Friday, 24 August 2012

Scudder to Port Colborne

August 23: Although we had thought of staying an extra day on Pelee Island, there didn't seem to be much to hold us there. The name "Dragon III"was still on the dock where Adam carved it in 2005, but there were no bicycles to rent, we'd already had the perch dinner, and .... So we cleared harbour at 1000 and pointed the boat at the tip of Long Point.

From Pelee Island you can steer an almost straight course towards the other end of the lake, as long as you deke a little to stay the right side of the hazards around Pelee Passage. The shipping has to go about 5 miles further south to clear the shoals below Point Pelee, so the straight line course keeps you north of the traffic as well.

By 1100 I had hoisted the main purely for shade and rigged a preventer to keep us shaded even when the shore breeze dropped to nothing. By mid afternoon we had enough lake breeze (and no shade) to justify unrolling the jib, then rolled it back up a few hours later when the breeze died to absolute millpond calm. The wind came back at sunset with about 7 from the SE and we could finally turn off the engine. After dinner we watched a movie in the cockpit as the Algoma Guardian slowly passed us 3 miles to the south, watched carefully on AIS and visual.

2300: Now Laura has gone to bed and I'm standing watch out here on my own. I love sailing at night! By morning Long Point should be in sight.

2358: Just saw an amazing shooting star! The half moon set bright orange in the west, just like the sun. The sky is clear, dark and starry overhead, with a little haze on the horizons. The blooms of lights from cities around the lake are visible on the haze and there's a little island of light at the masthead from our nav signals. The rest of the sky is full of stars, sharper and clearer than my eyes can resolve. I just saw another shooting star, not as bright as the first. Truly awesome out here!

August 24, 0715: We changed watch at 0300 with the wind clocking at about 8 knots, then changed back a little while ago as the wind died and the engine went on. At least we both got a sleep shift with no engine. I didn't see any more shooting stars, but it was still a great night.

There was a power boat / sail boat collision somewhere on the lake in the wee hours. Laura heard it on the radio. It wasn't us, although we did take evasive action to avoid a few freighters. The AIS means we can start doing that before we can even see their lights, so the evasive action can be a pretty small change in direction. We're now approaching the tip of Long Point where I will take evasive action to avoid meeting the bottom. I know from last trip that the shallows go out further than charted ;-)

0926: Long Point successfully evaded, Nanticoke generating station just visible off the beam.

1430: stopped for a final swim in Lake Erie, then in for fuel, pump out and a rest. Tied up at the town dock about 1600.

2030: The CSL Atlantic Erie just came through the final bridge and pulled over to the side right in front of us. Two big tank trucks have been there for a while and more are rolling up now, plus a big Beatrice dairy truck and a collection of others to load them up so they can carry on. We're going to get a good night's sleep before we tell the seaway people we are here. We don't want to go right now... And they definitely run a 24 hour show!

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