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TOPIC: 800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal

800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 02:56 #1

  • whiskywizard
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Late this past winter the Admiral and I started talking about a new(er) boat to replace our 3888 Perfect Balance. The 38xx was a good boat but I was looking for a few changes; a helm where the party is, no ladder, and something a bit newer. The odd Canadian/American economy also played a role, bringing into reach some boats that used to be out of our snack bracket.

After some searching we settled on a Tiara 4000 Express in Sister Bay Wisconsin. And we brought her home.

Here's the boat, with the owner/Admiral

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And here's her name!

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Full photos at http://www.baylinerownersclub.org/gallery/album620

Day 1 - we arrived in Sister Bay with another couple; Ron & Gwen. They are very experienced sailors so they bring skills like line handling, docking, fender placement, navigation, weather, etc.

Using one of Cal-Marine's vehicles we shopped for groceries, beer and wine and stowed it all aboard. Then made a quick trip to Yacht Works, a mile north, and fueled the boat for the big trip tomorrow.

Across the road from the boat was a Swedish restaurant called Al Johnson's. The live goats on the roof tipped us off that it may be slightly different. The dinner was great and capped the day. We packed it in early.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 03:03 #2

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We were up and rolling early on Sunday morning. Wind were out of the West blowing 20-40KN.
The crew made the boat shipshape for travel and checked my route entries while I checked the engine room.
Together we went over the location of life jackets, flares, hand-held electronics, and all through hulls. I fired up and we left for the northern wilds of Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac.

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I dropped my good sunglasses into th elake in Sister Bay. I tried to find them but no luck. This fine examples of 1990 eye wear were left on board by the PO. The admiral makes them look better than I can.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 04:06 #3

  • pkrogh
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I'm green with envy Mike, just green!

She's a beautiful boat!

May God protect those who sail in her and the decks they stand upon.

Pete

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"KROGHS NEST"
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 11:21 #4

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END Day 2

After passing under the Mackinac bridge we pulled into St. Ignace MI. It's a pretty little town whose main claim to fame and source of income is the ferry service needed to support Mackinac Island. The marina is first rate and so are the young summer staff there.

We fueled up and took a slip before taking a long walk in town.

Dinner on board was our first real sit-down meal and our friends/crew surprised us with a bottle of champagne to celebrate with.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 11:33 #5

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Day 3

We left St. Ignace and took the short hop over to Mackinac Island. Pronounced 'mack in aw', the island is a throwback in time. Old mansions, resorts and lodges remain in use as they did in the last century. Although they have power they do not permit any internal combustion powered vehicles on the roads.

Trucks of supplies arrive by ferry and unload to horse-drawn wagons. The taxi is a buggy and there are hundreds and hundreds of bikes.

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The Port Huron - Mackinac sail racer was just ending as we arrived. More than 200 boats were crammed into 80 slips as the last racers came in. Many then left for Chicago for the Chicago - Mackinac race.

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After this brief visit to Mackinac Island, we blasted East into Lake Huron and swung south towards warmer, calmer waters.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 11:55 #6

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Day 3 ended at Harbor Beach MI

The marina is again a very nice facility with less than half its slips full. Just like St. Ignace, the town is struggling with a slow economy and boating seems to be in decline. We felt bad - the manager was hard working and super friendly and it was sad that business didn't follow.

One problem - the marina is in the shadow of a small coal fired generating station. We woke to a boat dusted liberally in fine black dust.

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On our evening walk we found a small bakery. It was closed but Ron - who rises early - said he'd hoof it back in the morning and pick up some fresh croissant . Well - in Harbor Beach fresh baking means doughnuts, so doughnuts it was. Breakfast of Champions!

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:18 #7

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Day 4

We headed out of Harbor Beach and headed south. The lake was almost empty, except for freighters, and we had time to play with on board systems.
Try to do something, fail. Read the manual, and say 'aha'.

The lake is loaded with fishing nets. Long long strings of them force you to thread your way around to avoid picking one up in the props.
(back note - a 45' De Fever beside us in St. Ignace was towed in by US CG with nets all through the props and shafts. A diver took almost an hour cutting her clear)

By noon we'd finished Lake Huron and entered Bridgeview Marina in Sarnia to check into Canadian Customs. I had a long hot walk to the Customs office while the crew was forced to stay on board until we were cleared. After a pretty quick processing in the office, with no inspection, we were cleared into Canada and free to go.

After changing flags, we ran down through the St. Clair River and Lake St. Clair.

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In the distance is the Bluewater Bridge, connecting Sarnia with Port Huron and marking the end of Lake Huron. We're off the big water for a day.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:31 #8

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In Sarnia, Numb Nuts became Canadian

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The boat came with a very high quality American flag. It will now serve as our courtesy flag when we visit US waters. I wish we could find Canadian flags made that well.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:39 #9

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South of Sarnia are the calm protected waters of the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River. Along the way we plan to meet Jim Jewell. Many of you kn ow him as Thefamilyjewells from here. We'd never met before so the chance to meet in person was exciting.

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See also http://www.baylinerownersclub.org/forum/showthread.php?t=20794

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:40 #10

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Mike,

I didn't know you guys were planning on going to Pelee Island ! Thats great you spent the time there. I think I told you 4 of us went there in 6-8 following seas...the only time my wife got sick on our boat and turned funny colours...

I can't wait to read more...keep up the good work. Did you overnight it there ?

From Lasalle to Pelee Island is only about a 2 hour boat ride...not a very productive day on the water , eh ? :kidding

How many hours were you at the wineries ? LOL

Good for you guys, taking the time to enjoy something as unique as Pelee Island...How was the bar ?

How was Holiday Harbour ? I hope my recommendation was good...

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:47 #11

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Holiday Harbor marina was recommended to us by Jim. We got there too late to check in but the locals all came out to greet us and show us a slip. Great place to stay; it even has a salt water pool. But it also reminded us that Ontario is an expensive place to live or stay. Slips in Wisconsin and Michigan were very high quality and cost about $51 to $55. Holiday Harbor was equally nice but jumped up to $75.

This boat is called a 4000 but is actually 47' 5" from the swim platform to the bow sprit. The St. Ignace marina paced off our length and charged for 46' in a 60' slip. The Harbor Beach marina called us a 45'. The Holiday Harbor marina asked me what the boat was and I said a 4000 Express. She charged for a 40' boat, so the cost difference is even greater than it seems.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 12:51 #12

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Day 4 took us out of the Detroit area and into Lake Erie. The waters are warmer, and coloured like Caribbean seas. We kept today short; just a brief hop to Pelee Island where we'll get a chance to walk and tour the winery.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 14:04 #13

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Looks like a great trip, and really makes me miss boating in the Great Lakes.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 14:15 #14

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Pelee Island Winery Tour

The winery tour was a highlight. We'd gone for a walk out of the town of Scudder but found there wasn't much around. Pelee Island is still a farming community and the stores/bars etc at that end of the island are mostly closed.

We had Jurgen's taxi take us to the winery late in the afternoon. The history was interesting and the staff are great. They hardly said anything when I took every chance I could to sneak the bottle from behind the bar and top up our glasses. We each bought a mixed case of wines and the store manager drove us back in the company van.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 20 Jul 2008 15:09 #15

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The crossing from Pelee Island to Long Point ON covers more than half the lake, right up the middle. Lake Erie was lonely but warm. A few freighters passed in the distance but visible only on radar. The haze locked us into a world about a mile around. We dodged natural gas well head markers and fishing nets until we reached and rounded Long Point.

We had come from the bottom of Lake St. Clair since our last fuel stop and tanks were showing about 1/8. I knew inside we had ample fuel but I still had very little real experience with the boat so I made a conservative decision to throttle back. We dropped off plane and putted along at 7KN for the final 12 miles from Long Point to Port Dover. I mentioned before that our crew/friends are sailors. This was their first power boat experience. They are used to motoring at 7KN so they took over and I napped for a bit.

We fueled up in Port Dover as soon as we pulled in. Was surprised to find diesel at $1.389CAD when gas was $1.49. We hadn't seen diesel for less than gas all trip. This was our most costly fill up at $1425 but was also our longest run at almost 250 miles. This was consistent with our earlier economies of about 0.9 statute miles per US gallon. Considering the speeds we'd been running this was A-OK.

Port Dover is a pretty town that balances between a summer beach locale and a commercial fishing port. The great thing is you can get really fresh perch and walleye every day. After a long day of cruising, a big platter of perch and french fries and cold beer goes down pretty good.

We wandered for a bit after dinner, looking at the fishing tugs and the Ministry of Natural Resources vessels. The plan for tomorrow starts with an early run to the Welland Canal so we packed it in by 10PM.

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Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while you could miss it.
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 21 Jul 2008 00:37 #16

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Excellent, Congratulations to you both

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 21 Jul 2008 15:03 #17

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Mike congrats and thanks for sharing the pics. Lots of luck with your new boat, she is a beauty.

Joe

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 21 Jul 2008 16:12 #18

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Mike, the best of luck and thanks for sharing.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 21 Jul 2008 16:18 #19

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I'll try to get the Welland Canal pictures posted tonight.

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 22 Jul 2008 00:46 #20

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Wow, the boat looks awesome! Looks like a great trip, the admirals family is from Michigan and I might get to visit Mackinac Island next year. Thanks for sharing your journey. Congratulations!

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 23 Jul 2008 05:34 #21

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whiskywizard;176380 wrote: Holiday Harbor marina was recommended to us by Jim....


Congratulation! Unfortunatelly, I can't say I like your new baby, Perfect Balance was one of the highlights of this Club... but hey, I am sure I'll get use to her! :kidding

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Jan
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 24 Jul 2008 22:55 #22

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whiskywizard;176759 wrote: I'll try to get the Welland Canal pictures posted tonight.


Your killing me. I can't wait any longer. Great trip so far but your not home yet your leaving us all hanging.

PS
Great Boat :)

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John McLellan White Rock BC
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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 28 Jul 2008 00:49 #23

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Mike,

What are you ? A sadist ? We are waiting with baited breath for the completion of your trip...pics and splaining please...LOL

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 17 Aug 2008 13:16 #24

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Mike,

I know you always finish what you started...looking for pics from the rest of your trip !!:ouch

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800 miles, 5 lakes, 2 rivers and a canal 19 Aug 2008 01:55 #25

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thefamilyjewells;179078 wrote: Mike,

What are you ? A sadist ? We are waiting with baited breath for the completion of your trip...pics and splaining please...LOL

thefamilyjewells;186804 wrote: Mike,

I know you always finish what you started...looking for pics from the rest of your trip !!


Ok OK - I admit I've been delinquent. Here's the rest of the trip.

DAY 6

This day started ridiculously early. Big perch and beer dinner the night before makes me wake up at 0400 with a serious need. Instead of waking the whole boat i decided to go visit the shore based facilities, where a little noise would go unnoticed. Well, me leaving the boat was noticed. Everybody thought it was time to get up so I arrive back to coffee and a crew untying the boat! Well - I guess we'd better make the most of it, so we leave Port Dover at 0430. It is SOOOO dark. We dim the electronics way down and just trickle out of the harbour. Had to keep it slow until dawn as Lake Erie has many buoys marking natural gas well heads, and fishing nets.

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Early departure from Port Dover meant we saw the sun rise over the East end of Lake Erie.


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It costs $25 per lock, and there are 8 locks in the Welland Canal. You swipe a credit card here, and get your first instructions.


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The lift bridges lift straight up. Welland Control stays in touch with you by radio.


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Each lock has a safety cable at the end, in case a ship loses power.

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