Two Steps Forward, Three Back

Two Steps Forward, Three Back

Ever since we committed to the idea of returning home this past spring it has felt like we’ve been taking two steps forward only to follow up by taking three steps back.  This past week has been no exception although we did finally arrive at our destination (well mostly), even if our destination wasn’t even in the plan going as far back as Monday.  For those wondering what I’m talking about, we departed Port Colborne Wednesday morning and lined up in queue for the Welland Canal.  By midnight we had transited down to Lake Ontario.  We took Friday off to clean the boat and give Magnus a long awaited opportunity to run off some steam on the beach and then sailed overnight last night to Bath, Ontario.  Just outside of Kingston, and possibly Altera’s winter home.  Tomorrow Altera might be officially in the 1000 islands port of Ganonque.

Coming into the flight of 3 on the Welland Canal.


Had we taken the turn off the Erie Canal to the Oswego Canal some two weeks ago, we would have saved about 6 days on the canal, a few hundred in mast stepping charges (Tonawanda is twice the price of the other ends of the canal) and Welland Canal transit fees and had a simple 40 mile sail from Oswego to Bath.  Instead we took the long way home and just finished a 140 mile trip along Lake Ontario.   All that rushing to take 2 steps forward and here we are 3 steps back.

When we recently decided to move to the Ottawa area, it still hadn’t dawned on us that keeping a boat on Georgian Bay some 5 hours drive away didn’t really make much sense.   As much as I love the area, I don’t have any desire to drive 5 hours on the weekend to go sail for a couple hours to an anchorage that I’ve already done half a dozen times.  And after 2 years aboard, it will be a couple years before we’ve exhausted non-boating vacation ideas, so trips to the parts of Georgian Bay that we haven’t yet been to are years off at best.

The 1000 islands on the other hand are close enough to Ottawa for weekend boat use and we haven’t toured the area yet.  Plus, the area is close enough that I can more readily keep the boat clean and maintained if we don’t use it as often as we think, or so that it shows well if we list it for sale (a hot topic for debate).

And here we are having completed our final overnight passage, a journey that somehow combined all the frequently encountered parts of a passage:

  • We started with the the wind on the stern as forecast, a nice deep reach and comfortable motion.
  • We had an incredible streaked cloud sky making for a memorable sunset.  How could we ever think of parting with the boat?
  • We motor sailed when the wind was too light to make steady progress.  Is it the sails or the engine that are considered the auxillary?  Lately I can’t seem to recall.
  • While motoring the wind piped up, I set the sails for a beam reach, shut the engine off and coasted along effortlessly at cruising speed, a smile on my face at the wheel.
    • A minute later the wind lulled and our boat speed dropped.  I’m serious it was actually only a minute.
    • Three minutes later the wind lulled more
    • 10 minutes later I realized the wind wasn’t returning and resumed motor sailing.
  • Instead of Dolphins or fish, a spider spin a web on the outboard motor.  Amazing how quickly they can do it, either that it was a dull watch and I had lost track of time.
  • The aforementioned wind on our stern decided to buck the forecast and instead of just simply falling off at night, decided to come blasting from our destination.   I mumbled that if someone makes an offer, the boat is theirs.
  • Thunder squalls in the distance.  A small light show.  Is or isn’t  the mast a lighting rod?  The ‘cone of protection’ theory is that for real?  Or am I nuts holding onto a metal steering wheel a few feet from the only tall object on the lake?
  • Rain.  We each took a wet shift.
  • We had a solid hour of nearly perfect sailing as we neared the finish.
  • We safely reached a new port.  Magnus looked pleased.

Despite the heat wave, the smog lifted enough to faintly reveal Toronto in the distance:DSC_0057

I have read that following the completion of a long cruise, the adaptation period can be difficult  after having had so much freedom and control over  your life.  I honestly don’t know what to expect although I’m sure my first 9-5 week will feel twice that long.  I do know I am excited about how some of the pieces of the puzzle have been coming together and I think Chrissy is too.  Slowly the uncertainty is starting to dissipate, but we still have a long way to go.  Preferably before the snow flies.

This article has 2 comments

  1. We did wonder how you were faring given the storm warnings,  good to know all is well. We are sure you will adapt to a land lubbers life in a very short time. Nan and Grandad ? ?

  2. Hi, Guys…. This actually makes sense. Can I also assume, then, that you intend to keep Altera a little longer and explore eastern Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands? We’ll miss you in Georgian Bay!