Monday, November 30, 2015
NOW IS THE TIME TO PLAN YOUR CRUISE
I can’t tell you how often someone says something like “We want to see Georgian Bay but we are worried about getting lost or hitting rocks and damaging our boat”. There is an old saying, “there can be no adventure without the expectation of adversity”. There is always a chance you will get lost gunk holing around or that you might run into a rock. I’d be lying to you if I told you that could never happen. In fact, marinas on Georgian Bay make significant portion of much needed income every season from boat groundings.
But if you plan ahead, pay attention , and perhaps do the mother goose thing and travel with other experienced boaters. It doesn’t have to be a very risky endeavour. Doing something new and taking a bit of a leap of faith is adventurous and it is good for you. Humans like animals were never intended to live sedentary predictable boring lives. We got so smart we created an artificial environment and essentially many of us live in glass boxes - safe on the inside, but fragile when something external changes beyond our control. When you are out cruising running into bad weather, anchoring at night and navigating tricky passages you will be out of that glass box, and you will remember you are alive. Nothing like getting caught out in a good storm to remind yourself that in the big scheme of things, we’re all but dust in the wind.
However ... experience breeds confidence and assurance. Even if you are dreading navigating on Georgian Bay, you know you need to take the leap because the visual experience of Georgian Bay and the North Channel is worth the challenge. Now, you don’t want to be like the guy we ran into on a houseboat in Killarney who had crossed the Bay with nothing but a road map. There's adventure and then there’s crazy adventure! So to get prepared consider the following.
1. Know your boat intimately and carry basic spares.
2. Practice anchoring out it inclement conditions in familiar territory.
3. Buy the best ground tackle you can lay your hands on.
4. Find a mother goose experienced boater to lead you around or join in on a rendezvous.
5. Take as many Power Squadron courses as you can.
6. Make sure you have your VHF operators license and make sure you know how to use it properly.
7. Learn to pay attention to the weather and appreciate the barometer changes, wind changes and recognize the early stages of a changing weather front.
8. Go slow – take your time and enjoy the scenery, even in bad weather.
9. Pay attention to your course, both visually and by chart.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are not sure about something – your fellow boaters will generally bend over backwards to assist another boater in need.