Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mackinac Island

Here are a few pics from our visit to Mackinac Island - pronounced "Mack-in-aw."
The entire island is free from motorized vehicles. A town ordinance passed in 1898 banning horseless carriages is still in effect. All passengers and freight move by horse-drawn wagons. There's even a wheelchair accessible horse drawn taxi.

1)The longest porch in the world at the Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island.
2)A view from the dock of several of the island's "summer cottages."
3)A view of the harbor from Fort Mackinac. We're in there somewhere, just look for wooden masts.
4)The view from the Governor's summer mansion. Note the Mackinac Straits Bridge in the background.

Hitch hiker

Yesterday on the trip from DeTour to Mackinac Island, we had a hitch hiker. A big Monarch butterfly came aboard and travelled with us for about an hour. See the picture this post.
Also, while at DeTour we met a guy who also built his own boat. It's not a Bolger, but it is a very practical little power sharpie by Ted Brewer. The boat is called Fifty Plus. See picture this post.
Yesterday's trip was across 34 miles of open water on Lake Huron. The weather was great and we had a very smooth crossing. Here are a couple of pics from the trip.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mike & Bev, Mike & Bev, Bob & Diane, Bob & Diane part 2

Just a quick note today, hopefully I'll get to post some pics tomorrow.
Yesterday we stayed in DeTour Village to do some laundry, shopping, etc. This morning we headed out across Lake Huron to Mackinac Island. The crossing was 34 nautical miles and uneventful. We got some good sailing in this morning, but by noon the wind had died completely and we had to motor the rest of the way. We had to be in by 5:00 pm or we might have lost out reservation. This place is very popular.
As soon as we docked, we ran into the couples we had met in Blind River, Mike & Bev, Bob & Diane, Bob & Diane. Quite by accident, we ended up at the same restaurant for dinner. Small world.
I'll have lots more on Mackinac Island on my next post. For now, know that we are well, safe and having a blast.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Back in the USA!

At 2:47 PM this afternoon, just off the coast of Drummond Island, we crossed the international border between US and Canada. We're back in the USA. We cleared customs at the Drummond Island Yacht Haven about 5:00 this afternoon.
Tomorrow, we'll take a short trip over to DeTour Village to stock up on supplies and maybe see a movie. Then, weather permitting, we'll travel about 40 miles to Macinac Island which is noted for having no cars allowed on the island.
Another milestone reached today was the 900 mile mark. The boat and I have traveled over 900 miles since leaving Kingston in June. Bev has done 354 miles since joining me just a little over 3 weeks ago.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mike & Bev, Mike & Bev, Bob & Diane, Bob & Diane

Sounds like and old movie title, doesn't it. Well, last night, here in Blind River, we met 3 other couples and went out to dinner. Their names were Mike & Bev, Bob & Diane, Bob & Diane. Talk about confusing dinner conversation...Strange but true.
Today, we're stuck in Blind River, waiting out the weather. A severe storm front is approaching from the west. We've already got wind and waves a bit higher than I'd feel safe with, and with the storms yet to come, I don't want to risk a 42 mile crossing to Drummond.
As soon as the weather clears, we'll make that crossing and head for Drummond, Michigan. Back in the USA. It will be nice to see money that looks like money instead of Monopoly money.
On the 23rd, we stopped in Spanish Ontario. This was the farthest north our trip will take us. We were at 46 degrees, 11 minutes north latitude. From here on through January our course will be southbound.
The internet connection here at Blind River seems to work better than at Spanish, so I'll try uploading a few pics.

1)The Famous North Channel Fog.
2)The Rock, from the water. The rocks on this island are the oldest in the world; older than the Rockie Mountains or the Alps.
3)"Playfair" - one of 2 "summer camp" boats for teens.
4)Bev on the Rock, S. Benjamin.
5)South Benjamin Island, from the top of the rock.
7)Logan Bay, Clapperton Island.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Three Nights on the Hook

We left Little Current on Sunday and sailed to Clapperton Island. It's a small, uninhabited island in the North Channel. We anchored at a little spot called Logan Bay. On Monday we sailed to the Benjamins, a group of very old rocks. We anchored in the cove at the north end of South Benjamin and stayed for two nights. The first day we dingied ashore and climbed to the top of the rock and took some great pics of the boat lying at anchor in the cove.
The second night, we were joined aboard Walküre by Butch and Lu for an impromptu jam session. Butch brought his guitar and a bottle of rum. We sang, we played, we drank and a spendid time was had by all.
Today we are in Spanish. The marina here is very nice, and the price is a bit lower than others we've stayed at. We'll do a little shopping in town and, weather permitting, make our way to Blind River tomorrow.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Little Current

Sitting here in the Anchor Inn (with free Wi-Fi - thank you folks) sipping on some coffee waiting for the wind to die down a bit so we can make our way over to Clapperton Island and the Benjamins. These are small, uninhabited islands that are known for having good anchorage. There are very few ports with marinas for the next hundred miles or so, so good anchorages are important.
Yesterday we met Roy Eaton who runs a service called Cruisers' Net. Each day at 9 am he reads the news, and receives updates from cruisers all over the Little Current area. He also relays messages boat to boat if the boats are out of radio range with each other. He came down and looked at the boat yesterday, and today he made nice comments about us on the program. See - I told you we were famous.
There is NO cell phone service here, so if you don't hear from us or if you can't reach us for the next few days, don't worry, it's just poor cell coverage.
The weather pattern here seems to work like this: you get 2 or 3 really beautiful days, with light winds and clear skies, followed by a day or 2 of rain and gale force winds. Then it repeats. Yesterday, and especially last night, we had the rain and the wind. Now today, the wind is starting to diminish and the sky is clear. The next storm day should be Thursday. By then we should be safely tucked into the marina at Spanish. Once it clears we'll head for Blind River, then make the 42 mile crossing to Drummond Island, Michigan. Yes - Michigan. As in USA.
Spanish will be the farthest north we will be for the entire trip. From then on, it will be "downhill" as we make our way south for the winter.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

What are the odds?

So here we are on the 16th, lying at anchor in the cove of a tiny island in the middle of Georgian Bay, sitting below reading, relaxing, when we hear a voice calling "Hello." I pop my head out of the hatch and see a guy standing in his dingy. He says "Hey, I know this boat. It's a Bolger? Right?"
It turns out that Dave is a semi-retired professional boat builder who knows Phil Bolger personally. Small world, eh?
A lot has happened since my last update.
On the 12th, we sailed to Lion's Head. The town is named for a rock formation that is supposed to look like a lion's head. It looks more like a wolf to me. You be the judge.
On the 13th, we sailed to Tobermory, on the very northern tip of the Bruce. We ended up stuck there for several days due to 10 foot waves on the bay. It's not a bad place to be stuck. It's a nice little town, sort of a "Woodstock with Water." There are lots of craft shops and restaurants lining the while harbor, all walking distance from the boat.
One evening in Tobermory we went to a pub and saw Angie Nussey, a great local singer/songwriter. Half way through her show, Bev asked her if I could do a song, and she said OK! I got up on stage and did "On My Butt" and brought the house down. Great fun!
On the 16th, we sailed out to Club Island. This is a tiny dot in the middle of the bay, completely deserted. The night sky was spectacular. Absolutely no light polution, so the Milky way was brilliant, and the stars simply amazing. We even saw a few shooting stars.
On the way to Club, we passed "Flower Pot Island," so named for the odd rock formations along the shore.
On the 17th, we sailed up to Killarney, the end of the Georgian Bay, and the beginning of the North Channel. Killarney is an odd little village. There we no roads to Killarney until the 1960's, so the whole town is oriented toward the water. All the shops and restaurants have their own docks and the fronts face the water. While at Killarney we met Lew and Karen on Vagabond, who have finished the "Loop" and are now doing an extra one-third of the loop to deliver the boat to her new owner. We had drinks aboard Vagabond and I provided entertainment.
Yesterday we sailed to Little Current. This is a slightly bigger town than Killarney, but also oriented toward the water. We met some folks from Germany who sailed their boat across the Atlantic.
Yesterday, I passed the 800 nautical mile mark in my journey. Bev has done around 200 miles.
We are now at N 45 degrees, 59 minutes, W 081 degrees, 56 minutes. We are now more than half way from the Equator to the Pole. And we still have a few more miles to go before we turn south.

Monday, August 14, 2006

a very quick update today

I'm using an internet kiosk so i can't say much today.
We're in Tobermory, at the northern tip of the Bruce penninsula.
Anyone familiar with Woodstock NY would love it. It's Woostock with water.
We are above the 45th parallel more than half way to the pole.
We have lots of pics and will post them when we can.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Oh! What a Night!

A lot to tell today. As previously reported we didn't go out yesterday, too much weather - see picture this post. Even today, although the wind has slacked off a bit, it's still blowing hard right into the marina. As a result, we bounced and rocked all night, still at the dock.
But that's not the whole story. Yesterday, while waiting out the cold, the rain and the wind we decided to have soup for lunch. Just as we sat down to eat it, I somehow managed to dump a whole bowl of hot clam chowder into my lap and down my leg. First degree burns on my leg, just narrowly missing certain vital spots, and second degree burns on my ankle. A little quick first aid from the kit and I'm on the mend, but what a panic "in the moment."
While sitting with my leg up, reading a book, I got a visit from Mark and Yvonne. They are a wonderful couple from British Columbia who have a summer cottage on the Lake Huron side of the Bruce Peninnsula. After a tour of the boat, they invited us to dinner at their cottage.
Mark picked us up about 6:30 in his 1965 Chevy pickup truck. After about a 15 minute ride across the Bruce, we arrived at a lovely little cottage right on the shore of the Lake. (See pic this post.) They even have a really nice tree-house, with a sleeper sofa and a loft that sleeps a couple more. Their kids like to sleep up there on pleasant summer evenings.
We were joined by their next door neighbors, John and Mary-Lou and all the kids. We dined on fresh whitefish (cooked by John), corn, rice, salad and some great wild blueberry pie for desert. I brought a bottle of the home made mead, which everyone loved.
We watched a beautiful sunset over Lake Huron. Then lit a campfire and I got out the guitar and sang a few songs.
I guess I sound like a broken record, but one of the best things about this trip is turning out to be the people we meet along the way.
Mark, Yvonne, John, Mary-Lou and all the kids - THANKS! The hospitality you showed to complete stranges is greatly appreciated.
A note to my sister - you'd have loved the place, as would Mom and Dad.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

For those who are wondering

Yes, we've decided NOT to do the 30,000 islands. Why? Well the 100,000 rocks that lurk just under the surface there had something to do with it. That, and the fact that there would be little opportunity for SAILING in those narrow channels. We've decided to do the Bruce Pennisula which will offer more open water and better chances to get some sailing done. It also has several places where we can anchor for the night. It should also be a faster route to Killarny and the North Channel. Fall is coming and we don't want to be too far north when the cool weather sets in.
All this was decided at the last minute, so...apologies to folks who were waiting for pictures of the 30,000 islands. I hope that the scenery we will be showing you will make up for it.
We will be passing Lion's Head and Flower Pot Island, so those pics ought to be spectacular. Look for them in a few days.
After tonight, I don't know when there will be access to the net again, so please be patient.
To family and friends: we're fine, don't worry, we pick our weather and always take good safety precautions like harnesses and jacklines and PFD's.
So...until next time - Bye!

More pics.

Here are a few more pics.

2)Looking across the marsh at the Marina in Owen Sound.
3)The amphitheatre in Owen Sound. They hold all sorts of concerts here, but not on the day we were here.
4)Some folks take pride in their town. This is the approach to the bridge that leads from the marina to the town in Meadford.
5)Somewhere in there, among all the other boats, lies Walküre, safe and sound at Meadford.
6)The Breakwater at Meadford.


Well, we slept late this morning and glad we did. We had planned to sail up to Sidney Bay today. The weather forecast called for possible storms today, but Environment Canada is almost always wrong, so we planned to go anyway. But we slept late and woke up to a nasty looking sky. As I write this the wind is howling, the boats in the marina are bouncing and other boats are arriving seeking shelter from what looks to be a serious bit of weather. So here we sit in Wiarton waiting for it all to blow over.
In the mean time, here are a few more pics, and some notes on what they all are.
Yesterdays pics, top to bottom:
1)Looking past Whitecloud Island at the escarpment on the penninsula. This is part of the Niagra escarpment that extends hundreds of miles down into the US.
2)The sun sparkling off the waters of Georgian Bay. Note the angle between the horizon and the mast - we're SAILING!
3)Yours truly along the riverwalk in Owen Sound.
4)Downtown Owen Sound.
5)Sunset in Meadford.
6)Downtown Meadford.
7)Looking toward the town from the Meadford Marina.
8)Clear water - the rocks are 6 to 8 feet under the water.
9)Bev at the tiller.
10)Bev tending the lines on her very first lock.
11)Yours truly at the tiller, just leaving the dock at Driftwood.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wiarton & Pics

We made it to Wiarton today and surprise! They have wi-fi at the dock so I will be able to upload some pics of the last few days. My last update was so rushed I couldn't even run spell check. The library at Owen Sound only allows a 30 minute session, so by the time I checked my email there was little time to do a proper blog update. Today is different.
As I said in the last update, we went to a play Saturday night in Meadford. It was really interesting and fun. "The Drawer Boy" (referring to a boy who draws) was the story of two Canadian WWII vets who run a farm in Ontario. When visited by a writer they come to terms with some secrets they've been keeping for 30 years. It was a local production by a local theatre company but it was very well written, and the performances were first rate.
Owen Sound is a pretty nice small city, one of the biggest communities we've encountered in a while. We did some shopping and took a long walk along the river in a very lovely park that the city maintains.
Our trip from Victoria Harbor to Owen Sound was quite eventful. We started out with a lovely morning sail, then ran into a strong headwind, forcing us to motor the rest of the way. At one point the wind was so strong it almost pushed us into a shoal, but we dropped the sails and motored off safely. The waves were breaking over the bow at around 2 meters (6+ feet) and the nose of the boat was buried a few times. The water overwhelmed the scuppers in the vent boxes, causing a good deal of water to ship aboard, soaking our shoes and some of our clothes stored a little too low in the closets.
We're all dried out now, and today we made our way from Owen Sound to Wiarton. This is a much smaller town, but at least here we have wi-fi.
For those of you keeping track, the total mileage for the trip is now at 673 n.m. We've crossed another meridian of longitude and we're now at N 44 degrees 45 minutes W 081 degrees 08 minutes. That's almost exactly halfway between the Equator and the Pole.
Enjoy the pics, we enjoyed taking them!
We continue to meet great people - John, Joyce-Lynn, Joyce, John, David, Judith & Paul, you know who you are.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Owen Sound & Meadford

Just a quick update today.
Bev and I traveled from Voctoria Harbor to Meadford on Saturday. It was a 50 mile haul but we made it. The wind was nonexistant so we had to motor most of the way, but we got there. No sooner did we get there but we found there was a theatre giving live performances and tickets were still available. So we saw a play "The Drawer Boy," which was interesting and fun.
Yesterday, we set out for Owen Sound. The first half of the day was glorious as we sailed all morning. By afternoon, we had made the turn into the sound, and the wind picked up and almost drove us onto a lee shore. We had to power off but made it safely. The waves were breaking over the bow. They said it was 1 to 2 meters, and I think it was at least that. I found out that I can't leave the vents open in seas like that as the waves overwhelmed the dorade boxes and water shipped in through the vents. Live and learn.
We made it safely to Owen Sound where there happens to be a Yamaha dealer. My propeller had taken a few hits during my trek through the canals so I had it straightened and bought a spare.
Tomorrow we will try for Wiarton, weather permitting.
All are safe and sound. We're having fun and meeting some great people.

Friday, August 04, 2006

After several delays due to such things as car trouble, Bev finally arrived safe and sound, last evening about 6.
It will take her a few days to get settled in, and I will post a pic when she lets me. For today, we're heading out later this morning, probably to Victoria Harbor where we can step the mast and become a sailboat again. After that, we will likely head for Parry Sound and the 30,000 Islands. It's supposed to be the best fresh water cruise in the world with lots of scenery and places to "drop the hook."
I don't know when I'll get to post again, as internet service is spotty around here. Be patient, I'll catch you up when I can.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Driftwood Pics


Well, it looks like I'm here in Driftwood cove for another day. Bev, my new crew, was held up in St. Catherine's by some minor car trouble and didn't get here last night. The car is being fixed as I write this so she should be here this afternoon.
While I wait, I'm enjoying my time here at Driftwood Cove. (I'll post some pics when I can, but it appears the photo function on Blogger isn't working today.) It's really nice, run by a couple of women boaters. The docks are first rate, I've never seen better, more expensive-looking docks. The washrooms are very nice, there's a laundry on site and a cafe with really good food.
If you are a boater and ever have occasion to stop in Port Severn, make sure you get reservations to stop at Driftwood Cove.
Last night a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through this area. There are reports of tornados, and there are a lot of trees down (including several at the marina) and the power was out all night and into this morning. The boat and I are fine, no damage. Can't say that about the million dollar yacht in the next slip. His bimimi was bent up pretty badly when the wind got under it. He'll need a new frame for the bimimi, so his insurance company will be out a few bucks.
There's an unconfirmed report or severl sailboats capsizing in the Sound last evening in the storm. All crew were rescued safely. Why they were out when the storm was predicted is anybody's guess. One large power boat was smashed against some rocks. Again, why he was out when the storm was predicted I can't imagine.
Otherwise, it does seem a bit less hot & humid today, so I won't be sweating my butt off like I have been the last 2 or 3 days.