We travel by land and sea to get back to home. We are close to running out of gas.
|Date:||Sunday, August 5, 2001|
|Weather:||Fair, sunny, hot|
|Departure:||South Bay Marina, Honey Harbour, Ontario|
|Destination:||Bay Harbour, Midland, Ontario, and then Beverly Hills, Michigan|
|Distance:||16 miles by Small Craft Route; 305 miles by highway|
Our last morning finds me getting anxious again, worried about a number of potential problems. Will the boat be easily recovered on the trailer? Will the tires be okay? Will I have enough gas to get to Midland?
When I filled up at Killbear two days ago, I was hoping to have just enough fuel to get to Midland. It turns out I was right, I have just enough. The gauge is reading about "1/8" which probably means less than five gallons. It seems silly to go the the bother of stopping to buy just a few extra gallons, so I decide to go for Midland without adding any gas.
We depart early, telling our mates we plan to go most of the way at slow speed to save fuel, and we'll see them when they catch up to us. Running only one engine to further help conserve gas, we idle our way across South Bay and head back to the Small Craft Route. We have only about twelve miles to go to Midland, and I am fairly confident we can make it if we run at displacement speed.
About an hour into the trip we are just approaching Present Island and the last three miles of open water before Midland when we see WHALE LURE and MEMORY coming up behind us. The fuel gauge in CONTINUOUSWAVE is still just above "E", so we start the other engine and get the boat on plane. It is just three miles to the ramp; if we run out off gas out here they'll have to tow us in! On plane the fuel gauge now reads below "E", making us a bit nervous, but we keep our throttle setting and continue at 25 MPH.
Larry and Jim go flying by us--they must be running about 45 MPH--and we fall into their wake and follow them into Midland Bay and the boat ramp.
By late morning on Sunday the ramp is pretty busy, so we end up waiting along the seawall for a chance to load the boat on the trailer. After about twenty minutes delay, during which Chris has walked over to the marina yard and driven the Suburban and trailer back to the ramp, I idle down the last few hundred feet and tie CONTINUOUSWAVE to the courtesy dock.
Larry Goltz relieves Chris at the wheel of the tow vehicle, and he backs my trailer down the ramp. I line up the Whaler and take a run at power-loading it. We are on the trailer in no time flat. I raise the engines and Larry hauls us out. Opps, we are not quite all the way on. We dunk the boat back in the lake, and I winch her up the last few inches until the stem is firmly planted in the bow rollers, then we are out of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay for the last time.
The trio of boats reconvenes in the marina yard, Lar' (LCG) having found a good spot to park near a water faucet where he has connected a hose and nozzle. The three boats are scrubbed down, with all signs of residue removed from the Dessert Tan gelcoat of the hulls. We fold and stow our flying top, and we remove most of the gear and bedding from the cabin. After about an hour of work, we all are ready for the trip home on the highway.
The final knot/log total shows almost 500 miles travelled by water, a grand adventure and one that we enjoyed immensely. We already are talking about doing it again next year!
After some fond farewells and hugs goodbye, we are on the road by one o'clock in the afternoon. We have an uneventful drive back, fortunate to be heading south as heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic clogs the northbound lanes of the highway. We cross into the States at Port Huron, clear customs in a few seconds, and head south on the Interstate highway for our home.
By eight o'clock Sunday evening we are back where we started nine days ago. It has been a fabulous, long, week of cruising, blessed with fair weather, reliable boats, grand scenery, interesting adventures, excellent meals, and--most important of all--good company. Amazingly, we covered almost five hundred miles of water, cruising from Midland to Little Current and back, and had a very enjoyable time.
Here is a summary of the fuel used in liters and the price paid in Canadian dollars, converted to American dollars and gallons. Fuel economy for the trip averaged about 2.5 miles per gallon. Fuel cost averaged about $2/gallon.
DATE PLACE $Ca/LITRE LITRES $Ca GALLONS $US $US/GAL K/L MPG 7/28 Midland 0.689 130 $89.57 34.3 $59.71 $1.738 0 7/30 Killbear 0.819 100.3 82.12 26.5 54.74 2.066 64 2.4 7/31 St. Amant's 0.729 127.3 92.80 33.6 61.86 1.839 119 1.68 8/02 Sportsmans 0.899 122.5 110.13 32.4 73.41 2.268 * * 8/02 Sportsmans 0.899 100.8 90.59 26.6 60.39 2.268 * * 8/03 Killbear 0.819 78.8 64.54 20.8 43.02 2.066 * * TOTALS 659.64 $529.75 174.3 $353.13 500 AVERAGES 0.803 $2.026 Fuel at Start= 30 Fuel at End= 5 TOTAL FUEL BURNED= 199.26 TOTAL MILES= 500 2.5 MPG Conversion Factors $ U.S. = $ 0.6666 Canadian 1 gal. = 3.7854 Liters
I hope you enjoyed reading the narrative of this nine-day journey by small boat. You can read more narratives of my cruising adventures in the Sail-Logs section of the website.
Copyright © 2001 by James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited!
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Author: James W. Hebert
This article first appeared September, 2001.