Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to all. We're all together again, and loving every minute of it. OK, well, not every minute :) The girls still have their little "arguments".
We made our 2nd round trip to Buffalo, to see my family. It was good seeing some of my sisters, and their families last night. The "kids", are not kids anymore. Amazing how fast they grow. Thanks to Robin and Chuck for hosting again. Sorry we missed Lynn, Bill and the girls.

The girls are home, and bouncing in and out with friends, and we're done traveling for the holidays. I just want to sit back, relax, and maybe get a few chores done, but without the stress of deadlines. This is a good time to melt away some of the stress that seems to cling to us during our daily routine. I can escape the auto industry until Jan. 4th.

Nicole brought her dog Mo, home with her. He's a cute little guy, and very well behaved. Kind of nice having a dog to pal around with again. We keep calling him "Murf", as he looks so much like our last dog.



We can't forget Chewy, who couldn't make the trip, and had to spend Christmas in a kennel. Knowing this cat, Kelly is going to have a fun time when she gets this feline home. I'm sure Chewy is already plotting the payback she's going to deliver.




Well, "Cheers to you all", this holiday season. Someday soon, we will blogging from the water, and not from the dirt. Preparations are being made  :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vitamin D

So, as the winter months arrive, both Deb and I start to feel, well, kind of crappy. We always thought it was just the cold, the snow, the gray skies, the miserable shoppers, the treacherous driving, going to work in the dark, coming home in the dark, ice storms, and no sailing.
Well it's not that at all!  We lack vitamin D! Actually we lack a lot of vitamin D. Deb was really low, and that can explain a lot of things going on, but I won't go there. Maybe I just did. I was told to start taking it, as I was very low too, and Deb has to mega-dose. All the aches and pains are not all due to old age creeping in. The generally low level of energy and the blah's, that we've been feeling, have a lot to due with low levels of D. We need sun!  Twenty minutes in the sun gives you all you need for the day. If you are in the northern latitudes, you can't get it from the sun during the winter. I guess pills will have to get us through to May. Now I understand why so many cruisers feel so great after they sail away. It's not the lifestyle, it's the sun!  OK, the lifestyle is pretty cool too :)

So, for all you miserable assholes north of latitude 35... you need more vitamin D!

Google vitamin D, or read this.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

We're not from Texas


We made it back from Corpus Christi Texas, after a great holiday break with the kids. Kelly flew in from Oregon, and we all squeezed into Nicole's apartment for a good time. I even went easy on the boyfriend, who I know is reading this. Hey Bubba.



 We took off for San Antonio, and got a hotel room on the river walk. The river walk is nice, but it's all restaurants and hotels. People just walk or ride a boat around, looking for food. Kind of weird, like a gluttony trail, but it was a good experience. Deb scored front row seats for the Holiday Boat Parade. This was THE event in San Antonio, and there was a huge crowd in town for it. It was nice, but they could have done a better job on the floats.












You know, you can't find a good pizza in Texas. We even went to an Italian restaurant, and it still sucked. I guess they're all about steak and seafood. The meals were pricey, and the food was nothing to get excited about. The TexMex looked good, but lacked variety. Seems like every menu was the same. What made it nice were the people. If the river walk was in NY, they'd be pulling drunks and floaters from the thing every hour. If it was in Rochester...it wouldn't be in Rochester.











We stopped by the Alamo, because, well, it's the Alamo. It was a good stop, and a good history lesson. Never realized it was a church. There were some guys dressed up in period costumes walking around, and you were not allowed to touch anything, and make sure you take your hat off, or some angry guy dressed up like a frontier warrior will yell at you. It wasn't me. I took my hat off before entering.
I did manage to buy a Stetson. My first cowboy hat :) Always wanted one. I got my buddy in Poland a hat too. He likes American westerns, and wanted a black hat. That should look good on the streets of Krakow.





The people in Texas are nice, very friendly and they like to talk. It was a good experience, and we were treated nice, even though our nasally new york accent told them we were not from Texas, they wanted to talk to us anyway.

It was good seeing the girls. They look great, and are doing well on their own. Miss them. Next time we go we'll spend more time laying around the beach, and just hanging out.






Thank you Nicole, for putting up with us in your apartment, and making a mess in your kitchen. We appreciate all the effort. Sorry about having you purchase all the stuff we never used. Leave the Gosling there for me for next year :) 




Nicole has a little buddy called Mo. He looks eerily similar to our old dog Murf. He's been a great pal for Nicole. Nice sweater.




Happy Birthday to Kelly! Love ya kiddo.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

blogging at 20,000 ft

I am watching the sunrise from 20,000 feet, as we fly to Atlanta, then to San Antonio to visit our daughter. This jet has WiFi, which is pretty cool. Seems every other person has a laptop running. The woman across from me is watching Dirty Harry. I would have thought a chic flick, but interesting choice for a young lady. She smiles every time someone gets blown away. Yikes. I hate flying. With all components made in China these days, it is always on my mind when I've got my ass so high up in the sky. Nice and warm in Texas. Hope to get in some beach time. Adios for now.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Humdrum

It's winter. Well, not officially, but it snowed the other night, so in my book, it's winter. I can already feel the humdrum starting. The humdrum is the winter routine we fall into. We go to work in the dark, we come home in the dark. The weather is cold and gray, and we rarely see the light of day. We have a lot of work to do this winter, in getting the house ready for sale, so maybe this will break us out of our winter blah's. After the holidays, we settle in for the usually frigid cold that we get up here on the shores of Ontario. It is really getting tougher to endure every year . We keep asking ourselves if we should just chuck it all and go. For now, we just have to survive another NY winter. We are all covered, and winterized. Now we wait, and try to break, from the Humdrum.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boat Show

Had a nice time at the Annapolis sailboat show last weekend. Bought some davits! That's about it though, as the damn davits are pretty expensive. We got there Friday, and left on Monday, and enjoyed some good food and drink, as well as running into friends, even if it was brief. We got to see Alan, currently parked in Spa creek, as he assembles crew to head over to Bermuda. We also ran into folks we have seen in many of our cruising ports on Lake Ontario. Was a fun time, but it was a short time. Hanging out with cruisers, just makes it harder to go back to the daily grind, and the long winter ahead.
Alan got a good spot at the show Annapolis streets
The Aviator Ale was very tasty at McGarvey's saloon, and that is by far our favorite spot for a refreshing break. Very friendly folks there, and great service too. We signed up with SCCA, and met some nice folks there. Alan told us we just missed Web Chiles, and Beth Leonard. Damn, that would have been cool to talk to them. Got some work to do to wrap up the boat this weekend. I hope the rain holds off, as it will be miserable out there if it's wet, and cold.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

End of the cruise

At anchor in Sodus Bay, Thornton Point With the sunrise comes our last day on vacation in '09. We had a great time, and some adventures. We got our blood pumping, and then we were so relaxed, we barely had a heart rate. Deb was great at the helm, as usual, and did a great job maneuvering at anchor. We've got the anchor dance down pretty good now. As soon as we dropped anchor in our home waters, we got calls. One inviting us over for fun on Unabated, and the other from Nicole. Don't know how she did it, but as soon as we settled into the cockpit, she called. By the time we finished talking to the girls, called customs, launched the dinghy, the party was over. Oh well. We were pretty tired from crossing the lake, so it was an early evening. Today we'll re-fuel, pumpout, and clean up the ship. We now have a list of things that need to change on the boat in order for us to live on her. That should be an interesting post.

From the August cruise (last cruise post)

Belleveille We got a slip at Meyers Marina, lucky A13. It took quite a turn to get into this slip, and the poor girl there was trying to pull 30,000 lbs without putting the line around a cleat. We got in, and I gave her a nice tip for her effort. Amazing how many guys stood around and did not help her. Where have all the gentlemen gone? We were praying another boat did not park next door, or we'd have a tough time getting out. We had the break-wall directly behind us, and Alert is not very agile in reverse. We had dinner at Paolo's, and it was great as usual. We walked this time, and it was pretty tiring coming back, especially after a couple glasses of wine. When we got back, we had a nice couple and their son from Toronto docked next to us. They invited us to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for next year, as they felt we should explore the west side of the lake. We will do this before we leave the lake altogether. Next day was the bike ride from hell. It was 90 degrees and sunny with no breeze at all. We hit the river trail, and after a couple miles, we thought we should hit a convenience store for some water for the boat. We were looking for a couple of gallon jugs, and let me tell you there is not one convenience store anywhere in this town! Not even a gas station, or anything within 5 miles of the marina. We peddled our asses everywhere, and could not find anything. It got so bad that Deb had to sit down with some water before she passed out. We found a little market in the heart of the city, but if offered only litre bottles, and we drank most of them. We bought four of them and stuffed them into my backpack. We remembered a small market on the other side of town, and we got three gallons. Two for Debs handlebars, and one for the backpack. I could barely balance the bike with all the water on my back, and Deb sure looked goofy with gallon jugs on her handlebars. We made it back to the boat without getting run over. Dinner again at Paulo's, after we drank most of the water. This time it was pizza night. Wood fired and delicious. We paddled back to the boat for a nice quiet night, and a nice quiet escape. Leaving Canada Belleville is behind us, as I got out of that slip without hitting anything. Into the Murray canal, and out, with a polite Bon Voyage from the bridge masters. So here we are in the middle of Lake Ontario with no wind, but no flies :) Motoring home at 7.5 knots, and thinking how long it will be before we can do this again. Too long, and too cold.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Portland Oregon

We finally dipped our toes into the Pacific. We went to the left coast to visit Kelly and Eric, and managed to get out there in perfect weather. Well, not completely perfect, but pretty nice. It was great seeing Kelly and Eric, and having her walk us around Portland, Astoria, Cannon Beach, and Mount Multnomah. Our feet are still recovering. Portland is an interesting town. Very green in many ways, and I really like the free public transportation. Something every city should have. It was nice to see a thriving downtown, unlike Rochester. It was a great trip, and it's good to know the kids are alright.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More of the August cruise

Prinyer Cove, Ontario Canada We anchored in Prinyer cove, on the north side of a peninsula, just west of Amherst Island. View Larger Map After we were firmly anchored to the earth, some folks in another Morgan stopped by in their kayaks to say hello. They looked at our boat some years ago. Interesting how sailors all seem to be connected somehow, usually through friends, or boats. They are on their way to Sodus Bay, but are waiting for wind. We have to be back by Sunday, so no wind means motor boating all the way back. What a sleepy little anchorage on a beautiful sunny morning. I made a nice pasta dish last night, but my stomach has not been the same since. Maybe as work gets closer, my stomach gets worse. Today it's off to Belleville, or Waupoos. If they can fit us in at Belleville, then it's off to the west, otherwise it's southwest. OK, Deb says we're not going to Waupoos. Westward Ho! video

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From the August cruise


Still in Gananoque.
We exchanged names and blogs with Janice and Bob on Tsamaya. I was invited to look inside at this beauty, but declined, as I smelled like a bear. I have to learn to be more sociable, or get better at taking early showers.



We took the bikes for a ride in the morning, and followed the river for a few miles and back. We went down to the waterfront for a smoothy, and watched all the landlubbers walking around. What is it with guys wearing Capri pants up here? Unless you're dressing up as a pirate, you should leave these for the ladies to wear. The weather was spectacular today, and should be for the rest of the week. We spotted Bill from Avatar, and he's here with Nautilus for showers and shopping.




We're going to lazy around the boat today, then head out for dinner. Tomorrow it's Prinyer cove, then either Belleville, or home.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A new home for the summer

After little thought, and a few emotions, we decided to leave Oak Park Marina. We have been toying with the idea of selling the house, and moving aboard for the summer. If this happens, then we really have to evaluate our marina, to see if it's suitable for LA's (LiveAboards). We gave the place an evaluation, and decided we had to go. Oak Park is a great place, and we would stay if we weren't looking to LA. So our new home for the summer will be in Katlynn Marina, up at Sodus Point, NY. 

I wish we could take the A-dock sailors with us, as they are the best, but time to move on. This feels like our first step in our great adventure of living on the boat, and sailing to new places. We have some friends moving to the same marina, so it will be a good time there too.
We will miss the view from the back deck, as it's the best, but anchoring out gives us an even better view. So, to all at Oak Park, sorry, the break wall is leaving. If you see my bike parked outside Captain Jack's, stop in and I'll buy you a cold one.


I will miss these sunsets. I'll have to go to the beach to see them now.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Gan

From the August cruise.... We had some rain last night, and the wind kicked up a bit, but we were secure at the dock. I do prefer anchoring over docking, but this will do :) We have a cloudy overcast day, and I will try to find some Wi-Fi to upload all of this to the blog. I hope we can make use of the bikes today. Yesterday while we were trying to enter the marina, we had a flotilla of powerboats buzzing around the entrance. Next door to Gan. Municipal Marina, there is another marina with a gas doc, and there had to be hundreds of boats trying to get fuel. We had to thread the needle to get into the harbor. People were cutting in front of us, and cutting us off. They didn't care if I crushed them. We get up close to the entrance, and I see all these boats with flags on them. Big flags of yellow and orange. Wait a minute, those are the flags for the finish line of the damn poker run! What brainless boob decides to have a finish line right at the entrance to the harbor! What if there was an emergency? We got through the chaos, and were docked. Ten minutes later and the first water missile came across the finish line, with a chase helicopter flying about 50 ft overhead. What a lot of noise. The boats were kind of awesome though. Such power. They throw up a huge rooster tail of water. I wonder if the kayakers they run over get thrown up into the rooster tail? All the pretty french Canadians, and their pretty clean boats had to put up with my dirty sailboat, with it's weeds and mud all over the anchor, which was hanging over the dock. A couple of dedicated followers of fashion were walking by and pointed, commented, then laughed at the mud and weeds. They looked over at me, with a weeks worth of beard, ripped shorts, and a hogs breath t-shirt, and said something derogatory in french. I went and looked at the boat they came off of, and it looks like the anchor just came out of the factory. I wouldn't be surprised if it had a coat of wax on it. Just another floating cottage. I haven't been here 24 hrs, and one guy has washed his boat three times. We got out the bikes today, and went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. After dropping off the bags, we set out for lunch. We biked around a while, and finally settled on the Gananoque Inn. The Inn has a nice upscale restaurant, and a bar/grill. We wanted the Bar and Grill side, but entered the wrong door, and were in the swanky joint. My backpack had left a nice big sweat mark on the whole back of my shirt, and I looked pretty ragged. I marched right in, and asked for a seat on the patio. "We have a limited menu for this afternoon", said the hostess. "No problem", I said, and Deb followed me onto the white linen tabled patio. We took our seats, and Deb said, "I think you wanted that patio", pointing over to the bar/grill, where people were laughing, drinking beer, and having a good time. Damn. The waiter looked a little surprised when I said, "No thanks", to the menu, and we walked out. We had a nice lunch at the bar, and sampled a local beer called "River Rat Red". Not bad, but I had some difficulty getting back on the bike, and yelled over to Deb, "beer and bikes don't mix!". Of course there was a cop right next to her, that I did not spot. He just glanced over and left. We had to stop at the Beer Store, so now I was on the bike with a buzz, and a twelve pack of molson in my backpack. If a car hits me, I will explode in beer foam. We have a nice Caliber 40 next to us in the marina. Nice people. They are three years ahead of us in our quest to sail away. The Wi-Fi is out again. WTF III.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Name Change

As you readers know, we have a stupid name for our boat. When we bought the boat, she was called Alert. Yes, Alert. We knew we had to change it, and change it we did, to another stupid name. I will not mention this one, but it did not have any real meaning. We never changed the name on the transom, which is a good thing, but now Alert must go. For one thing, nobody ever calls us on the radio. As soon as you say "Alert Alert Alert", you figure the coasties will call to ask what the emergency is. It would have been easier for us if the boat had some really bad name, like Ass Clown, which would have been peeled off right away. Screw the ceremony, the Gods would understand that one. So anyway we tried mixing up the kids names (Kelly and Nicole) a bit to come up with something clever, but the only thing that sounded right was..... Drum roll please...... Yes, we are now the S/V KellyNicole. They are a big part of our lives, and this is our way of taking them with us. I like the shamrock, as it reminds me of their smiling Irish eyes, which they got from their mom. Mine have bags.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Escape

More from the August cruise... We left the Island prison about noon, after I visited the Gillis family. I spotted them on my way back from Gan, scoping out our slip. They were on the other side of the island at anchor, and they looked like they were having a great time. We're now docked, and fully charged, and relaxing in the sun. Of course, they give us the slip next to the immense trawler. We had a about a foot between us. Seems wherever we get a slip, it's next to a giant powerboat. At least nobody was home.

We ate dinner at a supposed Irish Pub. Not even close. I got a black and tan in about 30 seconds, so that tells you there is no Irish in this pub. The food was pretty bad too. We went into town, to King street, and found The old English Pub. Okay, this should be interesting. Well, the Brits win this battle, as it was great! Nice place, small, crowded, and they had the Bills game on. We stayed until the half, and then went back to the boat to crash for the night. Bills looked pretty bad. Just an observation...I think every Canadian city has a King st., just like every American city has a Martin Luther King blvd.

Life can be good.

Sunday

More from the cruise in August... Today we move to the marina in Gananoque, where we'll plug into the grid and enjoy the good life. The "Crosby" can suck down the Canadian grid, keeping our beer and cheese cold. Last night the wind kicked up while at anchor. I got up to the deck, and decided to sleep in the cockpit for a while. Every gust would wake me, but I immediately would seewe were holding, and go back to sleep. I imagine I'll have to do that a few times when we're cruising full time. I just realized how close the guy next to us is this morning. It's like the empty movie theater, and the next couple that come in, sit right in front of you. Why? This guy is retirement age, and from Rochester, and he knows he dropped too close, but I couldn't scare him away. Being a newbie at this, I thought I'd just stick it out and see what happens. All is well, though I could probably toss him the creamer for his coffee. You know how sound carries through the water? When down below, we can hear the props of various boats cutting through the water. We know when it's a power boat, or a sailboat just by the sound. I can see now how the navy can train people to to spot different vessels and subs based on the propulsion signature. This blue heron has been our neighbor the whole time behind the island. I think he owns the little strip of land behind us. What a great spot this bird has. Of course, it too may be trapped in Prison Beaurivage.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lazy Day

More from our cruise in August... Was a really lazy day today. Odd chores and too much napping. Wanted to go to Mermaid Island, but Deb just frowned on the idea. I thought I would leave it up to her to mention again, but she never did. Guess she didn't want to go. If I left all these decisions on activities up to Deb, we'd be found floating at sea, our muscles too atrophied to steer the ship. We would be all cramped up from reading, napping, reading and napping. Maybe dinghy travel is not her style, but she better get used to that. The poker run went by the island today. One noise machine after another flashed by on their way to wherever. Who cares. They have a lot of power and make a lot of noise, but any wave activity kills their speed. What was funny, is a PWC was keeping up with them. Tomorrow we head to Gan at about 11am. I here it's supposed to rain. Goody.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dogs and Boats

Occasionally you see a nice dog on a boat, poised at the bow, tongue hanging out, just having a great time. You say to yourself, "I love dogs. We should get one." Then you see them going by again later. Then again later. And again. They're going on poop runs! I love dogs, and they love me, but there is no way I would be taking the dog to shore every 2 hrs. I swear that's all some of the folks we were anchored with did, is drive their dog around! Our old dog Murf was a pooping machine, and we would have been going back and forth all day. In fact Murf would have thought it was funny, and would have pinched off early, just so he could go fifteen minutes later. What about fleas? Imagine a boat load of those. Say you are crossing the lake, a ten hour trip, where does the dog crap? "Honey could you free up that jib sheet, and watch out for the dog pile" Now here's a dog that can come in handy on a boat. Teach him to lie down, add soap, water, and swab the deck with him.

Mopdog

That's no mop. It's a Hungarian puli sheepdog named Fee with her owner, Eva Meyer, during a preview for a pedigree dog show in Dortmund, Germany.

Photo: Frank Augstein/AP

Saturday Morning

Silence settles on the the water in the morning light. We drift slowly , with our ships bow anchored firmly to the earth. As the sun moves slowly across my face, it's warmth waking me, and re-charging me for another day, I think about nothing other than what I see. People are still asleep in their watery craft, and nature has command of the morning. We are here to enjoy, and to participate, yet I feel we intrude on this beautiful landscape. As visually pleasing these ships look to me, floating on the glassy water, they are still somehow alien to the surrounding beauty of the land and water.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The smoking belts

So the whole reason for the smoking belts, was the fact that I have a 135Amp alternator, on a 44 horsepower Yanmar, trying to charge a 400 amp hr bank. The alternator full fields, trying to charge at over 100 amps, and can't spin as fast as the diesel wants it to. This causes the belt to slip, and smoke, and dry out, and eventually break. As long as I kept my batteries reasonably charged, the alternator had no problem keeping up, but we let them get too low. After consulting with a technician, I was told to ditch the 135 amp alternator, and get an 85A Hitachi, which will ramp up to full fielding over a 5 minute period. I was told the alternator is just too big for the engine. Also, I should find an alternate method of charging. I agree. Deb has been a bit disappointed in the systems on the boat, and I guess I have been too, but I thought we could squeak by for this cruise. The boat can not live off the grid for more than a couple of days, and even then you have to run the engine to keep up with consumption. Dock to dock, she is fine, but anchoring out is going to require some changes. Number one change: Kill the Crosby! Running an AC fridge off an inverter is just stupid if you're going to spend time away from the yellow power cord. DC refrigeration run completely of batteries, charged by solar, independent of the house batteries is the way to go. I'm thinking three solar panels mounted on davits off the stern. Oh yea. All I need now is cash.
Davits for a Morgan 44
Solar Panels
Possible "Crosby" replacement

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beautiful Moonrise

Not a breath of air stirs the water. A fish starts a ripple, as it snatches a bug off the surface, which glistens from the anchor lights on the sailboats, as they rest for the night. An occasional laugh, or giggle penetrates the humid air from the candle lit cockpits of these graceful ships. Slowly over the tall pines, a full moon rises to join the celebration, it's light leaving a trail on the water. The glowing sphere is surrounded by the lights from the masts, twinkling like so many stars.

Dead in the Water

Our current location View Larger Map We were about to enter the Canadian Middle Channel, when the alarm screeched on the instrument panel. We had a coolant water alarm! I pulled out the engine stop, and we were silent, and drifting. This was an ok situation, as there was plenty of room, no traffic, and no wind. I immediately thought weeds had choked the intake, but on the way past the engine room, I popped in and noticed there was no alternator v-belt! It had been completely destroyed. I put on a spare, the whole time wondering just what the hell was going on here. The spare was on, and as I went to tighten the alternator down, another bolt snaps. WTF part II. We nursed the boat back to Beaurivage, and dropped anchor in pretty much the same spot as before. Many attempts at repair only filled the boat with smoke. I needed more belts, or a new alternator, so off in the dinghy I went to Gananoque. It was a 4km walk to the Canadian Tire Parts store, where they matched the belt, but only had one. It didn't look like the right belt to me, but they said it was what the computer matched it with. Well, shit I can see it's not the right one, but it might work anyway. For the hell of it I walked further to see if there was another parts store in town. There was a Canadian Tire Store, that looked like a hardware store, but they had an auto dept. I showed the guy the belt, and he said it was not a good match. " I got some v-belts. A whole wall full of them". We matched the belt, and I grabbed the whole rack. Must have been twelve belts. I took off for the marina. We ran the engine with the new belt, and smoked it in five minutes. Damn, now what? I called another engine dude here in Canada, and he said to disconnect the batteries, and see if another belt smokes. Why didn't I think of that. I disconnected the batt's, tightened up the alternator with a new bolt, and lit the fires. Wholla! No Smoke. So now we have a functioning engine, but no fridge. Great. Warm beer, and stinky cheese. I called Gananoque Marina and reserved a slip for Sunday. We can plug in , and re-charge the batteries, and us as well. Deb had a great idea of just charging one battery, and see if the alternator can handle that. We'll try that on Saturday maybe. Some pictures from Island Beaurivage

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Crosby

A little background info. We have this fridge, an old Crosby unit which pulls 35-40 amps off our inverter to cool beer and cheese. We have more than beer and cheese, it’s just that’s what I seem to keep opening the door for. Anyhow, the “Crosby”, will pull down a 400 amp hr. battery bank, in about 8 hours if you do not re-charge. We try to keep up with it by running the engine to charge the batteries every morning and evening. It’s a pain in the ass, but until we get solar, and a DC fridge, this is what we have to do. Try as we did to keep up, the Crosby kept sucking and sucking, so when the engine starts, the alternator gets overloaded, and the engine v-belt starts to slip. When this happens, the engine room gets a little smokey. We noticed this from time to time, but it always went away after a few minutes. On our way to Camelot we noticed the smoke again. Should we worry? SNAP! Beep Beep Beep! The cooling water alarm went off, and I immediately shut down the engine. We were dead in the water.

Prison Beaurivage

Friday?

I ended Thursday evening with a Dark and Stormy, twice. One was a drink, very good, and the other was weather, very bad. Shortly after sunset we got a good blow come through the anchorage. The wind gusted up pretty good, and the rain came down hard. Deb and I sat in the cockpit and stood anchor watch. We referenced points on shore, and lined them up with something on the boat. If we don’t see them lined up just right, then we know the anchor is dragging. The squall passed, and the weather got pretty mild after. Very good sleeping weather. In the morning we decided to pull up anchor, and head over to Camelot, or Stave island. Little did we know that we were not meant to leave prison Beaurivage just yet.

Beaurivage

We had a great night at anchor, with the exception of the drag alarm going off at midnight. Deb woke me up yelling, “The anchor alarm, the anchor alarm!” We both ran to the cockpit to silence the alarm, and survey the situation. No problem, we just shifted in the breeze, and my distance of 80 feet was way to short. Oops. Oh well, we had a good laugh, stumbling over each other trying to get topsides. I’m just disappointed I didn’t hear it. Now that the wind has shifted, the guys next to us are directly behind us. We were here first, so if it starts to blow, you guys got to go. Today we will explore the island. The last time we were here, it was with the girls, when they were teens. Should bring back some memories, like the snake attack. Come on Deb, wake up! We took the dinghy over to the island, and walked the trails. We recalled the time everyone left me for the snakes, while up to my head in the water. The snakes came out of the reeds, and were going to attack my face, and nobody said anything, or maybe they did, but I couldn’t hear them from a hundred yards away! I jumped out of the water, and through a few rocks at the bastards, and they and I both moved on. That seems so long ago now. The island has some nice groomed trails to walk about, and it was not very crowded. Deb was treated to a kid running down the trail with a snake dangling from his hands. There were plenty of houseboats docked, with little Honda generators running onshore. Why do they need all that power? Back on the boat I did some chores, like getting the anchor light working. You would have thought that would have been top priority, seeing how it’s the fourth night at anchor, but I have a battery powered lantern that I hang on the forestay at night. We were ok. We’ll head to Camelot Island tomorrow, to see what that’s like. It’s hit or miss on finding a spot to anchor. My worry is that we will not find a suitable spot at all. Next year we avoid the first week in August, as that is a Canadian holiday week. I think it’s time for a Dark and Stormy.

Writers Interlude

The cold dew beneath my feet chills me, as I walk the deck in the stillness of the morning. Collecting my lantern, I pause to overlook the quiet anchorage. Boats are still, no movement or noise, other than the occasional song of a loon. I fall into the warmth of the cockpit, and watch as the sun rises over the pines, and illuminates the morning mist. The sun slowly warms my face as it changes from orange to yellow, chasing away the chill of the morning. Like time, the river passes. It flows beneath me, past me, as I stay firmly anchored, resisting its pull. I am here to enjoy this moment, this beauty, at this time. The river will flow, the birds will sing, and the sun will warm another face, long after my anchor’s been pulled.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Island Time

Wednesday?

With the help of my cat friends, we are off the wall, and on our way to the island of Beaurivage. The engine, aside from the fact that it will not start without the priming pump, is running fine. We motored down the Bateau channel, dodging the cable ferries, and gawking at the huge mansions. I guess the channel was used by Bateau’s, which is a style of boat, used to haul supplies. Getting to the island anchorage was a bit unnerving, as we were in about nine feet of water, and had to avoid rocks and shoals to get to the ten feet to drop the anchor in. We got in fine, and are on the hook, but now the wind is picking up. The Frenchy in front of me just dropped his anchor, and all his chain right on top of it, and then sat down for some wine and cheese, I imagine. I really don’t want to play bumper boats tonight, so I’ll have to keep an eye on him.

One of the "cottages" along the Bateau channel

View of Alert from the Island

All in all it's just a, 'nother day on the wall

"We don't need no refrigeration, We don't need no power at all, Our filters look like potting soil..." Sorry, can't seem to get that Pink Floyd song out of my head. I called my buddy in Hilton and explained my engine trouble. “Fuel filters”. What? “Fuel filters, change ‘em. Your filters are dirty. Got spares? You change them before the cruise?” Um, uh, no. “Change the filters, and you’ll be fine. Lesson learned” Thanks, bye. I spent the afternoon changing the filters, and bleeding the engine. Three hours later, and we finally got it running, after several tries, and lots of smoke. By the way, the filters were black with dirt. My bad. Got lazy, and paid for it. Bad seamanship, and I should have known better. It could have been a lot worse, as the engine could have died in a tight spot, like getting to “The Wall”, or in a channel.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shit Happens

Monday

We woke up early for crossing the lake, and the waves were kicked up about three feet, and the wind was less than what we were motoring at, so we did not raise the sails. I hate it when the waves are up and the wind is not. We got to about Psyche shoals and had to make a little detour. For those of you that like to set the auto pilot, and take a nap, or read a book while crossing, just remember there are really big freighters out there. This is the second time we had to wait and let a big ship cross our bow, as we were on a collision course.

After the detour, we were about to turn toward nine mile point light, when the engine RPM dropped off a bit. When you’ve been listening to an engine run steady for 8 hrs, you notice any change immediately, Deb and I glanced at each other, with that uh oh look. Maybe it will pass. Just a fluke. Minutes later it did it again. It gradually got worse until the engine just stopped! Crap, now what? We re-started, and it came back to life, but we thought sailing would be our best option at this point. We thought we could save whatever the engine had left for docking maneuvers.

We were pretty nervous about this, and I went down below to the engine room to try to sort things out. I was having fan belt issues, they were smoking on occasion, and so I loosened the alternator, checked the belt, and it looked fine. I tightened it back up, and just one more turn on the wrench....Shit! The friggin bolt stripped the alternator threads!

This is one of those moments where you stare at the damage, and wonder to yourself why this shit has to happen now, and if this might be the time where you really cooked your goose. I was so mad at myself, but then I quickly snapped out of it and had to figure out a way to get that alternator locked down. I carry a lot of loose nuts and bolts on board, and I found one I could slip through the alternator and get a nut on it. Phew. Now I don’t have to tell Deb we were screwed. Well, we will be if the engine won’t run.

We had planned on anchoring in Prinyers cove, but Deb had a change of plans. To Kingston my good captain, so off we went to the windy city. When I say windy I mean it, as Kingston is Canada’s sailing capital. Not a place to sail into your slip. We called them on the cell phone and tried to make a reservation, but they said no, but it should not be a problem getting into a slip.

No problem my ass! We called when we were about a mile out, and were told “no slips available, but we’ll put you on a waiting list, and in the meantime you can tie up at the day docks or on the wall.”

The day docks are only 19 feet long. Hello, I’m 44 feet dude. Hmm, he said the wall. We’ve done that before. Been tied up to the Radison wall many years ago with the kids. Hated it, but had no other choice. We sailed up the entrance of confederation basin, furled up the headsail, and with the motor at low RPM, we crept in. She just kept purring the whole time, and I counted my lucky stars that we made it this far. Just a little more to go.

We docked on the hotel wall, where we read the sign that said “NO Docking by the order of the City of Kingston”. WTF! Can I say that again? WTF! The guy said the wall, what the hell could he be talking about besides this friggin wall? Doh. Over by the day docks there was a wall in back of some condo complex. I asked the dock assistant if “the wall” means that wall over there. “Oh yes, no docking at the hotel wall, just go over there.”

“Just go over there”, like I was driving a car for Christ sake. I ran back to the boat, yelling for Deb to prepare to cast off. I explained it all as we were getting ready to go. There was not much room left on the wall, and I wanted to get there before all the other idiots came barreling in here. Getting off the hotel wall was no easy feat, but we managed, and then bopped over to “the wall”. How much water, I ask over the radio. “about 9 feet, you should be fine”. Yea, and I should have no problem getting a slip either. If I run aground, I’m going to strangle the guy on the radio. There were two spots on the wall, and I was going for farthest, as it had more room. The other spot was between a catamaran and a trawler. Tight fit. As I was heading for the spot, the cat guy came out and said it was too shallow. Radio dude said 9 feet, so maybe…” Looks too shallow for you”, said the cat guy. Just then the depth read 5 feet. We draw five and a half. Full reverse! I’m going back to the first spot.

I wish I could remember cat guys name (CRS), but he was a great guy, and helped us in. His lady friend (hot), also was a great help. I thanked them with an ice cold Canadian lager. Turns out they’re heading to Trinidad, and Tobago, to set up a boutique, and bar with rooms. Cool. Very nice people.

So, “The Wall” cost $65. No cleats. No power. No water. Plenty of tourists walking by, and of course the dogs taking a crap on the sidewalk where you have to climb up and over a rusted chain rail. Living it up in Kingston baby.