Tag Archives: St Lawrence

Summer is flying by

Is summer flying by for you this year because it is for me.

We are already in the 3rd quarter of July and I feel that spring had just started yesterday. It is amazing how fast time goes by when your busy.

It seems like a few weeks ago I had just decided to purchase the old Salty Dog but in reality that was about 7 months ago this past January, I had worked on her over the winter, cleaning her up to get ready for spring. She has proven to be a project but one that I feel I must see through to the end and I am determined to get Old Salty Dog back in top working order and feel she will be a great family vessel when I am finished with her.

I just pulled her out of the water yesterday and she had gone to get re-fitted with a new (to her ) motor, (a 305 Merc Cruiser) This will essentially give her entirely new guts,

In addition I have outfitted her with new florescent green lights and a new deck around the wheelhouse as some of the decking was rotted out in one corner. No more ripped carpet for this old girl. Maybe next year I’ll redo the upholstery

Then I started working in Febuary at a new job for the MTO (ministry Of Transportation Of Ontario) on the Glenora Ferryboat, out of Picton, this job has been great so far, it is forcing me to get my excercise which I had been neglecting for, well, I’m too embarrassed to say lol. Also it has been a steady source of income and I have met some great people and made some awsome new friends.

With school ending back in June for my 2 boys one of whom just graduated highschool and will be going to college this fall, there has been a tonne of prep work and getting him ready to leave home in just a few weeks from now to go live at the schools campus. It is an exciting and exhausting time getting him ready to become an independent individual lol.

And through all this I have just taken on another (very part time) position on a dive boat out of Waupoose Ontario.

This is a very interesting position as a Captain of a dive boat, especially as I am not a diver myself. I felt I just wanted to be taking people on guided adventures again since I am no longer running a fishing charter and I miss taking clients out in this fashion. I still need to do a short course in order to take this position officially but I will make sure it is done shortly and will be taking clients out soon. The company (in case anyone is curious or wants to book an adventure ) is at the following website

https://www.divebrockville.com/

They have multiple dive boats and run in lake Ontario and the St Lawrence seaway. Check them out.

So although my year seems to be flying by it has been yet another great year so far and cant wait to see what the rest of the season has in store. Lol

Let me know in the comment section below what has been your favorite part you your year so far?

The Salty Dog update.

So I apologize for the lack of story telling about the Salty dog this season, but my reality with her has been a struggle to say the least.

I know through experience that when buying an old boat, to expect some issues with her, but this one has been one thing after the other lol. It’s going to be ok soon I can feel it and there will be a light at the end of this tunnel however it will take just a bit more blood sweat and tears to get there lol.

After the Inaugural voyage back on May the 19th, if you recall I had struggled to get this old Salty Dog started and running to be able to get her in the water and able to get her over to the marina where she has sat ever since. I have been struggling to get the boat running properly.

Now July the 11, and after just about 2 months of tinkering with the Salty Dog I have come to the decision that unfortunately the motor she had come with is unsalvageable and I am no longer going to spend any more money on this existing engine.

First just to give a brief history on what is going on is this. During the Inaugural voyage it was clear to me that there was some sort of mechanical issues happening with the boat. She was way underpowered at the time it took a long time for us to get her up on plane. She seemed to cruise at low speed ok, however, when I needed the pick up and go she sputtered and just didn’t seem to have enough power to get up on plane.

So once I got her to the marina, approx 25 miles, I seeked out a mobile mechanic to come do some testing. Well once we started into the testing of the engine things seemed to just snowball out of control.

It seemed at every turn there was a new problem. At first I thought this mechanic was just trying to upsale me and make some extra money but I sat there and watched him and it just seemed that everything he was telling me just made sense

It started as soon as he opened up the engine room hatch lol I mean it looked like a disaster to be honest, a mess of wires ran in every direction and in every color of the rainbow. It took so much time just trying to figure out what wire was for what. So of course the wires all had to be changed , this was just the tip of the avalanche, so to date, I have had the following fixed in order to try and attempt getting this old girl to run smoothly.

– All the wires to every electrical item onboard has been replaced with their proper respected gauge wire and fuses, – new master power switch, – new bilge pump with auto float and wired correctly, – batteries wired correctly (if you saw them prior you would understand lol, -new engine ground wire – carb clean, – new starting coil, – new (to me) electronic distributer,- new distributer cables. – new distributer cap – properly adjust the timing of the engine, -new spark plugs, – all new wiring has been properly and neatly installed and stowed, – modified the alternators mounting bracket so we could properly tighten the belt. – and fixed the small water leak we had from day 1.

I have had the marine mechanic here on 7 separate occasions trying everything ha can to make this motor run properly and with no avail, so my decision now is, to scrap the engine.

This was a very hard decision to make after I had just spent the time effort and money to find out that the compression is shot in 2 of my 8 cylinders. I mean it should have been one of the first things I checked when I made the decision to buy this boat in the first place. So because of bad decission making on my part and not having the boat checked over I have decided that the Old Salty Dog and I are going to get through this together and we will be sure to make some great memmories in the future (together.)

I have purchased another motor to take its place, and on July the 21st 2019 The Salty Dog will no longer have the 255 Volvo Penta and will actually be getting a new(to her) Merc cruiser 350 inboard and should soon be ready for the water.

I look forward to being able to start writing about our adventures to come. I have high Hope’s for our 2nd inaugural voyage this time with my wife on board at the end of July, we are planning a 4 day excursion along the St Lawrence, so fingers crossed the Old Salty Dog will be ready to go by then.

Neon green lights installed
Mechanic making custom bracket for alternator then putting out a fire he created lol.
New flag pole installed after the Inaugural voyage disaster took the old one out.

Lake O’s High Water Levels

Hi folks, do you live in southern Ontario in close vicinity to Lake Ontario and or the Saint Lawrence River? If so then you have probably been effected by the rising water levels of our water ways in one form or another.

If you follow my blog or any of my social media platforms then you are probably aware that I basically live on the water lol, (at least that is what my wife tells people). If I’m not working on a boat I am spending time on our personal boat our out fishing with friends and or family. Most of my water activities are spent on the eastern end of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence River system.

Back in 2017 Lake Ontario, and the St Lawrence, saw some of the highest water levels it has ever witnessed on record. The levels reached a staggering 83cm above the average water level for this time of year.

Now just 2 years later and we are currently sitting at 76cm above the average for this time of year, (or for those of you that know what I’m talking about lol, 1.632 Meters above Chart Datum as of 16:00hrs this afternoon), and it is still rising. We are not expecting the levels to stabilize over the coming weeks and in other articles I’ve read, predictions are that we will see at least another 10cm to 12cm before levels begin to level off and start to receed.

It is expected that once again we will see record breaking water levels due to the excessive water flow comming over Niagara Falls from Lake Erie. Along with some very rainy weather we’ve had this spring. Niagara Falls let’s in %83 to %85 of the inflow to lake Ontario the remainder is from the tributaries leading to the lake.

Niagara Falls (picture credit to http://www.niagaraparks.com )

In 2017 the levels across lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river decimated some waterfront properties and washed away shorelines right across the southern part of the province.

Toronto 2017 water levels

Fish habitat was disturbed, fish were found in water treatment facilities and in some cases were found swimming along flooded streets and public parks that had been submerged. The water levels this year are going to get even higher.

People have been stating to me that they don’t understand why the province won’t open the dams along the St Lawrence so that Lake Ontario will settle down a bit? Well the best answer that I have seen is as follows

– The great lakes basin, the Ottawa river, and the St Lawrence River, all merge in Montreal Harbor. The levels in Montreal have already exceeded the record water levels, set in 2017. For every 1 inch that the Iroquois, and Massena Dams allow lake Ontario to drain, it will increase the water levels in Montreal, (and further down the St Lawrence river) by 11 inches. Montreal and further down river are already in some major flooding problems of their own so we simply cannot allow any more flow out of the lake than what we are already letting loose.

Iroquois dam 2018

I know around my home territory, in the Quinte region, businesses and properties are in desperate need for the levels to drop. However, I fear the increase in levels will be getting quite a bit worse before it gets better

I know at work, the levels are taking its toll on the locals, as even the slightest east wind now can affect the Glenora Ferry service. People in the area depend on this service to get them to and from work, taking them from the island to the mainland and back again. Businesses in the area depend on the ferry to allow their clients to be able to get to their locations, especially this time of year. if the ferry has to shut Down for any length of time, it can be devastating.

Glenora Ferry service leaving Adolphus Town

Businesses close to the water in the area are getting flooded out. The Picton Harbour Inn, (in Picton), have seen their docks starting to go under water, as well as their parking lot area has just started to get its first sign of flooding. The INN has placed water barrels along the docks in an attempt to hold the docks down and not RIP them out of place. So far this tactic has worked but if the water raises much more I’m afraid it may not be enough.

Picton Harbor Inn Docks (photo credit to Picton Harbor Inn Facebook page ) ,http://www.pictonharbourinn.com/

All the marinas and Yaught clubs in the Picton area are fighting to keep their docks afloat and their boaters from leaving.

Boaters are not putting their boats in the water yet due to the levels, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars worth of expected income to these marinas for this time of year, not to mention possibly costing tens of thousands in repairs to equipment and the docks themselves. This is most likely indicative of all the areas that line the shores of Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence river throughout the province.

River Front Pub ( Napanee)
Public boat launch on Haybay ( Bay Of Quinte )

Last week I did put my boat in the water and it was quite the adventure to say the least (link to blog https://oldsaltydog.blog/2019/05/20/the-inaugural-voyage-part-2/ ) however what I noticed was all the debris in the lake, from trees, and garbage to lumber and even an overturned row boat that someone probably had on shore ready to use this summer floating down stream. I mean sure there is usually some branches/ tree stumps, and things like that during the spring time, but there has been an unusual amount of other debris this year as well.

I hope for everyone affected by the water levels this year that it all turns out ok in the end, if you are putting a boat in the water soon, please take extra care and look out for that debris that can really put a damper in your day.

Also let me know in the comment section what you think of my blog.

Cheers

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.”