Waiting for the boat to be repaired & exploring by car

154 Days Looping
2,088.3 Nautical Miles Total (2,403.2 Statute Miles)
0.0 Nautical Miles This Week
0.0 Hours Underway This Week
0.0 NMph Average Speed
0 Locks This Week, 129 Total Locks

Repair Update
Rather than go play by play each day on the repairs, I’ll give you an update for the week as the progress has been steady but slow. The new propellers arrived from the US, one came on Friday and one on Monday. The propeller shafts and the damaged props are at the machine shop being fixed. We don’t expect to see those until the beginning of next week.

The fiberglass repair moved forward on Monday with them cutting out some more of the keel, then starting to lay fiberglass. They started by filling in the separation in the fiberglass layers of the hull (a combination of how the hull was manufactured and damage from the impact) with epoxy and fiberglass shards. They then formed the new keel shape on the outside with fiberglass, then layered in fiberglass and epoxy on the inside to build it up in multiple layers. After letting it cure, they painted the inside and outside with a sealer to aid in keeping it watertight. After some sanding and priming of the outside, on Wednesday they applied a coat of anti-foul paint and the keel repair was complete!

The repair looks great and there is much more fiberglass on the keel area than there was originally making it much stronger. Also, a large air gap that was in the original keel from the mold when it was manufactured was filled. The original bilge area had a fitting in it to insert the pickup hose from the bilge pump. This has never worked as when the hose is in, the pickup is kept above the normal low water level so the bilge never empties completely. With the repair, they eliminated the pickup hole, and now the hose sits deeper in the bilge and can empty it more, also there is now room for me to install a secondary high volume backup bilge pump. This is insurance as like most things, once installed it will never be needed!

After the completion of the fiberglass work, the mechanic re-installed the batteries, engine room floor, and bilge-pump pickup and sensors. It’s good to see the boat back together again!

In preparation for the reinstallation of the propeller shafts, we replaced the seals on the through-hulls. When we first bought the boat, these leaked and we had a heck of a time finding replacements. We eventually found a source in South Carolina (how convenient) and I ended up picking them up and driving them to Florida so that we could get the boat back in the water. Because of the issue, I bought two sets of spares, just in case. Since we had the shafts out, it was a great time to replace them, so the mechanic took care of that as well.

The last repair was to replace the Forward Facing Transducer that had been sheared off when we hit. This sticks down about 5 inches below the bottom of the boat and was broken right off. In looking at the broken unit, it appears to be designed to snap off right where it comes through the hull so that it doesn’t damage the through-hull fitting and leak into the boat. The repair is to disconnect 3 wires from the old one, unscrew it and reinstall the new one. Garmin even sells a “replacement” kit that saves you about $150 and doesn’t include the through-hull fitting and some other parts that are not needed.

That’s the work this week. We heard on Friday that the propeller shafts will be back on Tuesday and we hope to have the boat back in the water on Wednesday. Once the boat is back in the water, the propeller shafts need to be realigned and the oil changed in the engines and transmissions so that we can have a clean baseline to check for any metal wear after we run for about 20-30 hours. We hope to be able to take the boat out for a test run on Thursday and put it through its paces and check that there was no damage to the transmissions.

If everything goes to plan, and we don’t find any hidden damage, we’ll move back onto the boat on Friday, and hope to head back out on our trip on Saturday.

Monday – September 9th – 0 NM – In: Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
On Monday we took another ride, this time we headed west through Collingwood over to the shores of Lake Huron, about 125 miles. It was a great day and aside from going for a ride to keep us occupied, we had found a couple of “First Nation” craft stores there that advertised having the Porcupine Quill baskets we had seen in Parry Sound.

It was a nice ride along the shore of Georgian Bay and through some tourist towns. In the Collingwood area, there are some larger hills (small mountains), with ski areas on them. You can almost ski right up to the shore of the bay. Very scenic!

The first gift shop was actually on First Nation sovereign land. In Canada the First Nation (Indian) people do not have reservations, rather they have land within the provinces that they live on and govern themselves with representatives in Parliament and elected officials. We found the shop, and there was a sign on the door, blow your horn for service. So we did. We waited for about 10 minutes and were about to leave when a gentleman came out of a neighboring house and said that the owner was at a medical appointment. He said that he could let us in to look around. We went in and they had several different porcupine quill baskets of various sizes. Brenda found one that she liked with a hummingbird on the cover. Next, we headed to the second store about 20 miles away. This one was more of a tourist route store but they did have a few First Nation Crafts.

On the way out, we passed through a little town called Meaford, which was having its annual Scarecrow Invasion. We stopped on our way back and took some pictures. The entire downtown was covered in scarecrows! This year’s theme was “Books”, so each scarecrow or group had some sort of literary theme. There was Where’s Waldo, Goldy Locks, School Children in class learning to read, and even reading in the out-house!

Meaford is also a big apple growing community with many orchards lining the roadside. We stopped at a roadside stand and got some fresh-picked apples.

Tuesday – Sept 10th – 0 NM – In: Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday was a rainy day, So we decided to do a project. When we run fast, and the boat goes up on plane, the bow rises. If we are up on the flybridge, there’s no issue as we can see just fine, however, if we are driving from below, there is a minor visibility issue. On the helm (steering wheel) side, there is a fold-down platform that the captain can stand on and gain 6″ to see better, on the kitchen side, where Brenda stands, there is nothing. Seeing as how Brenda is “altitudinally challenged” she can’t see out when we run fast. We went to the local Home Depot and picked up some wood to make a box for Brenda to stand on, and spent the rest of the afternoon putting it together.

Wednesday – Sep 11th – 0 NM – In: Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
Another day killing time. We binge-watched a few Netflix series “Murdoch Mysteries”, produced in Canada and centered in Toronto, excellent! Also, I’ve found a guy that does a “Narrow Boat” video blog on the canals in England. I used to walk along the canals looking at the Narrow Boats when I was working there, and I find it quite interesting, so I’ve been watching those as well. We visited a couple of Antique shops and arranged for a wire transfer (what a pain!) to pay for the repairs.

Because we’re from the US and have a US insurance company, the marina wants to get paid before we take off. Having dealt with insurance companies, I see this as a reasonable request. The repairs are more than the marina will take a credit card for as it’s a 3% hit to them, we’re looking at somewhere in the vicinity of $25,0000 to 30,000 USD. Trying to get money wired internationally when you are not in the US is very difficult. Local banks (TD Bank) won’t do it unless you come into a branch (and the Canadian TD Branches won’t work). Ally Bank, doesn’t do international at all. So, after a bit of running around, I used a third party that I used when working with England “TransferWise.com”, and was able to get funds sent from the US to the marina.

Thursday – Sept 12th – 0 NM – In: Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
Thursday was a nice day. We dropped by the marina to check on progress on the boat, then decided to drive to the other side of Midland Bay, about 15 miles and 1/2 way back to Port Severn where we exited the Trent Severn Canal. We had heard about an old Canadian Railway-owned Steam Ship, The Keewatin that was preserved there and is open to the public. Again, something to do.

We drove along the bay, stopping every now and then to look at the view, and ended up in Port McNicoll where the Keewatin is located. The ship was built in Scotland in 1907 for the Canadian Pacific Railway. It was sailed to near Montreal, split in half to fit through the Welland Canal and the locks of the day, then re-assembled. When the government gave the contract and land to Canadian Railways, it was with the understanding that they would offer coast-to-coast service. There was a rail line to Port McNicoll on Georgian Bay which was the farthest point West, and a line to Fort William on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay, which was the farthest east that the West Coast line went. There were no rail or road links across the top of the Great Lakes at the time. So, passengers would go by train to either end of the line, board one of two steamships, and take a two-day voyage across the Great Lakes to the other end of the rail link.

The ship is well preserved and is being restored. Because it is off-season, we had an almost private tour with just one other couple. We toured the cabins, all were “First Class”, however, there were different levels of “First Class” from inside rooms, to suites. There were several salons including a women’s only salon where women were allowed to smoke and drink, (it was not allowed in public), and a fantastic dining room.

Many of the staterooms have been decorated from the various eras that the ship was in service (1907 – 1965). So there was a 1907 room with top hats and tails, a 1909 room with flapper dresses and spats, and we found a 1961 room (when I was born)!

We also got to visit the engine room where the huge coal-fired boilers were. The boilers have been cut away so that you can see the insides (they had to do this to lighten the back of the ship to move it as it got stuck in the mud where it was last displayed in Michigan).

The steam engine design was unique for the day. There are 4 cylinders each a different size. The hot steam would enter the first and smallest cylinder, and cause the stroke. The steam would then exit and be fed to the second cylinder which was about 25% larger. Because the steam had cooled some in the first cylinder, the second cylinder was larger to provide the same power per stroke as the second, from the second the steam would go to the third, and fourth each of which is larger than the last to accommodate for the cooling. It’s called a “Quadruple Expansion Steam Engine”. The four cylinders are huge, twenty-three and a half inches, thirty-four inches, forty-eight, and a half inches, and seventy inches respectively. In order to oil and maintain the engines, there was a manual turn-over engine that would slowly turn the main engine for maintenance. This they have hooked up to an electric motor, so you can see the huge crankshaft and connecting rods go up and down. Very Impressive!

To read more, visit: https://greatlakesmuseum.ca/

Note: The SS Keewatin has been moved to Kingston, Ontario, at the Great Lakes Museum!

After visiting the Keewatin, we went to the Queens Quay Pub for lunch, then drove up to one of the lighthouses (actually a range light) on a hilltop near the harbor to see the view.

Friday – Sept 13th – Sunday, Sept 15th – 0 NM – In: Penetanguishene, Ontario, Canada
Friday – Sunday the weather was rainy and we didn’t do much. We checked in at the marina each day to check on progress and hung around the apartment watching YouTube and Netflix.

NEXT WEEK: Hopefully we get the boat back in the water!

Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince
Thanks for visiting! –Tom & Brenda

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