This will be a digest version of the past couple of days. I’ve been negligent and will do pushups. Someday. But probably not today. This will be a digest version of the past couple of days. I’ve been negligent and will do pushups. Someday. But probably not today.
We are in the land of the friendliest people in the world. And staying at the nicest marina we been at in our lives. We have found a little slice of heaven.
In this edition of our blog:
What makes a good marina.
Happy Father’s Day. Fix the A/C!
Start: Sandy Cove, Bay of Quinte, Ontario, Canada, 0840
End: Trent Port Marina, Ontario, Canada, 1110
Total Distance: 12.7 miles
Average Speed: 5.1 kts
Trenton Port Marina is the place and it is located scenic Ontario, Canada. The marina is brand spanking new. Showers are nicer than what we had in our house. And cleaner. Free laundry in nicer washers and dryers than we had at home. Met at the dock by two young people wearing uniforms. Lounge. Wifi. Snack bar with ice cream that got high marks from AJ. Our plan was to stay for two-three days, but we may be here a week.
The people and the town are fantastic as well. Yes: there are a flurry of ‘ehs’ in every conversation. And you are never far from a conversation. Just say hi to someone on the street and next thing you know, 10 minutes have gone by and you know most of how their week, month, year is going.
We arrived on Thursday morning after a quick trip from Sandy Cove. We totally lost track of the weather and were lounging around at anchorage planning on leaving at lunch when we remember that there were storms scheduled to start at 1pm. So up comes the anchor and off we went. Arrived at 1140, tied up and plugged in by noon and rain started shortly thereafter. We showered, I called and ordered a spare prop that is supposed to be delivered by Saturday. And we went over to Endeavor to get crushed by Don and Peg in Force 10 (a card game).
Friday was a busy day:
1. Downtown Trenton to visitor center for list of stuff to do and stop at coffee shop for fortitude to accomplish our list of stuff to do!
2. Bus to Canadian Air Force Museum. Couple of highlights: Met by retired Air Force Pilot who gave us the story of of a bomber in the main building. It was shot down in Northern Norway at the end of WWII. The tail gunner was the only survivor; the plane sank is 700 feet of water in an old fjord. It was recovered after 40 years and restored to close to it original condition.
AJ met a falcon that is used to keep birds off the airfield and away from the landing aircraft. The falcon lives in the back of a air conditioned van and looks out over the airfield. When he sees a bird come into his territory, he exits the van quickly and takes care of the invader.
3. Final trip of the day was a cab ride just out of town to a rope store. We have discovered in our travels that it would be good to have a couple more longer dock lines to help getting on/off docks. Quick search of google shows that there is a placed called the “Rope Store” just outside of town. And it is open on Friday and Saturday only. I call and they are open and Jan and I hop in a cab and take the 10 minute ride.
Norm is the owner of the business and he meets us at the door. The building is his factory to make ropes as well as a large assortment of ropes having on the walls. We pick out what we want for our boat and he heads to the back to get the rope and comes out and makes it for us as we wait. And we end up talking to him for an hour.
Norm is retired twice. First business was making electrical wire and he sold that business in his early 30s. Took a couple of months off and then went in the rope making business with a partner. Which they did for a couple of decades. He and his partner had a disagreement and Norm ended up retiring (again). He then decided to take up rope making again, though this time as a hobby, not a job. Which is why his shop is only open two days a week. His business is 90+% internet based (http://www.onlineropestore.com) and we give him a huge thumbs up!
As he finished up and we paid, he asked if we wanted a ride back to the marina. Sure, we say. And we walk outside and Norm takes us to an old Ford Model A that is in the parking lot. That would be our chariot. As we squeeze in the car and putter off down town, we learn that Norm and one of his son’s drove the car to Vancouver in just over 90 hours. Why? To beat the time of someone else, of course. They drove constantly, taking turns, stopping only for gas/food. Top speed? 40ish mph. The car does have two things that are not original to the car–the seats. Not that they are modern…they come from some Chevelle from last century. That excursion made our day, and frankly our time here in Trenton.
Our final event of the day is dinner at Tomasso’s Italian Grill here in town. And it was the best restaurant we have eaten at on the trip to date.
Saturday: We walk.
We put in over 12 miles of walking on Saturday. Over 28,000 steps if you are using a fit bit. First part Jan, Lucky and I took a stroll up to the first lock on the Trent Severn Waterway to get our locking and mooring permits and check out the locks. More on the waterway itself tomorrow when we actually start on the trip, but we certainly saw a large difference in the friendliness at the first lock in comparison to the Erie Canal. The EC personnel were all very nice and helpful. But they were doing a job and that was their focus–moving boats through the locks. At the TW waterway they also move boats, but they also seem to be there for the experience and making sure we all have a good experience.
Back to the marina and then the three of us (AJ this time, Lucky stayed home) walked 2.5 miles to Canadian Tire to get AJ and I a fishing liscense. Canadian Tire, it turns out, is a lot like our Wal Mart. With really nice people both behind the counter and as customers. The nice lady behind the counter asked what we wanted (fishing license) and then spent 15 minutes working through getting us the piece of paper. And apologizing profusely for how long it was taking to get complete. Being from the midwest, raised with a innate aversion to disagreements or conflict, I kept apologizing to her and to the customers behind us for being from out of the country, wanting to fish, taking so much time. The customers behind us apologized for being in line. No yelling, no frustration over having to wait. Pleasantness all around.
On our way out we stop at an A&W root beer stand. They still exist in Canada. From my childhood I could remember going to an actual A&W stand, getting ice cream in a frosty mug with foamy root beer all around. When I tried it, I had never (and perhaps to this day have never) tasted anything so good. Sweet. Cold. Foamy. Fantastic. I wanted to introduce AJ to the same experience so we went. Unfortunately corporate expedience has taken over. No longer do they serve ice cream out of a machine to make the floats. They instead pull out a little bag of ice cream and drop it into a plastic cup and add root beer. It is a float, but the ration of root beer to ice cream is all off. Disappointment all around. Back to the boat.
Father’s day found below.
What makes a good Marina (and why we want to stay. Or not)
We are sitting in the best marina we have been in since we have started this trip. So much so that we decided to spend extra time here, because, as you read above, why not? Which leads us to think about what it is that makes a good marina? We certainly don’t need to stay in one. We can anchor out, save money and be just fine. So there has to be a draw or a reason. Sometimes it is because we had a stressful day and we want someplace where we can tie up our boat and not worry about anything. Sometimes it is a great location. Sometimes there is nothing else available. So in no particular order, what we think makes a good marina:
1. Nice people. If we show up at the dock and there are people to grab our lines, to greet us and make us feel welcome, to show us their facilities and be excited about where they are at, it goes a long way to like the facilities irrespective of the condition of the marina. Good example was half moon bay. Steve was in touch with us before we got there, was concerned that all our questions or issues were answered. The facilities were maybe ok, but his customer service was fantastic. And people from the community who are fired up by where they live are great as well. Little Falls and here at Trenton are good examples of where the people from the community made us want to stay and learn more about the place.
2. Clean bathrooms. Doesn’t need to be fancy, but if you have a clean bathroom with good shower, you have a big fan. We have been in places where the bottom of the door stops two inches from the ground. Where there is more mud on the floor than actual wood or tile. Where cockroaches hold your towel while you shower. Not good. On the other hand, clean bathroom makes up for lots of other shortcomings. Like “we got stuck in the mud, but the bathroom was clean!” Waupoos marina is a good example. Had to hack through waist high weeds to find the bathroom, but the darn things rocked. Not as good as this place, though.
3. Location: If the marina is close to where you are going or need to be or a sight you want to see, it automatically moves up a bit. Or if it is at a critical place on your trip. Cape May: Expensive, but given there was a gigantic Nor’Easter blowing for three days, and the location was right to keep us from getting killed, it was perfect.
Other piece of location is if the marina has supplies close. Like groceries, restaurants, propane, hardware or marine stores. If we can walk to where we need to be, we love it. If we can’t, not going to stick around long. And if there are things like museums, farmers markets, music, etc. close, BIG winner!
4. Services. Do they have courtesy cars? Mechanics? Electricians? Wifi (that actually works)? Can they fix your stuff if need be. Electric? Water?
5. Cost. Typically cost is determined by dollars per foot. We have a 36 foot boat so if it is $1/foot, then we pay $36 to stay. Sometimes that includes electric. Sometimes not. Sometimes that includes a pump out, sometimes not. We have paid as hight as $2.50/foot which is expensive for my taste (at least on the east coast) and paid as little as FREE on the Erie canal for a wall tie up with electricity. Anchorage is always free so cheaper is always better.
So that is our short list of what we like in marinas. We have been staying in marinas more than we thought we would. But this marina is a good example of why. We are in a great town with fantastic people and facilities that can’t be beat. We aren’t on a schedule–why not stop and enjoy when we can!
Happy Fathers day: We need to fix the air conditioner.
After weeks of rain and cold, we knew we should expect that summer, at some point, would actually show up and want to have have his/her turn. And It started on Saturday and continued through today. Temperatures were in the mid-80s, but because of the humidity, the ‘feels like’ temperature was way in the 90s. It was miserable. Consequently, our air conditioner has been working overtime for the past 48 hours.
Marine air conditioners work by exchanging heat with circulating sea water (or lake water in our case). Our through hull for the AC is inside our starboard side hull, up front in our cabin. It goes to a filter, then into a pump and to the AC unit itself. Then out the starboard side hull. If all works well, there is a strong steady stream of water from the boat into the lake.
This morning all was working fine. We stopped the AC to clean the filter and there was a bunch of seaweed sitting in the filter. Not a huge surprise since our slip, and the marina, were filled with seaweed both growing and floating on the water. Filter cleaned, we put it back on and fired up the system. Which ran for five minutes and shut down.
Crap. Another problem.
I’ll cut to the chase. We had two issues. First, when we cleaned the filter, we neglected to fill the filter with water when we put it back on the system and consequently a huge bunch of air went into the pump and the pump promptly went into vapor lock. AND second, the seaweed was being sucked into the intake and caught in the vent, which is good (that is the purpose of the vent), but the water was not flowing as fast as it should. So the pump worked harder to try to get the water flow up, but nothing was coming through the weeds, so the pump got hot and then shut down. No more cool air. We learned all this, of course, after a couple of hours of troubleshooting.
We ended up taking our hose, connecting to a inlet port used for winterizing the system and first shutting off the through hull and forcing the water through the pump and out of the system to blow the air out. Check. Then we opened the through hull and forced water the other way to blow out seaweed back into the lake. Clean hoses? Check. Then turn the system back on and run until the sun goes down. Works like a champ.
And when we started working on this problem we noticed that our bilge was now half full of water. Turns out that inlet port for winterization has a slow leak, so when the AC is running, those slow drips of water add up to a bunch of water in the bilge. Tomorrow it will be time to purchase some plumbers tape to fix that issue.
Happy cool fathers day!