Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Finishing up

We spent all day yesterday completing the task of winterizing Onapua. As well as replacing the water with antifreeze in the engine, head and water tanks, I had to disconnect the batteries, drain the engine water pump so that the impeller wasn't sitting in antifreeze all winter. I loosened up the engine belt and swapped it end to end. The worst thing I discovered was when I came around to adding distilled water to the batteries. Each of my 4 batteries needed about 16 ounces to bring the levels up to cover the plates. Terrible! Thinking about it afterwards, it is probably due to the fact that I have been Motoring through all the locks on the Erie Canal and the Trent Severn Waterway and have been overcharging the batteries.

I met Dan and Francine when I was in the Caribbean doing the Cuba Salty Dawg Rally and they were the ones who suggested that I check out the North Channel. Dan has been helping me and I must say that I had no idea how much effort winterizing a boat takes.
I bought a huge tarp from harbor freight and we had to cut it down to fit.
Then we had to turn the edges to make a hem and install grommets. The idea is to stop the tarp flapping in the wind by pulling it tight around the boat. In the end it looked very good and I am confident that very little snow will get inside the boat.
It was a very sad day leaving her and knowing that I will not be back until May of next year. So check back to this blog again in 6 months, when I will resume my cruising this time hopefully in Lake Superior. In the meantime I will be going down under to NZ to enjoy another summer.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Winterizing Onapua

I spent yesterday adding antifreeze to all my water systems and covering the boat with a gigantic tarp I got from Harbor Freight.
It was quite difficult wrestling with the tarp in the wind and getting it tied down tightly.

It has started to turn cold here so my timing for hauling Onapua has been impeccable.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Hauling Onapua

Yesterday, I had Onapua hauled and placed in the yard. What a sad occasion it turned out to be. Take a look.
After that I started the process of winterizing it and I used 12 gallons of antifreeze through the engine and the holding tank for the head. I still have to empty out my water tanks and run antifreeze through it. After that I have to put a tarp over the entire boat to keep the snow off.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Menominee Day 2

I had never heard of this town and wondered why it was such a popular place. Well the answer comes from this.
Here are two of four Jet propelled littorio class battleships for the navy that are being built here and providing employment for the surrounding areas.

I am getting my boat ready for winter storage and have taken down all my sails.

Usually I use this blog just for Sailing on Onapua but I have been tossing up whether to use it for my travels down under. Mmmmm.....

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Well I made it and am tied up in the marina.
I crashed when I got here and had a good sleep to catch up. Last night the fog was as thick as pea soup some I didn't get much sleep.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Leaving Mackinac Island

Today I am going to Marinette Minaminee over in Wisconsin, a distance of around 150 Nm and I will travel overnight tonight and hopefully get there around noon on Tuesday. As always you can follow my location real-time through my satellite Inreach device by clicking on the following link.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Mackinac Island Day 3

Can you imagine what it would be like to live without cars. Well imagine no more because Mackinac Island has biking, boating and horse transportation but no cars. So take a look at what it would be like on Main Street, Mackinac Island without your favorite automobile.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mackinac Island Day 2

This place is an ideal place to take a vacation and i would put it on par with Bar Harbor in Maine and Hilton Head SC. The main thing that grabs your attention when you get here is that there are no cars.
If you like fudge this is the place to go with just about 20 stores on main Street selling either it or ice cream.
The place is very historical with a fort overlooking the town.
If you also like biking, then this place has lots of places to ride including an 8 mile circuit at the water's edge. The marina manager kindly loaned me a bike for the 3 days while I am here.
Just east of town, there is a cool arch rock formed when 4,000 years ago the softer material dissolved when it was under water and left the limestone intact.
The Grand Hotel has the Michigan Republican convention going on this weekend.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mackinac Island

What a beautiful day it was yesterday. I heard reports of 80 degree temperatures here in upper Michigan and this town looks so picturesque. Because this place is referred to the Upper Peninsula, the people like to refer to themselves as Uupers. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself. I left at 9am and sailed at about 2.5 knots until the wind died completely around 2pm. Usually I turn the engine on under 3 knots but I was hoping against hope that the wind would pick up. I didn't arrive until after the dock Master had gone home so I threw down my hook and rocked until the ferries stopped around 9pm. This morning I will go into the marina and take a look around the island. No cars are allowed on the island so I will have to rent a bike. The weather forecast for the next week has the wind coming from the SSW which is the direction I want to go so I may be holed up here for a while.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

DeTour Village

Well they say it's an evil wind that blows no good. All the hurricanes in the Atlantic have meant warm weather up here. Today it was 60-70 degrees.......again and the warm weather is expected to be here all next week. Nobody is here because 40-60 is the average for this time of year.
Here is Main Street at 5pm. It's empty!
And this is the reason for the town's existence......the ferry over to Drummond Island.
Next to the ferry is a good nautical museum.
This steam engine is an example of something revolutionary back in 1895.

Today I am heading west over to Mackinac Island.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Milford Haven

You never know how your day will go when you are out cruising on a sailboat. Yesterday The forecast was for light winds and I planned on sailing for the Grant Islands, 20 Nm west of me. Well I got to them about 1pm and made a judgement call to continue because the winds were fresh and I was doing a good 5 knots. Well I ended up making a 9 hour, 45 Nm voyage averaging 5 knots all the way to Milford Haven with the fresh wind behind me enabling me to use my huge Genoa under a deep reach. What a fabulous sail! The seas were fairly flat, it was a beautiful day with wispy clouds and warm temperatures and you couldn't ask for better conditions especially at this time of year. I think I saw one boat all day long and even that was on the horizon. I don't like using my engine except for going in and out of harbor and I look for days like yesterday on the weather forecast to do my longer journeys.

This place is very pretty but compared with the North Channel, I would rate it only as average. I would normally post a photo but because the cell coverage is so poor here, you will just have to take my word for it.

Today I am headed south about 10 Nm to De Tour Village in the USA to clear customs and buy some food. I have practically no food left on the boat after being at anchor every night for a while. I did this on purpose because you are not allowed to bring fruits, vegetables or meat back into the USA.  Most cruisers just go in to Town Harbor and the customs people come out and inspect your boat. I belong to SVRS (small vessel reporting system) so in theory, I just enter the USA and make a phone call and they give me a report number and that is it. I do have to file a float plan before I leave the USA and they still have the right to come out to your boat and inspect it, however in the last few times I have come back to the USA, no one has ever come out. I do have a decal on the outside of my companionway that I buy every year for about $25 and I am supposed to fly my yellow quarantine flag within 3 Nm of port until I am cleared. I can take down my Canadian maple leaf courtesy flag and remove the Canadian clearance number from my starboard side.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Turnbull Islands

Yesterday was the first time I have ever towed my dinghy while sailing along and I must say that it was a success and I didn't have any problems. I towed it on the starboard side and I wasn't going very fast and not far but I will be a lot less hesitant about doing it in the future.
Mindful of the fact that I will be crossing over from Canada to the United States of America in a couple of days, I have been rationing my food and have hardly anything left on board until I get to De Tour Village. They don't allow any fruits or vegetables across the border and of course that is just about all I live on. The other thing is that I don't want any food on board the boat when I haul it out for storage in a week or so.
Today I am heading to the Grant Islands about 20 miles west of here. Winds will be light and downwind so I plan on using my giant yellow Genoa poled out wing on wing.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Cleary Cove again

It is such a beautiful place that I decided to stay another day. A boat with a 5 foot draft is normally not able to get into this cove but because the lake levels are so high this year I was able to squeeze in.
I got my exercise rowing around in my dinghy checking out all the beaver homes.
These beavers must have some serious teeth to be able to fell sizeable trees like this one.
Today I am moving about 5 miles westwards to the Turnbill Islands.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Cleary Cove

This place has to be the most scenic place on Earth.
It only has a narrow entrance between two granite islands so it is protected on all sides which in turn means that the water is often like a mirror. Lush vegetation, predominantly towering conifers take root in rocky outcroppings and thick moss grows widely as a reminder that it can get very cold here during the winter. The water is good enough to drink so you can see the bottom down to the anchor.

It is supposed to rain this afternoon so rather than moving to another cove today, I am just going to stay here and continue my voyage tomorrow. I rowed my dinghy for several hours yesterday, trying to find a waterfall that is supposed to be near here. Part of the problem in trying to figure out where it is,  is that there are bears in these woods, and I am not too keen about meeting up with one, even if they are supposed to be docile and scared of humans. I have to fix my whale gusher bilge pump too because it has stopped working, so that will give me something to do while it is raining.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Beardrop Harbor

No words can adequately describe how beautiful this place is. Put the North Channel on your "must visit" list and try to come when they are having an Indian Summer like this year where the lake is still warm enough to swim in.

I put together some photos of Georgian Bay and the North Channel into a video.
I'm off this morning to John Harbor, just south of here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Moiles Harbor

Another unbelievably Beautiful place with blue skies and 60-70 fahrenheit (15-20 Celsius) temperatures and I am the only one here. I saw two fishing skiffs on my way here yesterday but that was it. I was going to go for a walk but right in front of my boat when I anchored was this bear.
Now in my 63 long years, I have never seen a bear in the wild. I have been to Alaska, the Carolinas, up in Maine and I might have seen a fleeting glimpse of one in Colorado, but this one was plain as day. I hear that the brown bear is a shy creature and spends his day eating Berries and nuts but I'm not taking any chances.

Today I am heading just around the corner to Beardrop Harbor.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Gore Bay

My new found friends from Hotham Harbor offered to take me to Gore Bay just south about 15 miles to look around. It has the largest charter Boat fleet on the great lakes and is a delightful little town. Not as tourist orientated as Little Current and at this time of year, everything is winding down.
I had a good look at the boats with covers in the dockyard because that is what I am going to have to do to winterize Onapua in a couple of weeks.
We had coffee, walked around town and all ate fish and chips for lunch.
Norm, Elaine, Bob, Sandy and I together at happy hour.
BTW here is another shot of Onapua just as the fog was lifting.
I asked Bob how he managed to get by with such  poor cell coverage and he showed me his signal amplifier.
It is pointed at the cell tower and has a coax bnc cable back to a switch inside the house that amplifies the signal. They live off the grid and get their power from 6 solar panels and lead acid batteries.
And lastly, I finally found one of those Mr buddy heaters that works off a one pound propane cylinder for warmth inside the boat. I have to be very careful when using it but I will try to use it sparingly and keep my companionway open. The funny thing is that it has been really warm here over the past few days. Hopefully it will continue.

I am off again Westward today with no wind hopefully to make Moiles Harbor.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hotham Island

FOG! This is a beautiful bay but you will have to take my word for it because the fog is like pea soup this morning. It is supposed to burn off early and be another gorgeous day like yesterday. I actually put my dinghy into the water yesterday and visited Norm and Elaine who have a house at the head of the bay. They have some trails out the back of their place that I could stretch my legs and today I am going to go with them on their skiff to Gore Bay.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Benjamin's

Another day and another beautiful bay, this time in South Benjamin Island.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Rous Island

Another delightful anchorage. BTW, when I was in Little Current, they have a prop on display to show what happens when you are not careful here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Little Current

Cute little town and slow as one thing. My word! If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. They do have a traffic light in town on the one way bridge.
It provides the only access to Manitoulin Island which is the huge island south of North Channel where I am heading next. They do boast their own Lighthouse.
It is getting seriously cold but I am learning to adapt by using gloves and hats and layers. Trouble is that it is so nice during the day that I am getting sunburned.

I finally got off the boat yesterday and was able to get some walking in. After a week cooped up in 100 square footage, it was time to stretch my legs. Unfortunately this week will be more anchoring. By the time I get to New Zealand next month, I will be like a jellyfish and ready for some serious exercise.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Heywood Island

Another beautiful cove and I am the only one out cruising in this chilly weather. I saw a great big snake swimming at dusk last night and I got to thinking about whether or not they could get into the boat.

I stopped an hour short of my destination last night after a great day of sailing. I am down to bare bones food wise and there is supposed to be a grocery store at Little Current to stock up at.

The tip of my autopilot broke off yesterday so I ended up steering with my monitor windvane all yesterday. I found a plastic piece in my junk drawer that seems to fit as a replacement that I will try out this morning on my way to the marina.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The bustards

I have just been hearing stories and seeing photos of the destruction caused by Irma. It is gut wrenching. A simple decision put me out of harm's way but it could have easily been the other way around. Here is one in Jolly Harbor in Antigua.

Today the wind is such that I should be able to sail all the way to Little Current.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stair Island Homes

I wanted to show you 4 different homes that I took photos of yesterday on the way here that are unique.
1. Oak Barrel
You can see the chimney pipe at the rear so it is not just a summer vacation home. Airbnb anyone?
2. Houseboat
Again it is all set up for the winter and it has views that are priceless.....all at zero cost.
3. Magnificent Multi million mansion
What an outstanding example of modern design.
4. Beaver home
This meagre home is next to me in my anchorage. This place is a paradise. Dead quiet, no wind, no boats, no houses, granite rocks with lush forest all around.

Today I am off 15 miles north to Sandy Bay