There are two ways I could approach writing about this past cruising season. One, write a detailed account of all the mechanical problems we had, where we were, what was done. Two, just sum up the season and include some nice pictures! I’m going with option #two!
We were one of the last boats to go into the wintering shed in Algonac, Michigan, so of course, we were one of the first boats out. We got the boat in the water in early April. Since our plan for the year was to spend most of the time in Canada, we hadn’t planned on leaving home on the boat until late May (waiting for warmer weather!). We used the time to get some tasks done. Dan always has a list of things he wants to accomplish, handy guy that he is, and this was no exception. I enjoyed having some time at home, allowing me time with grandkids, play some golf, work in the yard.
Dan had had the fuel injectors for both engines cleaned and reconditioned. Once we actually took the boat on a couple of short trips, we were dismayed to find that fuel was leaking into the oil crankcase…..a lot! And, that began the odyssey that lasted all summer and into September! We never got more than a two hour’s car drive from our home. We spent time in three marinas on the Detroit River, Kean’s, Milliken State Park and Marina, and Grayhaven Mooring Facility. Through several attempts at fixing the problem, we were able to keep one of our vehicles at the various marinas, go home frequently, bemoan the passing of the cruising season! Oddly enough, while we were frustrated and tired of paying for the various repairs, we still enjoyed our time on the boat and with each other.
At one point, we hoped the problem had been resolved, so we cruised down to Put In Bay, on Lake Erie. On the way there, Dan was concerned with the oil pressure on the troublesome port engine. We cut that engine off, and, while I piloted the boat, with one engine, on into Put In Bay, Dan went below to check out the engine. Sure enough, the engine room was a mess of oil and fuel. OK, so we DON’T have the problem fixed! We spent a pleasant time in Put In Bay (on South Bass Island) for two days. That place reminds us of Key West in many ways, without the crazy characters!
We were able to find a good diesel mechanic in Port Clinton, Ohio, not far from Put In Bay. He works out of a boatyard there, and we docked at the boatyard. There were none of the usual marina facilities, but they did have a dock with electricity! Most of our time there, about a month, we were the only boat there. The property is several acres, surrounded by water and fencing. Tugboat liked it – he could spend lots of time on and off the boat, chasing geese, sniffing and peeing everywhere. We did have to be careful that he didn’t drink the lake water- Lake Erie had a serious and deadly algae problem. We used the time there to do a project we had been postponing - we stripped and put several coats of varnish on the teak railing around the cockpit and the bowsprit.
Anyway, after several other attempts at fixing our problem, we found ourselves in mid-September with pretty much the entire boating season gone by! We cruised to Kelly’s Island for our test run, got stuck there an extra night because of weather, but the engine was finally fixed! Our next stop was Toledo at the National Museum of the Great Lakes. From there, we cruised back up the Detroit River to Colony Marina, our home for a few weeks before the Kittiwake got put away for the winter.
Now, for some pictures from this cruising season.