Tag Archives: Boating

The Inaugural Voyage (part 2)

It was Sunday May 19th the day had finally arrived. I gathered a couple of my neighbors and good friends Rob, Mike, and, Pete to assist me in the first ever voyage of the Salty Dog. Mike unfortunately, was unable to make the voyage, however was able to assist in the launch of the vessel by using his truck which was much more capable than mine.

We still needed to test a few vitals of the boat, and I wanted to give her a good run as to test her abilities. I figured a 3 hour, 35 mile tour should be a decent test for the old girl, and little did I know just how right I was.

Well of course and just as expected, nothing was going to plan. After a few quick tests and trying to get the vessel running prior to taking her to the lake we find out that the ignition coil was defective. Should be an easy fix right? Nope, wrong.

With not much in the way of stores being open on a Sunday of a long weekend we had no choice but to start harvesting coils from other sources. We tried getting one off Mikes boat. It was the wrong size. We tried going to Mike’s shop. He had a brand new one there, It too was broken, we thought one might be over in Robs garage, it wasn’t. Canadian Tire was open, but they were sold out. Part source in Bellwville had what we needed AND, was open. Rob hopped on his Motorcycle and was off to get the part.

After a couple hours, Rob returned with the part. We got it installed quickly along with a couple sparkplugs and we were off to a nearby river to try and get the old girl started. A few tries, and SUCCESS, Salty Dog started, and actually sounded pretty good.

It was now after 2pm and getting late in the day, but I still had a bit of hope that we would still get Salty Dog launched this day.

Once in Deseronto, we launched old Salty Dog for the first time.

We gently lowered old Salty in the water and checked for leaks in the engine compartment below deck. So far so good. No water, “well, thats a good sign” I thought to myself as I let out a rather large sigh. Next was a test run around the Bay surrounding Deseronto. To the bridge, a few circles (testing the steering) and then back to the launch again.

My wife and Robs wife were standing on the dock when we returned. You would think this was because they came in support to see the launch right? Nope, it was because I was an idiot and forgot my keys for the car I left at our destination the night before so we could get back home once we got to the marina, and had to call my wife to come and drop them off to me before we left for our journey. LOL.

A good 15 minutes or so of looking around and last second adjustments and Salty Dog was good to go, she was all warmed up, one last check in the engine room and POOF, we found water . Wait what? Where did that water come from? It wasn’t much but enough that had me a little concerned lol. Well that’s what these tests are for right?

Now thinking (do I put her back on the trailer and pull her out of the water again?) “Hell’s no! “. (Lol) not for a dribble of water anyway. I call to my now “engineer” (Rob) who was directly beside me, a quick diagnosis of what it was? Tightened a loose hose clamp, and there was a very slow drip from a bolt on the housing, “PHEW”, (almost lost my Kool there), anyway no big deal. So we started off on our days journey. It was now 330pm and we had a 3 to 4 hour tour ahead of us.

Just as were were getting started a coworker Erin, messaged me asking how the voyage was going? “We were just starting” I told her. and since Mike wasn’t able to make the trip I had an extra spot so I offered Erin a spot aboard, and we picked her up on route 10 miles ahead of our starting spot at the public launch over at the Glenora Ferry docks. A quick stop to let Erin Aboard and we continued on our journey.

At this point the vessel was running very smoothly. I had noticed once we tried getting the boat on plane, she seemed a tad sluggish but I chocked that up to some old gas and full tanks of fuel along with a 4 man crew now making the vessel quite heavy. Anyway I didn’t pay much attention to that at this point.

After about an hour of slowly cruising at about 8 knots east in adolphus Reach towards the Gap. (The Gap is an opening in the Bay Of Quinte, between Picton County and Amerst Island, that allows access to Lake Ontario.) I thought it a good idea to take a couple pictures of the group. So I stopped the boat and positioned us to what I thought would be a good photo. Lined the gang on the back deck and as I was about to take the shot, everyone was leaning on the back rail and , SNAP. The rail gave way and all three passengers fell backwards into the lake. Rob did a backwards summersalt hitting his back off the swim platforms ladder, Erin’s legs and hands trying desperately to cling onto the side of the boat and not fall into the freezing 54° water, well she couldn’t hold on for long and (SPLASH) into the lake she went. And Pete fell backwards breaking our flag pole and landing right onto the swim platform. Peter really didn’t get too wet.

I quickly went and turned the engine off as everyone was right around the prop the I went to see if everyone was ok. I could reach Erin who was gasping for air, so I grabbed her arm and pulled her up on the swim deck Pete was already in the boat and then I went to give rob a hand but he was half way up on the platform already Pete was busy trying to salvage the broke handrail LOL. Everyone was safe and so I figured now was a great time for a photo OP, not really the one I was looking for originally, but this will do nicely LOL

After a couple moments to make sure everyone was ok and to stop laughing uncontrollably at the situation we got everyone out of their wet clothing and into dry ones. Ok now it’s time to just get to our destination I think.

I go to start the motor back up, and nothing. Now were dead in the water. A soaking wet and shaking cold Rob was quick to have a look at the motor we used ether to get the motor started, something I never want to do but it was necessary to just get going at this point, once she started we were on the road, or water I guess, once again. I got the boat up on plane, and this time and cruised at a cool 30mph on the way to our destination to Waupoose Marina.

Now 730 PM and just pulling into the marina we pulled up to my slip and there is a nice 35 foot cruiser beside where I need to park. No problem. I pull up so I could back into the slip and when I try going into reverse, nothing, she quit on me again. I tried to start her, and nothing again. Rob once again on his belly almost hanging upside Down took only seconds to get her going once again. And we backed into the slip, shut her down, tied her off and the inaugural trip had come to an end.

So I guess she’s not perfect, but that’s to be expected of a 1979 boat I guess. So looking back on this Inaugural voyage.

RECAP

A bit of a rough start I know, Some forgotten keys, a broken rail, a missing flag pole, a motor that needs some TLC, there is a very slow drip into the engine compartment that I must fix ASAP, A trip that should have been a total of 5 hours door to door ended up being 11.5hrs, and to top it all off, I only dropped 3 out of 3 passengers into the lake on the first trip out. (SIGH) I now have some fixing to do but all in all it was an adventure and a memory of a life time LOL this is exactly what Salty Dog was meant to do. (Create Memmories) now let’s hope the next trip is a bit less memorable lol.

Cruising The Great Lakes.

As a former, (and possible future) employee of a passenger vessel of the St Lawrence seaway and Ottawa River systems, the Canadian Empress, and the St Lawrence Cruise Lines.

https://www.stlawrencerivercruise.com/

I find this a very interesting read. When working in the industry I really didn’t see too many cruise lines that offered or does exactly what the St Lawrence Cruise Lines offers their passengers along the river. And although in the below article link, the vessels and companies mentioned will be offering a somewhat different kind of cruising experiences for their passengers. It certainly will be interesting to see such an increase of activity in the river and Great Lakes cruising industry and right in my back yard to boot.

Some very interesting passenger vessels setting their sights on the great Lakes for the coming years.

An interesting read about cruising the Great Lakes and how it is becoming a booming industry.

Follow this link to read about it

https://expo.cleveland.com/life-and-culture/g66l-2019/05/1da58e9525280/cruising-the-great-lakes-more-ships-more-passengers-more-stops-in-cleveland.html

Setting Up My New Boat AND NAMING HER.

This past winter I have finally acquired another vessel. I am super excited as I have not had a vessel of my own for a couple of years now, and I was getting really down on myself, not being able to get on the water whenever I wanted to. I have spent lots of time over the past few years upgrading my licenses enabling me to be on the water for work, however it’s just not the same as going out on your own terms, for pleasure, and it was getting me in some sort of deep blue funk.

I have decided to rename the new to me vessel, but Before I do, I must take many things into consideration, my hobbies, what I will most likely be using her for, {like fishing, or just doing some family cruising, or will I just become one of those weekend warrior types that never leave the dock and rarely even turn over the engine and just socialize at the marina lol, {ya not likely on that last one.}LOL. My plan for now is, I would love to cruise with my wife around the bay of Quinte and the 1000 islands, and maybe even take a trip up the Trent Severn waterway this summer. Basically this vessel should represent who I am as a captain. This is why I have chosen the name

SALTY DOG

Meaning of Salty Dog, – A nautical slang for an experienced sailor who has spent much of his life aboard a ship at sea. A salty dog is often given increased credibility by ship mates in matters pertaining to ship-board life and duties.

Now that I know I will be using the vessel to do some travel, of course I will be doing “some fishing” out of her as well, LOL. I find that I am looking to rig her out more for navigation than for fishing, but obviously with me being, “well me,” (LOL) I’ll want some fishing capabilities as well. So before one gets started to rig out a vessel you need to do some research.

1st and foremost you need to know what your budget is, I mean that kind of goes without saying right? but if you have a smaller budget than you’d ideally like, as I have , then you may not be getting exactly what you want, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get what you need either..

I first needed to recognize that my priorities have changed from being outfitted as a fishing vessel and need to rig her out more for travel and navigation. So what does this mean exactly?

When you are looking for more navigational equipment you will be looking for a fish-finder also known as a chart-plotter, however, you will be needing some functions that not all chart-plotters come with, such as the ability to hook up a VHF {AKA= Very High Frequency} radio with GPS capability’s, also you may wish to have your plotter have the capability to attach an AIS (Automatic Identification System) Reciever as well, so you can see other commercial traffic, or any vessel with a AIS transponder on board show up on your plotter. or you may want others with an AIS to be able to see you so you may wish to have and AIS transmitter on board as well.

There are VHF marine radios with AIS compatibility that can hook up to your plotter these radios also usually have DSC (or digital Selective Calling} capabilities. Having a radio with DSC means that you can send pre-defined digital messages through the Medium, high, and Very-high Frequency maritime radio system. AKA VHF radios.

So of course having a Marine radio on board is really a basic essential part of boating in general, but what can it do for you?

Well, there are many different types of marine radios, so picking one that suits your needs is crucial to safe smart boating. Of course marine radios will allow you to communicate between yourself and other vessels on the water, however not all radios have the same functions.

DSC radios and what are they? Having A DSC radio also means that besides the basic function of having a marine radio for communication and getting up to date marine weather forecast purposes, that in the event of an emergency that all you need to do is push a small red button and your information ( name of boat, GPS co-ordinates, emergency contacts ect. } automatically get sent to the Canadian Coast Guard and rescue and they will be on their way to your location much faster than as if you had to try to rely on relaying that information via talking over the radio.

You must set up the radio once you have purchased it prior to setting out on your first voyage. ( instructions come with most radios.) Costs of these radios vary from $400 to well over $1000.00 range. I have outfitted my vessel with the one in the pic below and it costs around $500.00 this unit also has a built in GPS in addidition to my chart Plotter so I do not have to set it up to the GPS in my plotter for emergency response situations. I bought it for the function of the AIS as well, so I will be connecting it to my plotter regardless.

Screenshot_20190309-133248_Chrome

Ok so now that I have a Plotter with GPS, AIS, and VHF/DSC /, you may also wish to considder getting into radar.

The difference between GPS (or Global Positioning System} and Radar is GPS signals are coming from satellite and radar uses a radio wave system that can detect a multitude of different things such as weather formation, birds, planes, boats, and moving and or stationary objects in real time, especially in low light, or low visibility conditions. A radar system can be an exceptional piece of kit. What I really love about it is you can see well ahead of time if a storm is forming, and then make an educated guess weather or not you will need to seek shelter before it hits your location, or of course if you may be on a direct collision course with another vessel meaning an alteration of course may be necessary, this would come in handy during heavy fog, rain, or night time navigation. Now a radar system can be expensive so as for now since I know it is equipment I will be installing at a later date I will ensure my chart plotter will be compatible with the unit for later purchase.

EXAMPLE BELOW.

{on left side} radar overlay on chart also showing AIS targets ahead through connection of VHF/ AIS Radio

{on right} Radar only

Screenshot_20190309-132020_Chrome

so if you know you will be wanting radar on your vessel it is important to know that you will not be able to hook up one manufacturers radar with a different manufacturers chart plotter. for example, I cannot attach a Furuno radar to a Lowrance chart plotter.

so in conclusion, when trying to figure out what you are going to need on your vessel, 1st figure out what you will be using your vessel for the most? if you are a weekend warrior that fishes, and you stay mostly in sheltered bays and don’t stray away from uncommon territory you probably do not need many of the items listed above if at all, and you can get away with a very basic fish finder unit.

If you plan on fishing many different lakes and other bodies of water and you like exploring, then you may wish to opt out for a better fishfinder with the options listed above to help keep you on track and out of harms way and of course it’s a bonus that it can help you to easily locate the fish.

Now if you do not plan on fishing ever and only plan on taking long leasure trips where you will go exploring new body’s of water on a regular basis then you may want to considder all the above mentioned items plus even a few more items I havnt mentioned in this blog, the more equipment you have like these, onboard your vessel, the better. But remember, none of this equipment takes the place of old fashioned paper charts. Always make sure to carry the proper paper charts for the area you will be boating in, and know how to read them properly. Remember that all electric equipment on board are only as good as the power source on your boat and the operator behind them, so If you are not able to give your location to the authorities in an emergency when the power goes out then it won’t matter how much you’ve spent on fancy electronic gear so always have a back up plan. lol

Screenshot_20190309-231614_Chrome

Fun fact .

DId you notice that I keep referring to my vessel as she, or her? do you know that most mariners refer to their vessels in the female figurative, and not as an it or a what?. this ideology stems from the early days of shipping or boating when crew members would look at a ship as a place of sanctuary, literally a place of nurture, kind of like a mother figure if you will, the ship was supposed to take care of a crew, just like a mother does for her child. that is why vessels are referred to as female.

“A ship is called a she because there is always a great deal of bustle around her; there is usually a gang of men about; it takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good; it is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is the upkeep; she can be all decked out; it takes an experienced man to handle her correctly; and without a man at the helm, she is absolutely uncontrollable. She shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys.”

A Day on the Bay

They say a bad day fishing is better than a good day at work. I tend to agree with that statement and here is one scenario.

leave me a comment below and let me know if you agree.

If you have ever fished The Bay Of Quinte in the Fall you know that The Bay seems to have a mind of its own at times. The Bay Of Quinte commands respect. Every morning as many of you fight your way through city traffic and crowd your self onto over populated street cars and subways, trying hard not to make eye contact with the person rubbing up against you, by looking onto your electronic devices and spending all day trying to get the smell of a thousand different perfumes, mixed with BO, and thousand cologne smells you had the pleasure of encountering before you had your morning coffee, out of your head. relax there is a place where all that craziness seems to just disappear.

Of course, I’m talking about fishing. Fall Fishing on The Bay Of Quinte can be, in a word, majestic. As clients pull up to the harbor before sunrise and watch as the fishing captains of all the charters tied off to the docks ready their boats for the days activities, If you could just relax for a few minutes and pay attention to your surroundings, you would notice an array of activities going on. Anglers launching their boats into the water at the main public launch, the trees rustling in the wind on the high cliffs surrounding the harbor, the sound of the boats warming their engine’s, the sound of the birds coming to the harbor and landing in the water where they stay for the day to feed, the distant chit chat of anglers discussing their days plan and wishing each other luck.

As the sun tries hard to make an appearance a dim light starts to shine through the trees empty branches, its time to load clients onto the boats. As each Boat unties from their respected dock, you see a convoy of charter boats slowly making their way out of the harbor and into the channel. The water like a sheet of glass and the boats not even making a ripple in the water. By the time most of the boats have reached the entrance where the channel meets the bay, boats start to throttle up as to be the first boat to their days choice spot. the boats head out into all directions and soon they all disappear and you are alone, just you, your captain, and your crew.

As we make our way to our destination, the sun rising, you start to notice the light fog over top of the water as it is cooling and getting closer to the big freeze of the winter months. shore lines lightly covered with a dusting of snow, we pass a flock of low flying ducks one way, and a flock of geese the next. The boat throttles down and comes almost to a complete stop. The captain starts the small trolling motor and turns off the main engines you can barely hear the small motor running, after a short time the captain has set up all the rods and reels and you slowly start to concentrate on the rod tips moving, and awaiting the sound the reel makes when there is a fish on the line. Pretty soon any and all life’s little problems seem to have taken a back seat to the tranquility, and the immediate, here and now.

After a while of trolling around you start to get anxious and wanting to hear the scream of the reel knowing that there would be a potental that dinner may be on the other end, Yet Nothing happens. The captain makes a few changes in the program and you feel excitement that the changes made, will make all the difference, and soon a fish will strike.

More time passes, and the lines lay quietly in the water stalking your prey. You have now long since finished your coffee, and start to forget about the act of catching fish. chatting among your friends and reminiscing of old times, As time passes you have now completely given up on hope that any one will catch a fish today but you don’t mind as you are having fun listening to, and telling stories, having a few snacks, and listening to some music. its now mid afternoon and there is a strange clicking sound coming from behind your seat, the captain jumps out of his seat and runs over you to grab the rod with a bend in it he sets the drag of the reel and hands it to you. at first you don’t really feel anything maybe a bit of resistance but cant tell if a fish is on the line or if its just the lure at the other end. Suddenly a few good shakes of the fish and the rod loads up almost bending right over, you think the rod is about to snap. now your adrenaline pumping, the blood rushing through your veins, you realize you have a big fish on the other end. after several minutes of fighting, your arm gets tired, you want to hand off the fish but your friends are cheering you on and you can’t give it up now. you fight the fish until it is at the boat, the captain pulls a net out and nets the biggest Walleye you have ever seen. after taking a few pictures you decide to release the fish back to try and let someone else have their chance at catching this beauty fish.

Its your personal best walleye and possibly fish you have ever caught. the captain re-sets line in hopes of a last attempt to try for another one before its time to go in.

Unfortunatly not another one is caught for the day. The captain brings up the lines, turns off the small trolling motor, the big engines tart up and you head in for the day, on the way home you start to notice the sun starting to set, the birds that you passed in the morning are starting their journey back to where they came from, soon you notice other boats getting closer heading back to port, and shortly there is a few boats heading back up the channel to the harbor creating that convoy you noticed in the morning.

Once you get back to the dock you realize that you did not think about work all day, or that you have to get to the bank to make that payment, or you havn’t talked with your wife/ girlfriend/boyfriend all day and didn’t get the dreaded, (can you pick up a few things on your way home ) call. you realize that you had fun with some friends and have just made another great memory. Now your already looking forward to your next day on the water knowing every day fishing can be extremely different than the last trip out.

Capt James Mathias

Don’t forget to let me know if you agree.

Is a bad day fishing better than a good day at work?