Wednesday, July 11, 2012

4-Dee, She Had a Good Life

Days on cruise:  110

Distance traveled today: 31.2 miles

Travel Time: 4 hrs 1 min

Total Trip Odometer: 2,467 statute miles


We had a beautiful, quiet night anchored in Echo Bay and woke this morning to sunshine again. After coffee and checking email and the news online, Bob went to start up the generator to heat water for our showers, as he does every day. Uh oh, for the second day in a row, the generator battery was dead; not a good thing!


Since we’d run the generator last nigh after jump-starting it from one of the 8D main engine batteries, and given that the dash gauge indicated it was putting out a charge, Bob thought it was probably a bad battery. He quickly perused our Ports Guide, booted up the laptop to make a Skype phone call to a boatyard in Parry Sound 15 miles away, we pulled up the anchor, and off we went.


Here’s a shout-out to Phil and Jeremy at Sound Boat Works in Parry Sound! They were waiting at their crane dock to catch our lines, and 5 minutes later Phil was down in the engine room testing our 6-year-old 4D battery, which was pronounced dead on arrival. But she’s had a good life, making several trips up and down the Atlantic coast from Florida to Maine and back with Peter, the previous owner of this boat, and now has taken us all the way from the Florida Keys to Georgian Bay in Canada; not bad for an old girl, eh?


Jeremy and Phil worked together to remove the heavy old battery, then Phil picked up a replacement on his lunch break and returned to install it. $335 for both the battery and labor, (not including the fuel we also bought) and two hours later, we were on our way. THIS is the kind of unexpected problem and delay that’s easy to take! It didn’t derive from a mistake, ours or anyone else’s, and it cost less than a “boat buck” (or $1,000) to address. Wish they were all like that.


So now our battery bank should get us back to Florida without further problems. The main engine batteries were  new in 2011, and the inverter battery set we added new in 2012.  So the main engine batteries are the oldest ones, and they should have at least 4-5 more good years on them if cared for properly.


The scenery getting to and from Parry Sound was gorgeous, especially South Channel, where there looked to be many good anchorages, but the town wasn’t where we wanted to spend the night, so we continued 15 more miles after leaving the boat yard, crossing big Parry Sound with water in excess of 300 feet deep, and returning to the Small Boat Channel for the last 5 miles.


We’re anchored in a lovely place, Snug Harbor between Snug and Westyle Islands in 21 feet of water, so with more scope out than usual. It’s a beautiful spot, and we plan a layover day tomorrow for some dinghy exploration. This year, as its been for the last several, the water level of Lake Huron is lower then it has been historically. We won’t go into a global warming discussion here, but many of the more popular anchorages are too shallow for us to use this year.


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