Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group 2000 (cont'd from eloerg.tripod.com/waupoos)

Trillium log, 6th annual ELO expedtion, September 2015

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White Pines on Death Bed, Bruce Bell, Intelligencer, July 17,2018
Thucydides Trap, letter to Globe, May 2018
Great Lakes toxics down, SUNY Oswego/Clarkson U, April 2018
Machine subversion of democracy, letter to Globe, April 2018
Air Pollution overrides Ancestral Genes, Globe, March 2018
Olympian Cathal Kelly, letter to Globe, March 2018
Environmentalists seeking unemployment, letter to Globe, February 2018
Less is more on Bike Lanes, National Post, January 2018
Tramadol, 10 years on, Globe and Mail, November 2017
White Stripes: Belleville bicycle lanes, letters, November 2017
Occupational Cancers, CCO research results, Globe and Mail, October 2017
Big Pharmoney and Canadian Drug Use Guidelines, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2017, Kelly Grant
Oxycontin, 20 years on, letter to Globe, May 2017
Lake Ontario wind turbines to remain on hold? Feb 2017
Obituary, Raold Serebrin, September 2016
Sartorial slip or signal? letter to Globe editor, October 2016
Weapons of mass distraction, letter to Globe editor, Oct 2016
Point O turbines 99% Down the Drain, CCSAGE, July 7, 2016
Point O turbines Dead and Damned, PECFN, July 6, 2016
Rabid diplomat, letter to Globe, May, 2016
More on bats: rabid rocker? letter to Globe, January 2016
Lighthouses of eastern Lake Ontario, new book by Marc Seguin, March 2016
Continuing corporate windpower malfeasance: Windstream and Trillium Corp, Feb 2016
Amherst Island: the next fine mess, Feb 2016
Valerie Langer: Thirty years of effort pays off on the B.C. coast, Feb 1,2016
Trillium log, 6th annual ELO expedtion, September 2015
Trillium Wind Corp intent on Spoliation of eastern Lake Ontario and Main Duck Isle, June 2015
Turtles rule? Ontario Court of Appeal Decision: Turtlegate, April 2015
Obituaries, Mary Terrance (Luke) Hill, January 2015; Valerie Ingrid (Hill) Kaldes, July 2015
Ontario Court of Appeal turtle hearing, December 2014
Trillium Log, 5th annual ELO expedition, September 2014
Planetary public health manifesto, The Lancet, March 2014
Ostrander Bioblitz, butterfly inventory walk, August 10, 2014
Victory at Cape Vincent: British Petroleum withdraws turbine proposal, February 2014
Stay of execution granted by Ontario Court of Appeal, March 2014
Never say die: Will the Court of Appeal let the Ostrander Phoenix fly free again? March 2014
Divisional Court ruling in Ostrander: turtles belly up, Trojan horses win, February 2014
Lafarge 2020, pushing the air envelope again, Hazardous waste as cement kiln fuel proposal, Jan2014
Another fine mess in Port Hope: municipal waste incinerator proposal, January 2014
Ostrander: fiasco, or snafu? you decide, December 2013
Ostrander rises again, Noli illegitimi carborundum, December 2013
British Petroleum backing off Cape Vincent after a decade of aggression? December 2013
Turbines best Bald Eagles in U.S law, December 2013
SARStock 10 years after, letter to editor, August 2003
Trillium log September 2013: Surfin' USA: Hanging Ten in a Hughes 29
ERT Post mortem: Garth Manning lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT post mortem: Cheryl Anderson lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT Post Mortem: Ian Dubin lets it all hang out, August 2013
Great Lakes United turns thirty, goes down, RIP GLU, July 29, 2013
ERT decision, Ostrander turns turtle, goes down, July 3, 2013
PECFN Thankyou, and Appeal for funds, July 6, 2013
Minister of Env on Lake Ontario Off shore wind turbine status, June 2013
Lake Ontario water level control plan, June 2013
Play by Play, Part II, APPEC Ostrander ERT Appeal, June 2013
Ostrander ERT June 2013, Appendix VI, an indirect cause of human morbidity and mortality ?
ELOERG Presentation to Ostrander ERT, Part II, Human Health, May 2013
The Dirty E-Word, Terry Sprague, Picton Gazette, April 2013
Toxics in Great Lakes Plastic Pollution, April 2013
Bill Evans on Birds and Wind farms, April 2013
Mayday, Naval Marine Archive, April 2013
Experimental Lakes Area, Kenora, Closing by Federal Gov't, March 2013
Fishing Lease Phase out on Prince Edward Point, March 2013
Windstream makes $1/2 Billion NAFTA claim, March 2013
Play by Play, PECFN Ostrander ERT Appeal, March 2013
Offshore Wind turbine moratorium 2 years later, The Star, Feb 2013
ELOERG ERT submission on Ostrander: Appendix V: Pushing the Envelope of the MoE SEV, Feb 2013
Wente on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Globe and Mail, February 2, 2013
Sprague on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Picton Gazette, Jan 25, 2013
Cry Me a River over a Few Bats: Submission to Env Review Tribunal, ELOERG, January 2013
Lake Ontario's Troubled Waters: U of Michigan GLEAM, January 2013
Letter to Minister of Environment re: Ostrander, January 2013
No Balm in Gilead: Ostrander IWT's as Trojan Horses, January 2013
Ostrander Turbines: another Christmas gift by the MoE, Dec 2012
Occupational carcinogens: Ontario Blue Collar breast cancer study, November 2012
Fresh water fish Extinctions, Scientific American,November 2012
Great Lakes Toxics revisited, November 2012
Frack the What ? November 2012
$ 2 1/4 Billion Trillium Power lawsuit knockback Appeal, November 2012
Canada Centre for Inland Waters decimated, October 2012
Birds, Bats, Turbines, and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, October 2012
Ecological public health, the 21st centurys big idea? British MedicalJournal Sept1,2012
Trillium log, Sept 2012
George Prevost, Saviour of the Canadas, 1812 - 1814. June 2012
The Victory at Picton: Bicentennial Conference on War of 1812-1814, Differing Perspectives, May 2012
Carleton Island and the 1812, letter to the Globe, October 2011
Queen's Fine Arts Department Succumbs, letter to Principal, December 2011
Mr. Kumar and the Super 30, November 2011
Letters, Articles and Projects from the Nineties
Alban Goddard Hill, web site manager

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More adventure this year, but first, two short shakedown cruises early in September, the first being on September 2 and 3, Wednesday and Thursday, when we sailed over to Brighton with the possibility in mind of making a trip around the south coast of PE County. However weather conditions were such that this was not an option. The forecast was for light wind and the weather was very hot and we ended up motoring home to Belleville, complicated by visual challenges as we had managed to lose a screw from our spectacles whilst at the beautiful Presque Isle yacht club facilities in Brighton. However distance vision proved quite good without glasses and this allowed us to to make the return journey to Belleville the next day without missing too many markers. Our next shakedown cruise came on September 9 and 10, again midweek, when we once again set off, this time in a easterly direction and sailed and motored across the Big Bay and up Long Reach to Picton where we arrived at the historic Prince Edward Yacht Club for the first time, on reciprocal privileges. This proved to be a very pleasant well organized place, quiet at night. Thoughts of continuing on the next day for a longer expedition were scotched by a couple of factors, one of which was neglecting to bring along some essential items and secondly the prospect of a very wet weekend coming up, so we made the return journey to Belleville on the following day in light winds. The weather forecast proved to be entirely correct with continuous rain during the whole weekend.


On Monday, September 21 we then set off on our annual nautical tour of Eastern Lake Ontario, heretold somewhat in reverse order, once again in the good vessel Trillium, a Hughes 29 1971 sailboat, returning home on Sunday, September 27 having had a week which presented some challenges but proved to be very worthwhile. With respect to the weather our choice could not have been better. The Canadian meteorological service was predicting a full week of sunshine and the first clouds that we saw of any significance did not appear until our return journey from Picton on the last day, Sunday, as a trough of lower pressure swept in from the west to replace the high of the previous week. When you hear the word trough, head for safe harbour. We were much better organized this year in that respect at least, avoiding the near debacle of last year inside the apparently safe habour of Meier's Pier on our last day out on last year's expedition. This year we spent our final night pleasantly in Picton having sailed from Main Duck Island on a beautiful day with a 12 knot northeast wind, arriving at PEYC at our customary 7 pm, sundown, squeezing into the one remaining space on the visitor's dock. Then we set off Sunday noon to a 10 knot south wind as it veered as advertised with the approach of said trough, presaged by clouds in the western sky. We motor sailed to Belleville, taking a aural break from the throb of the engine by sailing across Big Bay with the motor off, then having learned from last year once inside Meier's Pier we made a very definite J approach from the north side to our dock, albeit in a south wind much lighter than last year's, got the boat tucked in, organized, and then bicycled home in mid afternoon daylight in contrast to last year when exhausted in the pitch dark and with a strong and rising wind we relented to being driven home.


Perhaps the high point of the week is our, perhaps questionable by some, claim to having observed a golden eagle at Main Duck island as we did also claim about three or four years ago at the same location on the northeast shore of the island. Some might suspect that what we actually saw was a first year juvenile bald eagle as there was a golden patch seen at the base of the bill, but we, ever hoping to see the equally magnificent but even less common cousin, remain unconvinced. Whatever the true identity of the bird it was a most impressive sight. We had arrived at Main Duck island on Thursday evening and the bird was seen both on Friday and Saturday. Both days were warm after cool nights and the sky was blue with brilliant sunshine.


A northeast wind had developed on Eastern Lake Ontario on Thursday morning and by noon had developed to 15 knots in strength and this carried us from the Loyalist Cove Marina in Bath where we left about noon on Thursday and had a marvelous sail through the Upper Gap and then on a close reach all the way to Main Duck island, about fifteen nautical miles out in the middle of eastern Lake Ontario where we arrived about 1700 hours. Sailing conditions were ideal for Trillium with good wave development across the lake and breaking waves but nothing overwhelming. From the Upper Gap at Amherst Island to Main Duck took about three hours, consistent with a five knot average speed. No freighters were encountered in the upbound lane which passes about one nautical mile north of the north shore of Main Duck on that leg of the journey but wind speed certainly did increase as we approached the northeast shore of the island and as usual in this location as in the past with some difficulty being single-handed we managed to get the boat into the wind and thus directly into the waves of rough water with the added assistance of our marvelous autopilot, a new innovation this year, and the sails struck and the boat prepared for entrance into the inside harbor by aligning the range markers on the island. The sun was low in the sky at this point and while getting the boat organized we advanced a little to the east of the green and red entrance buoys which then we had some difficulty finding visually as the boat was pitching around as we approached the entrance under motor power. However having at last found the two buoys we could then focus our attention on finding the range markers which are intended to be vertically aligned when on the correct course of entrance into the inner harbor of the island. This is a hazardous area as the channel is rather narrow and is bound on either side by treacherous limestone shelves which on one occasion some years ago during our first visit to the island we had the dubious pleasure of briefly grounding upon in our Alberg 22, not once but twice before the oncoming waves lifted us off during our exit journey from the harbor. In the excitement of departure we had forgotten to observe the range markers on the way out of the harbor as well as on the way in. In any event this year on this particular day we successfully navigated the channel into the inner harbor without any such incident although not without some difficulty as with the sun low in the sky observation of the range markers was more difficult. To complicate matters it further appeared that the further, upper marker has in the past year been somewhat obscured by the growth of willow trees making it difficult to see. We should report this to the Coast Guard. So after our exhilarating sail across the lake to the island this was an interval of some anxiety. However all ended well.


Our plan was to find a place on the very good docks that have appeared in the inner harbor at Main Duck in the last two or three years courtesy in part at least due to Terry Sprague's Nature Tours company but as it turned out there was a large trawler type of power boat tied up so there was no room on the outside of the dock. With the water levels being somewhat low at this time of year, although better than both last year and two years ago at .62 m above chart datum, we were unsure of the depths on the other side of the dock. We therefore decided to tie up in the leeward side the small islet which is conveniently found at the mouth of the inner harbor bay as we have done many times in the past. There is an old willow tree on the island which seems to have kept it stable over the years, and we try to avoid using the tree itself as the point of attachment, preferring to lodge a small Danforth anchor in the rocks of the ground on the islet. It was something of a challenge to bring the boat up to the edge of the islet, disembark and take a line between the trees, wedge an anchor into the ground there and thus secure the bow of the boat by this means, getting a little wet in the process. Happily the air temperature was quite mild as was the water temperature. Once back in the boat again we deployed our small $50 (or more accurately, twenty nine cent, and therefore Mistake No. 2) inflatable pram and took our larger Bruce anchor off the stern a few meters to set a stern anchor. The wind at this point was probably more like 18 knots from the northeast but we were quite sheltered behind the islet and remained so over the course of our stay there. Later we put a second and third shoreline out and probably a good thing too because that night was a very windy night of twenty or twenty five knots blowing all night from the northeast, throughout which the boat swung around somewhat in an arc despite the stern anchor but imperceptibly so from within the vessel where we were physically very comfortable.


So having got settled in on Thursday evening we had a cup of tea and a can of stew which gave us needed encouragement. However that night and the next as well was marked by anxiety on the part of this single-handed sailor who now for the first time had made a trip to Main Duck without a companion shipmate or vessel. The principal concern focused on a tactical error, (see Mistake No. 2) made this year in an attempt to lighten our load, namely the decision to leave our trusty Zodiac at home in favour of the twenty nine cent substitute. This was a error. Given this circumstance how would one arrange departure from the island when the time came? The lack of a decent dinghy proved to be an impediment. The upcoming weather forecast for the strong northeast wind blowing which produces rough water on the northeast side of the island would make it difficult to cast off our various lines single-handedly without running aground within the confines of the inner harbor. At this time of year water levels are low so room for maneuvering inside the harbor is very restricted for sailboats with fixed keels which in our case a draft of 4 feet 8 inches.


During the course of that night laying awake thinking about this we decided to get some advice. At 7 o'clock in the morning on Friday I called Prescott Coast Guard radio to explain the situation and they were kind enough as they always are to agree to monitor our progress. This alone provided relief to the skipper. Later on Friday morning I thought of my perpetual resource and teacher, namely the Ambassador. We had met for breakfast on Tuesday morning at the Picton Harbor Hotel café where we did a little catching up over bacon and eggs, although at that point I was not intending to go to Main Duck. I suggested to the Coast Guard that they give the Ambassador a call as I happened to know that he was planning a trip to Main Duck Island on Sunday in a rather large and highly powered motor launch, indicating that I would be grateful for his help. I subsequently spoke to the Ambassador himself from Waupoos on channel 16 VHF radio and we agreed to keep in touch. This combined encouragement from these two sources was a significant reassurance.


This brings me back to our "golden" eagle. At about noon on Friday I was trying to do a little birdwatching from the vantage point of the boat. Unfortunately the $50 pram proved useful only for the purpose of carrying me along the side of the vessel to the bow of the boat, allowing me to get on and off the islet without having to climb and back onto the bow, not so easy to do. The pram however was not sufficient for the purpose of getting across to the main dock of the Island given the strong wind that was rifling through the entrance channel into the harbour and the marginal construction of the pram. Therein lay the challenge. To complicate matters one of the three air compartments of the little pram had a puncture, which we repaired with our Zodiac repair kit. So whilst gazing about from the confines of the boat I saw a very large and magnificent eagle-sized brown bird flying over the islet and then landing on the top of the dead trunk of an old tree at about 20 feet elevation where he, or she, sat for some long time making close observation of the vicinity. A short time later I looked the opposite way down the shore by the channel outlet and noted overhead a turkey vulture circling and then looking down to the shore caught a brief glimpse of my very large bird, the eagle, having captured prey of some sort, perhaps a cormorant or a duck of which there were a number around and flying off down the shore and out of sight, dragging the victim along in the grip of the bird's powerful legs and talons. Then the following day on Saturday once again a beautiful brilliant day I observed the same bird gliding nearby at a low height virtually standing still in the wind for a number of seconds. (I failed to note whether the wings were held in a flat plane, or trihedral, a distinguishing feature between bald and golden eagles.) Then a most remarkable sight was seen. Just before the bird went into dive or drop mode the singular sight was seen of the not casual but formal deployment of his long talons and legs, thickly covered with feathers, in a downward direction, which could only remind one of a jet deploying the landing gear in preparation for landing. That completed, the bird dove down to water level very quickly and presumably impaled the prey on which he had fixed his implacable gaze. This was a very impressive animal, mostly dark brown. As noted there was some yellow or golden color in the face at the base of the bill rather than in the nape of the neck. There was also some white in the wings but I cannot be definite as to whether it was more the pattern of the golden or the juvenile bald Eagle. I think perhaps the legs thickly and heavily feathered in the extended attack position was perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the whole sighting. I did not see the bird again. I wondered why the bird did not seem to bother the pair of Mute Swans that inhabited the harbour, but perhaps they are large and aggressive enough that they can put up a defense. As I noted some years ago just a little further along the shore from this particular location I had seen an eagle which I wondered and of course hoped was perhaps a golden eagle. I have seen bald eagles flying at height over Yorkshire island just to the east of Main Duck island in past years and they are well known to be there. I have also seen juvenile bald eagles which I initially mistook for golden eagles flying over South Bay and Waupoos island four or five years ago. Golden eagles can definitely be seen in the area in migration, proof of which I saw in October of this year in the form of a stunning photograph of a golden eagle flying directly overhead taken by a member of the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory at Point Traverse this fall.

When I emerged from my vessel cabin on Friday morning the trawler powerboat had already left, unheard and unseen. Now I was alone, and not expecting any more company to arrive that day given the strenthening northeast wind which again blew all day. However to my surprise and relief later in the day despite the strong winds continuing from the Northeast with significant wave development another sailing vessel, the Patience, a 32 foot vessel skippered by Don accompanied by his family was seen approaching. They arrived at about 1600, steaming into the harbour and efficiently and smoothly tieing up at the now vacant dock, to which I in the meanwhile had unrealized aspirations, not being able to cross over the 50 feet of water between us. Don, as events proved, was an expert mariner. He confidently got his boat properly installed and then repositioned on the dock.

I was very doubtful that we would be joined by any other sailors that evening but about at 1700 lo and behold another vessel was initially heard and then seen traveling along in a most compromised south easterly route out in the lake towards the harbour entrance, parallel and alarmingly (50 feet) close to the shore across a rock shoal, the skipper all the while unaware of the entrance buoys and the channel range markers. As we found subsequently he was only saved from grounding by Don’s observation of this performance from his own boat and by quick communication on channel 16 advising the skipper to move offshore somewhat and come in between the red and green buoys into the channel, which instruction happily the skipper heard despite the loud scream of his outboard engine pushing the boat as it laboured along. He managed to hear and follow the advice and correctly came through the two buoys and through the channel none the worse for wear, although at one point I was sure that he had become hung up on the rock shoal outside for a few seconds. As he later explained he had never been to the Island before. He was unaware of the range markers and did not use them at all, so he was quite fortunate to find his way safely into the inner harbor.

Once inside he went a bit too far into the harbor bay and ran aground on the soft bottom there. His Yankee jib had not completely furled so was flogging furiously during this dramatic entrance performance. However the skipper, a powerful looking lad, was apparently unphased by any of this, taking it all as a matter of course, merely a series of problems to be solved. Much was explained later when we discovered that he was a licensed mechanic. Having put out an anchor once inside the harbour bay he quickly and very effectively got control of the partially furled jib. This skipper, Rick, was an eager student and was not put off by any of these challenges, an example for us all. Don at that point once again proved very effective as he threw a bumper with a 50 foot line attached in the direction of the lately arrived vessel, Lollipop, which the skipper was able to retrieve and then fasten the line to his forward deck cleat, at which point Don then ground away at the winch at his end whilst the skipper of the grounded vessel set the outboard engine to screaming away again. Thus working together they were successful in getting the boat off the soft grounding and onto the dock on the inside and secured there. All of this was somewhat harrowing but nevertheless highly entertaining to watch. Both Rick and myself were highly grateful for the talents of our new friend Don.


Despite the arrival of our sailing colleagues I nevertheless spent the second night, Friday night, lying awake for the good part of the night wondering how I was going to get my boat off our current islet moorings. To complicate matters that night was very windy indeed with the wind blowing all night from the Northeast at 25 knots. When you are lying on your quarter berth at 3 o'clock in the morning in these conditions at Main Duck Island what you hear is a tremendous cacophony of sound. There are two distinct elements, one of which is the sound of the wind which is a howling sound punctuated the concussion of periodic gusts of wind. The second element is that of the roar of the surf which is pounding up along the coast of the island which is only a few, three or 4 meters, away from you as you lie in your berth trying to get a wink of sleep. It's all rather unearthly and a totally different experience from day-to-day life. You wonder if you are on another planet.

Inevitably however, as Chichester noted, worry does not last and you turn over and go to sleep. In the morning we spoke with the Coast Guard again. By now I had partially worked out a method to get my boat off the islet and over to the dock. I hailed Don who had arisen by this time and who was kind enough to come over in his Zodiac. I asked for his advice and he made the suggestion that I use a long bow line doubled back to let the boat off the islet by about 50 feet, the line keeping the bow into the wind, and then releasing the line and using the engine to get across to their location where they would then be able to hand the boat onto the dock. This worked brilliantly. Once again the expertise of Don had impressed. I retrieved the islet line left behind using Don's Zodiac later.

As it happened by noon on Saturday, as forecast, the winds had fallen off to about 12 knots with a considerable reduction in breakers coming in off the lake and thus a much more manageable situation with respect to sailing out and away from the island. So although I had initially decided to wait until the following day when the forecast was for a wind shift to the east and then the south with reduction to 10 knots I decided to leave after all on Saturday at noon which I did. I bid goodbye to my new companions and again using the somewhat obscured range markers I made an uneventful departure along the channel and out into the safety of the open water. By this time Don, ever enthusiastic, and one of his family members were out fishing offshore, anchored in their Zodiac over the edge of the limestone shelf on the east side of the island. Don obviously has local knowledge as he had indicated that there was a good bass fishing to be found there and indeed as I sailed by to wave goodbye and thanks he promptly pulled in a very good-looking bass and shouted out that I would be missing a fish dinner that evening! This was regrettable but nevertheless was mitigated by the relief of making a successful departure from the island. Our timing proved fortuitous, as the next few days on Lake Ontario were marked by strong winds and rainstorms.

The return journey sail was a retracing of our steps of our journey of arrival on the Thursday, as I chose to head for the Upper Gap once again considering the wind direction which was still Northeast (you can always count on a east wind, the best of the lot) and that bearing put us in a very comfortable beam reach, the Lennox generating station towers being an easily visible landmark guiding us home. Our next task on the return journey was once again to cross the shipping lanes and get out of the way of two approaching freighters. It takes about 30 minutes to cover the three nautical miles to get well across the sea lanes which we did with motor assist from our capable diesel, making about 6 knots so that no time was wasted. Having done so I then came briefly into the wind and with the assistance of our autopilot went forward to the mast and shook out the single reef in the main so we had the benefit of full mainsail which we needed on the return during which the wind strength was not quite that of our outgoing journey. (On the way across on Thursday I had used our working jib and the main with a single reef taken in which proved ideal with the stronger wind.) Again a beautiful sunny day and a very pleasant sail back to the Upper Gap. This kind of sailing out on the lake on these kinds of days is really the ultimate and the kind of conditions for which our vessel is designed. Total enjoyment, making it all worthwhile.

At the Upper Gap we had to stand down by heaving to briefly as a Lafarge cement freighter came up behind us to enter the gap. To my surprise the pilot did not follow the marked channel, but rather a more westerly route, well clear of the one green and two red buoys marking the channel. I followed him through, but then turned to port, towards Picton whereas the ship turned east towards Bath. Once past Prinyer's Cove we settled backed for a lovely sail up Adophus Reach on a light south wind to the sound of an old recording of Verdi's Il Trovatore on WCNY with perfect radio reception.

Once again we motored into Picton harbor on Saturday evening at sundown and were lucky enough to find one remaining spot between two vessels already tied up at the visitors dock. It was completely calm there so I did manage to squeeze in with about 2 feet to spare on either end of the boat between the other two vessels. At this point we were hungry, thirsty, and malodorous so priorities were established which meant first of all having a pint of Guinness at the Prince Edward Yacht Club bar and having a pleasant chat with the locals. Following this a shower and then the first solid night's sleep in a week in my quarter berth. The following morning I was quite certain I saw a Common Tern wheeling and darting about in Picton harbor and I had certainly seen a pair of the same whilst coming up Long Reach the previous week, the nearest likely nesting ground being Forrester's Island at the north end of the Reach.

There was one other little incident at the beginning of our expedition which we had better mention. We had set off from Belleville on the Monday as the weather forecast was so favorable and motor sailed to Picton. We spent a very pleasant night in Picton harbor at the transient visitors dock of the PEYC, being the only vessel on that dock that night. As noted we met the Ambassador on following morning for breakfast, did a walk about at the harbour, met a local fisherman who keeps his boat there, Terry Cooper, and with a forecast for light winds that day, Tuesday, we set off at noon from Picton. Once in the Adolphus Reach a very nice wind came across the Reach which took us up quite quickly to the Upper Gap. Our destination at that time was Kingston but this was not to be. As we crossed the Upper Gap I managed to inadvertently flip the handheld VHF radio from its temporary position on the dodger out into the lake. These are designed to float and I could see it and therefore felt compelled to try to pick it up. This then was Mistake No. 1. On about the sixth or seventh pass back and forth with a lot of abuse of the steering system in the process we came close but not close enough. I was then alarmed to suddenly find that the steering system had frozen up and the wheel was unmovable. Something undoubtedly had gone wrong with the cable system to the rudder and at a very inner inopportune moment because we are now in the middle of the Upper Gap. The south wind was steady in an onshore direction towards the rocky coast in front of the Lennox power generating station. We quickly took off the sails at which the boat lay ahull, drifting parallel to the shore in an easterly direction. At one point I redeployed the jib to see if I could steer by sail alone as the rudder had frozen in a neutral position but I was dismayed to find that this in fact took us directly towards the shore again, about ¼ mile off, so I brought the jib back in. Happily the boat when lying to like this once again resumed its slow easterly drift. This was somewhat reassuring. There was another vessel, Nouba, in the vicinity which approached and stayed at close hand in case I needed an immediate tow away from the coast while I called Loyalist Cove Marina on the VHF channel 68 and was quickly answered by Kim, the receptionist there. She arranged to send out the owner operator Dave and a couple of his people in what proved to be a beast of a cigarette boat which managed to get from the marina a couple of miles away to my location in very short order. They arranged a line to my forward deck cleat and we quickly took off, reaching hull speed almost immediately when under way and we made a rapid passage of about thirty minutes back to Loyalist Cove Marina. There we managed to run aground inside the marina briefly but once pulled off got settled on to a shore dock where we resided for the next two nights. I was certainly very grateful for their prompt and effective service.

On the appearance of the mechanic, Dave, the next day, prospects quickly improved as he was obviously a very capable technical man. Before his arrival during the day I had been tenuously peering at the cable system under the cockpit floor from both fore and aft, wondering if I could make an attempt at repair myself. I considered loosening the cable tensioning bolts or loosening the pulley bolt on the port side where the cable had jumped the pulley, thereby jamming it. However within five minutes of arrival our man Dave had crawled inside the stern lazarette and had the whole system apart. This instilled great confidence. He identified that two of the pulleys were worn and that the cable on that port side was toast. Happily he had a replacement cable and one replacement pulley and undertook to do the repair work the following morning. As promised at 8 o'clock the next morning he reappeared and worked continuously for the next two hours to reestablish the cabling system. He also undertook to order two more pulleys which can be replaced at a later date. He consulted with his colleague Dickson, the marina rigging specialist, to confirm the integrity of his work, so all in all a very professional operation at the Loyalist Cove Marina. The previous day, Tuesday, had only light winds, but it being Wednesday now and with a good northeast wind having set in at 15 knots the prospects for setting off for Main Duck Island were good and by noon we settled up with the marina and headed out into Adolphus Reach, retracing our steps of two days earlier in the direction of the Upper Gap and then out into the open Lake, our steering system having been restored to good health.

So once again another satisfying if challenging eastern Lake Ontario expedition, 2015 version.















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Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group