Thousand Islands – Mulcaster Island

A generous 10:1 ratio on our anchor meant close to 100 feet of rode. Wind and current were favourable at bed time, pulling us away from the island. But this changed overnight, the wind direction shifted and we are now close to shore.

Lori pulled in some of our anchor line to give us a little more padding in case wind picks up or anchor slips and went back to bed. It’s given me a chance to catch up on these posts while keeping an eye on things.

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Living on the boat has been great the past two nights, kids have been great keeping things in their right places and it’s much easier without having two extra people and a dog on board. Kids have been sleeping in the back and Lori and I use the v-birth. Still trying to figure out the best way to cook. The camp stove we brought is amazing for boiling water on solid ground but not so good in a rocking boat. I started cooking standing at the base of the stairs with the stove in the cockpit.

The other mixup last night was setting our anchor light. We are just using a small waterproof lantern hoisted by our jib halyard. So as Lori was hoisting it I was picturing it 3/4 up but failed to tell Lori of this plan so she faithfully hoisted it to the top of the mast. And then it stuck. It wasn’t heavy enough to slide back down. We cursed and argued a bit and then also realized that if we wanted to lower the mast to get to the light we needed our jib halyard. Which is now pulled tight to the pulley at the top of the mast. After about 20 mins of despair and resign we came up with the idea of duct taping two of our dock poles together. That didn’t work, but duct taping two poles and a broom handle created the perfect but very wobbly tool to snag the light. We now have another line tied to the light that goes to the deck so we can pull it down.

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Lazy day. Gavin and Owen hung out with some of the kids from the island went out in a small zodiac to go jump off some cliffs. Our friend Gordon came back and apparently the top sailboat racers from US, Canada, UK were here with their custom made carbon fiber boats for a big race. Most top end engineers from US Navy, and aerospace companies looking for a different way to apply their skills. And we decided that out of all of the spots the spot right in front of them was the best place to try and anchor.

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We left for Peck’s Marina and had a chance to use the VHF radio for the first time since getting my ROC(m). “Peck’s Marina, Peck’s Marina… this is Criss-Cross, Criss-Cross… Over”. I felt so official, and was successful! They responded and knew what I was asking for! Not a lot of selection at Peck’s Marine. Picked up some ice, water and gas.

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Weather started to turn and forecast said rain, thunder and some good northerly winds so we made a run back towards Mulcaster Island where we saw some space at the dock earlier. With little time to waste we motored all the way there.

Getting tied up

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This is a decent setup for our towing our dinghy since we don’t like hauling it up onto the deck. Everything was fine until we showed up at Mulcaster Island and I head for the dock. One or two people came out to help us in. Casually put it into reverse to slow down and THUMP the engine kicks and shuts down. I look back to see that the tow line had pulled itself into the propeller. Now we are coasting, without power, past the dock with the onlookers now shouting out if we need a tow. I’m looking back at the tangle in the motor and jump over and put my arms up to my armpits to try and work the rope free. Knowing we were going to hit something soon I decided it was the only thing I could do was get the rope loose and restart the engine. It wasn’t as bad as I first thought and a few winds later and the motor was free. I jumped back into cockpit and started up engine while kids took dinghy to the side of the boat. Take note, I’ve gotten a lot better at starting the engine. Thinking back to the problems I had in Burleigh Falls overnight trip. Looking up at the dock for the first time in a while I now see there are about eight people there to help out.

Now proud that we got things worked out someone from the dock calls out “where are your fenders!?” Yup one day we will dock without an adventure.

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It was a great night, and put our little BBQ to use again. It’s tiny but it works great!

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Lessons learned

  • Mark on your map/chart plotter where you drop the anchor. Then when your line is stretched out, draw a circle to get a better understanding of all the places your boat may go overnight.
  • Something to research, our boat liked to swing back and forth under anchor. I think it’s called Anchor Sailing. Where we the boat drifts back and forth in a 20 degree arc from where the anchor is dropped. Not really sure what causes this or how to reduce it.
  • Always tie a rope to anything you decide to hoist up the mast. If you don’t have an anchor light at the top of your mast a small LED camping lantern works really well hoisted up on your jib halyard. Always tie a separate line to the bottom of your lantern to be able to pull it back down.
  • No matter how excited you are about finding a place to dock, go through your checklist before heading in. Bumpers, dock lines setup on proper side, tow line moved to not interfere with the engine, …

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