Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gore Bay, Ontario

After 4 nights of anchoring it was time to set foot on dry land again. When we anchor, we go into "conserve" mode. We did well with maintaining fresh water and the holding tank. We still need to work on balancing electric usage. No, we're not leaving the lights on all day and night! It's our refrigerator/freezer that is the battery drainer. We had thought that the cruises between anchorages would give the batteries enough charge but since the distances are small, we only cruise for a couple of hours and sometimes less than that. That isn't enough time under power to get the batteries up to full strength. So we've had to run the generator more than expected. We have a quiet generator but we try to wait until someone else starts THEIR generator before we start ours. Or we'll run it when everyone is dinghying around. There's a quiet time at anchor: early and mid morning and early evening where everyone is just chilling and enjoying the birds calling and water lapping that just shouldn't be disturbed.

When we do run the generator, we try to make use of it as much as possible. We also use the time to do baking/cooking (otherwise we use a Coleman Propane stove that is working really well for us), heat water, take showers, charge up any electronics that need a boost, back-up PCs, type blogs for later posting.

Next time we anchor, we're going to try shutting down the refrigerator for six hour stretches (midnight to 6:00am and noon to 6:00pm) to see if that helps lengthen our battery power. The anchor light, which MUST be on from sundown to sunrise when at anchor also pulls the battery down. No wonder we 've been seeing so many boaters use a solar-powered "Malibu Light" as their anchor light -- crafty devils! We're also noting that some boaters don't even put an anchor light on (not good)!

Of course, even if we had unlimited battery power, we'd still have to stop by a marina every so often to drop off garbage. We've noticed that most of the Canadian marinas we encounter often do recycling and have separate receptacles for paper, plastic, and glass. Hope that spreads to the marinas in the states!

We were able to get ready to leave Beardrop Harbour and head for Gore Bay by 7:30am -- the earliest ever! We were so proud of ourselves ... until we got to Gore Bay and saw that Bill and Evelyn (in Inua) and the sailboat armada they were with were already there. They beat us again -- they must have been using that racing sail they have.

We got to Gore Bay just in time for the Customs Inspector to come through. In addition to checking in with customs, an inspector must also inspect your boat. You get a little ticket that you can display on your window after being checked. The Inspector asked us a few questions from the dock, all the while looking for another entrance to our boat -- one that didn't involve climbing up our Rickety Old Boarding Ladder. Not seeing another way, he sighed and announced he was going to come aboard and look around. We assured him that the ladder was sturdier than it looks, to which he responded, "Well I guess we're going to give it a stress test today."

He was very thorough and professional in his search. Anything he opened or moved, he took care in putting back as found. Toward the end of the inspection, he asked us where we'd been and we mentioned Meldrum Bay. He asked if we'd eaten at the Meldrum Bay Inn. We said we had and thought the food was good but really liked the Butter Tarts. At the mention of "Butter Tarts", his face lit up, his eyes twinkled and he said "OOOH aren't those good? I had one yesterday!" We think the idea of getting another Butter Tart gave him the resolution he needed to go back down the Rickety Old Boarding Ladder, giving it the SECOND stress test of the day.

The marina is large and busy, being that Gore Bay is one of the septet of urban towns in the North Channel (and also a Canadian Customs Check-in point). The marina has internet service for $10 for 48 hours. Since we've started to have access problems now that we're roaming from AT&T into Rogers Wireless territory, we took advantage of their fast access and very reasonable fee.

We were able to get some groceries that we needed at the Gore Bay Co-Op. Most importantly, Bernie was able to get a new camera at The Source, and electronics store. (Her CyberShot finally gave out after 5 years -- probably a good run for electronics now days.) There is also an art gallery (Art for You) that carries the works of local artists, a coffee shop --Loco Beanz -- that has internet, two hardware stores, an LCBO (which either stands for Liquor, Coors, Booze, and Other stuff or the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, an automotive supply store and a Shell Station, a convenience store, a "five and dime type variety store and several other small businesses.

The laundromat (Econ-o-wash) is open 25 hours in the summer. Canadian quarters are available for purchase from the convenience store (Betty's).

The Island Pantry is a health food store that carries a large selection of spices, flours, dried fruits, and nuts. They also make delicious frozen yogurt concoctions. We made up - and enjoyed - Blueberry Ginger, Blueberry Cherry, and Cherry Ginger. They also have melon, strawberry, peach, banana, and mixed berries.

We ate, twice, at the Twin Bluffs Restaurant, once with Bill and Evelyn and some people from the sailboat armada. Phil thinks the crooked "W" in the sign gives this a very Northern Exposure look. The food is good and the prices are reasonable. They even give a senior price if you are in that age group. We keep thinking we should make up some fake AARP ID cards.

The Twin Bluff Cinnamon Rolls - plain, raisin nut, and raisin apple - are quite tasty and took the place of our daily ice cream. No, wait, the frozen yogurt took the place of the daily ice cream. OOPS! We may start weighing as much as that anchor of ours.

The Janet Head Light is about a 2 mile walk from the marina down a paved and set gravel (not loose) road. It's a nice walk that gives you views of the bay, residential homes, and the bluffs. The lighthouse is private now, but has tours from 1pm - 4pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays.

We saw two deer while in Gore Bay. One walked down the sidewalk to a shady spot in a front yard (but this was before Bernie got her camera). We saw this little guy in a side yard on our way back from the lighthouse.

Everyone keeps asking us if we've been to the Benjamins (aka "the Benjis"). We haven't. I guess that means we're not "there" yet.

Our next stop is either Kagawong (if we can get a phone number for the marina) or "the Benjis".

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