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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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Kincardine to Bayfield
64 and Cloudy – threatening rain and T-Showers;
08/19/2007, Bayfield

Sunday, August 19, 2007
Calm seas to 1 meter. 43.9 miles traveled today from .

We had coffee and left Kincardine at 7:30 an hour behind Renewal. They're pushing on to Sarnia tonight - long day for them. Before we left, I saw Dave having his morning coffee and stopped to chat with him briefly. He had holed up behind a Bird Sanctuary at Stokes Bay. He wanted to draw me a map of where to stay at Stokes the next time around and I reminded him that there might not be a next time but he made me a map and brought it down before we cast off. That was really sweet of him.

Once underway, I gave Wayne the helm and went below to make fried egg sandwiches. The bread was moldy though so I pitched it and made egg salad pita pocket sandwiches and we had tomato juice with it up top. Messy business - egg salad...

It looked threatening today so we had our rain gear and life jackets out (it never did rain). The skies were something else - beautiful shelf and building cumulus clouds with a rain bar (?) under the darkest shelf. I can't really call it a rainbow, because it was like a long bent line under the flat part of the cloud with the rainbow colors...

Pretty uneventful, and cold all the way here. We ran aground (or should I say asilt) at the mouth of the Bayfield River We came 1/4mile down the river to almost the end where it got reaaaal skinny before we came to #90 - the slip for us to pull into. It was a bow, 4 line tie up which we'd never done. I overshot the pilings and reversed to line up and into the dock. They told me just to come into the one I'd lined up on but I'd already reversed and was forwarding into the correct one (Ha!) We tied up to the posts and saw a couple of the Bayfields here - there were quite a few I noticed coming in. Quatrefoil - a 36 foot, and a 40 foot - called Startin Monday, and a couple smaller ones on our side of the river that I couldn't read.

After 20 years, Kolibrie has made it near to where she started. Born in Clinton (inland a bit), and probably launched here...

After Wayne had a couple beers and settled down, we wandered over to the restaurant and got some dinner. Then wandered back to the boat. Smells good here, they have a picnic area with fire pits and people sit around them chatting. We saw the family from Port Elgin/Kincardine that live here - they spotted us and came over to say hi and glad to see we made it. They have an hour drive home and headed out only to return because their daughter left her cell phone on the boat.

Saw a beaver swimming up the river. At first I thought it was an otter, then muskrat because it was bigger, then as he swam up to and under the stern and out, I saw it was a beaver - it was cool to watch him swim up and past us... I loved the sight. Cool tail - I'd never seen a beaver swim before- especially so close to me.

Kincardine - Yay!!!
High 66/Low 50 Sunny to partly cloudy
08/18/2007, Kincardine (N44 10.597 x W81 38.380)

Saturday, August 18, 2007 (about 25 miles today)
Port Elgin (N44 26.620 x W8124.223) to Kincardine (N44 10.597 x W81 38.380)

Well, the wind calmed this morning but looking out on the horizon, it looked like a ragged line, so we decided to wait a bit for it to calm down. I called Kincardine (I hate the phones here - had to try 4 different times before I got it right) to see if they'd have something for us and they said no problem. I figured we should call and verify since it looked like they don't have a lot of transient slips and with no anchorage in the area (it's a lee shore) it seemed like the prudent thing to do.

We finally left Port Elgin sometime after eleven a.m. but before noon-o-clock. I didn't note what time we pulled out because we all got to chatting (do we go now or wait?!?!) But there were 4 boats grouped together waiting out the weather, for the past 3 days, each itching to get out of Port Elgin. One boat was from Bayfield, Renewal (the boat next to us here) is from Port Clinton, and the one across from us - called Laura Lyn. I guess Laura Lyn (Ty and Peter) tried to leave yesterday but turned around and came back in before the squall line of 40mph winds hit. After chatting, we were the first to pull out (the guinea pigs), and Laura Lyn followed us out. It was a bit bumpy at first, and a couple of waves left my stomach 4 ft above me, but it settled down once we got the Yankee and Main up. 3 miles out, Renewal hailed us to see what the conditions were like. We told them "come on out the water's fine (heh, heh, heh...kidding it was fine) They were going to follow us out in another hour or so - after breakfast. We motor sailed and made pretty good time. We got in and tied up at 3:30. The sails managed to boost our speed so we were traveling between 6.1-6.9 knots. It felt like we were buddy sailing with Laura Lyn and I was able to take some pictures of her. Ty reciprocated and took pictures of us also (with the nuclear power plant in the background - do we look green? oops you can't see until I get my website up LOL), so we traded when we got into port. We now officially have a picture of us under sail. Thank you Ty and Peter :-) I Can't wait till we can finally get one of us with all our sails up. Peter kidded me and said "ya know, to get that ya need to swing out on the halyard with your camera". I said I don't think I could get it all in which made him laugh because, wellll, he was kidding... Hey, I'd have probably tried it (duhhh).

Kincardine is really a cute little place. Scottish or Gaelic in origins. The Phantom Piper of Kincardine comes out in kilt, at sunset, on top of the lighthouse (see picture) each night to guide boaters to shelter. It's a tradition. The story goes (and I quote Ports):

In 1856, Donald Sinclair, a scot, set out on the lake with his family to settle Penetangore (now called Kincardine). When bad weather set in and darkness approached, the family feared they wouldn't find the harbour. Sinclair fetched his bagpipes and played a lament. Another settler on land, hearing the bagpipes, grabbed his pipes and played in return, guiding them into safe harbour. So at dusk in the summer, the piper appears at dusk, when the sun is setting to pipe it down.

Tomorrow - on to Bayfield... weather permitting...

08/18/2007 | Laura
Seeing if this comment thing works. Incredible weather you guys are having. I'm glad to see you're being cautious. I'm loving the blog.
Love ya oodles, Laura
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...

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