Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Portsmouth NH to Algonac Mi Update 9

Monday, 26 Sept 2011
Up before dawn to do pre-start checks, top up the water tanks and dispose of the garbage  before we get underway.
0700: Underway for Conneaut Harbor. Winds and seas calm.
Andre gives "Top Cop" a briefing on the nav systems before cutting him loose on watches.

1220: Andre (on watch) knocks on my stateroom door  and tells me we have a vessel approaching at high speed and closing on our position. I get on deck just time to greet a Department of Homeland Security fast response boat intercepting to see who we are. I motion them along side and have a brief conversation about where we started, where we are going and who was onboard. Note: If you carry foreign owners or guests, make sure they have a Local Boater's Option number and at the very least, a NEXUS card. Once the DHS agent in charge heard my Canadians onboard had NEXUS, they  declined my invitation to come aboard and wished us a pleasant voyage... and sped off on quad-400 h.p. outboards at 60 mph.
1400: Big squall line forming to the south. Alter course for Ashtubula, by-passing Conneaut Harbor.
1820: Enter breakwater at Ashtubula in worsening weather from the southwest. Nice to be close to the end of day. This boat rides best in a beam sea... which wasn't today.
Ashtubula Lighthouse
Ashtubula is a coal port with three branches of waterway. The west branch takes you to a couple of marinas/boatyards and a yacht club. However, you must negotiate a 7 foot bascule bridge which only opens on the hour and half hour. VHF is not monitored, so one long - one short on the ship's horn is used. If you have to wait 25 minutes, there is a city tie-up to starboard, just before the Coast Guard station's small boats. No overnight dockage allowed.
1910: Secured at Sutherland Marine. Phone US Customs to check in... again, NEXUS cards for the Canadians and an LBO number for me, makes this a breeze.

Tuesday, 27 Sept 2011
0520: With pre-start completed the night before, we get underway to catch the 0530 bridge. It takes a couple honks to awaken the bridgetender.  We exit Ashtubula and set our course for Sandusky with waves left over from last night making for a rude wake-up call.
1200: After passing Cleveland, 16 miles off our port beam,  we decide to put a little money in the
bank and change course for Put-in-Bay in the South Bass Island.
On a side note: With Andre having a busted right wing and being right handed, every morning he gets a new 'battle scar" when he shaves. It's even worse when he tries it underway!

1750: We get to Put-in-Bay and it's strange to see the entire town dark. When I was here two months ago, it was a flurry of boating activity. We grab a mooring ball and bed down for the night after big garlic burgers and fresh baked apple pie ala mode.

Wednesday, 28 Sept 2011
0500: We slip the mooring early with anticipation that this will be our last day underway.
1030: We pass under the Ambassador Bridge, between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Andre tells me that the bridge, the only link for commerical trucks between the US and Canada in this area, is in fact a privately owned toll bridge. The US government is planning to build another bridge but the owners are fighting it fiercely in the courts.

The Ambassador Bridge with Detroit in the background.

1635: Secured at Sassy Marine in Algonac, Mi.
"Two and a Half Men"
(L) "Top Cop" Kevin - (C) Andre (R) John

This was a challenging and at times frustrating journey for all onboard. However, there was much fun and fond memories that were made in the past month. Some of the things I will remember:

Being so bored, that I tied some of the knots taught to the crew in "Twizlers"

The beautiful Chambly canal locks

Squeezing under the 17' bridge above Lock 3 onthe Champlain Canal.

After threatening Luc for 2 weeks with future loss of dingy privileges if he doesn't make his bunk every day, he thinks he's got us snowed. In fact, he sleeps above the bed already made. D'oh!!

Mom's had it with the WiFi reception... or lack there of.


It is with melancholy heart that I bid the Family Dubois a fond adeiu and wish them fair winds (at least on the beam) and calm anchorages. Adventure is just over the horizon. Sail on - sail on!     Job well done, guys.

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