Sarnia

I’m anchored in Sarnia Bay. Got in here mid-afternoon on Tuesday.

Sunday morning I fueled up in Orillia at 0800 and set out. Made it to Port Severn that day, and traveled up Georgian Bay to Wingfield Basin, where I slept for about 8 hours, then continued on. Total distance 297 NM with 40 hours underway. I was dead tired when I arrived here, and had a good sleep last night.

Today it’s blowing hard from the south, and I’m staying put. There is a gale warning for Southern Lake Huron, which is why I wanted to get off the lake yesterday.

The motor is running well, better than it ever has for me. The new injector pump was a good call.

From here it’s a leisurely trip down the river to Lake Erie, then I can choose a weather window to get down the lake to the Welland Canal. Should be smooth sailing, and I’m not in any great rush as my winter slip is available in two weeks.

I took some pics coming down the Big Chute railway as well as Monday evening on Lake Huron. Easy trip, apart from having to steer the whole way. I still haven’t fixed or replaced the autopilot.

Orillia

I’ve been in Orillia on the public dock since I got towed in Sunday from the top of the lake.

I haven’t posted recently because I wasn’t moving. Escapade lived quite happily at anchor in Wiarton while I roared around the countryside on my scooter and caught up a bit with friends and family.

I wanted to solve my engine problem, and thought I had a Deere tech lined up to visit from the local ag dealer. The sudden shut down had returned, and I had pretty much done everything I could on my own to try to solve the problem.

My original plan had been to have a relaxed September cruise down the Trent Severn, hang around in eastern Lake Ontario for a week or two, then either winter in Toronto or head south via the Erie Canal. I confirmed that there was dockage available in Toronto.

That plan became tenuous when there was a major failure at Kirkfield Lift Lock in early September. It looked like the waterway would be closed to through traffic for the rest of the season. But I was happy to hang in Wiarton, waiting for service and the off chance that they’d reopen the waterway. I was assuming at that point that I’d leave Georgian Bay in October and head for Toronto via Lake Erie, or maybe Chicago and south.

Service was elusive. I didn’t hear back from the ag dealer. I was reading up on the engine technology and troubleshooting and considering my options.

Then on Monday Sept 26, Parks Canada announced limited locking for through traffic available by arrangement. That was 14 days before the last day of the season.

The next day a tech called from the road, but I wasn’t at the boat, so missed that opportunity.

It was blowing hard from the north, but the forecast looked great for Thursday to cross over to Port Severn. I made arrangements to go through Kirkfield Monday morning. The waterway closes the following Monday. Nice relaxed pace.

I stocked up with food and supplies and went through more items on my diagnostic check list. Installed clear lines on fuel return and ran a feed straight from one tank through a single filter. I was still getting air through the return. Discovered that the replacement on-engine filters that I’d bought and installed in Toronto were not seating correctly, and fixed that.

By Thursday morning I’d been poking and prodding and testing and roaring around Colpoy Bay for a few hours. Weather was perfect as forecast, so I set off across the lake.

All went well. Got to Port Severn Thursday night, and was above Big Chute Friday early afternoon when the motor stopped. I anchored, started again in ten minutes, carried on another 30 minutes, and it stopped again. After a few hours it still wouldn’t go. I put a fuel pump in line, as I was still getting some bubbles.

The ECM finally came alive again Saturday morning, and I tentatively carried on with the fuel pump running. The motor stopped just above the Couchiching railroad bridge early Saturday afternoon. When it didn’t start Sunday morning I was towed here.

Whew! All caught up. I had another extremely unpleasant encounter with the bridge tender at the railroad bridge, but that deserves its own post.

It’s now Friday night. I had a local marine mechanic aboard on Monday, thanks to Trevor at Bridge Port Marina. They towed me in. Motor wasn’t running.

Tuesday the motor decided to run. Mechanic came back Wednesday, and with motor running determined the fuel pump was bad. I concurred.

It’s now Friday night. I arrived back here earlier today with a new fuel pump. Was really hoping the mechanic could swap it out, but that’s not going to happen in the next few days.

The Trent Severn closes Monday. My only way out is down to Georgian Bay, and to make that I need to leave Sunday. Otherwise Escapade will stay ashore here for the winter.

I’ve been disassembling and am ready to remove the old pump, but don’t have a puller aboard. I think I have everything else I need, and have reviewed the process carefully and even watched some YouTube videos.

Saturday morning I’ll get a puller, and the rest will be easy, it’ll start and run like new, and I’ll be able to hit the lakes in October with confidence and assurance.

Or not. Stay tuned…

Wiarton

Lunch stop on my way back to the boat

I just got back here, and dropped Susan, Miles and Avery off. Now am anchored at the head of Colpoy Bay in front of the public dock. I like this spot. It’s exposed to the NE but good holding. Easy to get in to town via the public launch area.

I drove my scooter up here last Thursday, and Susan joined me that evening and we took off. Meandered up to Tobermory and back. She took hundreds of pics so I’ll ask her for a selection and post them here.

I’ve been giving some thought to winter plans, which will dictate fall travel plans. For now I’m happy to be hanging out in a beautiful area of Ontario. Will be coming and going locally for the next few weeks.

Crossing My Wake

I’m in Wiarton. Yesterday I noodled down to a late lunch at Gillies in Snug Harbour, then headed across the Bay. Got in here after dark. Nice weather.

I’ve completed another Great Loop. We were here 23 months ago on the way to Toronto. I’ll have to gather some stats, but we’ve traveled a little over 9,400 nautical miles since then.

Filled up with fuel and water. Used 235 litres of fuel to travel 361 NM in six days, much of it at slow speeds.

Tomorrow Susan is joining me for a few days. Not sure where we’ll go, but weather looks nice. Lots of choices.

North Channel

Wow.  It’s been five days of working my way east on the north shore since I left Bruce Mines.  A lot of it was new to me.  I basically followed the shoreline as closely as I could.  Lots of fun. 

I’m now anchored here in Pointe au Baril. Last night was at Bad River, and the night before was in MacGregor Bay.  The previous night was near Whitefish Falls.  

I was especially happy to get up to MacGregor Island and the tip of Killarney Park.  I’d like to go back there and try to get up to Iroquois Bay.  It looks doable, but tricky.  Would need a bow spotter for rocks in a few places.

Hello Canada!

It’s nice to be back.

Approaching Mackinac bridge

From Manastique I went to Beaver Island. Nice trip. Anchored in the harbour and dined ashore. At first I couldn’t remember whether I’d eaten before at the local restaurant. Once the food arrived I remembered that I had. Note to future self: walk down the road to the second restaurant next time.

Yesterday was another nice run, to De Tour, where I anchored here just off the port bow of the John W Boardman. While I didn’t take any pics of the ship cottage I did take a picture of the lighthouse marking the passage northbound to Lake Superior.

This morning I came around the east side of St Joseph’s Island and in to Bruce Mines, where I cleared customs and fueled up. I’m now anchored here just off the marina. Mallory picked me up this evening and we had dinner in The Soo and loaded up with groceries. Tomorrow I head east.

For the segment from Chicago to here I traveled 547 NM over ten days and burned 455 l of fuel.

Batteries and electrical is all good. I’ve been playing with regulator and solar configurations to optimize for lithium. Motor is running great. I wasn’t able to remedy or diagnose the AP failure. But I haven’t minded steering as much as I thought I would. I have a good unit on Tin Lizzie that I’ll fetch next time I’m in Guelph.

Manastique

I came in here about noon, and am anchored here just inside the breakwater.

Good news: the motor is running perfectly, better than it has in a year. I ran here from Sturgeon Bay with no issues, and the occasional miss is gone.

I had considered wiring as a cause for minor erratic behaviour last winter, and when in Florida sprayed out all the sensor connections, but not the ECU harness. I should have done it sooner.

Bad news: my autopilot stopped working about midnight last night. I was planning to do an all nighter and get to Lake Huron with a nice weather window.

I diverted course slightly to get out of the waves in the lee of Summer Island, and anchored there. Spent some time troubleshooting, and it’s nothing obvious. I may have dropped the controller one time too many. So I slept until morning then headed down here. Weather looks good Tuesday to follow the north shore to Drummond Island. There’s a front coming through tomorrow.

Having to steer in a pain, particularly in waves or at night. I didn’t have internet last night, but there is very good online reference material on the AP. Maybe I’ll be able to get it operational before I leave.

Yesterday I had a lovely cruise north out of Green Bay. Poked into the ports, stopped in Ephraim for a nice dinner.

Sturgeon Bay

I’m anchored here in Sturgeon Bay. Weather has been great, nice temps and light winds. Beautiful sunsets.

I started having motor problems late Monday as I was coming in here from Lake Michigan.

I went down to Green Bay on Tuesday, and picked up new seals for the low pressure lines from the local JD dealer. I went through the whole fuel system again.

Yesterday I left Green Bay and the problems continued. I spent most of the day drifting. Checked the return lines, then finally decided to consider other causes. Probably should have done that earlier.

It turns out that the motor hasn’t been stopping because of air or fuel starvation, it’s being shut off by the computer.

After some experimentation and observation I realized that the ECU seemed to be shutting down without warning or error codes. After a period of time ranging from minutes to an hour or more it would start working, but then fail again after 10-30 minutes of operation.

Today I went through the wiring and all the connectors and fuses in the harness during periods of power loss.

As a final step I removed the harness from the ECU and sprayed WD40 on the connectors. After reassembly the motor started and ran fine for ~ 2 hours to get back in to here. I’m cautiously optimistic.

In the meantime, I’ll get ashore to get some groceries and see the sights.