Two days at Tobermory - time to head back
24 July 2009 | Tobermory
This was part of the journey I was not especially looking forward to for a number of reasons. First it officially puts closure on the North Channel part of the trip, since this is the gateway to Lake Huron (or vice versa depending on the itinerary). It is also the longest part of the trip for us - an estimated 9-10 hours in open Lake Huron waters. Lastly, this entry into Lake Huron is known for its treacherous reefs.
Anyway after two days in a very protected 'Little Tub' harbor it is time to move on. We were up pretty early - Vixen had her 'walk ' at 5:00a.m. and by 6, we had helped cast off Chuck and Gale, on Resolution 2. We were next with help from Michael and Ava, so off we go, hoping that the weather reports were right and that mother nature had decided to abide by them.
Typically our watches are one hour on/off on French Connection, since we were all up early, I took and extended watch of 6 - 8:30. Partly to give Kat some additional rest, part to get a good sense for what the lake was going to offer up in terms of weather and sea conditions. The report called for light and variable winds - clocking to the southwest later in the afternoon (right on the nose for us) and gradually building throughout the day.
Fortunately, our trip through the reefs of the Cape Herd channel was relatively calm, since it's critical to visually follow the buoys (chartplotters are nice, but we don't solely rely upon them in critical or dangerous areas).
Once we entered Lake Huron I was able to unfurl the genoa and do some motor sailing. The weather became very challenging, while the winds were building from the northwest we were getting waves from the southwest, areas of rain (thank god for the dodger and bimini) and an extended area of pretty dense fog. Not the picturesque fog you see in photographs, but the stuff you drive through while wondering who else is out there.
Typically with radar you can pick up decent size boats, but it's the small fishing boats that you can't see. Plowing through the water at 8.5 kts - our 22,000 lbs of boat would easily take out a 16 ft fishing boat.
I set the radar at 48 mi range and closely watched for traffic and monitored the rain, which was a green blob on all three sides. Fortunately there was very little traffic on the Lake - I spotted two boats on radar and another two southbound. I wished these large cruisers had identified themselves since they gave us almost a mile of room while passing. It was a very thoughtful thing to do, more often than not they come close enough that their waves wreak havoc on sailboats.
We did have a visitor on board, about halfway through our trip, miles away from land, a small bird landed on deck, proceeded to walk up and down the sides of the boat, pecking away at the dead bugs
After about a half hour, it flew away, but still circled the boat as if saying I'm small but I can still go faster than you.
Other then the rain, dense fog, confused (sloppy) waves and wind that eventually built to 12kts on the nose, the 9 hr journey was pretty uneventful. About two hours out of Kincardine, Resolution 2 spotted a break in the overcast skies and by the time we entered the break wall, we had blue skies and warm temps. Vixen did surprisingly well on this trip although we could see her wanting to jump ship as we were entering the harbor. Again kudos to Michael on Adagio for getting us dockage in this popular harbor.
A couple of hours later after a light dinner, we went off with Michael and Ava to see the latest Harry Potter movie.
Tomorrow is a layover day in Kincardine, that starts off with Kat making blueberry (remember Eagle Island?) pancakes for all three boats.