We survived the storm in Belleville and now complete our journey, mostly motoring, back home to Cobourg through the Murray Canal.
Date: August 3, 2020 Distance: 39 NM Duration: 7 hours 54 minutes Weather: Sunny, warm, light increasing to 20 knot winds
Left Crate Marina. Slight West wind and we glided easily out of our tight dock space.
Under the bridge, fishermen lined up on the breakwater and one smart group used a small dingy to create their now private dock off one of the inner pillars of the bridge.
Did a quick refresher on Murray Canal. Carrying Place is first and then Brighton Road. Radio on Channel 14. And reminded myself, oncoming boats (Eastbound) have priority.
It was windier than usual in the canal, but we felt much more confident in keeping the boat on track than we did a few years ago. We had a long wait for the first swing bridge, Carrying Place. And as the bridge opened we heard the oncoming Eastbound sailboat announce they were blown off and got stuck. We were then told to clear the area to allow them a chance to free up the sailboat. So we motored through only to have the stuck sailboat back up into our path. There was tons of room and I’m just glad they got out but it was a bit hectic!
We had another boat behind us, Summer Spirit, they were sailing beautifully in Bay of Quinte before the canal and now being ultra cautious about following us. The swing bridge operators were calling out to try and keep us close together since it was a busy weekend. I guess a lot of boaters delayed their trips home due to the storm yesterday.
Quick Engine Check
Wee were a bit worried about the engine. It has a slow oil leak and we decided to stop and quickly clean it up before heading out into some potential choppy waters on Lake Ontario.
Decided to call out to the cautious boat behind us to let them know we were stopping. Well, we got the name mixed up somehow and I called out to Serendipity II to let them know I was going to pull over for a bit. I get a confused response but acknowledgement from Serendipty II. It wasn’t until we pulled over and Summer Spirit passed us we realized our mistake. Oops!
Lori prepared the fenders and lines for docking.
We pulled up to the concrete wall on the West entrance of the Murray Canal. It was an easy spot to stop, but it’s a bit bumpy from passing boats and it would be nice to have a Fender Board against the concrete wall if staying here for any length of time. I guess if you were staying overnight the canal would be closed and there wouldn’t be any traffic. It’s swampy to the South, not sure how bad the bugs would be.
As we expected, the oil leak was still there and the oil absorbent pad was soaked (I like to call them engine diapers).
We have the parts required to fix the engine but have been having difficulty finding a mechanic to come out to our boat. It’s a slow leak, about a tablespoon every five minutes so we’ve been just making sure the oil is topped up and that the engine diaper gets changed regularly.
I now have this down to an art. A little degreaser to clean up the lip so the tape sticks, tape a plastic bag to the front, pull the diaper directly into the bag being careful not to burn your arm on the engine if it’s been running.
A quick wipe down and a new clean engine diaper, she’s looking good again.
Leaving Presquile Bay and PanPan Call
We motored through the marked route through Presqu’ile Bay and notice a pack of catamarans all anchoring on the Western shore of the Bay. We make a note of this, maybe it’s a good spot to check out later.
As we left the bay, passing the last red buoy we heard a pan pan call from a sailboat in trouble. Normally we only hear Coast Guard Radio and not the person calling. So we know they must be close. We switch to channel 24 to learn more. They had ran aground and were stuck just west of the entrance to the Murray Canal, close to where we tied up earlier.
That area is shallow and weedy and it’s easy to get off course, there are only green buoys on one side. It’s best to stay as close to those green buoys as possible!
We hear, “Small Pack”, Brighton Rescue call out on 16 to the boat and it sounds like they were being taken care of. It would take us at least 40 mins to get back there and there were tons of other boats in the area to assist. So we decided to continue on.
We motored directly into the wind until High Bluff Island, it was a little choppy. Speed dropped to under 5 knots with motor at at just over half throttle, I’ve been taking it easy on the engine until we get the oil leak fixed.
Turned to wind and raised the main.
The sail helped, we pointed a bit off wind and speed raised to 6 knots close hauled motor sailing with engine throttle just over half.
There was another sailboat way ahead of us under full sail closer to shore and we slowly caught up. Lori was concerned about the weather turning so we kept the motor on.
Man over board! Ok it was my hat. Quickly circled back around and picked it up. It was a good test, I joked and called out “MAN OVERBOARD” before I cranked the boat around. Lori wasn’t happy with the quick change in direction and I was upset she didn’t keep proper lookout for the MOB hat. We will just continue to disagree.
The distinctive lighthouse at the entrance to Cobourg welcomed us back home. The other sailboat we were following beat us in, but it was close.
Unpacking the Boat and Heading Home
Pulled into harbour, pumped out and docked without issue. We cleaned up and unpacked the boat like pros. I was impressed, after being on the boat for two weeks, everything just happened like clockwork.
This is something we really enjoyed about being on the boat so long this time. With short trips, you don’t really get a chance to get in the groove. You are reviewing checklists and trying to recall all the stuff that needs to be done. After a while, you don’t need the checklists anymore and you become a lot more efficient with all the tasks!
Except the anchor, forgot to clean it off while we had the hose out. Ahh well, a quick project for next time at the boat.
I then see Cobourg was nice enough to give us a ticket while we were away. When we left, parking was free but changed the rules while we were away. The Cobourg Marina was nice enough to take care of this ticket for us.
We stopped off for some greasy deep fried food on the way home and then the storm hit us. We were glad we pushed ahead and didn’t have to unpack in this!
It was a fantastic trip, and we were so happy we got out to the Thousand Islands again. The journey back home felt a bit rushed but we couldn’t wait for the endless water supply at home for a hot bath and shower!
You can see a summary of this entire trip here: Two Weeks in the Thousand Islands