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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Port Elgin 45 knot blues!!!
Low 50, High 68, Wicked clouds & Wind
08/17/2007, Port Elgin

Picture above is right outside our marina. Need I say more as to why we stayed???

Friday, August 17, 2007
Port Elgin, Ontario

The neighbors were up last night until the weeeee hours of the morning chatting and having a good time. I felt like an intruder most of the night because I couldn't help but listen to their conversations all night. I don't think they meant to be so loud, but I couldn't sleep over the laughter - don't know how their kids did it.

Wow, there's a definite chill to the air this morning. It's coldddd. This is August? Seven degrees Celsius? Sometime during the night our burgee and courtesy flag stopped beating the halyard so I jumped up this morning, put on the coffee and quickly dressed to take out the trash and check out the water conditions at the mouth of the harbor coming into Port Elgin. I couldn't get connected on the computer to see what they were forecasting so thought I'd give it a visual to see if we could at least get out of the harbor and on to the next one. It still looks a little choppy on the horizon but not to bad and there are clouds rising in the distance - dark and building, so I raced back to the boat from the seawall to turn on the radio to get the marine forecast.

The forecast still hadn't changed from yesterday - except for one small item... a waterspout was thrown in... What the heck? So they're still calling for 20-30 knot winds this morning and waves building from 1 to 3 to 4 meters early afternoon. Thunderstorms in the afternoon, and now waterspouts... just imagine if 3 Abens were here, what the weather would be like...

Well I think I'll warm up the cabin by making some muffins...

After having muffins and coffee for breakfast, I decided to take a walk to find a payphone so I could phone my mom. After phoning (a lot of these payphones don't take credit cards) I headed up Green Street to explore and see if I could find a grocery store. It looks like they rent out a lot of cottages in this area - I kept seeing rental signs and signs that said "Watered by Sand Point". About 8 blocks up I spotted a streetlight and figured that must be where the main road is. I saw a woman carrying plastic bags so figured she'd walked to the store. I asked her "where is a grocery store around here?" and she said "ohhh, a long ways up". "you need to go way up the road then turn left" so I figured I was on the right track and kept walking. It was about an hour into town and an hour back. Very cute, well-manicured houses and neighborhoods and when I got to town it had several used book stores and a great old library. Several little café's a couple of icecream places, a Chinese restaurant, a couple of clothing places and a hardware store. Never did find a grocery store. I did find a Salvation Army store and wandered into there. All kinds of stuff and actually crowded in there too. After an hour, I figured Wayne might be searching for me now so I headed back to the boat. I was gone for about 3 hours - hour there, hour back and and hour in the library, bookstores, etc... Wayne had cleaned out the garage (back berth) and was reading up on sailboat electrical systems. His project is to fix what Tower screwed up...

I got back to the boat just in time - the winds really started howling so I checked out the weather. They'd changed the forecast so now we were expecting 30mph winds with 45 mph gusts and T Storms... Glad we didn't go out. We started getting whitecaps IN the marina and the waves were something else out there. It got really wild with the waves crashing into the jetty and breakwaters. The sand was blowing and sandblasting everything downwind of the beach and of course I had to run and get my camera.

Beautiful straight-line clouds and a series where you could actually see a cold front wedging in under the warmer air and making clouds along the boundary.

We walked out to take pictures along the pier and grab a coney from the restaurant (did I mention they had banana fudge icecream? Ymmmm) and noticed that the dock we were on had given way down near the end. It was sagging in the water, held up by electrical lines.... So we notified them at the office first before going to eat and take pictures. The girl in the office said they'd heard about it but their first priority was to make sure that all the cleats were tightened down so none of the boats got loose in the winds and waves. We actually hit those 45mph winds they were predicting - in the marina where we were protected. Amazing.... The winds kept splashing the water up over the breakwater as I tried to take pictures of the sunset tonight. Kids were playing in it of course...

Weather is predicting to calm down tomorrow so we may be able to get out of here if the channel isn't awash in rock and debris...

Port Elgin 25-30 knot Blues
20-30knot winds/sunny
08/16/2007, Port Elgin

We're still currently sitting in Port Elgin listening to the wind blow. Who'd have thought - but we're a sailboat taking shelter from the wind... The last three days have been something. Variable conditions - We've encountered 3 meter or better seas, 25-35 knot windgusts (running with us and against us) and we've met some really nice people along the way too.

Yesterday we left Tobermory (Little Tub) at 7:30am and arrived here a little after 5:00pm - it was a terrific day with the seas running with us a good deal of the time. Little Tub was an interesting little port that we hadn't scheduled on our trip, but I'm glad we went there!

The day before, we had incredible seas/winds which made us seek shelter in Little Tub - while it wasn't our destination, I was really glad we found it. Great place to restock - very good grocery store there and little shops to please most everyone.

We ran into a boat "Atlantis" with a terrific couple on it from the Netherlands that we'd seen in Killarney - Yolanda and Nord. They're heading for the Erie Canal in a Holland Built, steel Cutter (see pic from yesterday). Wish I could say that we were joining them (and Kathy & Mike) this year, but it's not to be... We need to wait... They've been cruising for quite a while now and I loved talking to them. I hope we run into them in the future somewhere.

Port Elgin is an interesting place - an artifical harbor that is very cruiser friendly once you get past the shallows and reef areas. We had a problem finding it initially but once we did, we lined up on their range and had no problem coming in. Great wireless connection so I'm experimenting with email and this blog site :-) Blogging is new to me - I thought I'd try my had at it after reading Mike and Kathie's from Sapphire.

Saw this one boat tied to the dock that had to be a fisherman "lil hooker" cracked me up!!! I just couldn't name my boat that!!!

08/16/2007 | Mary
Hi Patti.....this is really cool........keep up the good work.........hope to see you soon.
Winds/Waves are more subdued today
08/15/2007, Little Tub to Port Elgin

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tobermory (41o15.400' x 81o39.745) to Port Elgin (44o26.620 x 81o24.223)

Picture of Atlantis crossing over in front of us after we'd left Killarney - good looking boat!

Wild night last night. Even laced into our slip we were rolling. The powerboat next to us from Port Shelton (near where Jackie lives) was really waltzing. Around 2 am Wayne got up and made sure we were still snug and that the other boat docked near our bow at 90 degrees to us was also secure. I didn't get back to sleep until around 4 am, then heard a squeeking sound at daylight and figured it was Atlantis pulling out of her berth. Got up to look, and sure enough, they were backing out and backing out of the channel. They're heading to Sarnia - a 24-hour haul. I don't envy them, but they've been doing this for a while now. I'd have like to have gotten to know them better. Maybe we'll cross paths again.

Wayne got up early too - I made coffee then we pulled out around 7:30am and headed for Stokes Bay. The weather wasn't as bad at all today and we were making pretty good time with the motor and Jib up so we decided since the waves and wind were with us, we'd continue on to Port Elgin. Pretty uneventful day today - looked like the leading edge of a front that we were moving into. Wayne had the helm from the time I got us through the Cape Hurd Channel leaving Tobermory, until I took the helm to come in to Port Elgin. So I had a lazy day playing navigator, reading and I even got a brief nap in too

This is a cute little place. A port in the middle of nothing that people stop to rest, get gas etc... They have a wireless that actually works so I was able to email Stephanie finally, and got Randy's email too.

I made more noodles to go with the left over spaghetti sauce from yesterday and made a tomato/onion/cucumber salad to go with it. Did I mention that I've even made bread and muffins in our little alcohol stove???? Hey - all the creature comforts of home LOL!

Checked out the weather maps from NOAA and it looks pretty decent for tomorrow so far. We got in and laced to the dock at 5:15pm so just less than 10 hours. Tricky coming in, so many reefs and rocks that we had to line up on their range in order to enter.

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