Tag Archives: Tourism

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?

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

A Little Hidden Gem INN Picton ON.

After the Inaugural voyage of the Salty Dog(Follow link to read about the Inaugural voyage. https://oldsaltydog.blog/2019/05/20/the-inaugural-voyage-part-2/ )I started thinking about the small drip (leak) we had found on the transom, and although it was not a significant leak it still had me worried. On the way back home and after dropping off Friends, Peter, and Erin, to their respected vehicles I headed over to Robs place where his wife and my wife, had prepared a nice steak dinner awaiting our arrival.After dinner we all gathered round their TV and watched the finale of the Game Of Thrones. During the show I started thinking about that leak on the boat and decided after the show I would head back and make sure it was in fact, a small leak lol.

At midnight I finally got back to the boat to my great relief she was still afloat, LOL, so I loaded my sleeping gear into the boat and checked the engine room for damages. There was actually a substantial amount of water accumulation at the bottom, or at least more than I had hoped for ( approx 5 cups) Still not enough to be much of a concern but enough to know I will have to do something about it in the near future.After a long day it was off to bed for a well deserved bit of R & R.

In the morning I woke up early and immediately checked the water levels in the bilge. It hadn’t risen much over night so I figured its was a perfect opportunity to get out and eat something lol.I decided to head into picton to one of my favorite little spots.Now over the past few years a friend of mine Scott, his wife Sophie, and his Brother David, have been running the Picton Harbour Inn, and although they have all been working tirelessly around the clock, to make sure their guests have some great experiences, with new, state of the art rooms, and great service. They have also revamped the entire property both inside and out.

In doing so, they actually re-invented the harbour, the Inn, and the restaurant ( a part of the Inn) not to mention this Inn has been a big part of the towns history. Scott, and his team have renovated the much needed and very dated, restaurant over a year ago and it looks great. If you pay attention to the decorations and decor within the restaurant it has a very distinct nautical theme, from old ship pictures that used to Harbour in Picton, to the nautical lines tying back the curtains over the windows. Of course it is right up my alley, lol.

They have taken the shoreline and transformed it, by installing some great landscaping, new docks, used by guests, local guides as well as transiants coming to the area and looking for a good meal and a possible room for the night.

They have installed a fountain in the harbor as well, which lights up at night and is a nice little addition to the area. The locals are relishing in its glory once again, and It has become a local hot spot for breakfast and lunch, the food, is simply, amazing.

From what I understand, the restaurant gets much of their foods from local farmers, and they support as much local business and community as they can, Ok I also have to mention the service of the Lighthouse staff, talk about personable people, it’s like you’ve known them for years when you first walk through the door until you walk right back out again, just a fun atmosphere all round.

One of the best parts about the Inn, is its location. It is located right at the end of the Harbour closest to the town of Picton. I’m telling ya, if you ever pass by this area you must give this little hidden gem a try.

In recent years the Picton Harbour INN, has been featured on many fishing shows and is a fan favorite for fisherman from all over North America.

The Lighthouse restaurant.

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?