We had to make an emergency stop last Friday.
There was nothing wrong with Libbie or me.
But a problem did develop with Selkie, hence an emergency stop, or “E-Stop”.
But before I get in to that, I have a confession to make.
We bought another boat.
We were feeling a little limited with our little Trinka, which is an elegant little dinghy, but doesn’t go very far without some major effort. In fact, it doesn’t go very far with major effort.
It’s like having a house 59 miles out in the hills with a 60 year old single speed bike.
You don’t get very far or see many things.
In our case it’s more like a 550 square foot house that floats with a very large utility room.
While traveling through the Loop, we’ve kept a lookout for a used inflatable dinghy that would hold up with the abuse the Loop would give it.
We found one almost by accident a few days before.
We were looking at an old beat up dinghy at the marina in Midland, Ontario when a young man (ok, he was in his 30’s) walked up and asked if we were looking for a dinghy.
We said yes.
He had one for sale. It was a 5 year old 9’ 8” aluminum bottom inflatable dinghy with a 15 HP motor on the back. It was in great shape. And it was at a great price.
So we bought it.
As it turned out, this young guy was a marine mechanic. We discussed what we were doing on the Loop and where we were headed.
He mentioned that if we ran into any trouble, a marina we would be passing by would be Killbear Marina about 40 miles away up the Georgian Bay and that they were very skilled at fixing stuff.
We made a note of it.
So, here we are, stopped in Killbear, because we had an issue that cropped up unexpectedly.
We’ve been on the boat since mid-May, and have been on the move constantly during that time.
When cruising around, Libbie and I share navigation duties. I try to get into the engine room at least every couple hours to check for any problem.
During my regular check last Friday, everything looked fine. Everything smelled fine. Everything sounded fine. But as I put my flashlight away, I caught some unusual movement out of the corner of my eye.
My process is to put my earmuffs on, enter the engine room, grab my flashlight and look at all the areas that have a potential for leaks, and anything else that looks off.
Not once have I found an issue with Selkie while underway… until today.
Today, we were an hour out from our next anchorage when I went into the engine room to look around.
I looked a little closer and was startled to see water coming out of the exhaust inside the engine room. And not just a little water. It was a shower.
I yelled at Libbie to slow the engine down to idle and it slowed down the flow quite a bit. But it was still a lot of water.
What had happened is that the exhaust line from the engine was made up of sections of 5” high temperature hose and 5” fiberglass pipe. The hose is installed on the pipe with double hose clamps.
It looked like a clamp was loose, so I tried to tighten the clamp, which slowed down the flow, but didn’t stop it.
Looking a little closer, I noticed the fiberglass pipe was deformed a little and that seemed to be the source of the leak.
If we kept the speed of the engine down, we didn’t leak that much, but who knows how long that would last.
So we called it. And went to Killbear.
We pulled in and shut the engine down. I confirmed that there was no leak with the engine off. So we settled in for the weekend.
The manager of the place was busier than a one armed paper hanger (as the saying goes) but was still courteous enough to hear about our issue. We knew we were most likely waiting until Monday, so we went to dinner at the local restaurant and had a good meal.
The next morning, we met our dock neighbors and asked if they wanted to get together for Docktales that evening. They said they had other plans, so we decided to try out the new dinghy and go fishing.
We didn’t catch anything, but we were in very good weather in an idyllic setting so we made the most of it.
When we returned to the boat, we found an invitation from our boat neighbors asking us to join them that evening.
We met and put 6 people in a 14’ boat and took a very scenic tour of the waterways on the way to Gilly’s a local landmark.
We had one of the best dinners we’ve had on the Loop there.
We also really enjoyed our new friends. The wife had grown up in the area and two of her brothers joined us, so we not only had a lot of fun telling stories, but also getting some more local knowledge of the Georgian Bay and North Channel.
This morning, a very nice technician showed up at our boat and fixed our problem, making it better that it was before.
Yesterday, one of our buddy boats from the Tres Amigos showed up.
It was good to catch up with them.
Now, we wait for a weather window.
We are doubly glad we ran into that young man two days ago.
Call it what you will, but Fate has been kind to us this trip.
If we hadn’t been held up by the high waters of the Trent Severn, we would have not met our friends and formed the Tres Amigos.
We would have missed the young man with the dinghy.
If we had not bought the dinghy we would not have known about Killbear Marina where we are now.
We would not have made new friends.
We would not have had one of the best dinners we’ve had on the Loop.
And Selkie would not be in better shape than when we arrived.
All is well, and we are stil on schedule to get to Mackinaw.
Postscript: the new dinghy goes really fast, and Libbie smiles when it does.