I was very recently reminded that I have been neglecting my blog duties so I am back at it now. I suggest that you get yourself some refreshments and make yourself comfortable. This is going to be a long one. Fortunately, it will be mostly photos. Trying to keep the typing to a minimum so I can actually get it done.
I had the best intentions of writing a new blog post every couple of weeks throughout the summer but here I sit finishing this on November 13th having not posted one in over four months. If that isn’t bad enough, I actually have three full posts still to do.
If you have been following along with us on this crazy journey (if you haven’t you can go way back to the beginning of this blog … 81 posts ago) you will know how we were introduced to the boating lifestyle. Kevin, Jason, and I found this beautiful boat on a trip from Toronto to Ottawa on the Kobayshi Maroon (Great news … the KM is back in the water … more on this in a later post).
We called that trip ILCH2019 and we promised we would get together again to tour Georgian Bay on Family Ties. A little thing called Covid put those plans on hold.
Fast forward to the spring of 2022 and the three of us decided it was time. Kevin booked his flight from BC for August 31st and, just like that, ILCH2022 was on.
It started like any other trip for Kevin. I picked him up at the airport on Wednesday night and immediately put him to work.
My shed wasn’t going to paint itself!
Once I realized that he couldn’t paint I thought it would be best if we just headed to Wiarton. The plan was for Leanne, Kevin, and me to drive to Wiarton on the Friday night and Jason would meet us there on Saturday.
The weather forecast for the week was perfect.
The last time (it was actually the only time) Kevin saw the boat she looked like this.
These photos make me wonder if it is even the same boat. I think back to when we were in the middle of the reno I actually thought we would be done by the time she saw water. I amuse myself sometimes.
After getting to Wiarton we took Kevin to our new favourite place to eat, the Wiarton Inn, which is a really good Chinese restaurant. By the time we got to the boat it was dark and so Kevin wasn’t able to get a true sense of her beauty. He would have to wait until morning.
While we waited for Jason to arrive we took the opportunity to allow Kevin to enjoy the many “zones of relaxation” on Family Ties.
Jason showed up, coincidently enough, just as we were preparing supper. As we did with our trip to Ottawa in 2019, I prepared meals, and Kevin and Jason did the cleanup.
Yeah … Kevin and Jason did the cleanup. Right!
I made t-shirts for our trip in 2019 so I decided to make some for this trip too. This will always be one of my favourite photos …
… so it only made sense to use it for this “trip”. Our friend Tanya made them for us.
Kevin wanted to see the engine room so we took him on a tour. At some point, I would like to be able to clean up the bilge area, paint the engines, and add some lights, but unfortunately, until then it will remain a dark and smelly dungeon.
I guess I am used to it. Kevin obviously wasn’t.
We took a few minutes to show him what things were. My lack of knowledge about the engines was very obvious to all attending this tour. Another of my plans was to take some time and try to get a good understanding of how they worked and how to maintain them properly.
For those of you who might remember high school English class … this is a literary device called foreshadowing…
We had already decided that ILCH2022 was not going to be like ILCH2019. Instead, we would hang around at the marina and maybe take short trips. We had a long list of topics to discuss, and I was also going to take advantage of Jason and Kevin’s technical minds and have them install the black water tank sensor.
Leanne left on Sunday afternoon so we got right to sitting around and talking. Kevin and Jason are both huge Cosmophiles … or is it Astrophile? Basically, they are space geeks. They love all things astronomy and since December of 2021, they made me a huge fan of the brand new James Webb Space Telescope.
Not to get too far off track the JWST is the most complex and powerful telescope ever built and it is currently 1.5 million kilometres from earth.
Here is a link to everything you need to know about the telescope.
This image shows the five galaxies that make up the Stephan Quintet. The single galaxy on the left is about 39 million light years from us and the four on the right are between 210 and 340 million light years away.
This image approximately covers the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. Basically a tiny, tiny, tiny spot of the sky. All of the different shapes you see are galaxies.
Anyway, the reason I like this one is that if you have ever seen the Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life” you might recognize it.
When Clarence was talking to the other angels at the beginning of the movie they were shown as the galaxies that make up Stephan’s Quintet. In the movie, they had the image upside down.
Now back to boat stuff …
We had a lot a great discussions and it was fun watching Kevin and Jason disagree about things that I know nothing about.
I can’t even begin to explain what is happening in these photos but believe me it was intense. It did have something to do with Black Holes and Singularity.
Jason looks happy in this photo because …
Once again he isn’t doing the dishes.
Come to think of it … I don’t think I ever saw him cleaning.
He eventually redeemed himself by installing the first thing that I bought for the boat in 2019 and, now that it is hooked up, I have no idea why I waited so long.
This is our black water tank and the only way I knew how much was in it was by going into the engine room and holding a flashlight up against the side.
My lack of knowledge about all things electrical was probably the main reason why I haven’t done anything with it up until now.
So this is where Jason takes over. Here he is showing me the metal tape that will eventually get attached to the side of the tank.
Kevin is helping Jason connect the wires using the appropriate marine electrical thingys … you know … those things that you heat and it shrinks over the wire to seal them from moisture?
Here they are crimping the wires first. They work so well together when they aren’t “discussing” space stuff like snapping towels.
I must have drawn the short straw …
Now that the sensors were attached to the metal tape we ran the wires to the cabinet in the salon where I will be mounting the monitors.
The one advantage of not having the cockpit panels in yet was that it was easy to run the wires.
Jason took over and did what he does best. I will be making a panel that will fit into this opening to mount the gauges to.
… And Kevin watched.
I named the tank Frank. No offense to any Franks out there but the name is appropriate. Yes …. Frank is full.
We weren’t able to take the boat to get pumped out yet. The marina was closed for the day so we planned on going the next day so it was off to the grocery store to stock up. Looking at this photo now makes me wonder what others in the store were thinking about us. For one they probably figured we were part of some sort of narcissist club.
The location of our slip is perfect for us to recreate this photo. The scary thing is I think Kevin is wearing the same clothes.
June 29th, 2019
September 5th, 2022
The plan was to stay at the dock for this visit and continue talking, eating, and doing some work but later that evening we decided to head out on a short trip. It was a perfect night and the water on the bay was calm.
So I decided to push the engines a bit.
Jason was definitely enjoying his time on the deck loungers.
… and right … about ….now….
… the direction of the evening took a bit of a turn.
Ok …. here is the way I have been telling this story. I am going to gloss over some of the details that make me look bad.
On the way back to the marina (we were about 2 kms away) I took a glance at the gauges and noticed the port engine was very … very hot. Very hot. I quickly throttled all the way back and, as soon as I did, the cockpit filled with “smoke” it was coming from the engine room through every possible opening.
To say I froze might be a fit of an understatement. As far as I was concerned my boat was on fire and my boating life was over. Jason made his way back to the cockpit to help assess the situation.
This is where I sent Kevin into the belly of the beast to turn off the engines. Yeah … a couple of things about that. First of all I should have turned them off when I throttled down and secondly he didn’t know where the ignition was and that there were actually two of them. He did finally manage to turn them off. I will never live that down.
I have since heard a lot from both of them about the amount of ethylene glycol that they ingested in the process.
I lifted the engine access panel and, not seeing billowing flames, quickly closed it again.
The 3 of us agreed that there wasn’t a fire and that the “smoke” was actually the coolant having turned to steam against the super hot engine.
We were dead in the water and, since at that point we had no idea which engine was overheating, I didn’t want to take a chance and try to get back to the marina on one engine.
Jason asked if I wanted him to call for help and I agreed. He first tried to contact anyone at the marina by the international distress call PAN PAN. Now this is where I would appreciate any comments from anyone who might have experience with this. Jason pronounced it “Pawn” where I learned it as “Pan” so of course Kevin and I spent the next few days ridiculing him. Anyone want to weigh in on this?
Back to the story…
Of course I had forgotten to charge our portable radio and the radio that was installed on the helm didn’t have an antennae yet and Jason still, to this day, hasn’t allowed me to forget it.
It was starting to get dark. I thought this was a cool shot. The air had cleared in the cockpit but the steam had condensed on the inside of the isinglass. Luckily it didn’t damage it.
Jason decided to contact the coast guard and, while we waited for them, we thought we would try to tow a 35,000 lb boat using the dinghy.
Kevin’s expression said it all. There wasn’t a chance it was going to work. So to make a long and embarrassing story short, the coast guard arrived about 45 minutes later.
And they towed us back to the marina.
As we go closer to the marina they tied their Zodiak to our port side and drove us to our slip. This is about the time we learned that our rescuers were name Kevin, Jason, and Maddie. So Kevin and Jason and Maddie came to rescue Kevin and Jason and me (my daughter’s name is Maddie so that counts for something).
Heading down our fairway. Coast guard Jason’s headlamp was bright.
We were lucky that Rob’s boat wasn’t around so we were able to bring it into his slip bow in.
Thanks again to Jason, Maddie, and Kevin for coming to our rescue and not laughing at me to my face.
My baby was safely home. I had no idea how much damage was done to the engines if any and didn’t want to know quite yet. I wanted to go to bed in complete denial.
Sometimes you just have to smile and take a group selfie. This was, and still is, the perfect definition of a first world problem. We were safe and our boat was still floating.
Plus it was a beautiful night.
This is what we woke up to the next day. The turbo charger and the exhaust manifold were red. They were yellow and now they were red. I’m not a diesel mechanic but even I know that red is not good. The port engine got super hot and we think the heat caused the paint to discolour. We think!
At this point all I can think is that Leanne and I now have a floating cottage.
So we did the only thing we could do. We went for breakfast.
Jason was thrilled to discover that Eggs Benedict was on the menu. As I recall he said that just thinking about its artery clogging goodness was what kept him going. He also said it was the best breakfast he had so far on ILCH 2022.
Next time he gets stale Rice Krispies.
After breakfast we headed back to the boat to assess the situation. I cleaned up the coolant that had collected in the bilge to start.
Like I said … it’s a first world problem so you have to be able to laugh about it.
Jason checking out the engine.
He spent about half an hour giving me a quick in-service on how the diesel engine works. I figure I only have to learn about one of them so that should be pretty easy ….
Since there wasn’t a chance that we were going out on any more cruises we decided to just keep hanging around . The smell of the coolant had mostly dissipated and it looked like the isinglass wasn’t damaged by the ethylene glycol. We did find what we thought was the cause of the engine overheating.
Deep within the engine we found an old hose that had split.
It’s crazy to think that a little 3″ hose could do so much damage ………..
Nothing could be done about it so we, and by we I mean Jason, turned his focus to our radio situation. Our antennae was old and wasn’t hooked up to radio so Jason and Kevin decided to get me a new one.
I prepared a really nice lunch and without exaggeration I had to tell Jason it was ready a million times. Million!! He tends to really get into a project.
Once he did finally come to eat he ate it like it was his last meal and ending up choking.
Which of course we found hilarious. Good times!
Another night of sitting around and discussing life, the universe, and everything.
The next day we had to bring the boat over to get the black water tank pumped out. It was completely full. We knew which engine we could start up so we figured Jason would use the dinghy to push us from the port side to keep us running straight. The water was calm and there was very little wind so we felt confident that we could get it done with little loss of life and limb.
Once I got some speed up I was able to use the rudder and actually steer the boat. Jason stayed close.
I will let the photos tell the story.
After we were successful cleaned out we headed back to our slip. By this time we had the steering figured out.
Back safely we headed off to lunch …
It was time to take our official ILCH selfie and we took it the same way we did last time. As you can imagine we are a little bit greyer now.
For the final part of the trip we decided to head to see my father and take him out for supper. The four of us talk via Zoom every few weeks but it has been several years since they have actually gotten together in person.
We left Jason`s car in Burlington and drove to my Dads place.
It was hard to tell but I think my father enjoyed himself.
Off to dinner at one of my father`s favourite restaurants. Swiss Chalet!
We were joined by Tom and Chris and my niece Brittany.
On the way back to dropping Jason off at his car we decided to take a quick side trip to where this crazy relationship started. Way back in 1985 Kevin and I were roommates at McMaster University in Hamilton and Jason lived down the hall from us.
I have no idea if I`m allowed to use this photo but I will keep it until I start getting letters from lawyers.
I will end this post with photos of us outside the residence we stayed in almost 37 years ago. It hasn`t changed but we sure have.
My next blog post will pick up from where my last one left off.
Until then ….