Saturday, August 8, 2009
This is a copy of our emails that we sent out during our cruise from Grosse Pointe to the North Channel and then west to Mackinaw City. If you did not get a chance to read it, here it is. If you accidentally deleted it, here it is.
Writing a cruising blog seems to be the stylish thing for those out plying the planet’s waters with a sailboat, so I thought I would try it on all of you. Next will be a DVD of our adventures and it will include cruising tips and recipes for those cooking on the high seas. It will go for only $19.95 unless there are unsold copies left over. Those will be distributed for no charge. Please do not take this offer too seriously, it may be rescinded.
In any case, we are now in the
Nothing went as planned. Instead of going to Goderich the first day, we chose to put in at Bayfield, ten miles short. Again, more motorsailing, huge swells, little wind, and rain squalls. Bayfield: A charming town up on a bluff where we spent July 1st, our wedding anniversary having dinner in a great little restaurant, the Albion Inn – charming beyond belief. Then we moved the next ten miles to Goderich, bucking against huge waves from the NW driven by a nasty, but non-threatening wind. It was the town with a marina next to a huge shipping port where they export salt that is mined as far as two miles out under the lake. It is gorgeous, a town of stately old homes and manicured lawns with a square and courthouse. Then came the storm and a day’s layover. Next was Kincardine, a lovely short motoring experience where we arrived in the afternoon. They were having the Highland Festival and we saw 76 different drum and bagpipe groups play together in sync. The National Bureau of Standards atomic clock in
After an overnight at the town dock there, we headed due north to Killarney, another charming place at the far NW corner of the
Leaving charming Killarney, a town that never had roads to it until a few decades back, was hard. It is one of those places that grows on you in 24 hours.
Suddenly we found ourselves five miles from Killarney in Covered Portage Cove, sitting at anchor in a walled cove with a narrow entrance about 75 feet wide. Walls of rock and pines about 100 – 300 feet surrounded us along with a fleet of gorgeous sailboats at anchor. Luckily, we were there, because the walls gave us protection from a 30 mph wind that blew all day.
In the morning we left and had a great sail – yes, sailing without a motor – to Baie Fine, a few hours north. We entered it, a place that looks like a fjord and takes you in 11 miles to a place called “The Pool.” It is one of the finest, most secluded anchorages around here, consequently a place that everyone goes too and frequently makes it crowded. So much for exclusive. Luckily, there were only six other boats, including that of the folks that we followed north in the fog.
Leaving The Pool and Baie Fine, we motored out against a west wind, headed SW towards
It is becoming a world onto itself with two places to sit in the cabin, a cockpit for a patio, and horizon that goes on forever for a yard. A good Laundromat in a marina is suddenly far more precious than having your own washer and dryer in the basement. Food is good everywhere, but we now walk to the grocery story, however far it is and sometimes they deliver to the dock. Nothing on land seems to stand still any more and you fall over when you get up out of your chair in a restaurant to go to the bathroom. Dramamine and our usual prescription meds are a part of our diet – so far no seasickness because of preventative doses on bad days. Today an older couple pulled in and tied up next to us in Little Current. We had met them in
July 16, 2009
It is time to write because we have live internet here in
Speaking of Kagawong: It is a village with almost nothing except a restaurant, a fire department and a nice little marina. The original marina building used to have steam ships tie up to it and unload wheat for the flour mill that supplied
The trip from Little Current to Kagawong was to buy Marilynn a new “Kagawong” shirt – the old one from 1994 is badly worn. And, of course, see Kagawong again. We left Little Current after lunch, having already had a rain in the morning that did not amount to much. A few cells were still coming, but there was no extreme wind forecast, in fact light winds. We sailed west at about five knots with a nice southerly breeze and overcast skies. Then things began to pick up suddenly. We rolled in the jib and turned on the engine because the wind shifted to the west, right where we were going. Then it increased to about 30 mph and rain started falling – not heavy rain, but sideways rain. Visibility was zero to a few hundred yards and the whole place became a maritime washing machine. Idling back to keep the boat from slamming, we continued to move ahead about 3 mph, but had to go off course and quarter into the oncoming 4-foot waves. Marilynn had gone down into the cabin and put on her full suit of foul weather gear and storm hat from
The problem with all of this is that the marina in Kagawong no longer sells shirts. Well, we tried.
We were planning to head north today and go anchor out in the
July 21, 2009
We ended up staying in
A couple of days ago, with the first of the improved weather, we moved northwest to Long Point Cove, the furthest east that we made it on last year’s trip. It was lovely to pull in there and anchor again and we met some guys from Grosse Pointe, always a bit of a kick when you are far from home.
Today, Tuesday, we moved west to
Special notes: The morning we left
July 25, 2009. A few days back we left
The marina in Thessalon has been upgraded by grants from the
On the four-hour journey to Thessalon, many things crossed my mind, and one of them was “What is the
The last, recent event of geological importance was the great Laurentian Glacier. It moved from the north to the south, extending down to as far as the
Navigation in the
Another quirk of this area is its magnetism. Your compass always points about nine degrees west of true geographic north, average for this area, so if you are referring to a course given in geographic numbers, you must add ten degrees. That is fairly easy to remember. The real problem is that this deviation (declination) is not always nine degrees. It can vary wildly due to underground iron deposits – recall that Northern Michigan,
Back to the story of the trip: We left Thessalon a couple days ago and moved south to Detour,
Upon arriving in Detour, we called in to U.S. Customs to report our arrival. We now have I-68 forms, a special permit for boaters that allows us to come back to the
Today, the 25th, we left Detour and went west to
August 3, 2009. We are now home in Grosse Pointe. The remainder of the trip, down to
Coming from the north through this passage makes you aware of how enormous the
After about ten more minutes the Mackinac Island scenery is behind you and
Now our little personal story about crossing the strait to
Back in the early nineties, a young lady crossing the strait did not do so well. She drove her Yugo across the bridge on a very windy day – one of those days with gusts up to 50 mph when the flashing sign reads “High Wind Warning – Do Not Exceed 30 MPH.” Nobody knows exactly how fast she was moving in the Yugo, but the lightly constructed little Yugoslavian car was blown sideways and out of control. It hit the guard rails, fairly substantial ones, and flipped over them like the empty little can it was and freely fell 200 feet to the water and then plunged down the remaining 200-feet-plus to the bottom. The lady, the Yugo, and the nation of
Lisa came up to fetch us on Saturday and after doing some shopping in
Arriving home was a great experience in itself. Everything was perfect. Katya had mowed and edged the lawn and her diligent watering had produced a fabulous crop of red, ripe tomatoes. The house was immaculately clean and the dogs had even had a little haircut to keep them trimmed and neat. After having spent exactly 35 days living, eating and sleeping in the boat, I was almost shocked to see how many possessions we have here at home. Everything jumped out at me – vehicles, lawnmower, power tools, dishwasher, a refrigerator with an icemaker, manicured lawns, and above all, a huge bed that does not sway beneath me while I lie in it. All of this is nice to have, but a bed that does not softly move around a bit in the night is pretty hard to take. It will soon be time again to go down to the sea and the ships.
Perry Munson, Marilynn Fairfax and The Baltika