Thursday, August 30, 2007

Aug 16-27, 2007 . . . Twelve Days of Excitement!!!!

The morning of the 16th of August, Thursday, we backed out of the slip in DeTour, Michigan, to start our journey to Mackinac Island. We had reservations at the marina, and they are hard to get. We were going despite the 20 knot winds, the 3-5 seas. Clearing the harbour we increased the speed of the engines to about 1700 rpm and set the course first South then West to Mackinac Island. There was a pull on SONATA and right rudder had to be applied for the trip; thought it was the rough seas. We arrived in the Mackinac Island harbor and when Bonnie started up the fairway to our slip, winds still out of the NNW at 20 . . . she called . . . "Charlie......" We did not have either reverse or forward on the port shaft!

We docked safely . . . toured the island, lunch at the Grand Hotel's Gatehouse, rode our bikes . . . and then met with the senior mechanic from Arnold Ferry Company, Ed McGreavy . . . and concluded the port transmission was shot!

Work on the phone, internet, determined there was only ONE place in the USA that could, would, work on the 1013 Velvet Drive transmission. That place was Hale Marine in Warsaw, Virginia. Ed and I pulled the transmission after SONATA was moved in 20-25 knot winds, 5-8 foot seas, from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace. We put the transmission in the trunk and off we went for 18 hours to Virginia in a rental car. To express ship the transmission was $2,500 each way . . . driving was the only way to go, plus it was to be Bonnie's week in Virginia Beach anyway.

We returned after the transmission was repaired, Friday the 24th, installed the transmission on the 25th and 26th, changed the engine oil, filters, diesel filters, and departed St. Ignace on the 27th. The picture that follows is the STARBOARD transmission . . . it has good teeth! Suspect the reason the transmission failed is that the engine/transmission was not properly aligned with the shaft and has been wearing away since I purchased SONATA. Check your shaft alignment each year.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Aug 16-17, 2007 . . . DeTour - Mackinac Island - St Ignace

Mackinac Island GRAND HOTEL. What a view from the water to the hotel . . . and . . .

. . . and from the hotel to the Straits of Mackinac.

The GRAND HOTEL and we had found "Somewhere in Time."

A walk in the hotel gardens, afternoon tea, a harp being played in the lobby . . . resting in the rocking chairs on the porch . . . veranda. Such elegance!

Almost no better way to spend part of an afternoon.

The main street in downtown was clogged with bicycles (no automobiles on the island) and hundreds of tourists that arrive constantly via three or four ferry companies bringing people from the mainland. The yellow vehicle is a "taxi."

From the Fort one can see the bridge across the Strait a the route SONATA will take over to St. Ignace and remain for a week while Bonnie, we, return to Virginia.

345 gallons of diesel taken aboard . . . cruising at about 2+ miles per gallon.

Aug 14-15, 2007 . . . Thessalon to USA and Drummond Island

A pleasant overnight in Thessalon, our last port in Canada, brought a beautiful early morning for return to the US. We entered US waters at N46-06.366 W083-44.453.

We arrived at the little port on Drummond Island about 9:00a.m. and waited until noon for Border Protection Officer Dane to arrive from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, to look at out passports and inquire as to what we were bringing in from Canada. We left Drummond for the Michigan port of DeTour.

Aug 13, 2007 . . . Little Current to John Island

We departed Little Current on our way to John Island. A cool 66 degrees, clear skies and wind NNW at 5.

Not the best picture, but on the way to John Island we had to pass through "Detroit Inlet" which is just wide enough for ONE boat. A security call was made and passage was without incident. Arriving at John Harbor we tried to anchor . . . wind was so strong and the bottom was flat rock . . . could not get a hold at N46-08.206 W082-36.774 so we left for a cove North of the small boat channel behind Parsons Island.

When we anchored in our new cove we completed a "Med-Moor" to a tree on the bank. Bonnie tied the knots in the lines . . . and we remained steady during the evening.

The evening became and affair with the Loons. Two, then three, then four came and fished, swam, around the bow of SONATA. They sang to eachother and entertained us for more than 3/4 of an hour. Felt like we were "On Golden Pond".

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Aug 12, 2007 . . . Little Current, Ontario, Canada

Spent the night just East of Little Current, at anchorage N45-57.585, W081-53.758. Sunrise was terrific, temperature mid-sixties (slept under covers), wind SSW 10-12, partly cloudy skies.

Moored in Little Current, Church this morning at the Grace Bible Church, grocery shopping . . . and now Bonnie is out shopping while the blog is worked on by Charlie. Monday is anchorage at John Island, Tuesday at Thessalon, Ontario, Wednesday to DeTour, Michigan, and return to the US, Thursday we should arrive in Mackinac Island.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Aug 7-11, 2007 . . . Georgian Bay

On our way to our first anchorage after departing Port Severn, some of the island passages were a little tight. Remember, keep the Red on the Right side of SONATA, Green on the left; and, avoid the fast boat that is coming toward you.... The Georgian Bay . . . look on your maps for the Great Lakes, Lake Huron, then Georgian Bay is above, North of, Lake Huron.

Remember, Red on the Right, dodge the little rock on the right, Green on the Left.

We spent the night at Fitzgerald Bay, rock bottom, and the anchor chain slid across the bottom all night. We had a night with "Marley's Ghost".

The 8th was on Sandy Bay after going through Cunningham's Passage (tight, so tight that pictures were not taken). Here we put the kayaks in the water and went ashore to pick wild blueberries. What a treat!

What a trip down this walled inlet.
Entering Collins Inlet from the East and the traveling West through the inlet we again passed through a narrow passage. This inlet was like a small Grand Canyon.

Overnight at anchor in a wide spot in the inlet . . . then off in the morning to Killarney and the Killarney Mountain Lodge.

The Lodge has guests arriving by automobile, boat, and float-plane. There were four other looper boats here and we depart in a few minutes with one looper for one of the special inlets . . . then we will anchor out overnight. This update is being sent to the blogspot from the lodge . . . the only available internet connection.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Aug 3-7, 2007 . . . Peterborough to Port Severn, Ontario

Bonnie returned from her travels, her work in Virginia Beach, and, with congradulations to Charlie on FINALLY receiving his Captain's License. There is one little difference between his and mine. Charlie's USCG license is a 100 ton license, off shore; mine is up to 50 tons on inland waters. He also meets the requirements for STCW 1995 Regulations without further endorsement. I do not know what that means . . . but it must be important. He's excited!

On our way into the Peterborough Lift Lock. Captain Bonnie is at the wheel and Captain "100 ton" is on deck to handle the lines.

After arriving at the top of the lift . . . a look back can be a little scary. Its a long way down for a 38,000 lb boat..................

Narrow little channels as we worked our way Northwest on the TrentSevern. Seven locks just to go from Peterborough to Lakefield, ten miles.

Passage through Stoney Lake (note, not muddy lake but stoney lake . . . wander off course and you bend a prop or shaft...) takes you through "Hells Gate". In Hells Gate is the St. Peters-on-the-Rock Anglican Church which occupies the entire island it sits upon and can only be reached by boat.

Following an overnight at Bobcaygeon we entered a stretch just called the "Trent Canal". It is so narrow that boats greater than 40' (that's us) are required to announce a "security-call" on Channel 16 as we make passage . . . this is so little guys . . . if they have a radio and have it turned on . . . will know we are coming. In this channel we are the "aircraft-carrier-of-the-north" and all little fellows must get out of our way.

Up to the Kirkfield Lock we have been elevated some 600' . . . now it is time to go down. We wait for the boats to leave the lift lock, similar to Peterborough, so we may enter and NOT go over the edge . . . and start down.

Bonnie inched SONATA to the edge of the lift lock for the ride down. We were thankful for "reverse" and "stop" on the engines.

This picture is an example of some of the fine "cottages" along the Trent-Severn Waterway.

On our way to Lake Simcoe we entered the "pasture-land" and spent an overnight on a lock wall at Lock 40, Thorah. Just at the bow of the boat (the picture taken did not do justice and is not included) was a swallow's nest. Mom went from the nest to the water and back each time collecting bugs to feed her three young. She would sit atop our burgee and look at us sitting on the bow of the boat to see if it was OK to reveal the location of her nest, her young. What a great, quite, peaceful evening!

Departing the Trent Canal we entered Lake Simcoe. Winds were forecasted out of the SouthWest at 20-25 . . . correct. We had the wind and waves on our stern and surfed all the way to Orillia were we stopped for lunch. After lunch we pressed on to the "Big Chute."

We tied up at the "Blue Line" (tying up on the blue line means you want to proceed through the next lock when it opens) we had the Big Chute looming in front of us for the evening. Even with the challenges facing her the next day Bonnie slept well.....

The Big Chute, the cradle, is run on two tracks so that it goes into the water but remains fairly level. Straps then raise under the boat, much like a regular travel-lift in the boat yards, and once raised the entire structure moves by way of cable power from one waterway to the other.

As the Chute is driven into the water Bonnie carefully maneuvers SONATA into position to enter the Chute for the ride over the highway and down into the water on the other side.

Having cleared the road (highway) we start the trip down and release from the Big Chute.

Having skillfully maneuvered into the Chute and now out of the Chute Bonnie directs SONATA on toward Port Severn, our last stop before entering Georgian Bay and the North Channel.

Docked in Port Severn we rewarded ourselves with lunch at the Rawley Resort and Marina feasting on pan fried pickerel . . . a new dish to us which was well prepared and very tasty. On the 7th, Tuesday, we leave for Georgian Bay . . .

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Aug 2, 2007 . . . Peterborough, Ontario

Bonnie returns and we depart Peterborough . . . into the electronic void until we return to the USA on about the 15th of August. Will update about then...........