Sarnia, again

I had a great trip up from Lake St Clair, took a different route back up. I’m now anchored in Sarnia Bay, trying to put together a trade for a new boat.

I also took a video while coming up the main branch of the river at speed. I removed a bunch of stuff from the boat, and with empty water tanks and half fuel the boat scoots. Nice ride @10 knots over the bottom, 12-13 through the water, about 2200 rpm. I haven’t run at that speed in a while.

Walpole Island

Note: this was written Aug 11.

After three days at a marina I was ready to get underway again.  It was nice to be plugged in, as the weather was hot and humid. 

Today the weather broke, and after stopping briefly in Sarnia Bay for a late lunch it was off down the Detroit River.

Late Lunch
Closed Ferry Crossing

I’ve been around here twice.  Five years ago when I was boat shopping I discovered Wallaceburg, and I trailered my RIB from London to go exploring. Pretty neat area.  At the time I thought I’d like to come back on my trawler.  The second time was last summer on Tin Lizzie, but I was sailing and had my hands full.

Tonight I’m anchored here in the marsh. Nice spot.

Tomorrow I’m heading up to Wallaceburg. Then I’m going to noodle south to Lake St Claire and head up the Thames to Chatham.


Well, that was fun.

I’ll have to remember to add pictures later. I’ve got a few nice ones.

I’m anchored here in Lake St Claire just outside the mouth of the Thames.

Yesterday I headed upriver. Got to Chatham and had lunch there, then continued on. I got pretty far, past the Maple City Country Club. I finally bumped around here and turned around, just in time to get back to Chatham before dark. Spend the night on the dock downtown.

Today I had Scott aboard for a visit and a brief cruise. He owns a boat I’m considering buying, and has lived in Chatham his whole life. Interesting to chat about some of the history of the area. There is a cannon on the bend just above downtown trained straight down the river, a defence during the War of 1812.

After stocking up on a few supplies I headed downstream, and got here just after dusk. Tomorrow I’m heading back up to Sarnia, taking a different channel through Walpole Island.

I’ve encountered very little boating traffic. A few small boats, but nothing my size. Even Lake St Claire was almost empty when I came across a couple of days ago. It’s a bit eerie.

The Mighty Thames

I’m anchored here near the mouth of the Thames River. It’s worth a look at the map.

I’ve found very few people who share my enthusiasm for rivers. So I won’t go on about it. But I’m excited to be here.

Tomorrow I’m going to fuel up – I’m running on fumes – and head upstream. I’m pretty sure I can get to Chatham. There was a notice of a closed bridge with 13′ clearance, but I can get under that I think. We’ll see.

I didn’t make it all the way into Wallaceburg as I encountered a bridge that was open but unattended. I didn’t call them, just dropped anchor and dinghied in to downtown for lunch. Pretty quiet place these days.

It’s lovely here in a sterile sort of way. Very little in the way of critters, though I was driven in by bugs at dusk. But nice evening. Calm and clear.

My Use Case/Requirements

I’ve made the decision to commit to the path of being a full time live aboard nomad. I like it. It’s me. It’s what I dreamed about doing when I was a kid. It’s sort of what I’ve been modeling with Mazurka.

I’ve also given up hope of traveling in the US in the near future. There are a few rivers there that are on my to-do list, but I’ll get there eventually.

I had been playing with the idea of buying a modest boat in Europe and spending a couple of years cruising the rivers and waterways there. But there are lots of challenges to that idea, particularly in today’s world.

My revised plan is to head for Eastern Canada. I almost went this spring, but a host of reasons kept me in Ontario. So will winter in Ontario, and try for next year.

So, what’s wrong with Mazurka? It’s in many ways the ideal boat for one or two. But it’s a pretty small space, particularly in the winter time. The interior has always been a man cave for me, and it’s not at all set up for entertaining or guests. Lots of that is on me, but I’d like to be able to zone things off. I also need a guest cabin for visitors.

I’d also like a tougher more capable boat. In fact I’ve mostly been considering steel boats. I don’t have serious offshore ambitions, but want to be self sufficient for a month and cover some remote areas. I like to explore. And it’s possible I will bump into things.

I also want a pilothouse. Much as I love hanging out on the flybridge, I really have to stay out of the sun. And I’m going to be aboard 12 months a year in Canada, so I need to consider heat, etc. I might be operating in nasty cold weather.

What else? Single diesel. Good fuel economy and range. 3+ mpg.

I considered a few motorsailers. But I also care about draft, and most of the smaller PH sailboats don’t do much for me. I keep coming back to power boats. I have three sailboats now, so I don’t need a sailing fix on my live-aboard nomad boat.

Budget matters, as always, and I sort of set myself an upper range of C$100k. Ready to go. Not a lot of money, but as I said, I like the hunt.

Boat Shopping

I’ve been refining my plans for the future over the past few months, and they involve a new boat. I’m part of a bicycling culture where the N+1 concept is very familiar, and this news has shocked my friends and family very little.

Now, keep in mind that I enjoy boat shopping immensely. I don’t mind long drawn out wild goose chases. And I like unusual boats. I used to be a boat broker, and liked it.

I also didn’t have a firm use case. And then COVID-19 came along. Nonetheless I think I have a new plan.

Mazurka was a test bed for me. A training trawler. I bought the boat in early September 2015 with a 5 year plan of ownership. In a sense the lease is up.

I like Mazurka. A lot. I’m familiar with all the systems and am confident in the boat. And I still really like the look of the boat, which matters. And I’ve learned how to handle moderate seas comfortably. I could happily loop forever in this boat. But that’s not in the plans.

I’ll write more on this, but I guess I can say Mazurka is available for purchase. I think I’m realistic about pricing, and can deliver anywhere in the Canadian Great Lakes. Get in touch for details. I won’t bite! Happy to tell you the good, the bad and the ugly 🙂


A boat I used to know

I had a lovely long cruise around from Midland. Left about 0900 from my island anchorage and steamed straight up Georgian Bay, was in Tobermory at 1900. They had zero space, so I grabbed takeout dinner and headed down Lake Huron. Got into Grand Bend about 1100 the next day, and no berths available, but I tied to the rough wall and spent 24 hours there, then a nice trip down to Sarnia yesterday.

Part of this sprint was weather driven of course. It was generally calm and flat. Make miles while you can in open water. That’s been my motto. Plus I like night boating.

I cruised at 7-9 knots depending on conditions. In rougher water I go faster for a more comfortable ride.

I didn’t take any pictures other than the one at the top. That’s a boat that my old boss Bruce sold twice, and Crowley’s did a major refit on. Haven’t seen Clare in 25 years. Think she’s been around the world in that time.

I have taken a three videos and now that I’m tied up I’m able to share. Here’s one from the Trent Severn, one from Georgian Bay at anchor, and one Cruising down Lake Huron. Enjoy 🙂

Georgian Bay

Pretty nice here. I really need to get in the water some time.

I haven’t gone far since my last post. Spent a couple of days in Midland, had a brief visit by Miles, and spent a couple of days off the boat with family. Went to look at a boat that I’m maybe going to buy. But that’s another post.

After leaving Port Severn I spent a couple of days noodling around Beausoleil Island and the south end of the Bay.

Tonight I’m anchored here off Hope Island. Weather is unsettled and winds from the N. Next stop is Tobermory, and Thursday looks like a nice day to cruise straight up.