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


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.


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


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


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.

Dinghy Day


We woke up alone in the anchorage, and I thought it was time for Deb to learn about starting and using the dinghy. I think she liked it!

Thank you Barb, for calling us about the storm heading our way. We just made it back to the mother ship before the rain started falling.

Gone With the Wind

The following is a re-cap of our cruise. We were without internet, and most other stuff for about a week. As the internet pops in and out I will post.


We left Sodus bay on Saturday bound for Little Sodus bay/ Fair Haven NY with sunny skies and a light breeze. After refueling at Katlynn marine, and the longest pumpout ever (boat had a lot of crap, like the owner) we set out for points east.

It wasn’t long before my nice relaxing sail turned into a race, as Rick and Karin on No More Dancing were on our tail. I’m sure they were thinking that the big old tub was going to be an easy game in light air. They were right, but it took them a while to catch us. We dropped anchor among many boats, who were just there for the day, forcing us to the outside. No More Dancing dropped next to us, and Jim and Barb in Reach, got the sweet spot. Well, it was a sweet spot after the party power boats left.

We had a nice dinner aboard No More Dancing, and had some laughs. Our friends were leaving in the morning, and we were going to stay another day.

Back on the grid

A week off the grid was great, but here we are in Gananoque Ontario, at the municipal marina, relaxing and enjoying the warm weather, after a week of anchoring out. More detailed posts to follow, as it's been an adventure. Robin, tell Mom and Dad we're fine. The weather has been better than what you're getting. Knock on wood.