Fuel and Friendship

Canada Travelling
September 14, 2018

We don’t have a working fuel gage on the boat.  We also have a fuel tank that’s tipped at an angle in the bilge.  So our problem is that we are never quite sure how much diesel is actually making it into the tank, and how much that tank actually holds in its current position.  We know the size of the tank in theory, but we have yet to see that amount of fuel in the tank in reality.

We have plans to correct this of course, but in the meantime, while we fill the tank, one of us is carefully attempting to not spill diesel all over the deck, while the other is laying, face down, head in the bilge, to listen for the eventual sound of the tinny gurgle when the fuel is finished filling into the tank itself and begins to fill the fuel line instead.

John has a sheet of places, distances, speeds, conditions, fuel purchases, and umpteen calculations on how much diesel we *should* have at any given time, but since our fuel line/engine issues in Québec, we are always a little wary, and very mindful.

July 28th, 2018: We pulled into Club Nautique Forillon in Rivière-au-Renard, Québec for fuel, a shower, and laundry after our inability to obtain any of these things in our last port of Cloridorme.  Having been through 30 hours of adventurous seas in an overnight passage prior to that stop, I was little nervous in the “how much fuel do we have left” department.  We were fine, and thankfully ended up with needing less diesel than we thought, but until we get the gage fixed and the tank straightened, this is yet one more thing that we always have to keep in mind as we spend most of our time motoring (and not sailing) through Canada due to needing to manoeuvre through tight channels, tides, currents, headwinds, and timelines.

We arrived in Rivière-au-Renard on a perfect day with glasslike waters.  An incredible opportunity to capture this very picturesque town in a panorama.  We didn’t do any exploring, unless you count the laundry room, fuel dock, and ice cream truck; and we only stayed one night. But it was a fabulous little marina, with a very friendly and accommodating manager.  And I was grateful for clean clothes, sheets, a hot shower, and a full fuel tank.

We left the next morning with a beautiful watercolour sky, to explore more of Gaspésie on our way to the city of Gaspé.

Forillon National Park, covering 244 square kilometres in the Gaspésie, proved to have stunning landscapes, hundreds of jet-fighter like northern gannets – such a cool bird,  as well as a few curious seals.  The outcropping at the tip of the Park (photos below) is known as the Shiphead.  Unfortunately there were no whales to be seen though we saw several whale watching boats whiz by us.

We arrived in the city of Gaspé and docked along the outer harbour.  The marina is beautiful but small, with only a tiny number of transit slips that are for much smaller boats.  It was not a problem though, we had lots of room for manoeuvrability and were happily away from all the other boats in the tight little inner harbour.

Timing was finally on our side as our friends Gar and Alisha had detoured up off of their route home from a wedding they had attended Prince Edward Island and were meeting us that afternoon to explore the town.

They arrived after their unsuccessful whale-watching venture… apparently the whales weren’t just hiding from us… and we braved an incredible downpour to find a delicious dinner at Brise Bise, and then once the rain ended, walked back to the boat under an amazing sky and rainbow.

We were only planning on staying the night but it was a rare experience to have company and we hadn’t seen any family or friends since Shane visited us in Gananaoque, four weeks prior. (where our fridge originally died and we were still a ways off from fixing it – damn you, UPS). So we all agreed, amidst much drink, to stay for an extra day and actually take the boat out for a pleasure sail.

The next morning, Alisha was unfortunately feeling a bit unwell so we had a quiet morning to relax, shower, take advantage of the wifi, and play a little piano in the lounge (I’m so out of practice…).  But Gar and Alisha made it over to the boat for an afternoon sail… our first pleasure sail since we had begun our travels thirty-six days prior.  The winds were a bit high at point which made for some energetic tacking but it was a great day to just unwind.

More wine, more catching up. The four of us sat back under a beautiful night sky in the cockpit before the wine and food ran out (hot dog grilled cheese sandwiches by the way are excellent), and we retired for the evening.

Gar and Alisha left for their trip home the following morning but not before a wonderful coffee delivery at the boat.  We wished each other a safe trip, and headed out shortly afterward.  About a hundred yards from the dock, John asked if the engine sounded strange… he revved it and it immediately died.  He went down to the engine, changed the fuel filter while we basically floated on the spot, and then immediately turned back around to dock.  At least it happened on a windless day in a protected bay instead of while we were being tossed and knocked about in the middle of the night like wild bronco riding at the Stampede.  Given our slight hangovers from the weekend-long visit with old friends, we figured it was best to double check everything and then start fresh in the morning.



  1. Reply


    September 15, 2018

    Love your pictures

    • Reply


      September 16, 2018

      Thanks Mom! 🙂


Michelle Kauntz
Wild Blue Yonder

Seems you've found us. I'm one half of the charming and somewhat frustrating duo that is John & Michelle. (I'm Michelle) We once had this one-day idea that we wanted to sail around the world. We made a five year plan. After ten years of talking and two years of prepping and postponing, we are finally underway. Feel free to follow us and live vicariously though our pratfalls and adventures as we take our almost-as-old-as-John Bayfield 40 Cutter Ketch out of the safety of Lake Ontario and out into the world. On a shoestring budget. With two fiercely independent people. In basically 300-ish square feet of living space and with not a heck of a lot of sailing experience (yet) ...This is going to be fun...

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