First, I'm sorry I haven't written for a while. As you'll read in this and the next blog, we've been busy.
I mentioned in one of the blogs last year that we don't usually travel on a schedule. If social commitments are
made, we try to travel earlier than necessary in order to have the time to get there without danger. In Cove Island, last Monday, we were supposed to sail 30ish hours directly to Sarnia. However, the weather and wind forecasts indicated a wicked storm (North and South winds facing each other) North of Sarnia. We decided to wait an extra day for fairer winds. For weather forecast, we use Environment Canada. For wind forecast, we use Windy and PredictWind.
We left at 04:15 on Tuesday. When we leave early, I like to make some oatmeal: it's hot, easy to make and fulfilling. Of course, Frank always wants some chocolate in it. LOL! It was foggy; so in addition to the running lights, we had the fog horn ready to use. We had spent 48 hours in Cove Island. It was so cold (wearing all my warm clothes and wool socks, sleeping with my tuque) ... the water was a 9 degrees Celcius. We were looking forward to warmer climates in Sarnia. The sail was perfect. When the fog lifted, a steady Northwest wind of 15-20nm pushed us for half the distance. We motored the rest of the way.
During the second half of this 26-hour sail, we were followed by the Canadian Coast Guard. I guess they wanted to arrive in Sarnia at about the same time, around 06:30. The funny thing is that they followed at about 3nm behind us until we got to a marked channel entrance of Sarnia when they decided to pass us, along with a big cruise ship, a freighter, at a point where multiple small fishermen through their lines from their small boats in and beside this channel. We really needed to stay alert after such a long sail. This entrance turns into St. Clair River that separates US and Canada.
We docked at the Bridgeview Marina. It has a main area and a couple of water canals of boat slips. This shore area of Sarnia is developing a lot of luxury houses and condos. Some have their own boat slip at the door. The service at the marina was good. However, as we found out later, they don't usually have transients (boats like us that only stay for a short period of time). So what we usually expect when we arrive at a marina - such as wifi password, shower access, pump out (sewage) and fuel - were not readily available. The staff provided them later.
What a surprise we had when we arrived at 06:30: our friends Ruth and Carrie were docked just beside us! We had met them for the first time last year at McGregor Bay in the North Channel. As we shared lunch, we learned that Sarnia was their homebase. They were waiting for warm weather in the North Channel before sailing there for the season. It was so nice to re-acquaint ourselves with them. Always so generous, they offered to drive us to the grocery store and boat supply store (one of Frank's Toys 'R Us). We sincerely hope to see them again one day.
Another couple we spent good times with is our friends Julie and Dan. They have been docked at the marina across the St. Clair River, on the US side, Port Huron. They're living quite an adventure with their boat and their camper. First their camper, a Sprinter, is being serviced at a Mercedes dealership for a few weeks. The upside: they were lent a 550 SL Roadster (a fun 2-seater). Wow! It's nice to be travelling in style! Such fun! As for their boat, major battery problems make their life aboard somewhat complicated with very little electricity. They'll be sailing very soon to their boat builder in Goderich, Ontario for final repairs and some fittings. In the meantime, 2 very enjoyable dinners together have created fond memories.
Next blog is about our journey from Sarnia, through Lake Erie, to Port Colborne.