Departed from MacRays at 07:45. We were a wee bit tense because the boat across the 70' channel from us had his bow stuck out past the pilings by about 5-6', cutting down our ability to back out and to pivot. There was a light wind blowing us against the sea wall so decided to use it to our advantage and crawled along the wall until our swim platform was under his bow - Marg and I wear headsets [aka marriage savers]and she was in the stern, with a boat pole, and guiding how far back I could go. I was able to pivot slowly and the bow pulpit cleared the piling at our slip by about a foot, maybe 2, and she prevented us damaging the swim platform and it was actually straightforward.
The remainder of the trip was fairly simple; loads of fishing boats, usually idling or trolling in the middle of the channel, or close to it, and they would be in squads of 5-10 smaller boats it seems. Crossed the 4 miles at the north end of L. St.Clair with <1ft waves on our stbd bow to get to the north channel into the St.Clair R. Saw 2 large freighters on that river, one 785' and the other 480', and one at a mooring which was 1001' long. We were waked a few times by faster boats but had prepared for such.
Took us 6 hrs to go the 43 miles, in sunny wx, 60F rising to 80F, light winds. Had 2 bridges that required a call on the VHF for them to open, immediately before reaching the River St.Marina in Port Huron. These ones only open on the hour and the half hour all season, and only if you call them.
The River St. Marina is run by the Port Huron city, has 95 slips with 60 of them transient; all perpendicular to the river except for a bulkhead in front of the office and fuel dock. The fire station, park, and community college are alongside as well. The dockhands were very efficient and friendly, answered the radio immediately and were there to help; teens I think and don't have a lot of experience yet - see photo of the one docking line. But a pleasant place, well maintained with most slips filled.
The forward vacuflush kept triggering the vacuum generator; using my stethoscope, it seemed there was a leak around the pump bellows [that generates the vacuum]. Squirted some dish soap water into the bellows to see if bubbles might be seen [like checking for a punctured tire] and the leak stopped! Hasn't been triggering itself since!! Must have improved the sliding of the bellows or sealed a small hole perhaps? [ PS: the soap didn't last. So for now, will use the aft head routinely, turning off the forward vacuflush in the day and reserving it for nights only and we won't flush till the a.m. when we briefly turn it on.]
Engine gauges are all great. Coolant - OK. No drips! Filled the water tank and washed off some of the million mayflies.
They have a title which should be hopefully self explanatory. The one of the dock line: can you see what is wrong? Look carefully - answer is below*.
From Admirals Desk:
A tricky departure this morning, but it was thankfully uneventful considering how little space we had to maneuver. Another learning experience. The St. Clair river is very nice. Lots of lovely homes and landscaping. Canada on one shore and US on the other. The marina is nice. Were docked along the river like on a main street with all the Black River traffic going past. People and boat watching at its best. So far the most interesting are a Viking 75' Sport Fish (huge) and a Tiki boat. The Tiki boat was a pontoon with a thatched roof, a big Polynesian head ornament and what looked like a drum. We've seen others but this one was the best.
Decided to do a late Instacart order to Kroegers as we are stopping in small places in the next few days. They only have small markets. I'm getting too used to having everything delivered. Beautiful evening, no may flies right now (there were swarms earlier), and it stays light until 9:30. There is still a lot of boat traffic considering it's after 10 and dark. Music too.
I think I'll try to find a good night photo. There haven't been many interesting opportunities lately. So... good night.
Reserved Sat. night at Harbor Beach Marina, another State managed one. All the State related ones can be done on-line; includes a map of the marina and give you a slip location once confirmed. Efficient. Will be at Lexington State Harbor tomorrow. The State run facilities are 'Refuge' ones, located at least every 40-50miles along the Michigan coasts [MI includes the east coast of L.Michigan, the south/west coast of L.Huron, and the west coast of L.Erie + L.St.Clair.]. The lakes are notoriously 'finickity' so the DNR ensured that a refuge harbor was always within 25 miles of any boater. Pretty neat.
[*The dock line has been tied from the dock cleat around the dock piling - not to the boat; the boats cleat to the dock has a separate link of the line; I think the young person just became a bit confused with all the tying.]
Ernie R • 18 Jun, 2021 - The line looked ok to me!! (Need that for boaters class 101 !)