anchorage. ANY SUGGESTIONS? That means we'll arrive in Montreal on July 17th.

That's as far as I've gotten so far.

You may have noticed that several of the stops are for an entire week. I've purposely created some wells of time that we can use to go other places, but I don't know what those are yet.

Next, Montreal to Ottawa to Kingston back to Winter Harbor.

Website and blog -
YouTube -
Facebook - Skipper Darrell
Twitter - @skipperdarrell

Also, just to go totally overboard, you can also search #skipperdarrell on any of the platforms and find my content. #skipperdarrell

Here's a bunch of keywords: great loop, great loop map, live aboard a boat, live aboard boats, liveaboard, liveaboard boater, liveaboard boats, liveaboard cruising stories, liveaboard marina florida, liveaboard sailboat, liveaboard trawler, skipper darrell, the great loop, the great loop boats, trawler, trawler cruising, trawler for sale, trawler liveaboard, trawler yachts

Friday, March 29, 2019

Let's Get Reacquainted

#skipperdarrell #trawlercruising

Greetings! I'm Darrell Grob and I want to welcome you back to The On Board Life and Why Knot Great Lakes Grand Tour blogs, two different blogs about our boating life. And since you had at one time subscribed to one of these two blogs, you actually had subscribed to both. Ain't life grand? The purpose of this post is to reacquaint you with them and fill in the spaces about how I want to share our trawler cruising lifestyle with you.

The On Board Life (TOBL) is dedicated to the trawler cruising lifestyle in general. We're living the dream and loving the lifestyle. Posts can be about anything having to do with big boats (sail and power), marinas, destinations, opinions, reviews, or any other subject having to do with trawler cruising.

The Why Knot Great Lakes Grand Tour (WKGLGT) is the log, chronicle, and record of our current boating adventure, a 5+ year exploration of The Great Lakes, North America's freshwater treasure. It's our greatest adventure yet, and you're on the crew.

With these two blogs, you'll be able to keep track of not only our routes and destinations, with a plethora of pictures and videos to boot, but also stay abreast of boating issues and interests. It's a fun combination.

Now, on top of all that, there is also the TOBL/WKGLGT YouTube channel that has dozens of videos about every aspect of our trawler cruising life. You need to subscribe to that.

I'm a Pinterest fanatic too. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Here are the links.
Facebook - Skipper Darrell
Twitter - @skipperdarrell

Also, just to go totally overboard, you can also search #skipperdarrell on any of the platforms and find my content. #skipperdarrell

“But Skipper Darrell,” you ask, “why are you doing all this?”

Simple. It's because I'm crazy. But Admiral Lisa and I want to share our experiences with everyone. And after several years of emphasizing make videos, I decided I liked writing the blogs more. But there will still be videos, but not as complex as they have been recently. (They're hard work!)

So, if you'd like to remain a subscriber to the blogs, you don't have to do anything else. You're in. If you want to unsubscribe, click the unsubscribe link in the subscription reminder you received. But do subscribe to the YouTube channel and friend me on Facebook. (I'm very sensitive, and if you don't like me or subscribe, I'll be crushed. Really. My eyes are tearing up already.)

Here's a bunch of keywords.
great loop, great loop map, live aboard a boat, live aboard boats, liveaboard, liveaboard boater, liveaboard boats, liveaboard cruising stories, liveaboard marina florida, liveaboard sailboat, liveaboard trawler, skipper darrell, the great loop, the great loop boats, trawler, trawler cruising, trawler for sale, trawler liveaboard, trawler yachts