Thursday, July 29, 2010

The trip from Montreal to Quebec

went easier than we expected. We locked through the 7 locks before Montreal faster than Jon expected, so we spent more time in Montreal, and left on Friday 7/16. We seemed to have a knack for departing and arriving in the rain. A squall caught up to us when we arrived in Montreal, and we departed the 16th as the humidity got so oppressive it starting coming down in a drizzle. We discovered the weather is a little bit like Hawaii. Umbrellas are the protection of choice because it's just too darn hot and sticky to put on a raincoat.

Jon seeks protection with our new umbrella

The countryside was lovely green fields filled with silos and churches.

One of the many churches along the way.

We anchored off Trois Rivieres overnight which was ok, but the water seemed dirty because it was almost black.  We surmised it was from the outtake of the paper mill nearby. 
 The next day started out sunny and there were more large ships to avoid.  These didn't have to go through the locks and it was a good thing since it didn't look like they could!
7/17, 12:30:  This one looked a bit unstable

The weather clouded up in the afternoon, a common occurance, and dark clouds chased us into the Marina- Port of Quebec.  By the time we got to the lock to enter, it was thundering and coming down hard.  The scariest part was the wind and the downwind berth.  However, we continue to be amazed by the staffs in these marinas.  Two people came out to lend a hand, and Jon was able to get us in without incident.  In California, you wouldn't get any assistance at all!

SAT, 7/17, 7:30pm:  Jon wrestles Anomaly into our berth in Quebec

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Trip So Far

We are home on hiatus - a vacation from the vacation so to speak - to catch up on some things on the farm. 'Anomaly' was left in Port de Quebec Marina, I will be returning early next week with brother Jerry and our friend Bob to continue on into the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. Ann is attending to some tennis, gardening, and art issues and will rejoin at Prince Edward Island.

To review the trip so far, we have travelled about 460 nautical miles (that's 530 miles to normal people), of which about 80% was motoring due to lack of wind. However the Gulf of the St. Lawrence has been seeing pretty good winds lately, so that should change.

Click on the charts for a larger image:

The next leg will take us around the Gaspe peninsula and south to the Northumberland Straight which separates Prince Edward Island from New Brunswick. This leg is about 560 nautical miles, not counting a possible side trip up the Saguanay River which is advertised to be the largest fjord in North America. The harbors are small and tend to be shallow, many too shallow for 'Anomaly's' 6.5 foot draft. The tidal range in the area is up to 15 feet, which aggravates the problem.

The charts were rendered from MacENC, using raster scanned charts from NOAA and CHS (Canadian Hydrographic Service). Curiously, though medical care is nearly free in Canada and tremendously expensive in the USA, the opposite is true for charts: the entire chart library of NOAA is available free to anyone downloaded from the internet, while the Canadian charts come as node locked sets costing between $80 and $180 each with 7 sets required to navigate from Toronto to Maine. We also carry Navionics electronic charts for use in the Raymarine chart plotter, these are supplied on copy protected CF cards at the discount price of $225 each, 3 are needed to cover the same area. As a backup to these, I have the Navionics charts for the iPhone which contain the same chart data as the CF cartridges, but cost only $10 for a larger area; $20 buys you all of the Great Lakes and the whole east coast of North America. In fact, charts cost more than we are likely to spend on fuel for the trip.

Here are a couple of final images. Sailing through the Thousand Islands:

And a pano from the top of Mount Royal (in Montreal), best viewed by clicking on the image and expanding it, then panning back and forth to get the full effect:

The lower old town of Quebec has been turned into an artsy tourist trap, which did a good job of trapping Ann:

And there is a funicular that will take you right to the front door of the recently opened Starbucks in the Chateau Fontenac. Stairway to Heaven, I called it, as real iced tea is only available throughout Canada at Starbucks:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Images from Montreal

7/15, 11am:  Ann comes to the realization that the name of the city comes from this mountain- Mont Royal, Mont Real or Montreal.  Duh!

7/15, 8:43 pm:  Jon created a nice panorama from my images of Port D'Escale and the deck of Anomaly

Images from Montreal

7/13, 9:44am:  We had a nice breakfast at Cafe L'aventure on Place Jacques-Cartier in Vieux (old) Montreal 

7/13, 11:31am:  The grand interior of Cathedrals like Montreals Notre Dame here always reminds me of the huge disparity of wealth between the church and its parishioners.

7/13, 12:09pm:  exterior of Montreal's Notre Dame

7/14, 11:20:  All the waterways in Ontario and Quebec have beautiful bike paths alongside.  This one led to the Lachine Rapids.

7/14, 12:03pm:  Jon at Lachine Rapids.  These are the rapids upstream of Montreal that we had to bypass in the last 2 locks.
7/15, 8:43pm:  View from berth D-147 in Port D'Escale our last evening in Montreal

Monday, July 19, 2010

When is a sailboat not a sailboat?


Sunday, winds less than 10 knots from the south west.

Monday, winds less than 10 knots from the west, shifting to the south west.

Tuesday, winds less than 10 knots, direction variable.

Wednesday, winds less than 10 knots, west shifting to south west.

Thursday, winds less than 10 knots for the rest of your life.

That fact that we are headed north east means that our speed is subtracted from the wind that we feel from the south west. So at the 7 knots motoring speed that 'Anomaly' makes, "less than 10 knots" means that we (and the sails) feel less than 3 knots. Of course the 10 knots has rarely actually materialized, generally we are getting around 3 - 5, so the wind that we feel is actually from the north east - the direction we are heading. 

We were able to sail part of the day from Kingston to the Thousand Islands, the rest of the time has been motoring, or motor sailing (the latter being generally unbridled optimism). By the Thousand Islands we had put 40 hours on the engine to travel 269 miles, burning $4/gal Canadian diesel at 1.02 gal/hour. This diesel is well travelled, we purchased it in Windsor on the Detroit River last fall returning from Lake Huron. We used very little of it then ("winds 25-30 knots from the south, increasing to 30-40..") and it wintered over with the boat in Mississauga. 

We were finally able to sail from a couple hours out of Montreal to Trois Rivieres, and we sailed much of the next day to Quebec. Both days with help from the current, up to 5.7 knots help at the Richelieu rapids. The instrument system compares Speed Over Ground ("SOG", derived from GPS) with Boat Speed (cynically abbreviated "BS", derived from an ultrasonic sensor measuring speed through the water) and reports the difference as "Drift" in sailor parlance, or commonly "current".  The only time 'Anomaly' has gone faster was on the truck.

A modest hotel on the approach to Old Quebec City:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Prescott to Montreal

7/11, 4:26pm: We got our best look yet of an Osprey and her two chicks. She didn't like it when we did a second loop to get a good look.

7/11, 8:36pm: This scene at St. Regis looks more peacful than it actually was. We were anchored off an indian reservation at the juncture of Ontario, Quebec and New York, and it seemed to be a smugglers paradise. Boats and PWC's of every type, some painted flat black with no markings were constantly racing by. Each seemed to have the biggest outboard motor it could support. At one point, I became worried that we might get broadsided during the night.

7/12, 8:43pm: After getting soaked by a squall upon entering our last lock, we finally met up with our new Francophone friends at Port d'Escale in old Montreal and they took us to dinner at Jardin Nelson.
(L-R) Henriette, Lise, Gil, Jon, and Ivan

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Photos along the way...

7/7/10: We visited the Agnas Etherington Art Museum before leaving Kingston Ontario

A red Nonsuch and Shoal Tower in Confederation Basin Marina.

Flower baskets decorate many homes along King Street

Leaving Confederation Basin Marina

7/7-10: The Thousand Islands. We visited Mark and Barbara Ellis on Dumbfounder Island. Mark Ellis is the designer of Anomaly

Hundreds of cute cottages dot every possible island and rock in the Thousand Islands.

7/10: Brockville, Ontario where we stopped for Ice Cream

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


We are in Port d'Escale Montreal, having braved all 7 locks of the St Lawrence Seaway. The Port is right in the heart of the Old City, just off the end of Place Jaques Cartier. 

Yesterday we came through the last 4 locks: Beauharnois 1&2, St. Catherine, and St. Labert, arriving at around 9:00 PM. We had passed the freighter 'Richelieu' at anchor earlier and just hours after our passage through the St. Catherine lock they managed to run it aground at the lock entrance, I believe it is still shut down. As we approached the St. Labert lock, we were overtaken by a very large thunderstorm cell, accompanied by wind, lightening, and torrents of rain. I was able to watch this in real time on three media: satellite weather (which shows doppler radar and lightening strikes), radar (which shows rain) and of course real life. It was much more comfortable on the former two than the latter, which soaked us quite thoroughly!

We had managed to sail a bit from Kingston through the Thousand Islands, stopping at Endymion and Dumbfounder, the latter owned by Mark Ellis, designer of 'Anomaly'. There we were treated to dinner ashore and a hike around the island which has been in his family for something like 6 decades. 

We spent the first night out of the Thousand Islands at Prescott, where we met Gilles and Lise on the trawler yacht 'Bora Bora' (a Grand Banks 42), who where accompanied by Yvan and Henriette and travelled with them into Montreal, sharing each lock. They were very helpful and full of great information, on their way home to Quebec City.

Tomorrow we are hoping for less rain to take a bicycle tour of some of the surrounding area.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Despite the effort to promote equality for women, for which you know I am a great proponent, even I have to concede that Men and Women are just plain different. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Or, as Rob Becker explains in the hilarious one man show, Defending the Caveman, Men are Hunters, and Women are Gatherers.

This behavior has been ingrained in our very psyche since the times when Men went out to spear and bring home dinner, while Women wandered around and tried to find things that might improve the primitive standard of living.

This theory supposedly explains why women love to shop while men can't abide it. So while Jon worked on the definite task of splicing the rope to the anchor chain, I wandered through the shops in Kingston. I visited a shop with Canadian and Inuit crafts and "gathered" a nice greeting card for a friend. Driven by the oppressive heat and humidity, I found a stash of shirts made of a blend of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, which are much lighter weight than our normal gear of 100% cotton. And how, if I were not a "gatherer", would Jon have scored that nice Polo Ralph Lauren 100% cotton Hawaiian print shirt in the surplus store for only $14?

Jon in his "new" shirt

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What's bugging you?

An entomologist would be happy as a clam (at high tide) here. As Jon mentions, there are all kinds of bugs. An innumerable variety of flies which you have to swat away because some can take a chunk out of you, and a wide variety of buzzing and hopping insects. The white of the deck seems to draw them like a fly-strip. Some appear to be flying by and stop in for a rest. I saw a really nice dragonfly, and a Japanese beetle- actually very pretty with bright fluorescent red wings, a black and white spotted petticoat, and mean looking jagged legs. The scourge of roses, I'm glad that bug hasn't made it to California yet. The big fuzzy yellow bumble-bee looking thing finally sent me below when it landed on my arm.

Jon forgot to mention that the customs booth was absolutely infested with spiders of all sizes. Let me explain: when you cross the border between Canada and the U.S., which runs roughly through the middle of Lake Ontario, you have to clear customs before going ashore. In Canada, it usually involves a phone call from the boat. In the US, it involves going and making a phone call from a phonebooth type building equipped with a video phone, at least that's what's at the Youngstown Yacht Club. These eastern spiders are really active, especially at night, and since we arrived about dusk, the booth was just squirming with them. Spiders of all sizes- half-dollar to tiny, zipping around, and trying to drop on you. Just awful! I had to hold my passport under some kind of camera below the phone, and I could barely do it long enough before I had to escape from a particularly large one that looked like he wanted my arm for dinner. The customs agent laughed and said he should send someone out to clean it out.

A standard piece of boating equipment is a can of bug killer. The instant you arrive at a dock, the spiders (they can swim), start crawling up your dock lines, and you have to zap them to slow them down. Canada isn't as "green" as I expected.

Toronto to Coburg

Leaving Port Credit (forever)

7/4/10: Youngstown, NY

The pretty and buggy public dock at Youngstown. Be forewarned- the bugs come out when the cute lamps turn on.

Village Diner- Hands down the best place to eat in Youngstown.

7/5/10: Coburg
Victoria Hall and Coburg Marina

"Exterminate the Brutes"

We are in Kingston, having motorsailed 11 hours from Cobourg. Well, motored really, as the wind contributed but little to the effort. It was a hot, humid, hazy day. And buggy. Very buggy. Flies, beetles, wasps, gnats, flies, butterflies, bees, flies, spiders, ladybugs, flies, spiders, and flies. Where do they come from, 10 miles from the nearest land?

As the afternoon wore on I found myself (always the engineer) contemplating the solutions to this problem. With each bite of a fly the solutions that came to mind became more extreme, until I concluded that what was really necessary was to drain the Great Lakes.

That's right, drain them, pump them out like a fetid swamp. This would at least help to dry out the area and reduce the number of flies. If combined with a cloud seeding operation to dump all the moisture in Indiana, a massive DDT spraying program, and then the erection of an air conditioned dome over the entire area to reduce the sweltering humidity, one might make the area livable.

After a beer at the Pilot House in Kingston, I calmed down a bit:  perhaps just draining the Lakes was all that was really necessary.

We are off to the Thousand Islands next.

Monday, July 5, 2010


"When do you leave?"

"Tomorrow is the plan," I say, unconvincingly. "Just have a few things to finish up"

The next day the nice motorboat couple (the ones that aren't drunk most of the time) ask "Today's the day, huh?"

"Well, I have to get the tool cabinet installed and the tools stowed, do a little more work on the anchor tackle. Tomorrow I think…"

"I thought you'd be gone already". It's one of the guys that worked on the boat, stopping by when he sees us the following day. 

"Yeah, a little behind, need to run the reefing lines, get up the mast and adjust the lazyjacks, get the bicycles tied down, a few things here and there. Maybe this afternoon - or tomorrow."

"So, heading out?" It is the next day, and the live aboard couple from down the dock are beginning to wonder if we are ever actually going. 

"Just a few more things to do, then we will be ready….probably tomorrow…" I stare down at the dock boards, and receive their sympathy about there always being 'things to do'.

"Going soon?" The guy on the large sloop at the end of the pier wants to know. 

"Yeah, need to get some things organized down below, get the spinnakers from the shop, rig the main outhaul and downhaul….probably tomorrow....."

Posted from Port Cobourg. We left.

You call this a lake?

I've decided that "lake" is a misnomer for this body of water that we're on. It's so big, it's really more in the category of sea. Lake Ontario, one of the 5 "Great Lakes" has a maximum length of 193 miles and width of 53 miles. The average depth is 283 feet, but it can be as deep as 802 feet. The internet tells me it's the 14th largest lake in the world, the smallest Great Lake in surface area, but it's depth is 2nd only to Lake Superior.

The reason I mention this, is that this must be more like taking off into the ocean. Or maybe, not even that interesting. The only "ocean" cruising I've done before has been up and down the California coast, or zipping between islands in the BVI, always within sight of land. On this trip, within minutes, you are out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by water, no land in sight. Which wouldn't be bad, except that it seems completely dead out here. No interesting sightings of fish, hardly a bird. Just nothing. Which always seems to make me very sleepy. Time for a nap.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Blog is now a team

After much poking around google help pages, I figured out how to add myself to Jon's Yacht Anomaly blog. I'm starting to get a little worried that I'm going to spend more time documenting than actually living this trip. Hopefully, we'll set sail in 30 minutes or so.

Canada Day, July 1

gave us a nice sendoff with fireworks, unfortunately we weren't ready to leave on the 2nd.

Toronto Skyline

Even the Mute Swan wants to know why we're still here.

Still here?

But, no need to worry about provisioning.  You can get your Live Bait right alongside the propane bottles at the gas station.

posted by Ann- I haven't figured out how to add my name to the blog posting yet.

The Unit of Boat Repair Time

It is traditional to talk of the unit of boat repair expense - the "Boat Buck", which used to represent $100 but perhaps now ought to be $1000. "Don't worry about that, it only cost 2 Boat Bucks" for example.

But there also seems to be a Unit of Time associated with repair and/or construction. John, the guy on the very large homebuilt sloop down the dock at Port Credit told me, "I figure how much time it should reasonably take to complete a task, then multiply by 5". I knew there was a multiplier, but kept telling myself it couldn't be that high. Since he said that though, I have been keeping track, in my mind, the estimates vs. the reality. I think he just about nailed it.

Everything you do on a boat takes longer. The tools are few and in the wrong place, space is cramped, there are no straight lines or square corners. I had a short list of things to accomplish before leaving port. 96 items, to be exact. And so there are things like "Fasten mast step". This seems like a simple enough thing, takes only a moment to write it and a second to cross it out once done. But the Boat Time spent inbetween is special.

There are 12 bolts requiring 12 nuts and washers that hold the mainmast up. They are in the forepeak, an awkwardly shaped space much smaller than a phone booth, accessed by climbing over the forward berth and through a small water tight door. The bolts cannot actually be seen, the are under the mast, and so the nuts must be installed by feel, leaning over in a small phone booth, having crawled over the berth through the door. The nuts need corrosion inhibitor on them, which is sticky and gets on everything. Once they are started by feel and fingertip, they must be tightened: not so hard on some of them, but they get harder around the back of the mast, the aft most one requires a stubby 15/16 box wrench purchased for just this purpose, and must be used 1/12 turn at a time. First you reach around one side of the mast (leaned over on your head in a phone booth) feel for the nut, turn it 1/12 turn. Then switch hands, reach around the other side of the mast, feel for the nut, turn 1/12 turn. 4 or 5 turns and Presto! you are done. Say 1/2 hour later.

It does not help to know why there are so many - I designed and engineered the parts myself. It does not help to know why there is so little space to accomplish the task - if there were, there would be more overturning force on the pedestal holding the mast, and more bolts would be required. So what would take 5 minutes on the workbench, takes an hour and about 3 ibuprofen on the boat.

Maybe a factor of 5 isn't enough.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jon up the main mast

Ann could use the power winch to pull Jon up the mast to rig the lazyjacks.  She has to lower him by hand- be careful!