Decisions, Decisions

Do we or don’t we, that was the question of the day. All morning we checked the weather and debated.

We have four different weather sites that we look at. It’s rare for them all to agree. In fact, today, they were constantly conflicting. How do you make a decision when you can’t find anything factual to depend upon?

The rain started this morning, the winds were strong and gusty, and the forecast for the next three days includes thunderstorms and rain amounts between 15-30 mm per day.

We had a choice – stay put for three days, and be stuck inside a small boat while the rain pours outside, or take a chance and head to the next anchorage, halfway to our final destination.

We were stuck inside for only a few hours today and I was stir-crazy. It was hot and humid and we had to have the hatches closed because of the rain. So when the time came to make a decision this afternoon, we opted for heading out.

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As it turns out, the forecasted strong wind warning (winds 15-20 knots) was untrue.

The waves were minimal, and the winds were fairly gentle, dying right off by evening.

We’re anchored here tonight. In a calm cove.

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Tomorrow we have about 15 nautical miles to our final destination. There are storms forecast overnight and there is a brief window of clearing between 5 am and 9 am, but will we manage to wake up and get going that early?

Who knows? Tomorrow is another day!

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Appearances Can Be Deceiving

This photo gives you the feeling that it’s a calm and relaxing day on the water, doesn’t it? This is a view of Picton Bay with our sailboat in the foreground. It was taken after we motored in this morning from our anchorage the previous night.

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What it doesn’t show is the whitecaps, strong gusts rippling across the waves, and the power of the wind sending our boat on edge even with no sails up as we made our way across the Adolphous Reach and into Picton Bay.

We decided at that point that we didn’t want to face those waves head on in the Reach to make our next planned anchorage. Instead, we have a slip here for two nights while we wait out the winds (and forecast rain and thunderstorms).

To give you a better idea of the extent of our sailing journey, here’s a chart of Lake Ontario.

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The pencil on the left shows where we started. The pen in the middle points to where we are now, and the pen on the right is our final destination…for now.

We’ve come a long way. And every sailor we meet is giving us new ideas for places to go, adventures to have, dreams to build upon!

Joy, Magic and Wind

Yesterday I didn’t post because so much happened. It was a fun day with much unexpected pleasure.

Belleville has an extensive bike trail system. Part of it runs along the lake and another along the Moira River, parallel to the main Street in downtown.

We followed the bike trail along the lake to the grocery store, past beautiful gardens, winding paths around lily ponds, and benches tucked under shade trees. On the way back, we stopped for ice cream.

Later in the afternoon and again in the evening for supper, we took the path along the Moira River, under overpasses, past ornamental grasses and tiger lilies, and over a cobblestone walkway into the heart of the town.

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Last night, we had the unexpected pleasure of being invited to sail on a dinghy – an international class 420 dinghy to be exact. It is quite a different experience from our boat. It’s small, basic in structure and very responsive to the wind. It was a lot of fun.

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And before bed, we were treated to an impromptu concert. One of our new sailing friends sang Celtic songs while her husband played the guitar. To hear such lilting music as against the backdrop of moon and stars was pure magic.

Today was our longest day yet – about six hours en route. The wind was strong so we did get about 3 hours of sailing in, but it was coming almost straight at us so we had to tack a lot. Tacking is like zigzagging up a bay – much slower than going in a straight line. Eventually the winds became so strong, gusty and unpredictable that we decided to take down the sails and motor in order to reach our destination for the day.

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Tonight, we’re close to Picton, anchored off an island in a small bay.

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And tomorrow? We’ll see!

What Time Is It?

Being retired, and sailing, leaves us wondering what day it is and what time it is. Time seems to have a different meaning.

And then, at the Cobourg Marina, I saw this quote. It puts it all into perspective.

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Time is broken down into moments these days. Yesterday ended with this exquisite sunset.

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And today began with an early morning walk along the vast expanse of Cobourg’s beach.

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When we left the marina, there was a strong wind warning in effect…and no wind. After an hour of motoring, the wind changed direction, picked up and so did the waves. It was a rock and roll day with our boat hitting 7.7 knots (in the past, the fastest we’d ever gone was 6.3.) There were some edgy moments too, but we made it, as a team, and are now anchored in the shelter of a small cove for tonight.

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It’s never boring. Always an adventure. Even meals take on a whole new level of exploration…watermelon bruschetta!

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Another Day, Another Port

Today was a lovely day on the water. We left Newcastle at 8:30 am to clear blue skies and…no wind. And so we motored, enjoying the scenery that you can only see from the lake – the towering clay cliffs at Bond Head, three egrets flying just above the surface of the water, Monarch butterflies fluttering past, and billowing cloud formations.

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We did get to sail for a while today. You can check out a short video on Instagram at j_is4joy

We’re in Cobourg tonight, about halfway in our journey already. There is a strange timelessness to this adventure. We no longer remember what day of the week it is (is this part of being retired?) All of the past marinas blend together in my memory, and what lies ahead is unknown.

Perhaps this is what living in the present feels like.

In keeping with that thought, here’s a sample of today’s pleasure…

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Rain Day

Into every adventure, a little rain must fall. We deliberately chose to stay put today because of the forecast. We did get some thunder and lightning this morning and it rained on and off, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our rest day.

It was a good opportunity to do some needed repairs and cleaning. The speaker in the cockpit has been getting quieter so we took it apart today. It turns out that it’s falling apart inside. Time for a new one. Our marine radio still works but we can only hear it from inside the cabin at the moment. When sailing, you need to be able to hear the calls from the coast guard and other boats, warnings about freighters coming in to a harbour, and weather updates, so getting a new speaker is top in the list at our next stop.

The ice chest had developed a rank odour so it had to be thoroughly emptied and cleaned.

But it wasn’t all work and no play! There was time for an afternoon nap and…a swim in the pool at the clubhouse. Priorities 😊

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Plans Change

What’s that saying about the best laid plans? We had every intention of having a rest day in Whitby today. We checked the weather last night and and today looked good. This morning it was a different story.

So we decided to cut our play day short and head on east while the weather window was favourable. The wind seemed to be strong as we left the channel so we hosted the sails…and the wind died.

We started the motor and carried on. I checked the weather again at noon and suddenly there was a thunderstorm in the forecast. How quickly things can change!

We arrived at Newcastle after three hours of motoring and we plan to stay here for a couple of days to wait out the predicted storms tomorrow. However, the rain that was supposed to hit around 4:30 today never happened and now it’s clearing so who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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That’s part of the challenge of sailing, just like in life – you can make plans but you need to be flexible enough to change them at a moment’s notice.

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And of course, at the end of the day, there’s always Bailey’s…if needed.

Connections

One thing I enjoy about travelling is all the interesting people you meet along the way. Whenever we tie up at a new marina, we chat with the “neighbours”. People are usually friendly and welcoming and curious to know where you’ve come from.

However, it’s not just about the people. As you can see in the two photos, we made friends with a few other creatures.

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The duck sat for a long time on the wall beside our boat yesterday and waddled back through the grass today to keep us company.

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And today, this butterfly landed repeatedly on our legs aad feet while we were sitting in the cockpit having lunch.

You never know who…or what…you will meet when you’re on an adventure!

 

Shade, Breeze and…A View!

When we left the dock this morning, the lake was flat and there was no wind. Not even a hint of a breeze. And so we motored, and motored.

About an hour later the wind arrived, first as a whisper and soon it was steady and strong out of the north, perfect for our sail to Toronto.

If you’re on Instagram you can see a short video of our passage @j_is4joy

Tonight we’re tied to the “wall” at Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Island. It’s another of our favourite spots.

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There’s a great breeze, the view of the city is amazing, we can walk or bike across to Centre Island.

At night, the CN Tower is lit up and all the lights of the skyscrapers twinkle and sparkle.

Off for a bike ride now. Cheers!

 

Can You Spell HOT?

We’re in the midst of a heat wave and while it’s cool when we’re sailing, it’s stifling at the dock.

We sailed for about 3 hours today in steady winds and gentle waves…at first. Then the wind became gustier and gustier and the waves rougher. For all you sailors out there, we were hitting 5.8-6.2 knots and that was before the gusts hit! A fun ride.

We decided it was time to head into the marina, so we tacked and brought in the genoa. That’s when one of life’s magical moments occurred.

Also heading toward shore was an enormous two-masted sailing ship. It was a beautiful sight. As we got closer, we read the name – HMCS Oriole. Check it out: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Oriole

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It’s over 100 feet long and was launched in 1921…almost 100 years ago! And we happened to be sailing in this part of Lake Ontario on the day that it arrived (it’s on a tour of cities on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and is currently based in Halifax).

So cool. Even in this heat 😊