The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Friday, July 22, 2011

Prop Check!!!

When we were water skiers and had a 19 foot boat with an outboard motor, we would hang out on the Sacramento River every chance we got.  There are no heads (see glossary if this term is not familiar to you) on 19 foot boats.  So, every once in a while someone would wade into the river up to his or her waist and act very interested in the stern of the boat while they relieved themselves in the river.  If another of us noticed…and we always did, we would holler, “PROP CHECK”, so that everybody on the beach knew exactly what the guy in the water was really up to.  Wednesday we did a big boy prop check, of sorts…
We had only stayed one night at South Bay Cove above Honey Harbor.  My first mate did about 29 loads of laundry, and we got pumped out, watered up, and basically ready to hit a few anchorages in Georgian Bay.  But first, we had a great dinner at the restaurant at the marina.  Most boaters know this is a bit unusual, as most marina restaurants are marginal at best.  But, one of the lockmasters told me that the guy who built this marina was in the cattle business, and that this place was awesome for steaks as well as everything else.  The eight of us Loopers enjoyed a great meal together and lingered at the table for an hour afterward swapping stories.
In the morning, we said goodbye to the other Loopers as Carrie and I decided we wanted to “go off the grid” for a few days, meaning we wanted to drop the hook (anchor) in the most remote places we could find and be alone.  The cool thing about Loopers is that they all get that, and nobody gets offended when people disappear for a few days…or weeks. 
We had charted a course for a small anchorage near a Canadian National Park by something called, “Bone Island”.  When we got there, it was everything we had hoped for…calm clear water, tree lined shores, remote location, few boats, etc.  Unfortunately, about a quarter mile before we arrived we hit a submerged rock…HARD. 
Before you pass judgement on our piloting skills...check out what we're dealing with!
And these are the marked channels!
I have previously mentioned that prior groundings had damaged my starboard propeller, but not badly.  Well, when I donned my mask and jumped into the cool, refreshing bay waters, I found that I had really flattened my port side (of course) propeller.  There was no other choice but to call a boatyard (oh boy) and schedule a haul out.
Once Around in the sling...
We limped the 10 miles to Penetanquishene (completely out of our planned course) at 5 knots, arriving at Bay Moorings Marina and met Al, the boatyard foreman, at about 2:30 PM.  Al and his crew removed my props, checked the shafts for damage (marginally OK), put my spare propellers on and had us on our way by 5:30.  Great guys.
Not a good looking propeller...
...So, off it came...
...and on with the spares.
Now, I have to dwell a bit on the whole “spare propeller” issue.  Last March, when I ordered them, I took a real dressing down from the Admiral about the cost.  “Why do we need them?  Why are they so expensive?” etc…  NOW, she looks at me with those “Ginger” eyes and says, “You are soooooo, smart”!!!  That was all fine and good until Al called today and told us how much it was going to cost to refurbish the damaged propellers…now I am in trouble again.  Fame is so fleeting in this navy.
Leaving Penetang (even the Canadians don’t say the whole name of that town every time), we went to a small anchorage that Al told the Admiral about.  It had deep water all the way, and we thought we were pretty remote.  However, when we turned into one of the anchorages Al had marked, Jolly Tolly and Moonstruck were already there!  What are the odds?  There are 30,000 islands here after all.  It cracked all of us up that we had ended up there, and we had gone 20 miles out of our way!  We anchored about a half mile from them and dinghy’d over for a drink before dinner.  Back aboard Once Around, Carrie and I had a great grilled steak and some tortellini with artichoke sauce, and an absolutely fabulous bottle of Hartwell cabernet.  What boatyard bill???
This morning, we pulled anchor and headed for another spot (Port Rawson Bay) Al had recommended to us.  This time, we are really in the middle of nowhere.  If you don’t believe me, hit the “Find Us” link on this page.  We are alone (well, there are a few other boats within a mile of us), and we may stay a few days.  This is one of those times on the Loop that you all probably think we do every day, but are really so rare.  We actually have time to read a book, take a swim, think about life and enjoy each other.  If we get the energy, there are some “uncharted” waters nearby.  But, don’t worry; we will be checking that out in our dinghy, not in Once Around.  No more “prop checks” of that kind…we hope.  There is a heat wave coming through, and the cool waters of Georgian Bay are a wonderful thing!
Our view from the stern this weekend...

"Ginger" takes a dip...

We took the dinghy to Henry's for lunch, world famous (at least "Looper famous") for fresh fish.

We left too stuffed to eat desert, but not too stuffed to carry it out!  Homemade blueberry pie and butter tarts!

A lazy Friday afternoon on Once Around.

We met some Canadian sailboaters who anchored near us today and they are planning to take their dinghy up to Moon River Falls (in the aforementioned "uncharted" waters).  We are going to tag along.  They've never been there either...should be fun!

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