Aug 04

Bayfield and Beyond

Once again, I’ve been lax in catching up with this journal.  It’s been a really long trip with not much to discuss and even less to photograph.  However, Bayfield was next on our journey.  A simple, uneventful, almost-3-hour trip south.  Once again, we were heading south and once again the light winds were blowing from the south west.  Barely enough to damp the north west rollers coming in.  For those that haven’t been out in that, it makes for a wallowing few hours.  We could barely motorsail for a few minutes and the rest was too light to do much of anything other than motor… and sleep.  Once again, Rossi proves she can sleep just about anywhere.

People ask me if Rossi "likes sailing". I'd have to say she's comfortable with it...

Rossi finds a pillow and goes back to sleep.

Rossi can sleep about anywhere.

Once we arrived things got better!  We were given a good slip with the “big” boats because we asked for a large dock to accommodate our small boat.  As a result, we were moored in beside a giant 48′ Tayana and some large powerboats.  The facilities are limited at the Village of Bayfield municipal marina (Bayfield Marina); The bathrooms were dark and a bit grungy and there is nothing else other than ice available.  On the bright side, it’s a very short walk into the pleasant main strip of Bayfield where you can get everything you need.

Barely after we got settled in and had some lunch, we were happy to see our first visitors arrive!  Danna and Bill Hunter dropped in while on a father-daughter motorcycle ride and chatted with us for a while.  As always, visits with Danna are too short.

We're practically a motorcycle gang.

Trying to self-photograph all four of us and the boat!

Danna sent me a few phone-pics that she managed to snap;  I’ll include them here and assume she won’t mind!

We're still surviving! Our little boat for 3 and the 48' Tayana for one couple...

I'll eventually convince Feng that motorcycles are a good thing...

Throughout our trip, friends, family and well wishers tell us to “be safe”.  Apparently sailing isn’t as dangerous as this…

Keep clear of swinging upper!

The next day was filled with more visitors.  Jen, Emily and Ashley came out for what promised to be a cloudy, rainy day at the beach.  Two kids, rain gear, beach wear, hats, sunglasses, picnics and the kitchen sink.  Well, everything but the kitchen sink.  My nieces had a great time playing on the boat, exploring the v-berth and demanding a motorboat ride before the beach.  We puttered up the river for a tour then a quick spin out on the lake.  I don’t think we saw much but the girls had big smiles.  We finished the afternoon with some lunch and swimming at the beach.  They found a “big stone” out in the water they could climb on and Rossi had fun herding us all and chasing sticks.

Emily pokes her out through the fore hatch.

I can't wait until Ashley is old enough to learn to sail. I imagine she'll have an aptitude for it.

Five girls on the boat... I'm in trouble.

Open your eyes girls!

Three, Four or Thirty-Four, sailing provides something for everyone.  This picture makes me happy seeing everyone have a good time on the boat.  Things to see, sunshine, family and friends; it’s all fun on the water.  Notice that we’re all wearing life jackets!  Safety first.

Sailing provides something for everyone.

My mother and two guests from St. Lucia (Shawna and Deanne) popped in on their way to Sarnia on the following day.  Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out the camera but it was only a short, quick visit on their way through town.  Hopefully we’ll see them again in Port Stanley.

Finally, at the end of the day, we are left with quiet Bayfield.

Once again, the day ends serenly looking west.

Just a quick note about Bayfield;  I liked our time visiting this small village.  I don’t think we would purposefully stay there as a ‘vacation’ but if you are driving near it on Highway 21, make sure you stop in.  Their art galleries, work shops, cafe’s and ice cream parlours are really worth the time you’ll spend stopping.  There’s a restaurant called “The Docks” right on the highway that has amazing hamburgers and an artist in town that will do commissioned work at a very reasonable price.  There’s a painting that looks exactly like Emily… Wish we could have bought it.


Jul 29

The resolution

We managed to get back to the boat within a day or two and get down to work.  I sent Feng away, with the dog, to give me some working space and began to cover myself in diesel again.  New pump in hand, I emptied 28 litres of grungy diesel fuel out of the tank – we’re talking milky fuel mixed with about 3 inches of dark brown sludge.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  I replaced all of the hoses and ran through at least 3 fuel filters before it was running clear again.

I still had one problem… the fuel was flowing freely until it hit the lift-pump.  I spent a full day trying to figure out how to get the engine primed and the lift-pump working again before I buckled and had to call-in professional help.  Ed Breen (Breen Marine) came out and [expensively] found the problem.  Apparently the previous owner re-used crush gaskets for the fuel lift-pump and when the engine strained under load of sucking in bad diesel, it also sucked air into the pump and broke the syphon.  The air killed the engine.  *sigh*

At any rate, a large bill later and a few extra hoses and filters to keep on hand, the problem is resolved!  Yay!  We now have a better-than-ever diesel engine and are headed for Bayfield…

For the record…

- Don’t buy fuel hoses at Princess Auto.

- Make sure to check that all fuel hoses, nipples and connections are the correct size.  My engine now has a mix of 1/4, 3/8 and 5/8 hoses connecting to various bits.  Ugh.

- My engine uses Napa Gold 3166 (Carquest 86166) filters.  They seem to be stocked in two’s.  Two in Goderich, Two in London etc…  Buy them when you can!

- I don’t like the taste of diesel.

- Don’t re-use fuel crush gaskets.

- Fuel filters come with 3-4 gaskets + 2 o-rings.  Don’t use them all.  2 gaskets + 2 o-rings is what you need.

blah blah, boring entry, I know.  But this will help me in the future.



Jul 29

Wedding Interlude

We took a little reprieve from fixing the boat to attend a family-friend’s wedding.  I’ve known Becky and the Hunter’s since I was about 5 years old and I consider them sisters… perhaps close-cousins.  These aren’t sailing photos, but they did occur during our trip…

Congratulations to Becky and Jonathan.

Becky and Jonathan cut the cake
Let them eat cake!
Mary Lou and her excellent dance partner Max.
This pretty much sums up the reception…
Max dances with the flower girl.
They may be sisters, but they’re also my sisters. It’s been a life time.
The night is complete. I think this all started with Ra-Ra-Rasputin?

Ok, back to the boat.


Jul 29

The Gunge

“A man has a heart attack while driving which causes him to run into a brick wall, the car igniting in flame and then a piano falls onto the wreckage;  What is the cause of death?” (Apparently, it must be the rap music he was listening to because ‘that would kill pretty much anybody’.)

The trek down from Kincardine to Goderich made for a mix of bad things that ended up causing us some problems.  First off, the wind was contrary yet again; Our trip began slightly south of south-west followed by a good deal of distance going due south.  The wind was, of course, blowing 15 knots from due south and wrapped around Point Clark to be slightly south of south west.  No problem.  I’m going to sail as much as I can and maybe try to tack-tack-tack our way upwind as far as we can in the allotted time.  Yes, we made it to Point Clark pinching into the wind as far as I could but rounding the point put us head-on into south winds and waves that put our ETA late into the night.  We fired up the diesel in preparation to bash through the waves going south and it worked… for a while.  We were still 12 miles out of Goderich when the diesel gave up the ghost with a “chug-chug-chug chugggggg chuggggggg chuhhhhhh….. silence”.

“It sounds like the engine was starved for fuel,” me says to the crew.  “Aye, it does indeed,” comes the reply.  I rolled out the genoa and handed the tiller to Feng with instructions to keep us on a steady upwind course while I dismantled the cockpit floor to reach the engine.  As a side note, Feng did a terrific job of keeping a steady, straight course off-shore while I was trying to trouble-shoot the problem.  I may have taught her a few new sailor words…

I figured this issue might have been caused by water in the diesel tank, of which we were sure there was some due to the Tobermory fuel attendant neglecting to screw the diesel cap all the way back in.  So I pulled the plug on the fuel filter cap.  Unfortunately, the plastic just melted off in my hands without unscrewing.  <cuss> I may have used more sailor words.  The hole was just large enough to let out some of the water, but also let in air and break the vacuum in the fuel line.

At this point, we were sure we wouldn’t be making Goderich until well after midnight under sail and Feng and I had a discussion; “Options?”, “Sail all night, call a diesel mechanic in the morning.  Sail to Goderich and get a tow into harbour like a lame duck.”  My vote was with sailing all night.  We had good wind, albeit a bit strong (up to 20 knots forecasted), a clear night and a sturdy boat.  There was no danger in running aground or ashore.  Feng wasn’t comfortable with this approach and opted to see if we could find someone to tow us in.  You’d think that in a bustling port like Goderich, someone would offer the service?  But no.  The marina didn’t know of anyone who would do that but gave us the phone number of the local freighter tug-boat company.  Ian, the owner of the tug-boat company, let us know that he didn’t do that for private boaters and wasn’t aware of anyone who did but gave us advice to call the coast guard.  Ugh.  This set the wheels in motion…

*16 is the phone number for coast guard emergencies so we gave it a ring, explained that we weren’t in any danger, didn’t require a tow just yet but we would like the number for a local towing company (should we need it) as well as some diesel mechanic advice.  Sarnia Coast Guard Radio was on the ball and although they couldn’t provide a number for a towing company or mechanical advice, they did offer to contact the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC) in Trenton.  Bah.  This was beginning to feel like a Mountain-from-Mole Hill scenario.  The RCC wasn’t going to dispatch any resources to come pick us up but graciously offered to tow us in to Goderich… if we made it there.   Excellent.  Since the channel is too narrow, too long and dangerous, this is the best we could hope for.

Feng sailed on as I continued to work in the engine compartment.  I managed to find spare bits & pieces in the boat to by-pass the fuel filter and connect the fuel tank to pump directly; Primed and ready, we managed to eek out another hour of usage before it died for good.  Sail on we did, until we reached Goderich and heard the hail from the local Coast Guard vessel.  I wish I had photos.

The tow in, the “walk of shame”, to the fuel docks was performed expertly by Jan & Brad on the Coast Guard Vessel 753.  They really were experts; I’ve seen numerous other attempts at towing and nothing quite like it.  They managed to keep us dead center in the channel, despite the south 15 knot winds on the approach and the whirling currents in the very narrow channel from the east.  They left us at the fuel dock, safe and sound and, surprisingly, without a bill.  Remind me to give their superiors a phone call to request a raise for Jan & Brad.

There’s no rest for the wicked… I awoke in the morning to begin work on sorting out the fuel problem.  I had the fuel filter cap drilled out then machined to re-thread it and a proper plug put back in.  I attempted to pump the fuel dank empty, but the two transfer pumps I had onboard jammed.  At this point, I had to leave for a wedding… covered in diesel, sweat and suntan lotion.  Good thing it wasn’t until the next afternoon.

I feel like I should sum up this post “Sail Magazine” style…

What we did right…

- Assessed the situation without panic.

- Called the appropriate authorities without waiting until it was a dire situation.

- Were prepared to be self-sufficient.

- Accepted assistance rather than stress the crew.

What we did wrong…

- Did not resolve the water-in-diesel tank when we first knew about it.

- Did not have spare diesel fuel filters on-hand.

- Broke the fuel filter plug because of lack of knowledge.

What we learned

- Always have spare parts onboard.

- Trust the coast guard; Don’t be unnecessarily self-reliant.

- Diesels need fuel, compression and air.  Make sure they are only combined in the right places.


Jul 25

The Long Slog begins…

So fewer and fewer photos are being taken as we make our way south.  I’ll sum up about 4 or 5 days in this one post as they are fairly routine…

We wanted to stay an extra day in Heywood Cove but the weather window was “now” or “much later”… we chose “now”.  This was the prudent decision I think.  However, the winds being benign and the sky being clear it was a tough decision to make.  We packed up and motored a long way back to Club Island.  Once again, there were a few sailboats afloat but there was lots of room to anchor.  We ran through the routine; Dinghy to shore, walk the dog, make some dinner, do some light reading then off to bed.  Quick to rise, dinghy to shore, walk the dog, haul anchor and be outttta there by 8am.  This was the fastest and easiest turn-around we’ve made so far – no time to meet the other folks as contrary winds were moving in shortly.

Sure enough, as we approached Tobermory, the south winds picked up to over 10 knots, dead on the nose, and we arrived before they really started coming at us.  I wanted to drop the stuff and go back out for a sail but after 5+ hours of motoring, Feng was not enthusiastic about more water time.  Boo!

We stayed in Tobermory for 3 nights because of impending thunderstorms;  The days were beautiful but the nights got a bit brutal.  If I can digress for a moment, we met some cruisers from Bayfield on some large, >44′ boats… one Bayfield ketch (44′?) had engine troubles and docked with the help of a fellow ship… mere feet away from our hull!  It was a bit nerve racking to watch the 3 giant anchors pull in over our heads, pull a 90-degree turn and come to a stop.  The docking was expertly performed but it was really rather tense for me.  I wish I had it on video!

Getting back to the thunderstoms, we were near the end of the transient slip docks which means we’re at the mercy of the incoming swell.  We had the two, large cruisers  rafted (double-parked) behind/beside us on one finger dock and a 28 or 30′ vessel in front of us on the other finger dock and we were on the maindock, sandwiched in with no easy route to exit.  The thunderstorm hit at about 2:00am and we started taking the swell that hit the shore then rode down it until it hit our boats.  The big vessels were being pounded on the stern quarter but our boat was taking them head on!  We were rocking like a hobby-horse / roller-coaster!  I would guess we were elevating to 4+ feet in the air and plummetting the same distance… maybe 6-8 feet total?  There was no sleeping when that started and I grabbed all my foul weather gear, preparing for the worst.  I went out in the rain to make sure the lines had enough slack in them to handle the movement and that the fenders weren’t going to get caught up on the dock in case we got thrown up and over it.  Whoooo what a ride!  All was well and there was nothing that needed doing; Kudo’s go to Feng as she’s coming alone well with her seaman like ability to sleep under all conditions.  HA!  She had the ability to go back to the v-berth and try to get some rest.  I stayed up a while and watched the rain, steady lightening and listen to the thunder.  Keeping a watch until the wee hours of the morning proved to be fruitless but cautious was the right thing to be.

Ok… moving along.  We were putting off the long-haul to Kincardine as long as our schedule would allow.  We picked a day that *should* have gotten us some northwest winds enough to help us down the coast.  Leaving on time around 3:15am, we left Tobermory harbour in the silence and stillness of the early morning.  It was pitch black.  We felt our way through the very tight and narrow Cape Hurd Channel, with its many rocks and ship wrecks passing to each side.  Thank goodness for GPS and detailed charts!  All of the channel markers were in place and we picked them out with the flashlight as we passed.  The last we saw of the Bruce Peninsula was Cape Hurd around 04:30… then nothing.

Literally nothing.  We saw no land, no boats, no sun, no wind, no waves… nothing.  I took the first shift from 04:30-06:30 and let Feng have a well deserved and needed nap on the settee below.  Nothing much to see or do but motor on autopilot.  At 06:30, the sun had risen and was starting to warm up.  I called Feng up for her shift and let her know there were some mosquitoes building up on the sail cover.  Little did we know that would continue all day.  We hit a swarm of bugs; Mosquitoes, Shad Flies and these little Bee-like insects that would infest the boat for the next 10 hours!  Feng spent a full 2 hours killing bugs with a fly swatter.  When I awoke, the deck was covered with dead bugs.  The hot sun, Feng’s methodical swinging of the fly swatter and old age seemed to kill these bugs as fast as we could pick them up.  The deck was thickly carpeted with bug carcasses – you couldn’t walk, sit and touch the deck anywhere without hitting dead or live bugs.  Any shady spot – filled with bugs.  If you faced the sun – your back was covered in bugs.  If you put on a hat – the underside of the brim would fill with bugs.  They were in our eyes, noses, mouths and you just couldn’t escape.  The wind was moving at the same speed as our boat and therefore there was no apparent wind to blow them away… they just kept gathering on board until we couldn’t take it any more.

Finally the fog moved in.  We couldn’t see anything on deck so we took shelter from the bugs in the cabin and watched the radar closely for other vessels… not even one blip.  At least the coolness of the fog, plus the shelter of being in the cabin gave us a reprieve from the bug infestation outside.

We finally saw land again at 14:30… the Bruce Nuclear plant came into view (and was the only thing we could see on the 12NM radar…)

The wind began to pick up; It cleared the fog, cleared the bugs and we were able to get some distance between us and them.  The dead ones were still too thick on deck to clean with a scrub brush. Yikes.

The wind continued and we were able to sail the last 2-3 hours into Kincardine with a beautiful wind, perfect for sailing!  Finally!  We finished tidying up in port; Bugs hosed off, Raid Spray purchased and even a little dinner before the piper closed out the day.

Every evening in Kincardine, the piper plays at the light-house to pipe in boats lost at sea.  This seemed like good closure to a long trip and I was able to sleep well.

The light house and piper make sure that sailors are able to safely make it back to port.

The piper pipes in boats at sundown in Kincardine


Jul 25

Heywood Cove – Ooh la la!

I’m really behind now in my postings… oh boy.  I guess it’s time to add one from a while back.

We left Baie Fine on a scorching hot, no-wind sort of day.  We did have to make a side trip to the far east end of the fjord.  We left reasonably early in the morning and found no wind, no traffic and all kinds of scenery that looked like this…

Glassy water, rocks and trees.

The fjord is narrowing as we move towards the east end.

More rocks, more trees, more still water reflections, more silence... except for the chug-chug-chug of the diesel.

Seriously.  We spent two hours motoring east on the fjord with no boats until near the end.  It was like this mirror image the whole way… until a stink-pot, powerboat blasted past us with some 5-minute tourists.

We then came across this remote cabin with literally nothing around it.  It sits atop a rock.  I mean, ‘island’.  There’s nothing else there… and a LONG way to get to anything else.  Although I like remote places, I can’t figure out why someone would build here.  It’s inconvenient and there’s a steady stream of tourists parading past your front door.

A long way to go, to get to no where and then stay right in the middle of the sight-seeing route. I don't get it...

At the end of the fjord, you can drop down into a very narrow channel which takes you another partial mile into what they call ‘The Pool’.  This little area would be fun to explore had we planned more time.  It falls within Killarney Provincial (National?) park boundaries so there are lots of hiking trails to various inland lakes and is pretty just to look at.  Although I don’t think you’d want to anchor in the eXtreme-weed bottom.  It looks like The Pool may become solid ground if those weeds grow much more!  Wow.  Ooops… I neglected to take any photos while we were there.  You’ll have to visit it yourself if you’d like to see.

We then did a 180-degree turn and motored back towards the fjord… the boat in front of us made a sudden circle-turn to look at something… VULTURES! Here’s a cropped image I took as we passed.

Scavenging on a small island, these look to be some sort of vulture.

ok… that’s it with the photos.  We motored out of The Pool’s channel, the length of the fjord, passed Mary Ann’s cove, through the entrance rock gauntlet and across Fraser Bay.  There wasn’t enough wind to sail so we just kept on motoring all the way to Heywood Island.  Heywood is a pretty cool little place with a wide-open main cove, a nook to the west and then a long, narrow channel in which you can anchor anywhere.  We pulled in to scope the area and spotted one of our new friends… Michael and Liz on Friday’s Child!  Excellent, we had been hoping to catch up with them on the trip at some point.  What a perfect chance meeting.

We discover Michael and Liz on Friday's Child, already at anchor.

The afternoon was spent walking the dog… well… more like swimming the dog.  The south end of Heywood Cove is all sand and only a few feet deep.  Feng, Rossi and I waded and bathed out in the still water.  I think this may have been Rossi’s favourite day… ALL of us swimming at the same time!  She even learned to fetch flip-flops that were making an escape.

Feng wades in the shallow water with Vixen behind.

Outstanding. Well, out standing anyway.

Ok, enough about that.  You don’t want to see me, right?  You want to see more of her!  :-D

Feng with a cheesy pose. (I *TOLD* you I would post this if you insisted!)

There, that's better. The Fonzie we know and love.

Ohhh!  This is a sail log.  Perhaps we better post some photos of the boat.

Another photo of Vixen floating at anchor.

Little boat on the big lakes.

All good days must come to a close.  We joined Michael and Liz for wine and appetizers.  It was really rather tough to get us all looking at the camera at once… a bit of a gong show.  ha!  But it was a good time.  Here’s the only two good shots we managed to take.

Feng and Liz laughing at Michael and I for being overly picky about having things in their proper place.

Feng, Liz, Michael and Jordan... we really need a photographer to join us!

All’s well that ends well.  Fair winds and safe travels.



Jul 19

The fjord Baie Fine

So they say that Baie Fine is a unique fjord; They claim it’s it’s the only fresh water fjord in the world. We couldn’t pass by it’s mouth and not explore deeper.
There is a popular off-shoot at the very end of the fjord called “The Pool” where cruisers and sightseers head because of the beautiful scenery and walking trails to nearby lakes. We decided it was best to avoid the beaten path and stay in a secondary popular location called Mary Ann’s Cove… unnamed on the Canadian charts but “everybody” knows that’s what it’s called. I guess we’re now in the inner circle of cruisers!

Feng on the foredeck watching for underwater rocks, the Admiral makes sure I'm steering straight.

We arrived to find our new friends Patty and Dave on their Nonsuch 30 (32?) already swinging at anchor.  The unique, single sail boat is what they call cat-rigged and doesn’t have the traditional boom and two-sails like most sailboats.  I’ve loved the Nonsuch for years (there’s one in Tobermory I’ve often eyed) and so I liked looking at Patty and Dave’s while at anchor.  With a wide beam, a LARGE mainsail and its unique wishbone boom, it makes for a comfortable cruiser.  What it lacks in upwind performance, it surely makes up off the wind and in liveability.  This one is called Pelican.

The Pelican swings at Anchor

In Mary Ann’s cove, a deep clear-water cove, power boats anchor their bows out in the cove then tie their sterns ashore.  We decided to just drop a hook and swing as the wind would take us.  After we got settled, we were invited to a wine & appetizer get-together on a large powerboat… errr… I forget the name but it was owned by Norma and… Paul?  Feng decided to nap, but I went along to meet some new people.  Definitely a nice little boat!  Another one of the powerboats in the cove was large enough that it had two full King size beds.  What a far cry from our little Vixen.

In the morning, Feng and I planned to go hiking up to Cassan Peak.  Patty and Dave were also going on the same hike and invited us along in their dinghy so we could hike together.  Rossi had a blast.  Off-leash, mountainous wooded area with tonnes to explore.  The day was hot.  Not a little hot, but HOT.  Fortunately we were under the cover of trees for most of the hike up and there was a good breeze blowing, but it was still hot.

We reached the first lookout as we got above the trees…

You can see Baie Fine in the foreground and McGregor Bay further out.

Can you spot the sailboats in McGregor Bay?  We are high up.  Maybe this one will help…

McGregor Bay ... Can you spot the two, large sailboats?

There were piles of wild blueberries up in the hills.  Patty, Dave and Feng begain filling ziplock bags as fast as they could.  It was tiring work but really worth it.

Picking Blueberries high above Baie Fine.

Feng gets in on the blueberry picking action.

Even Rossi went for a roll in the blueberry patch! She was covered in bits.

The view was stunning.  Now for a flood of photos from the top of Cassan Peak.

Another view across Baie Fine and McGregor Bay.

Feng and Rossi sit on the warm rocks in the hot sun. Stunning view.

Patty and Rossi make it to the peak before I do.

Rossi sits at the top of the world, surveying her Kingdom.

Sitting on top of Cassan Peak.

It really does look like a bunch of “sitting around” on our hike.  But really, it was a long way up and I didn’t stop to take [many] photos along the way.  At least Dave got some work done…

Busted! I caught Dave working on his vacation. Ok, maybe he was sending photos to his kids.

Ok, there's a better pose. Looking like they're enjoying time away from family, work and hustle and bustle.

Work or kids? You decide...

ok… and then back to viewing the sights.

Baie Fine in the background. D'oh! I forgot to take off the dorky chin strap.

A hawk flies beneath us. We did see vultures later... perhaps it was a vulture.

Taking in the scenery.

Before I finish this post, I’d like to take a little aside.  You see, Valentina Rossi is a water dog at heart.  She spends a great amount of time swimming at home and on this trip, she has spent hours upon hours swimming from the dinghy, the boat, from shore, accidentally off the dock etc.  I didn’t think we’d end up with a wet dog, for once, on our hike up to the peak.  But, if you know the Lagotto Romagnolo, they can find water ANY where.  She found the only water at the peak and…

She's a water dog through and through.

It was really rather amusing.  She stepped into it, turned her head and you could see the wheels turning… she looks down and slowly lied down nice and slow.  She looked up at us and, I swear, smiled.  A big doggie grin.

Rossi looking pleased with herself after she discovered she could lie down in the puddle and wasn't going to get in trouble.

That’s all the pictures I can get uploaded at this time via 3G… this slow speed is killing me.



Jul 17

More exploring of Covered Portage Cove (part 2)

… the continuation.

Still enamoured with my little boat, I found a good place to spy on her through the trees.

We then took the dinghy to a marked trail.

Every boat needs another boat. She gets us around.

Feng, Rossi and I continued exploring the shores of Covered Portage Cove.  We found lots of swimming, rocks to climb good views… and Blueberries!

Feng and Rossi hiking up the shore.

Not too close to the edge, Dum-Dum! It's a LOOOONG way down.

And a surprise up in the hill… BLUEBERRIES!

Wild Blueberries and one (less wild) happy camper.

What goes up, must come back down.  We descended in the heat; It was very hot… as it has been all week.

Hiking down the marked trail. VERY warm in long pants!

Rossi is the first to be ready for a swim.  She was checking depth and safety long before I could get my swim trunks on…

The Admiral survey's the depth before allowing bathing.

Rossi was the first in and escalated to "Beaver Apprentice".

I had to jump in the water. Rossi was worried that I might not be able to swim.

Feng chickened out and wouldn’t join us in the cool, refreshing cove.  I think she’ll regret that one day.

The rain was moving in and we thought we better head below.  Rossi couldn’t understand why it was okay to swim in the sun, but not in the rain… I have to agree.  Hey, why not?

Rossi is wondering why we're hiding indoors from the approaching rain.

As we batten the hatches, the Admiral shows concern for the silly power boaters that may not know how to anchor.

It did rain, and it rained with quite a bit of water, but the ‘storm’ never materialized.

After the rain, a little steam hangs around the entrance to the cove.

Our final sunset at Covered Portage Cove. Even after a rain, the stillness returns.

And that finishes Day 2 at Covered Portage Cove.  In the morning, we’ll make our way down the Lansdowne Channel and across Fraser Bay… Baie Fine is our destination and I can’t wait.




Jul 17

Covered Portage Cove

Our trip from Killarney to our first “must see” destination of Covered Portage Cove was a short one.  After all the treacherous warnings of rocks and so-on, it was not nearly so dangerous.  It was a very quick trip out of Killarney, to the west, U-turn around some rocks and then back to the east.  It is, of course, gorgeous but being so close to Killarney it can really pack up.  Fortunately for us, it didn’t fill up while we were there.

The lighthouse enroute to Covered Portage Bay

Covered Portage Cove is a little hidey-hole.  A nice cove with good anchoring bottom, no exposure to the waves and enough room to spread out.  We were fortunate to cross paths with another cruising couple that we had met in Goderich; Dave and Patty on Pelican a Nonsuch… 30?  32? and then we met quite a few other boaters at a spontaneous and informal pot-luck ashore.  There was a cute little tug-boat in the harbour too but we didn’t get a chance to visit with them.

The entrance to Covered Portage Cove at dusk.

The calmness of Covered Portage Cove left the boats in all directions.

Rossi swam all afternoon.  She joined us at the pot-luck dinner and ended up going off to swim with the beaver!  She didn’t understand why the beaver kept swimming away so she’d just go in and paddle along in the same direction.  She eventually came back to the dinghy to go home but was looking more ‘at home’ in the water than she was on land.  She fell asleep on the stern of our boat, between the snorkel vents and on top of our stern cleat, wedged beside the rudder.  How she fell asleep I don’t know!

Rossi was dog tired after swimming all afternoon and was willing to sleep anywhere.

The following day, we waved good-bye to everyone who had been there the night before and we decided to spend the day swimming, exploring and a little hiking.  It was quite hot out and I had to go in too.

The morning left us with no other boats in the inner cove. We had it to ourselves until it began to rain later.

Rossi awaits permission, before rock diving into the lake.

She spends hours a day, swimming like a beaver.

When she wasn't swimming, Rossi went hunting for truffles, squirrels and chipmunks.

It wasn’t just Rossi exploring, Feng and I were climbing as well.

Outer cover at Covered Portage. We were able to see this after climbing high up in the rocks.

It appears I can’t upload any more photos to this post… I’ll have to continue.



Jul 17


We’ve been out of touch with the Internet world since we were up in Killarney.  I probably should have setup my 3G modem before we left but I hadn’t bothered and we were quite happy with the break from technology.  All of that being said is to cover up for any gaff’s I make with this and the next few posts… neglected experiences, people and disjointed thoughts are a result of my poor memory.

Killarney is a quaint and pretty little town; They claim the population is 454, but I’m sure when the boating season is here that number more than doubles.  It was quite a busy little channel with fishing boats, pleasure craft and tenders plying to and fro.  As we approached the Sportsman’s Inn, we saw Lyre at rest right ahead of our assigned slip!  ha!  Looks like we took different routes with different schedules and yet still randomly ended up at the same place.   Sportsman’s Inn which had very professional staff and excellent facilities;  It was finally nice to see the dock hands run for the boats and then know what to do with the lines once they were received.  Not only that, but the washrooms and showers were constantly being cleaned, there was a restaurant that delivered pizza to our boat as well as bar and hotel – both of which we did not utilize.  Once again, I neglected to take a photo.

Down the street lay the rest of the town; Not much to it and the few stores they had were extremely expensive.  But first we must talk about the fish & chips shop… of which I did not take a photo.  Right out front of the fishery is a converted bus that now serves as the local fish & chips shop.  The fish wasn’t battered, like Captain Highliner, but had just a dusting before being deep fried.  Their claim of “Best Georgian Bay White Fish” may be justified. It was really good!  (… even though I did end up having a few stomach issues after eating more than my fair share.)  After having a nice fish & chips dinner we wandered back to the Inn where we invited Betsy and Darwin (Lyre) to share wine on our boat.  They brought with them a special bottle of wine from Spain that was just excellent – very dry, just my style but a little much for Feng.

We had decided to outfit in Killarney before our week away so we stayed an extra night;  This was both a good and bad decision.  We definitely needed to outfit and taking an extra day allowed me to get a few chores done but the supplies were criminally expensive.  We visited the rigging shop, grocery (if you can call it that) store as well as made a few stops at the ice cream / family restaurant for snacks.  Then down to chores…

The toilet water pump was working but intermittently would lose it’s suction, needing a full priming before it would go again.  The flaky nature was a bit frustrating although more of a nuisance than a real problem.  It needed a new gasket – a simple rubber cut out that was priced at over $22, and a full maintenance kit was $89.  What?!  $89??? Really now.  Instead, I purchased a new, upgraded pump for $109.  MSRP $89.  *sigh* the middle-of-nowhere premium was paid in full.   I set to work replacing the toilet’s water pump and the task was simple.  6 bolts, sprayed with a bit of shit (dammit, that WASN”T supposed to happen!!!) and then bolt it back in place.  Yes, I really was sprayed and Feng nearly puked.  After that, I discovered the clamp between the toilet discharge hose wasn’t properly seated so I recut the hose and re-clamped it.  It still wouldn’t seal quite right so I made my own seal out of electrical tape which seems to have done the job.  Two chores done.  On to unclogging the ice box drain… Designers of sailboats usually consider access to critical bits and pieces but wouldn’t you know it that the clog in the hose was precisely where it couldn’t be reached??  Right.  Some environment-killing Liquid Plumber later and about 1.5 hours of snaking coat hanger through the pipe we now have a trickle of drainage.  All we need, but at least it’s moving.  That’s it, 3 chores and I’m spent.

We went through our checklist and made sure we had everything we needed for a week in the wilderness… fly swatters? check.  Food?  check.  All systems go? check.  With that, we relaxed for the evening with pizza and fish & chips on the boat and waited to set out early.

I finally snapped a few quick pictures of Betsy and Darwin leaving on Lyre… unfortunately, the photos didn’t turn out well.  I’ll post them but please don’t shoot the photographer.

Darwin backs Lyre out of a difficult spot! Expertise is shown.

Darwin waves goodbye after a good visit. Betsy looks after the foredeck.