01 August 2011

North Channel

Our annual pilgrimage is in full swing!

All is good.

It's 80nm from Wiarton to Killarney.  In the past it has been a 3 to 4 hour trip, depending on the weather. We have sucked in close to the Bruce Peninsula for protection, we have made the straight run, every time is different.  It is big water.

We slept in!  How could that be?  My BlackBerry has the most annoying alarm, kind of fitting for me, a sonar ping.  It always gets me up.  Even better, it is like finger nails down a chalk board for Kerri.  Two pings and she is beating on me to shut that d*mn thing off!

The plan... to arrive in Killarney around noon.  The forecast... up to 15knots out of the North-West, not the best.  And we slept in.  Having already covered some 2000nm this year the plan was to keep the fuel consumption under control.  But, the MAFOR was not in our favour and Macara is still pretty nervous after our trip from Kincardine to Wiarton.  So, we put Knot Yet up on plane for a couple hours to get some miles behind us before the winds pick up.  Sometimes, plans work.  By Lonely Island we had all the protection we would need.  So, we pull off the throttles and glide into Killarney on about as little full as our old 30 footer would.

Never wanting to mess with success, we like to start our North Channel voyage the same way.  After a long trip, our routine fits perfectly.  Head directly to Herbert's fish bus and split a fish meal.  Their portions are huge, so we have it fine tuned down to 1 meal and 4 extra pieces of fish for the 3 of us.  A perfect lunch.  Then it is off to the pool so Macara can have a swim.  After that, we get dressed up (boat style) and head out for a nice meal at Killarney Mountain Lodge.  Every year the same thing, Prime Rib dinner and a bottle of red wine.  Finally, some live entertainment with Andy Lowe.  He is a one man entertainer who plays a mix of some of his own songs and requests.  He has been playing in the Carousel every year  for the last 12 and we have never missed a year. Macara calls him 'My Andy'.

Now the details get fuzzy.  Largely due to a Non Disclosure Agreement between us and anybody that we have ever cruised the North Channel with.  When we go looking for an anchorage, we want one to ourselves.  We don't do the popular, crowded anchorages.  The charm of these cruising waters is the seclusion.  So forgive me if I am not willing to post our favourite spots on the internet.

Our western anchorages will be known as "The Benjamin's" and our eastern anchorages will be referred to as "Rat Covered Portage".  Rest assured you will never find us anchored in these two popular anchorages, but we may not be that far away.  ;-)

It's a bit of long run down to our "Rat Covered Portage" and, if someone is already shoe horned into our little spot, we don't have a really good plan B.  We get lucky again!  So we proceed hunker down for a few days.  We like to stern into this particular little bay and throw out a beach anchor.  Then place two bow anchors to keep us in place, no matter the wind direction.  When the wind is howling from the west, we are not more than 50 yards from rolling 4 foot waves as we sit peacefully in our little cove.

The joys of a new boat (sarcasm)... after a beautiful dinner and glorious night with a few drinks under the stars, it was time to start the genny and go to bed.  No go!  What's up?  I read the manuals for a bit, nothing clearly jump out at me.  So, I decide to deal with it in the morning.  What's that noise?!?! is how I wake up.  The bilge pump is gurgling, pump not pumping out.  I jump to the control panel and check the voltage.  Only 9 volts!  It was 12.5 volts just 5 hours ago.  Oh no!  This is not good.  I carry an Eliminator battery with booster cables with me and attempt to start main engines and the genny... nothing.  It looks like I am pulling all four batteries and spending a long day in the dinghy running into town and getting them charged.  One more idea.  Hook the Eliminator directly to the genny start solenoid.  Next to impossible given the genny location.  There has to be an easier way.  Finally, I find it and genny jumps into action.  Crisis averted.  Good thing, because I was not looking forward to the alternative.

So, right now we are sitting in Little Current.  Cleaned up and pumped out, it is time to get ready to make our way to the Benjamin's.

More to come...