Wednesday, August 3, 2022

2022 Sailing Trip Day 6 - Sodus Bay, BLTs, and the Overnight Run

We threw off the dock lines at 5 am and started making our way eastward towards Sodus Bay. After helping us off the dock, Ana went back to bed leaving Pat and I alone to pilot the vessel and soon Pat had mixed us up a beer and Clamato and we were gnawing away on the giant tub of pretzels as we powered through the water with the wind directly in our face.

Pat and his two brothers have been living around marinas for so long they have become birders, but for boats. Birders are those curious folks who can recognize the look and songs of any kind of bird and spend all their available time trying to spot as many and as wide a variety as possible. The Doerr boys do that with boats.

“See about two miles off our starboard side, that’s a 33’ Sea Ray Amberjack, looks like a 1997 model.”

“Off there in the distance, looks like a Sunseeker Tomahawk 41, 1995 model. Twin 260 horse Yanmar diesels, but I heard they vibrate a lot over 2200 rpm.”

“It’s so damn foggy on the lake, but can you hear that Azimut passing by us? I’m guessing it’s a 2008 43S by the purr of those 435 Volvo Pentas. Nice hardtop on those boats.”

“Check out that Hatteras 50 Convertible, looks like a 2005, man I’d give my left nut for that beauty. Nice lines.”

That’s the one line that can get you into the game. If you are with the Doerr boys and a fancy looking powerboat drives by you can say, “Nice lines,” and they will all nod in agreement and it makes you feel like you’ve earned a little bit of boat cred. Try it sometime.

After everybody was up, Melissa and Pat made us these delicious BLT bagels for breakfast and shortly after that we were pulling into the gas dock at Sodus Point Katlynn marina. Sodus Bay is a large, protected harbour with the small village of Sodus Point and its marinas to the west and a few other docking spots and restaurants scattered throughout the shorelines of the bay.

The kids working the gas dock did a pump out and diesel fill for us. Pat noticed the unusually short time it took to fill the fuel tank.

“How much did the fuel cost?” Pat asked me.

“A hundred and fifty,”  replied, all cool-like.

“A hundred and fifty?? We got all the way from Newport on a hundred and fifty bucks worth of fuel? That doesn’t even get my boat over to the gas dock at Dover.”

“Actually we last filled up in Port Dalhousie the weekend before. We burn about one gallon per hour,” I said, lovingly patting the topside of SeaLight.

I really felt like I should let Pat pay for the fuel so that he could brag to his buddies back at Port Dover about his cheapest fill up ever and give him a great story, but before I could do that the gas dock kid grabbed my credit card and disappeared.

We decided a swim was in order so we motored back across the bay, got anchored, then jumped in the 26C degree water for a glorious swim. Little Beau floated around joyously, kicking his feet underwater, splashing his hands, but mostly just laying there, chilling out. The sun was out and shining brightly but there were many clouds building on all horizons and rain was in the forecast.

We did some trip planning after our swim and decided that we’d make the overnight run to the Thousand Islands later today, but would first check out the village of Sodus Point. We tried getting a slip at the Sodus Bay Yacht Club but they didn’t have any room for us so told us to tie up to one of the mooring balls in the bay instead. We had a hell of a time getting attached and it took us a few attempts, but we finally got it. We then launched the dinghy and motored into town.

Sodus Point, population 900, is a cute little town. It is clearly a boater place, as the main street is home to several marinas and boat fix-it shops, as well as a few restaurants and bars. We picked up a few boat supplies at the chandlery, and they even managed to straighten out my bent up anchor pin from the telephone line incident at Wilson. We then embarked on a walk to explore the wider town but got as far as the gazebo in the nearby park when the sky opened and the rain started to fall. We sheltered in place for long enough to get bored and realize the rain was not letting up, so then hustled back to one of the restaurants for drinks and nachos. I couldn’t help but laugh at the young servers, two of which asked us if we’d like a kids menu after they noticed Beau. Sure, he’s a chunky kid, but considering he has only two teeth, I’m not sure how they thought he’d be able to manage a plate of chicken fingers or a hot dog. No, Beau was happy with his baby formula and ground up meat and veggie paste that came out of those tubes that magically appeared from Melissa’s pocket whenever they were called for.

We cut our Sodus Point adventure short due to weather and dinghied back to the boat on the “Wet Bum Express”. Stowing the dinghy on SeaLight is even worse than deploying it, and for the time we were actually able to spend in Sodus, it may have been more efficient for us to just swim into shore. First you need to tie the dinghy up to the stern of the boat, detach the 57 pound outboard engine, lift it up and onto the boat, then secure it to the outboard motor mount that is attached to the stern rails – an excellent back and shoulder workout. Next, you have to walk the dinghy up to the front of the boat, rig up some lifting lines, then attach those to the main sail halyard line. Once this is done, one person stays up front with a boat hook to keep the dinghy from scraping the side of the boat, and a second person goes back to the cockpit, attaches a winch handle to the winch, and starts grinding away, which slowly raises the dingy – an excellent arm workout. Once the dinghy has been winched sufficiently high, both people are needed at the front to flip it up and over the lifelines then set it down on the topside of the boat, then tie it down with ropes to keep it from flying off. By this time you’re tired and need a drink, which is exactly what we did while the ladies prepared dinner burritos down in the galley.

After a delicious dinner, we were back underway, out of Sodus Bay, and pointed north-east towards the Thousand Islands. We finally had the wind in our favour, blowing from the north-west, and experienced four hours of beautiful sailing under 15 knots of wind with nobody on the lake except for us. Of course, the wind eventually shifted eastward, and strengthened to 20 knots, and by midnight it was directly in our face so we had to lower the sails and fire up the motor, providing a rough and noisy ride as we pounded through the building waves.

Ana and Melissa had taken the first shift, then Pat and I took over at 2am. I hadn’t been able to sleep much so I dozed off in the cockpit for the first couple of hours while Pat was on watch. The night was long, it was dark, and it was bouncy. But as dawn approached the wind eased, the lake fell flat, and the outlet which led to the St. Lawrence River and the start of the Thousand Islands came into view. it was the beginning of a new day.

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