Being ahead of schedule, we decided to spend another day in the beautiful Thunder Beach. It was a lazy day, but it was warm and sunny out. The gentleman with the large estate right off our anchorage even came out to pay us another visit. In his generosity, he extended us an invitation to lounge by his pool for the afternoon. So, taking him up on his offer, we rowed our little dinghy over to his marina.
The property was wonderfully kept. Landscaping just so and everything in perfect order. It was fantastic to have a few hours to relax, read, swim, and unwind. The water in his pool was much warmer than the water found in the lake off the boat!
The next morning we had determined to be the day to set off for a destination closer to Midland, ON; where we will have our mast stepped before entering the Trent-Severn Waterway. Still quite a few days a head of schedule, we targeted an inlet close to Midland by the name of Penetang Harbour as our next port.
It rained tremendously hard overnight. The wind wasn’t bad, but it was a deluge! At about the time we finished with coffee, the rain had let up just enough to make our 15 mile passage tolerable.
Just as we rounded the corner of Methodist Point on the Northeast side of Thunder Beach, we discovered a little anchorage that was harboring 12 sailboats and a few powerboats. We had completely missed it in our quest for a sound anchorage the other day. Nevertheless, we marked it down on our charts and will be sure to check it out on our way back through in another year or so. It would have been great to get amongst a few more sailboats; as they have been rather scarce along our journey thus far.
The winds were just off our stern almost the entire way around the peninsula to Penetang Harbour. We didn’t set any sail, for we heard that the winds and weather were supposed to sour rather quickly and intensely. However, a few of the sailboats leaving Methodist Point were more brazen than we.
Coming into the inlet that funneled into Penetang Harbour, the winds began to really pick up. The whole channel is rather narrow and quite sufficiently protected on both sides. But, the winds still found a way to sneak through. The gusts were in the upper teens and it was apparent that it would continue to build; as every one and their brother was making like hell for the harbor.
Earlier in the morning, we had identified a few spots in the inlet to Penetang that would allow for safe anchoring. Upon viewing them in person, we determined that they weren’t as fantastic as they looked on paper. They were shallow, cramped, and marshy. So, onward we plodded towards the government docks where we knew that we could find a place to dock; even if just for lunch.
Penetang Harbour has one of the largest marinas that I have ever seen. There were constantly boats coming and going; probably a few hundred! Upon arriving at the government docks, we were able to park with relative ease; for the wind blew us in right along the outside wall. At this point, the winds had calmed substantially from out in the inlet; maybe only blowing around 10 knots. Having tied up, we sauntered into town to find some lunch.
Returning to the boat after our meal, the winds had found time to build. We turned on our instruments and found it to be gusting to over 27 knots and there was about a 2 foot chop on the harbor; and this harbor is only maybe 1/4 to 1/2 miles wide (NOT MUCH FETCH). The boat was getting slammed into the outer wall of the government docks, relentlessly. To make matters worse, every time a powerboat would speed by in it’s coming and going from the other two massive marinas, their wake would add to the already substantial chop and pound us into the dock even harder. My dad was understandably upset about this and was put into a foul funk for a good majority of the day.
We strategized for a good hour on how we could get off the dock safely and make our way to an anchorage for the night. If the wind and the waves kept up all night, there was not way we could stay on the dock; neither of us would sleep.
After having made several failed attempt to get off the dock, we decided to just hang it up. The combination of the wind and the waves was just too much for our bow thruster to push us off the dock. Not even with the engine fully engaged could we get enough distance between us and the dock to make any headway. Just as soon as we thought we had it (meaning gained 2-3 feet of distance from the dock), a surge of water or a big gust of wind would push us right back to where we started, hard. It was rather demoralizing. But, we shouldn’t have even been there in the first place with prior knowledge of the weather. Chock it up to another oversight on our part.
Having relented, my dad fixed himself a manhattan and tried to calm down. I determined today that between he and I, we have a balancing affect on one another. Typically, when he’s hot about something, I’m the relaxed one. And, when I’m upset about something, he’s the voice of reason. Fortunately, it’s never been each other that we’ve aimed our steam at. It’s always something superfluous. I think this should suit us well over our long journey 🙂
We had dinner at the same place that we had brunch at earlier in the day, Blue Sky Restaurant. The food and service were good, so what more could we ask for? Plus, it’s the first food place that you come across as you’re coming into the downtown area; save for the “world famous” Dock Lunch establishment located not 20ft from our dock. While at brunch, we noticed a peculiar dog that just happened to be lounging on a roof across the street from where we were eating. At the time I didn’t have my camera. But, upon returning for dinner, I was able to snap a shot of this character. He kind of reminded us of our Golden Retriever Neuman; which we lost a few months ago. So, it was needless to say a pleasant sight and it gave us a good laugh and brought back found memories.
Upon returning to the boat, the waves had flatten a slight bit. The winds had also dimmed to a consistent 15-16 knots, with gusts of only 20 knots. Given the conditions, we could have gotten off the dock. But, it had been a long day; full of disappointment and anxiety. So, we decided that we would stay tied up for the evening and make our way to Midland early tomorrow morning… before the dock crew returns and finds that we’re still here!