We start the day with a run along the streets of Trenton near the marina. Then we have some food and set out for the day.
Today, we get to traverse the Murray Canal. To sail/motor from Kingston to Hamilton, you have two options. You can go via Lake Ontario, around Prince Edward County, or you can go the back way, which takes you to Trenton and then through the Murray Canal. Obviously, we chose the latter. The Canal has two swing bridges, and we manage to arrive at each in time for them to open. Unlike Kingston and Burlington, they open these bridges when enough people pile up, rather than at any set time. Normally, the Canal has a fee of $5, which you toss in as you pass by the second bridge. However, this being Canada 150, the Trent-Severn Waterway is free this year, and the Murray Canal stands at the start of the Waterway, so no fee for us. Pity; I was looking forward to seeing if I could get the money in the basket instead of the drink. Ah well, we saved some money (and some dunking).
Once through the Canal, we find ourselves once again upon Lake Ontario, on a surface still as glass. No wind, little traffic--a freighter and a few far off fishing vessels--and lots of nice sun. Luckily, Freedom comes equipped with both dodger and bimini, so we have plenty of shade. There's a section between the dodger and the back of the bimini that comes off, allowing for the traveler rigged up to the boom to move freely, but as we're pretty much stuck with motoring today, we can keep the full shade cover up.
Mike tries out his new fishing rod today. There are two weeks each summer when you don't need a fishing licence, and the first week of July is one of them (or so Mike tells me). So he takes it out of the package, gets it all set up, picks out a nice bit of bait (also from a new package), and throws his first cast. Whereupon, he discovers the difference between the cast buttons on the rods he grew up (easy to use) with and these fancy new fandangled contraptions (finicky to the newbie). Pretty red fishing twine shoots out, tangles, and generally makes a mess over the side of the boat. Nothing gets tangled in the propeller and he eventually re-spools it all, and that's the end of today's fishing exercise.
Eventually, a little breeze does appear--blowing directly from the west, where we're heading. At this point, we do a little racing with a butterfly, and it wins, hands down. Mike's comment: "I didn't know they could fly at five knots, and against the wind!" Whereupon, the butterfly leaves us in its tiny wake.
As we motor along, Mike goes below for something, then calls up for me to stop the boat. He's found a bunch of water and we need to find out where it's come from. After a bit of looking, Mike discovers it's from the toilet, and that it's important to make sure the valve is down when not in use. Thankfully, the water is just from the lake and not from the holding tank, so it just takes some mopping up, rather than any haz-mat suits. No harm done, and we start up the engine and move along.
Mike radios ahead to Cobourg Marina to confirm our reservation, and they let us know where to head. The Marina has a bunch of slips free, but for some reason, puts us beside another boat instead of in any of the empty double-slips. We manage to get in on the second attempt without hitting anything, thanks to the help of a couple of nice gentlemen from nearby boats. When they ask why we chose that spot, I reply: "It's the one they gave us."
The facilities at Cobourg are nice, although they have their computers down for maintenance, so the girl keeps asking us to bear with her. It's not like we have anywhere else to go, so we just smile and joke with her. The waterfront around here is quite pretty.
Cobourg has a nice clocktower down by the waterfront. It marks every hour. Mike hears the 05:00 chimes and pretty much gives up on sleeping after that. So we have breakfast ready before 7 am. We motor over to the fuel dock and top up on diesel, discovering that Jeff did, in fact, know his facts when he said a tank should last about 48 hours. We've motored about 18 hours so far. Then we take some time to practice docking, seeing as the marina has so many vacant slips. A nice man runs up to help bring us in to one dock, and when we explain that we're just practicing, he grins and agrees we have chosen a good time and place, then leaves us to it.
We set out shortly after that, heading toward Bowmanville. Mike's sister Pat and her family live in Bowmanville, and we've arranged to pull into the marina there (VERY small and shallow, so we can't go in far) and pick up whoever's around for a little ride around 13:00. When we arrive, we find Pat, but neither daughter, so it's just the three of us. The wind chooses this moment to work in our favour, and we get the sails up, reaching around 6.7 knots. Pat steers for a bit and we have a very nice visit.
We drop Pat back off at the entrance to the marina a couple of hours later and continue on toward Whitby, happily mostly on sail as the wind, for the most part, stays blowing our way. Darlington power plant has a restricted zone (thankfully marked on charts) that we navigate around, and as we get closer to Whitby, water traffic becomes a bit heavier (like, three sailboats). We do not have any reservations for this night, but Whitby Marina has a spot for us. Getting is tricky, as three marinas share the entrance, and we apparently arrive around race time (or something), so we not only have to negotiate the channel in to the marinas, but also a string of small sailboats--under sail--coming out of that same channel. No one crashes, no one gets hurts, and everyone stays on their respective vessels, so we all win today.
We start today with a run around the waterfront. Nice enough area, and we stop at a convenience store for Mike to buy new sunglasses (2nd pair of the trip, as the first broke--technically, this is the 3rd pair: the ones he brought from home mysteriously disappeared on the first day).
Do a bunch of motoring today, sharing the lake with a freighter and some fishing boats off on the horizon. Today has pretty much no wind, and our knot reader registers a whopping .2 knots (made it to .7 a few minutes later). So at one point, Mike decides it's a good time to stop for a swim. He slips over the back into the dinghy, then jumps into the lake. The very cold lake. I just sit and wait in the dinghy and help him back in a few minutes later. Then we continue on.
We see some really neat cloud formations today. We're trying to learn to read the clouds and so have an idea on upcoming weather without having to rely on forecasts. Have a handy little book and everything. The weather patterns we read today suggest tomorrow might have some unsettled times, but the rest of today should remain mostly quiet (coincidentally, that's what the predicted forecast says too, which, already having seen the one might might have influenced the reading of the other).
Pull into Bluffer's Park (which is quite pretty) after radioing ahead to find our designated dock for the night. Getting to the marina office involves navigating a maze of piers and locked gates, but we manage it eventually. Then we stop at the pub at the marina for supper. Nice place, even has houses on the water--not house boats, but actual houses built specifically to float right there at the edge of the shore. Pretty funky (we saw one advertised for sale later for about $1 000 000, so maybe not our next house).
The wind picks up in the early hours, and we have a decision to make. Originally, we had thought to make it to Hamilton today, but weather reports (and yesterday's clouds, of course) suggest rain and thunderstorms. So, do we stay at Bluffer's Park, try to make it to Hamilton, or see if there's somewhere in between we try to get to? Maybe Port Credit or Toronto Outer Harbour? Mike calls ahead to Port Credit, but it turns out they're under water and have no open slips. There's a marina around the corner that specialises in transient docking, but they're not answering the phone. Outer Harbour has a spot, if we want, and we decide to give it a try.
The wind settles some as we head out. We even brave putting up the sails, but then Mike sees the line of weather ahead, and we pull down the mainsail, using only the jib--easy to haul in without having to go up front if things turn nasty. Mike decides to call another marina (the Port book Jeff and Marie left has every marina and transient dock on Lake Ontario, including contact information). Lakeshore Promenade in Mississauga sounds very inviting and they have a spot. So we continue heading in the direction of Toronto, watching the line of rain hugging the shore. And it stays there, leaving the Lake free from precipitation right through to Mississauga.
It takes us less than three hours to reach the Promenade and we dock and batten down the hatches. And spend a lovely day in the calmest non-storm you've ever seen. The marina has beautiful paths all around it that we explore and we spend a nice, quiet day, warm and dry.
Set off early, knowing we still have a ways to go (boat-wise--you can't be in a hurry when sailing or motoring). Happily, today has wind in our favour again, and we sail most of the way in. I get Freedom up to 7.7 knots, and reading off the numbers, I feel like the crew of Star Trek in Star Trek IV trying to reach warp 10 ("Seven point two, seven point three, seven point five! ...). This is the day I discover that Freedom has more stability than Freedom Four-Two. Happy day.
We have more fishing boats to maneuver around today, and a few sailboats too, as well as a cargo freighter that does not head toward the bridge, as I thought it would, but instead pulls in just ahead of us to the unloading dock near Bronte. Anyway, we reach Burlington Bridge with no difficulties, and temporarily haul in the sails to get through the lift bridge.
And then we reach the Bay, and the wind goes nuts, as it usually does in the Bay. Unpredictable and capricious. I leave it to Mike to take the wheel, and he shows what this sailboat can really do, having no irrational fear of canting at sharp angles (unlike me, but I don't panic--today). It's race day for the little boats, and with some creative tacking, we find a way around them.
We reach MacDonald Marine much faster than we ever did in Freedom Four-Two, pull up to the masting dock, and go find Sandy, the owner. He points out some empty docks, and suggests which one we might like best. It's not as sheltered as our previous slips, being closer to the Bay, but it should do.
We celebrated with ice cream from Hutch's, just up the street. Welcome to your new home, Freedom!