A Rocky Road to Stella Bay
Although we have access to all of Lake Ontario, more often than not, we have sailed Wild Horses in the Thousand Islands. There are some pretty sound reasons for this – it is close (thirty minutes from our club), it is jam-packed full of beautiful anchorages and there is a large patch of beautiful sailing grounds called the Forty Acres. This is our neighbourhood and we have yet to get bored by what it has to offer.
But we also have this crazy “let’s explore” fascination. I mean, truly that is what got us wanting to live on a boat in the first place! With wanderlust in our veins, we decided to head west to Amherst Island and then onto Waupoos on Picton Island. By boat, it is about 6 to 7 hours to Waupoos from our home base at Trident Yacht Club.
Our plan was to start the journey on July 30, spend a few days at Stella Bay on Amherst Island and then move onto Waupoos, arriving there on August 2nd or 3rd. The day we left Trident, the weather was forecasted to be a fresh, steady wind with some storm clouds developing late afternoon but passing north of our intended route. Great!
The trip from Trident Yacht Club to Kingston was easy but once we got in front of Kingston, the waves from the Lower Gap really started to build. Wild Horses was a rocking horse – riding up the waves and then slamming down on the back side. A bit uncomfortable but she managed it well.
And, as forecasted, storm clouds developed in front of us but slid north. Until they didn’t. An isolated bank of storm clouds decided to pass directly over Amherst Island, just as we were readying our approach into Stella Bay on the north side of the island. Rain started to hit our windshield and we could hear small growls of thunder. Yikes! The storm was tracking straight over the island so we altered course away from the island, away from the storm. We waited it out for an hour and then, with a clear sky above, entered the safe harbour of Stella Bay.
With the anchor down, we took a deep breath and appreciated the calm anchorage. It had been a rocky and stormy journey that kept us on our toes. Even stronger weather was forecasted in a few days so, with regret, we altered our float plan. One of the “rules” on Wild Horses is to never have a rigid schedule. That means weather or boat issues always overrides intended plans.
We returned back to Trident Yacht Club two days later. The next day saw winds of up to 40 knots and heavy rains for several hours and through the night. We were happy to be tied to a dock!
Just a quick note on our battery situation. As it turned out, the batteries for Wild Horses had been wired oddly. As mentioned previously, we have three battery switches which we believed were for the start battery, the house batteries (448 amp hours) and our bow thruster. Not so. Mike and our trusty boat mechanic worked through the wiring and did lots of testing (I could hear a lot of “is it on now?” coming from the battery compartment) and the final verdict was a bit of a surprise. Yes, we have three positive battery switches but only two battery banks. Weird. Usually a switch controls a bank. Not so for Wild Horses. Her third battery switch was actually dedicated to our DC-AC inverter. Again, weird. At the end of the day, Mike and our trusty boat mechanic did some re-wiring to make full use of our house batteries. Yes! Now we can welcome multiple days at anchor, rain or shine, knowing that we have enough battery power for Wild Horses to be a comfortable home on the water.
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Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.