August 2008

August 1, 2008 Meldrum Bay, ON to Alpena, MI 78 nm

We were planning on this to be our first overnight passage to Port Huron, Michigan. We left Meldrum Bay, Ontario at 0600 it was quite rough out, at 0700 we raised sails calming things down alot. We saw 2 freighters by the Manitoulin Dolomite Quarry Wharf.

Now all three children are seasick!!! I must look into seasickness medications to see which ones will work as the one I am using makes them sleepy and they end up sleeping all day!!

At 1530 we heard a special broadcast on Channel 16 of a severe thunderstorm watch #786 --60 knot winds and hail for Saginaw Bay (the area into which we are heading.) So we changed direction to head into Alpena, Michigan ETA 2 hours, it is a long way in. It is a very industrial looking harbour, a little different, what are we going to find here? With names like Calcite, Stoneport & Ashland all along the American side of Lake Huron and and no pilot book it's hard to know where to stop.

But glad to be seeking shelter as we would of hit this potential storm in the middle of the night on our first overnight passage. It seems that every single day the weather forcast calls for possible thunderstorms but there hasn't been any. However this one we are taking seriously!!

Alpena, Michigan turned out to be a fantastic place to visit, we got a slip at the municipal marina, there was a fishing derby on so the kids watched that for a while, we walked into town and the public library had on a special reading fundraiser and there was a band (The High Notes from Detroit, MI) playing outside which was really fun for us to see. The library staff gave the kids free popcorn and lemonade. The band included the crowd in creating a song and everyone got to go up and play an instrument with the band. Everyone was so nice here, we needed to clear into customs but Alpena is not a customs port anymore so it just happened that there was a customs official from Rogers City in town having dinner with who agreed to come to our boat and check us in so we thought we were all legal and clear.

August 2-3, 2008 Alpena MI to Port Huron, MI 138 nm

Before leaving Alpena, MI Chris went up the mast using the spinnaker halyard (which we have not used before) when it was time to lower him down, the line got stuck and it wouldn’t budge! He was up 70 feet in the air so he couldn’t help. I unwrapped the halyard 3, 2, until I only had 1 wrap left on the winch and still the line was not going through. I had to manually pull the line under so that it would lower. The rope was very stiff from disuse. Very stressful situation!

Chris took Ryan to the skateboard park, and the girls and I borrowed the marina’s bikes and biked to a few different parks, we biked by beautiful homes on the water an unusually large proportion of them were for sale. It was strange to see.

Then we are off on our 1st overnight sail.

Riverside Skate Park

In the bosun's chair, up the mast

Biking to the park and skateboard park

Trampoline is a great spot to hang out

Folding the sails while underway

Lots of freighters

Sun setting on our 1st overnight sail

At 1115 we were tied to Port Huron Public Marina docks. Yeah we did it. My biggest fear before leaving on our cruise was sailing at night and it wan't so bad, not bad at all.

August 5, 2008 Port Huron, MI to St. Clair, MI 8nm

More boat work. Found alot of water coming into the starboard engine compartment - one thing on boats that you do not want, water inside. Chris spent all morning trying to figure it out. Turned out air conditioner was leaking, the condenser was missing some piece so it was pumping water into the boat. The water was in 4 different compartments and draining into the engine compartment then into the bilge. After about 15 shopvac containers full of water it was gone. With that out of the way, we were on our way to St. Clair, Michigan. We saw some very nice homes on the Michigan side, sadly alot these homes were for sale. There was also alot of industry along this strip. Lo and behold what do we see while we are eating dinner in St. Clair but right behind us is the Diamond Crystal Kosher salt factory, the very kosher salt that we have been missing dearly since leaving home but haven't been able to find. We were hoping to be able to go over for a tour and a stock up, but unfortunately we ran out of time, a big regret.

Working on the starboard engine

Found the bowling alley

Diamond Crystal Kosher salt factory

Industry along the lake

St. Clair Harbor

August 7, 2008 St. Clair, MI to St. Clair Shores, MI 28.4 nm

Customs problems. Even though we signed in at Alpena, we did not receive any paperwork, customs came and boarded us, 3 customs officer with guns, we weren't going to argue. Turns out their computer was down so Alpena did not enter our information into the computer. This was quite a mix up and took quite a while to sort out. We stopped in Algoma to go to Customs again and after spending 2 hours tied to the wall being hit with waves from the ferry we were set to sail in the States!

It was neat motoring down the middle of Canada and the USA. The Canadian side (Windsor) is just trees and grass while the American side (Michigan) is monster homes on the water.

Lake St. Clair is shallow. It started thundering and lightening just as soon as we pulled in and tied to a wall at Jefferson Beach Marina. What timing. We had a beautiful sail across the lake 10-12 knots of wind = 5-7 knots sailing. Went to West Marine to stock up on boat parts and while we were there we met the manager Chuck, we learned that he along with his wife Margie, live on their Victory 35 catamaran SV vtwin at the Detroit Yacht Club. They spent a year cruising the Great Loop a few years ago. Chuck generously invited us to the Detroit Yacht Club, so we accepted!

Canadian side

American side

Legos whilst underway

Always find ice-cream wherever you go!

August 8, 2008 St. Clair Shores, MI to Detroit, MI

Quick motor over to Detroit.

Got a mooring at the Detroit Yacht Club just in time for their Venetian Weekend. What luck! We had a great weekend going up and down the different docks which had been beautifully transformed into "Boardwalks of the World" and getting our passports stamped. The kids ended up with 12 goldfish from a game on one of the docks. The Detroit Yacht Club was founded shortly after the Civil War in 1868 and is on beautiful Belle Isle. When we weren't visiting the docks, or swimming in the Olympic size swimming pool, we were visiting with Chuck and Margie on sv vtwin. Margie took us to the Eastern Market in downtown Detroit where we spent a $100 on cheese, best cheese we have found since leaving Ottawa. We biked over to the Belle Isle Nature Zoo and Chris took the kids to the giant water slide.

At the dock at the Detroit Yacht Club

Venetian Festival

Venetian Festival

Venetian Festival-some new pets to take care of on the boat now!

Venetian Festival

Detroit Yacth Club

Detroit Eastern Market

Chuck and Margie sv twin

New boat pets

August 11, 2008 - Detroit, Michigan to Put-In-Bay, Ohio - 52nm

We had to say good-bye to all our new friends, but hoping to see them again someday. Motoring along, very industrial looking, on our starboard Great Lakes Steele Division, National Steel Corp Allied Chemical Corp. (Detroit) on port Windsor side J.C. Keith Generating Station, ON Hydro Detroit – United States Steele Corp. Before we left my biggest fear was sailing at night, that has been replaced by sailing under bridges and power lines, yes it says on the chart plotter how high the bridge is but it always looks to me like it is much shorter!

Detroit skyline

Going under the bridge

Put-in-Bay was the headquarters for Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and the US fleet during the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry’s ships anchored there before and after the battle, which took place in September 1813. The commodore gained immortality by being the only commander to ever capture an entire British fleet in a single battle. A century later, when Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial was built, their bodies were exhumed and re-interred beneath the 352-foot-tall memorial. Perry’s Monument, as it is known locally, honours the enduring peace between the United States and Canada.

Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Put-in-Bay, Ohio

August 12, 2008-Today was a major tourist day! We rented a golf cart and visited the Heineman’s Winery and Crystal Cave. We had the wine cellar tour and crystal cave tour and a glass of wine and grape juice for the kids. We went to happy hour, minigolf, had bbq’d chicken for lunch, to the Stone Cove Beach, playground and saw the South Bass Lighthouse, it was closed but we saw it anyways. It was fun putzing around town in a golf cart.

Put-In-Bay, Ohio, USA

Heineman's Winery-wine cellar tour

Crystal Cave

Cooling off-Stone Cove Beach

Renting a golf cart is a great way to get around.

South Bass Island Lighthouse

Butterfly House

August 13, 2008 - Put-In-Bay, Ohio to Kelly's Island, Ohio -- 10.52nm

They stuck us on a dock that we don't fit into. I am not impressed, we have to climb down the mooring lines to get on and off the boat. And to add insult to injury they are charging us for a slip and a half.

We biked around town saw the Glacier Grooves, the Glacial Grooves State Memorial is the largest and most spectacular example of glacial grooves left in the entire world. They are visited by geologists from around the world.

As we were biking around we could see Cedarpointe Amusement Park in the distance. We told the kids that we were going to take them there. They were very excited. If you can see it from here it must be pretty massive. I had never heard of this park before but people kept asking if we were going to bring the kids there, so what the heck we will go and check it out.

The rare Lake Erie Water Snake

Glacier Grooves

August 14, 2008 - Kelly's Island, Ohio to Cedarpointe, Ohio 9.5nm

As we are motoring closer, Cedarpointe is coming clearer into view, I have never seen such huge roller coasters, the kids are getting more excited by the minute.

We were able to dock right in the park. It currently holds the world record for most roller coasters with 17, one of them being the world's second tallest and second fastest roller coaster, Top Thrill Dragster, which reaches speeds of 120 mph and a height of 420 feet. Neither Chris nor I was up to the challenge of that one, however Andrea and Chris went on the MaxAir. It is this crazy ride where you sit in an outward-facing suspended seat that forms a giant circle of 50 passengers; their legs dangle freely, then it swings riders back and forth in a seemingly out-of-control pendulum motion while rotating counterclockwise. At the peak of the pendulum movement that reaches a maximum speed of 70 mph, riders are upside down 140 feet above the ground and experience "airtime" - that coveted feeling of weightlessness. I wan't feeling that adventurous but I did try a few milder rides, with names like Ocean Motion, Chaos, and Troika, how scary can they be? There was also a massive waterpark however Ryan was 1 inch too short for ALL the slides, so he wasn't too happy about that. We would like to return to Cedarpointe one day when the kids are bigger and they can go on all the riders together.

Cedarpointe in the distance

Crazy rides

August 16, 2008 - Cedar Pointe, Ohio to Port Colbourne, Ontario 185.94nm

Sailed overnight up Lake Erie. It was a fairly uneventful sail except that the port engine tachometre stopped working and it appears to be overcharging. Dead regulator maybe?

We cleared customs in Port Colbourne around 1300 and I was thinking of a nice relaxing afternoon and getting some rest. However that was not to be as they said we could start going through the locks at the Welland Canal in 45 minutes!!! So we did it, as the last time Chris went through the Welland Canal on our old boat, Daydreamer he had to wait for hours. Rest will have to wait!

Got the asymmetrical spinnaker up

love our electronics

kids keeping busy while underway

Happy Captain Chris at the helm

August 17, 2008 - Port Colbourne, Ontario to Port Weller, Ontario --17.19 nm

Port Weller is located at the entrance to the Welland Canal, one of the world’s great engineering triumphs, Port Weller is part of the city of St. Catherine’s, Ontario.

Some Interesting Facts on the Welland Canal:

The Welland Canal was built to circumnavigate nature’s wonder, Niagara Falls and to connect Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. It provides a man-made deep waterway system for lakers and ocean vessels to navigate into the heart of the continent. The first Welland Canal opened in 1829. The present canal officially opened August 6, 1932. Each of the seven locks has an average lift of 46.5 feet. The difference in elevation level between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie is 326.5 ft. It takes approximately ten minutes and an average of 94.5 million litres to fill a lock.

We had to wait at Lock 3 for about 45 minutes but other than that we went right on through. We did the whole 8 locks in 7 1/2 hours, on average transit time of the 42 km Welland Canal is about twelve hours. Needless to say we were quite tired once we got to the end. One huge freighter passed us while we were going through the canal but other than that, they had us grouped with 2 smaller boats for the whole way. It was very interesting seeing the canal and how it all works. We have been seeing very large freighters all through the Great Lakes and they are a marvel in themselves to watch (from a respectable distance)!

Going through the Welland Canal

Going through the Welland Canal

Going through the Welland Canal

Going through the Welland Canal

August 18, 2008-Port Weller to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario 9.33nm

Arrived at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club. It took 3 times to dock because of wind and current, we just kept going around for another try and eventually got it. Niagara-on- the-Lake is in the heart of Ontario’s wine region. We hope to visit some wineries in the area for some wine tasting and tours.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Sailing Club

Niagara-on-the-Lake-what a pretty place

Niagara-on-the-Lake-great bakeries here

We visited Fort George which is just east of the harbour. This was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1921. During the war of 1812 the Niagara River was a vital water transportation route between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The “Front” as it was known was the scene of many battles including the ferocious Battle of Fort George between the British stationed there and American forces based across the river. The fort sustained heavy damage from cannon fire and virtually destroyed. After the war, it was abandoned and fell into ruins until the 1930’s, when restoration of the earthworks and buildings began. It has been reconstructed to that era, and staff are dressed in period costume to help visitors get the feeling of garrison life on the eve of the war of 1812.

Fort George

Fort George

Fort George

Fort George

We biked along some of the Niagara Parkways’ 56 km long trail along the shore of the Niagara River at Fort George. We took the parkway to visit some of the wineries. What a wonderful way to travel. Niagara on the Lake is beautiful.

We couldn't resist taking a side trip to see Niagara Falls. I remember visiting Niagara Falls when I was a teenager and has it ever changed. The Falls of course are the same but the cheese factor has increased and is now bigger than the Falls themselves. Of course, we couldn't miss out on a trip on the Maid of the Mist. We were squeezed in like sardines, all you could do was pray that the Captain had done this thousands of times before!

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Maid fo the Mist, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Hill's Barrel, July 1949 - Imagine!

August 20, 2008 Niagara on the Lake, Ontario to Waupoos, Ontario

We decided to do another overnight sail as we are meeting a lot of friends and want to spend as much time as we can in Kingston and surrounding area. The weather was dead calm all night and we motored almost the whole time. At 0530 our starboard engine wouldn't start, the engine starting wire has become a little too hot!

Waupoos is a native word meaning rabbit. It is a small hamlet on the south shore of Prince Edward county, across from Waupoos island. We have been here before and really look forward to visiting this quiet anchorage again.

We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary here. So we went out for a celebratory dinner (with the children of course). The winery has a cute little restaurant and that is where we went.

Waupoos Winery

Happy 10th Anniversary, Waupoos Winery

All dressed up for dinner, Waupoos Winery

Waupoos Winery

August 23, 2008 - Waupoos, Ontario to Kingston, Ontario to Milton Island

We picked up our friend Brian and his kids at the Confederation Basin and then went over to Milton Island for some tubing and swimming.

Chris went up the mast to change the anchor light so all the kids got a turn up the mast at varying heights in the boson's chair. Thank you for visiting Brian, Kendal and Liam!

Logan and Andrea

Fun in the 1000 Islands

Up the bosun chair

Classic 1000 Islands Tour Boat

August 24, 2008 - Milton Island to Kingston, Ontario

We uped anchor, along with a ton of weed!! We said good-bye to Brian and the kids and met Carmen, Michael and the kids. We spent the afternoon watching an outdoor concert downtown. There was a festival going on - good timing.

That is one weedy anchor!

We toured around Fort Henry. Unfortunately, Chris had to spend the day trying to figure out what was wrong with the starboard engine, we moved the boat over to Kingston Marine to see if we could get some assistance.

While Chris was doing that, we went on a tour of Fort Henry, which is Kingston’s most famous attraction. Fort Henry was built during the War of 1812 and completed to its present form in 1838. The fort was the British stronghold on the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario.

View of downtown from Fort Henry

Fort Henry

Fort Henry

Fort Henry

The next day we waited for the bridge to open and sailed back to Milton Island - Milton Island is another national park island. Chris and I had been here before with our previous sailboat and we just love it.

August 27, 2009 - Kingston, ON to Gananoque, ON

We said good bye to the Skeggs family with a promise that they would see them again -- in the Caribbean! There was not a lot of wind so we motored. We anchored across from the Gananoque Municipal Marina just in time to see a beautiful 1000 Island 's sunset.

Beautiful Gananoque sunset!

The next day we picked up our friend and neighbour, Shelly and her daughter Corinnne and motored over to Beaurivage Island. Translated from the French, Beaurivage means beautiful shoreline. This island has a very thin soil cover over most of its surface, with broad avenues of granite between stands of oak and pine.

Ryan and Corrine


We hiked ashore and hung out then it was time to drop Shelly and Corinne off and and pick up the next crew, more friends from close-by Ottawa- Mike, Lynn and Avery!

Thanks for visiting guys, we miss you all!

Lynn and Andrea

Non-stop fun in the water

August 30, 2009

Carolyn and Sean and Julia were our guests today. Sean and Carolyn were our neighbours and are circumnavigators, they have sailed their boat sv Spallspeen, a 40 foot Choy Lee sloop around the world. We have learned alot from them.

We picked them up at Gananoque and went back to Beaurivage Island. They brought us so much stuff!! Thank you! Including our new lettering for the stern - smashing! The next day we motored over to Sundowner Island. Anchored in 40 feet of water then noticed the do not anchor sign because of electrical cables signage!! The sign did not look very legitimate so we decided we would worry about it in the morning.

Carolyn, Ryan and Julia

Andrea and Julia

Our new decals!

New t-shirt, thanks Sean, Carolyn & Julia

More gifts for Cari!

Fun little house boat in the 1000 Islands on Lake Ontario

Exhausted after having so much fun with all our guests over the last few days.