The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity for the crew of Wild Horses. Our new bow thruster blades arrived by US Post late last week, right before the July 1 holiday. Yes! They took a long journey – the port blade was built in Norway and the starboard blade was built in Italy, both were then shipped to Germany then to Washington State and finally into our waiting hands in Kingston, Ontario. Our bow thruster blades are living the life!
With the blades now in our possession, we booked an install date with the Loyalist Crew guys (amazing people!) to haul out Wild Horses for the installation. Due to the holiday, install would be on Monday July 5. Another four days of waiting. We made the most of our wait time though! Over the weekend we applied two coats of anti-fouling paint to the new blades, hooked up our new solar array, did the final work to connect both of our lithium batteries, and finally organized the boat so that everything aboard has a proper home.
On the morning of the install, we first went to the lifting well to have Wild Horses hoisted out of the water once again. The bow thrusters were installed (expertly by Dave at Loyalist Cove), then Wild Horses was splashed and we were off to Trident, a mere 3 hours of motoring away. Easy, breezy.
Immediately after leaving the Loyalist Cove harbour, our engine temperature gauge was reading off the charts. What?????? I took the helm and Mike did some quick checks on the coolant and the engine itself. It was not overheating and there was lots of coolant so the issue was likely a gauge problem only. 15 minutes later this was confirmed when the gauge reset and started to show reasonable temperature levels. Whew!
Perhaps the rest of the trip would be trouble free? Ummm, nope.
Soon after, we realized there was a funny silence in the cockpit. Yes, the engine was running and we could hear the waves lapping against the hull but, hmmmm, there is normally a little chatter on the VHF radio. This radio is our main communication on the water. It is set to emergency channel 16 so that we can monitor issues and events on the water, and be ready if we need to avoid something or if we can assist should a MAYDAY be called in. We also use the VHF radio to call in our arrival to marinas and other harbours or to hail a fellow boater on the water. Our cell phones can sub in for this but the preference by most people is the VHF radio. Because of this, there is usually some chatter on the radio, even on the quietest of days.
But our VHF radio was dead silent. In fact, it was actually dead. The breaker was on and all other instruments were functional but both the remote unit in the cockpit and the fixed unit down below were decidedly dead. Why? No idea. The first order of business was to pull out the new handheld VHF we had purchased for our pending trip down the Erie Canal on our way to the Caribbean. For the Erie Canal, our mast will need to be taken down to get through all of the low bridges along the canal and, when the mast comes down, the antenna for our fixed VHF also comes down. A handheld device will allow us to continue to communicate with bridge and lock operators.
But currently, as we head down Lake Ontario towards Trident Yacht Club with a dead fixed VHF radio on board, the handheld VHF radio saved our bacon. We were able to properly monitor emergency channel 16 and to call in our arrival once we got to Trident Yacht Club. Love redundancy in systems! We still need to trouble shoot our fixed VHF radio but we love that we have a great back up process in the interim.
In the meantime, we are now settled in at our summer slip at Trident Yacht Club. It is nice when your home comes with you as settling in took zero time. All that changed is our view!
Applause note: Big shout out to the boaters and marina staff that make up the community at Loyalist Cove Marina. They are a great bunch of people who welcomed us at every turn during our three weeks at the marina. Kudos to all of them!
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.