Greetings from the bottom of the Georgian Bay! Four weeks ago we moved onto our boat and what an adventure it has been! The past week has gone quite quickly and we have had some great successes as we get ready to start the Trent/Severn Waterway. Or course the biggest success is about the mast, which you will read about below. But there is also news to share about the tachometer and the water leak. Check it out at the end of this! We are at anchor now and the phone coverage is not super as I’d really like to get this posted today, but hopefully it will be enough to get this online. If you read this, then it worked. If you can’t read this, then it didn’t work.
Last week Wednesday we had travelled from Killarney at the end of the North Channel and beginning of the Georgian Bay south east to Wingfield Basin (I spelled it wrong last week) on the tip of the Bruce Peninsula – a distance of 48.3 nautical miles. It was a delightful cove that allows protection from wind and storms in all directions and we shared the cove with 9 other boats for the night. Sharon broke out her inflatable stand up paddleboard (SUP) again and Max and I ventured out on some trails around the cove. We grilled that evening on the boat for dinner and reveled in the stillness and beauty surrounding us as we watched the sun go down and listened to the many birds around us.
The next morning, July 19, we motored east to an anchorage off Cape Croker on the Bruce Peninsula called Little Port Elgin. There was a public beach access area we were able to dinghy to so Max could do his business. (Yes, we’ve kind of given up on the boat potty-training for him for now. It’s a pain to take him ashore when anchored out, but there’s enough to deal with without stressing about that. Go ahead, call us wimps!)
The two passages in the Georgian Bay so far had been in very light winds (3.7 knots was the highest wind we saw) and calm seas. The passage from Little Port Elgin to Dutchman’s Cove Marina in Penetanguishene was different. Not outrageous, but we were into 5 – 6 foot waves with not as much wind to push us through at 6 – 8 knots, so we motor sailed the whole way. This was having us cutting across the bottom of the Georgian Bay so we wanted to make it across as quickly as possible. I’m still not sure where the waves came from without the higher winds. The closer we got to the Midland, ON, area the wind did pick up as well, but because we were then more protected by land the waves were only 3 – 4 footers.
It was a crazy arrival at Dutchman’s Cove Marina as they didn’t answer the phone or the VHF to let us know where to pull the boat up to – and it wasn’t apparent from the water at all! We circled a bit, and they finally answered the phone and directed us in to their service dock.
At 11:00 am the next morning, Saturday, July 21, they fired up the crane to take our mast off! Sharon and I had already spent three hours that morning getting things set to be ready for them, but the mast removal went flawlessly. Bob Green, the owner, and his son were so helpful in removing it and making suggestions about how to wrap all the lines and shrouds. And the mast crutch support system my son-in-law and I created, along with the rear support made by a fellow Beneteau 411 sailboat owner, Tom Cooper, was totally in line and held the mast perfectly! What a huge relief that it went onto the support so readily and easily. Thanks so much, Ryan and Tom!
Sharon and I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the deck up and tying the mast down to the supports and the boat so it doesn’t bounce around. And then we crashed! It was a very hot day, and it was a lot of work, but we were so grateful it all worked well!
Sunday was a rainy day – something we had not seen in a long time. The mast removal came with two free nights stay at the marina, but since it was cruddy and they had no one needing the service dock, they let us stay another night free of charge. Thank you!
The weather was starting to turn kind of iffy with rain and thunderstorms over the next few days, so we decided to leave the marina Monday morning, fuel up at a neighboring marina, and then anchor nearby for a couple of days until the weather clears up a bit. On Wednesday, July 25, the storms are supposed to be done so that is the day we plan on starting the Trent/Severn Waterway. The second lock already is called the Big Chute and is the one in whichwe will be lifted in a huge lift over the road to the waterway on the other side. We think it would be better to do this one on a nice day rather than in rain and thunderstorms. Call us crazy!
So today, July 24, we are just relaxing on the boat and getting ready for our next chapter of the canals. It also is our youngest daughter’s, Kristi’s, 27th birthday, so it is giving us a lot of time to reflect and just be amazed at the wonderful person she has become! Happy Birthday, Kristi!
The next chapter starts tomorrow, July 25. They say it can take about a week or so to go through the Trent/Severn Waterway. We enter at Port Severn and exit into Lake Ontario at Port Trent – sounds like most people come the other way on the waterway, but we always like to be different!
After entering Lake Ontario we will cross the top of it over to Oswego, New York, where there is a connector canal to the Erie Canal. We will take the Erie Canal east to the Hudson River and take it south to the Catskills, New York, area where we will have the mast put back up, and then we will head to New York.
How long will all this take? We’re not sure as there are so many variables, but it may not be inconceivable that we’re in New York by the end of August. We’ll let you know!
P.S. I forgot to include this when I first posted this, but come to find out we have a tachometer sensor on our engine. The trouble with the tachometer was a loose connection to this sensor. It wasn’t at all where the guy from De Tour Village told me it was. I think he was just lucky in jiggling wires in there and having it start to work. Anyway, a very knowledgeable guy at Dutchman’s Cove Marina came to look at it, and after consulting my engine manual he found where it was and diagnosed it. It may need new clips at some point, and it may stop while underway again, but now I know where the connection is and can fix it. How cool is that to have a tach that actually works!
And, the water leak, which is just after the water strainer coming from the two tanks, seems to be stopping. The connector from the strainer was leaking (you may remember I removed the gasket from the strainer as it was causing a big leak) so I opted at this point to just wrap it all with Rescue Tape. I know, I know, it’s not the Right Way to fix it, but I was hoping it would work for now. It, or course, has not fixed it (does taking the lazy way out ever really work?) but has slowed the leak down considerably. Interestingly, the last three times I have checked it there has been absolutely no leaking. Hmmm…..! I’ll continue to monitor!