|July 2003 Log|
|TUESDAY, JULY 1ST
We left Skinner’s Marina at 6:24 a.m., and are crossing Oneida Lake – it seems good to let the “Nauti Gal” just get out and run….it is sunny and a little cool this morning, but already the temperature is on its way up.
We are now on the other side of Oneida Lake which is the largest body of water on the Erie Canal. We made it across in one hour, as Jim said we would – the water was very nice. Sylvan Beach and Oneida Lake are definitely tourist areas. We are now running in the Oneida River (which is still part of the Erie Canal). Down stream from here is our first lock of the day – Lock 23 at Brewerton – a 7’ drop. This is the last lock down when headed west.
It is 9:14 and we have reached the canal junction – off to the left the Erie Canal continues on; however, we are leaving the Erie Canal and are now heading north on the Oswego Canal, still part of the New York State canal system.
The Oswego Canal construction began in 1826 and opened for traffic in 1828 – not to be outdone by the construction of the Erie Canal completed in 1825. Today the Oswego Canal has a controlled depth of 14’ and a controlled height of 20’. It is 24 miles long and has 7 locks. This canal doesn’t have a #4 lock; however, leaving a lock number out is not unique to this canal. The Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal have also left out some lock numbers.
From where we left the Erie Canal, the Oswego Canal drops from 363’ above sea level to 245’ above sea level at Lake Ontario in seven steps. In general, the locks are more modern and in better shape than the Erie Canal Locks.
The Oswego Canal locks support no less than eight hydro plants. These plants generate between 1,400 and 10,000 kilowatts each, providing electricity for many New York families.
We went through Lock 1 at Phoenix with a 10’ drop….no problem. Historical Note: Like so many of the old towns that were built almost entirely of wood, Phoenix burned in 1916 when a fire started in a chair factory. All the manufacturing and retail businesses as well as many homes burned to the ground. The bridge next to Lock 1 survived the fire. Most other structures were lost. The retail business was rebuilt, but the manufacturing businesses never came back..
We have gone through Lock 2 and Lock 3, both at Fulton and just a half mile apart. Both locks had cables which are easier than lines (they call them ropes). Lock 2 dropped us 18’ and Lock 3 dropped us 27’.
Historical Note: Pathfinder Island is located on the east side of the canal. This island was named after the lead character, Pathfinder, in James Fenimore Cooper’s book of the same name. The “Pathfinder” centers on a trip taken down the Oswego River in 1759.
Lock 5 at Minetto (remember, there’s no Lock 4) is just ahead with an 18’ drop and we’re back to lines (ropes) again. Locks 6, 7 and 8 are all at Oswego. Lock 6 is 4 miles ahead (at the speed we are required to go) it will take 25 minutes – we have a 20’ drop. Locks 7 (14’ drop) and 8 (10’ drop) are only a half mile apart and will take 5 minutes between the two.
We will then be in the Port of Oswego and already have reservations at the Oswego Marina there. Yesterday was a fairly short day, and it looks like a short day today too. Sometimes you need a couple days like that when you are traveling. We arrived at the fuel dock at approximately 1:15, and got settled in shortly thereafter. It warmed up nicely today….after we arrived, we had a nice lunch a few steps away from the boat, walked up town and got groceries (at a REAL grocery store – what a treat) and just a few feet from the boat is the laundry room, so guess what I’m doing now??
We can see Lake Ontario from our boat….it looks real good, and we plan on getting an early start in the morning and maybe go as far as Rochester, New York (about 50 miles – yea, no locks tomorrow).
By the way, any of you who have sent us notes via email….just to let you know we DID get them; however, for whatever reason, it is almost impossible for us to get emails out to you…..Jim just hates this Yahoo!!!! He’ll change that as soon as we get home!! So continuing to get the log out to you on a pretty regular basis is our way of communicating back to you all. Jim is pretty much up-to-date on his map and pictures; however, there are nights (he does all of this after 9:30 weekdays) that he just gets thrown off the computer by the server. It usually doesn’t take long to upload my log, but the rest seems to take forever. Just to let you know we are thinking of all of you – family and friends – and miss you all very, very much!!
|WEDNESDAY, JULY 2ND
We left Oswego at 7:38 this morning….it is a beautiful sunny day – a little cool, but is already warming up. We are running at 22 knots, and Lake Ontario is very smooth today. This lake reminds me so much of Lake Michigan with its hills (and some erosion).
We ran practically the whole length of Lake Ontario today….it was beautiful! We ran 133.2 miles in 6 hours, 22 minutes and arrived at St. Catharine’s Marina at Port Weller East in Ontario, Canada at 2:00….temperature in the 80’s. This is where you check into Customs, which Jim has already done.
The reasons Jim decided to go all this way today is: In checking ports, etc., along the way, there really wasn’t a lot to choose from….and Rochester, New York is just another big city plus, with the 4th of July just around the corner, who knows if we could have gotten in any place. He found out that Canada does not celebrate the 4th of July, so that was the deciding factor.
Tomorrow morning we will start through the Welland Canal. Jim says maybe after we get through that tomorrow, we can take it a little easy. We have been pushing and are both really tired.
The way we are going is a longer way; however, we decided to not go through the Trent-Severen Canal. Too many boats have been getting in trouble after coming out of that canal because of very low water and rocks. They say if your boat’s draft is 3’-4’ you will be okay. Well, guess what, our boat has a draft of 5’ and we don’t want to take a chance!
Okay, here is the “dope” on the Welland Canal as we know it. It is definitely a shipping canal, a critical link for commerce between the U.S. and Canada as well as overseas trading. A busy day could see 40 freighters pass through the canal. The entire canal trip takes a minimum eight hours with good time, and twelve-fourteen hours or more in some cases, if it is very busy and/or if a lock shuts down.
The Welland Canal has been part of the St. Lawrence Seaway System since 1959, and pleasure craft are subject to the regulations of the Seaway Authority.
By law, you must have three people on board your boat to go through the canal. If there are just two, like us, you are required to hire a third person to go along – a person who does this sort of thing all the time and has the experience and knowledge of the canal. We have a fellow going with us by the name of Marc (the marinas can give you names of people). So Marc will join us in the morning at 6:30 after checking with the canal system to see how many ships are planning to go through the canal. I hope we are lucky and there won’t be too many! There are eight locks and you have to travel slowly the whole 27 miles between Lock 1 and Lock 8.
The fastest and most comfortable transit is downbound from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, because you are traveling approximately 325’ downhill, which is easier. Upbound, the way we will be going, there is turbulence as locks fill with 20 million gallons of water over 10 minutes or so. Once you enter the Welland Canal, there is no stopping and no facilities to lay over, so you must be well-prepared to complete the trip once you begin. Locks 1 through 7 give you an approximate rise of 46’, each lock. Lock 8 – the equalizer lock they call it – has only an approximate rise of 2’.
Fenders, and the placement of fenders, is very important going through the canal because of the turbulence of the water coming into the chamber. The mooring sequence differs as you move through the locks, so you have to be prepared to move fenders quickly. If you are allowed in one of the locks with a freighter, you are to proceed to the head of the lock unless instructed otherwise. They try to place you where there is less turbulence. I’ll let you know tomorrow how it all goes, okay??
THURSDAY, JULY 3rd
Marc arrived and we left our dock at 6:29. It is a sunny day and getting humid already. We went out on Lake Ontario and “around the corner” so to speak, in order to start into the “Welland Canal”. Lucky us, a big freighter was coming in off Lake Ontario and he definitely has priority over pleasure craft in the canal. Now we wished we had left our dock at 6:00!! So, all you can do is tie up to a dock outside the lock and wait – and try to be patient! We figure, if we are lucky, we might get in by 9:00. Marc told us that they would never allow pleasure craft in with one of the freighters (so much for our reading up on this ahead of time) – very honestly though, we can understand after seeing these freighters – they are huge and only have one foot on each side of their boat, so they are practically scraping the lock walls. Unfortunately, some of these freighters do not report in to the canal system when they are coming through – it would be helpful to others so they could plan their time of departure.
We entered Lock 1 a little before 9:00 and got through it by 9:22 – with Marc on board, and with his experience and knowledge of these locks, he made it quite easy for us – but there really IS a lot of turbulence when that water starts coming into the chamber. The canal people are very helpful and drop down lines to you (one for the person on the bow and one for the person on the stern. Marc knew exactly where the fenders should go (some high and some low) and we had eight fenders hanging at all times. The most important thing is to keep your lines taut, so you don’t start floating out to the middle of the chamber. That’s also where the captain comes in….first of all, you don’t shut down your engines in the Welland Canal – Marc and I took care of the lines, while Jim was at the helm of the boat, gently working the controls back and forth to keep control. We had a pleasure craft going through all the locks with us – three men were on board but should have had someone like Marc with them. They had an awful time keeping control. On several occasions, because their lines were not kept taut (also the owner of the boat was not doing his job at the controls) they were floating out in the middle of the chamber. One time they lost control and the boat turned on them and they found the bow facing out and the stern facing the wall of the lock. When the captain tried to “right” the vessel, he smashed the corner of the stern into the wall. We noticed he also had some bad mars on the bow of the boat from another incident apparently.
We entered Lock 2 at 9:25 and went through, without incident, at 9:48. We’ve just been informed we will have about a 45 minute wait for Lock 3. Going through the Welland Canal is not free….Marc told us the freighters pay $30,000 to go through. Pleasure craft pay a fee of $123 in American money. Marc said he would charge us $100 to take us all the way through Lock 7, where he would hop off upon completion of that lock….Since Lock 8 is the equalizer lock, he felt we wouldn’t need him for that one. We felt $100 was very reasonable and Jim – because of all of Marc’s help and the peace of mind it gave us having him on board – gave him $150. We found out Marc and his wife live in Venice, Florida, part of the time – not that far from Cape Coral – so sometime next winter, we will try to get together. We really enjoyed his company – a real nice guy!
We entered Lock 3 at approximately 10:25 and went through at 10:45. Before exiting this canal, they collect your $123 from you. Locks 4, 5 and 6 are like stair steps – you come out of one and immediately go into the next one. We entered Lock 4 at 12:10 – came out at 12:35….entered Lock 5 at 12:37 – came out at 1:00….entered Lock 6 at 1:01 – came out at 2:57 (they kept us in this lock for an hour after the chamber was filled waiting for a freighter downbound). We entered Lock 7 at 3:06 and went through it at 3:27. After the rise was complete, Marc hopped off the boat and we said our good-byes and thank-yous. We found ourselves on a long stretch of river (called the English River) for quite a few miles, and of course you are required to go slowly. Lo and behold, we caught up to the freighter that followed us into the canal early in the morning, and was ahead of us the entire day. We were told we could not pass him, and would have to follow behind him (the other pleasure craft and us)….We finally arrived at Lock 8 and, of course, he went in and we waited. What we didn’t expect was, after he got in the last lock of the day, he sat there for over an hour provisioning the ship via a crane…..we don’t know what all they took aboard, but it was a lot. I can’t imagine it was just food.
Actually, even though we had some waits today, I guess we were lucky we left as early as we did this morning. The first lock we were in, a tug boat came in with us and, at the completion of Lock 1, he never entered Lock 2 with us. Instead, we saw him go off to the side of the channel where sat a Navy Ship. We found out later that the tug was going to take the ship into dry dock. Consequently, that section of the canal was shut down for HOURS – guess boat traffic was really tied up – commercial and pleasure craft. Bet there were a lot of upset people!
Back to Lock 8….this is the equalizer lock – once you go into it, you DON’T tie your boat but just run through the entire lock at a very slow speed while the lock gives you the final finishing “lift” necessary to match the Lake Erie Elevation – it raises you up a couple more feet, but no turbulence at all. We FINALLY were able to get into this lock at 7:07 and came out at 7:17. Then there was a short run to where our marina is….we finally got tied up at Sugar Loaf Marina at 8:00 p.m. Thirteen and a half hours is a long tiring day – they tell you that it takes a minimum of eight hours and a maximum of fourteen hours to get through this canal, and it all depends on how many waits you have and the traffic in the canal. We tied up, hooked up to power, went up to their little restaurant on the premises, got ready for bed and collapsed.
NO MORE LOCKS THE REST OF OUR TRIP – YEA!!!!
FRIDAY, JULY 4TH
Happy 4th of July everyone! Hope you all had good weather for any outdoor activities you had planned.
We slept in until 9:00 – a first for us on this trip, but it sure felt good!! We will stay here at Sugar Loaf Marina, City of Port Colborne, at least a couple of days to unwind. Jim has rented a car so we can get off the boat for a while and see some of the sights you can’t see by boat. By the way, Lake Erie is just on the other side of a stone wall around the marina. That’s how close we are to it.
Later….we drove to Niagara Falls this afternoon – it has been a lot of years since we’ve been there. In fact we ate in the very same restaurant (called Victoria Park Restaurant) overlooking the “Falls” that we ate in after being married only a year and a half. The food and service are still very good. We like to eat out on the porch….you have a roof over your head but the sides of the porch are open, so you can feel the mist from the “Falls”, and the small birds fly in (begging) and they fly out. Quite unique! The “Falls” are still just as magnificent as we remembered them to be….and no man made these – only the Lord could make something this beautiful for us to enjoy! The town of Niagara Falls has become extremely busy….in fact, we don’t remember there being much there years ago. Also, a lot of hotels have gone up close by the “Falls” – things DO change….in fact, they even have a casino there now, unfortunately.
It has been a good day and we are back on the boat just relaxing. Tomorrow we will drive to Niagara-On-The-Lake, which is actually on Lake Ontario. People on a boat next to us suggested that to us plus a few good places to stop when we leave here and run on Lake Erie. They do all their boating on Lake Erie. I think we have almost given up trying to make the Great Lakes Cruising Rendezvous at Spanish River on Lake Huron….we would have to push to make it and, frankly, we are tired of pushing it. I’ll keep you posted!!
SATURDAY, JULY 5TH
I don’t know why, but here in Canada our server doesn’t recognize our password; consequently, we can’t get my log, or anything else out to you. Sorry about that! Now we can’t even receive emails…by the time we CAN get out, you will get several day’s worth of logs.
Today we drove over to Niagara-On-The-Lake, a small town on Lake Ontario. It was well worth the trip – the town is charming as well as beautiful – lots of unique little shops, Bed and Breakfasts, hotels and restaurants. I have never seen so many pretty parks, pretty trees and gorgeous flowers in one small town before. Whether in the historic district or the more modern sections of town, people have lots of flowers planted everywhere in their yards….just beautiful. Right downtown it is beautiful with flowers everywhere….it seems a wealthy man gave the town one million dollars to be used for this purpose, and the town maintains the flowers. As soon as we can get out to all of you, you will see these pictures I am talking about. While there, we took a carriage ride around town with Melissa and “Gus”, an eight year old horse. It was fun and Melissa gave us some history of the town. One thing I thought was really neat….on all the carriages there were flags – the neat part being, each flag was part American flag, the other part was Canadian flag.
On the way back to the boat, we stopped at a Butterfly Conservatory. We thought that would be fun; however, there were big crowds and we were told they only take a few people through at a time, which meant a wait for us. Guess we weren’t willing to wait as we were getting tired by then. Next time!
We had a heavy down-pour just about the time we got back to the boat….the wind was still blowing and it felt cool. On Lake Ontario today it was hot and not a breath of air. It has been a good day! We figured out that, with the exception of spending a week in Annapolis when we returned from Michigan, this is the first time we have taken a break and stayed a few days….all the other days we were moving everyday.
SUNDAY, JULY 6TH
The sun is shining and we have a bit of a cool breeze….better than yesterday, though. The wind blew pretty hard all day. I spent most of the morning doing laundry while Jim picked up a few things we needed at the grocery store….it is nice having a car sometimes! Jim rinsed down the boat a little bit – it was plastered with itty, bitty bugs and I spent the afternoon cleaning the inside of the boat again. So, it has been a fairly quiet day! Jim got the dock girl to take him to the car rental place this afternoon to drop the car (so we didn’t have to take the time in the morning), and then she brought him back to the marina.
Weather permitting, we plan on leaving here in the morning, after fueling the boat. We have pretty much given up on the Georgian Bay area. We may go as far as Erie, Pennsylvania tomorrow, or possibly further if Lake Erie cooperates. There is just a small portion of Pennsylvania that is on Lake Erie – did you know that? I sure didn’t, until Jim showed me the chart. Another place we may stop is the Sandusky, Ohio, area….we have been told that is pretty nice. We will end up eventually at Port Huron and start up Lake Huron towards Mackinac City. I think we are starting to miss the good ‘ol U.S.A.!!!!
Hope all of you are well at home – we miss everybody!!!!
MONDAY, JULY 7TH
We left the fuel dock at 8:45….it is a cloudy day and somewhat humid even though the temperature is only seventy degrees. We have some “rollers” out here on Lake Erie (prediction for today is l’-3’ out of the south – these seem to be more out of the southwest. It sounds like we may have some storms moving in either later today or tomorrow, so that’s why we decided to run this morning. We are running 19.6 knots right now, so you can see the rollers are not bothering us.
We just crossed into American waters from Canadian waters at 10:05…..yea!! We had a very brief rain shower and now the sun is shining brightly, but the wind has come up a bit causing a few white caps on top of the rollers now. We are on the southeast side of Lake Erie. Side Note: While still on the Canadian side of Lake Erie, we ate some of the best perch and walleye we’ve ever had – talk about fresh fish – yummy!!
We have decided to bypass Erie, Pennsylvania, as the lake has settled down quite a bit – no more whitecaps, just small rollers – unfortunately, we have lost our sun . We are now heading for Ashtabula, Ohio!!! Ashtabula is only 25 miles from here and doing 20 knots, it won’t take too long to get there. Jim has made reservations at Sutherland’s Marina. One thing we have found is, everyone has taken reservations from us on this trip so far. Back home it is usually only the privately owned marinas that will do this.
As we get closer to Ashtabula, the sea is building – bigger rollers and whitecaps. But our port is in sight and we will soon be in.
We entered the outer harbor at 1:36 and know we just missed a bridge opening up ahead – that’s okay, we will go through at the 2:00 opening instead. It is now 2:04 and we are at the fuel dock as Jim wants to top off his tanks. As soon as that is done, they will just walk us back from where we are now on the dock. We heard just before we came in that severe thunderstorms are on their way – once again, the Lord was with us and brought us in safely. We are supposed to get heavy rain and wind gusts up to 35 MPH….supposedly this storm is moving at 50 MPH, and is supposed to hit Cleveland at 3:30 – I suspect we will be next as we are 51 miles east of there. We are approximately a third of the way on Lake Erie….we ran 96.1 miles in 5 hours and 20 minutes today.
Your history lesson for today: Ashtabula – a city of 25,000 and the principal city in Ashtabula County, population 99,000 – is an important deep-water port with significant lake and international shipping. The name “Ashtabula” is a Native American term meaning “many fish.” The river was the boundary line between the eastern and western tribes – the Iroquois claiming the land to the east and Algonquin tribes claiming the land to the west. When General Moses Cleaveland passed through with his surveying company in 1796, he proposed to name it after his daughter, Mary Esther. The surveyors in his team, however, favored the Indian name. To secure his goal, General Cleaveland provided two gallons of wine to each surveyor. As long as the wine lasted, the name was Mary Esther, but when the last bottle disappeared, the river assumed the old name and has borne it ever since….pretty funny, eh?
Sure hope our server will let us get logs, pictures, updated map out now that we are back in the U.S.
|TUESDAY, JULY 8TH
Happy 42nd Wedding Anniversary to brother, Don, and sister-in-law, Gail! Make this a “special” celebration, okay???
We never did get the storms they predicted last night….they went south of us. I have to tell you about a man we met last night by the name of Terry. He works at the marina at Ashtabula, has a home somewhere in Virginia, but in the summer, he and his wife live aboard their boat in Geneva, Ohio, which is about nine miles west of here. He and others have – not a Bed & Breakfast – but a Boat & Breakfast called “Sweet Justice Boat & Breakfast”. Terry does not own this boat, but is the captain of it. It is a 32’ sedan/bridge motor yacht completely refurbished with all the amenities a person might want. A couple might arrive late afternoon or early evening and be welcomed with a beverage…if they care to, Captain Terry will take them out on Lake Erie for two hours with a gourmet picnic basket. If they prefer, they can stay dockside. The next morning, after arising, they will receive a complimentary hot breakfast basket. A car is also available for their overnight stay. Prices are quite reasonable. We thought this was a pretty unique idea, don’t you??
We woke up to clear blue skies this morning, not knowing if we would go or stay, as we couldn’t tell if the wind was still blowing from our protected harbor. We finally decided to try it, knowing that if it was rough, Geneva, Ohio was only nine miles away. The next closest place to duck in would be Fairport, twenty-four miles further. The bridge opened for us at 9:30 and we were off. Out on Lake Erie we found we still had 3’ rollers with whitecaps on top, right on our nose. So Jim slowed the Nauti Gal down to about 16-17 knots and we’re riding the waves pretty good. We’re not sure how far we will go….it all depends on the water!
We pulled into Fairport at 11:15 – the skies were still blue over the lake, but it had clouded up quite a bit over land and they were predicting more storms this afternoon, so we decided to quit for the day. The water had not gotten any worse but decided not to push it!!
Jim was able to upload about six days worth of logs last night….he finally was able to update his map, after thirty-five minutes of trying….this cell phone is soooo slow and, also, the server keeps throwing him off line. I think he managed to get maybe two pictures uploaded, but by that time, he was tired and soooo frustrated he finally quit. Like in this case, if days go by and you don’t hear from us, you’ll know we just can’t get out to you….keep checking the website and, eventually, we will be back!!!! More later…..
|WEDNESDAY, JULY 9TH
We left the dock at 9:15….cloudy skies….73 degrees….the rain has stopped. We are supposed to get more later. The worst storms last night went south of us and all we got was a little thunder and rain. Some of the towns in Ohio really got it bad and even had tornados and flooding.
Lake Erie is better today than yesterday – we have some left-over rollers from yesterday – no whitecaps. What little wind we have is pretty much behind us. We have had rain showers off and on all morning, but nothing bad. We have seen just a few fishermen out and two of the “tall ships” heading for Cleveland. They are pretty with all their sails. Other than that, we have felt pretty much alone out here!
We have noticed the facilities along the Ohio shore of Lake Erie leave a little to be desired – as an example: last night we didn’t have enough electrical power to run our air conditioners (are we spoiled or what??), so we ran our generator…..it was really humid yesterday. Today the temperature has gone down to 67-68 degrees. What a contrast!!
The lake is almost smooth now and the rain has stopped….the sky is brightening some now. We were planning to stop at Put-in-Bay, Ohio on South Bass Island. As we passed Kelleys Island Jim noticed a Citgo sign and decided to go in there as he needed some oil, and that’s the only kind of oil he uses in the Nauti Gal. We topped off our two fuel tanks and then found out, even though they have Citgo fuel, they don’t sell Citgo oil – doesn’t make a lot of sense to us! He decided to stay anyway, so here we are . Fuel here is expensive - $2.00/gallon.
The sun just came out and it is almost blinding as we haven’t seen it in a while! It has really warmed up and, at least for now, it doesn’t look like we will get more rain. They are still predicting more rain though, later tonight.
We ran 72.5 miles today and made it in a little less than four hours. Weather permitting, we plan to finish Lake Erie tomorrow (we’ve done most of it already), go up the Detroit River and into Lake St. Claire. We will probably spend tomorrow night at Port Huron.
We rented a golf cart this afternoon and ran all over Kelleys Island….A little history of the island: Long before the area was settled by white men, the island’s south shore was occupied by two American Indian villages. Early settlers dug up countless relics, including pottery shards, ornaments and hatchets. In 1818, the red cedar trees from the forest that covered the isle were used to fuel Lake Erie’s first steamboat, the Walk-in-the-Water. Kelleys Island was known as Cunningham’s Island until brothers Datus and Irad Kelley arrived here from Cleveland in 1833. They purchased the entire island for about $1.65 an acre and renamed it in their honor. The largest island in U.S. waters, Kelleys lies three miles north of Marblehead on the Ohio mainland. In our trip around the island, we also saw the Glacial Grooves, the largest and most spectacular example of glacial grooves left in the entire world. This goes way back in history to the Ice Age when the glaciers flowed down from Canada. It is an awe-inspiring reminder of the forces that carved this region’s topography and are visited by geologists from around the world.
Talk to you tomorrow……Kitty, we are thinking about you today!!
|THURSDAY, JULY 10TH
We left Kelleys Island at 7:35 this morning. Cloudy skies – seventy degrees….it rained last night and now the forecasters are saying the front that went through parts of Ohio a few days ago, but went south of where we were, is going to turn around and come north again producing more cool weather. I can’t believe this cool, rainy summer we are having!! We decided we had better get moving this morning as we are supposed to get more “weather” later today. What wind we have is behind us….we are running about 21-22 knots. As we go, the seas are building – right now they are around 4’.
We are finally leaving Lake Erie behind us….it is 9:30….by the way, we are in Michigan!!!! At the present time we are heading up the Detroit River. There are two channels you can take on this river, and it doesn’t matter which one you take as they eventually merge. As the two merged, we met up with a tug boat pulling a barge behind.
Now we are about to cross Lake St. Clair – it is 10:55…..the lake looks a little choppy.
It is about 11:55 and we have crossed Lake St. Clair and are going into the St. Clair River. I have to tell you, this was not a fun crossing….the waves built up to approximately 5’-6’ and they were hitting us almost broadside. Because of the short chop on this lake, a wave would hit and, almost before you could recover from it, another one hit you. The wind was throwing the water onto our windshield so hard and fast, our windshield wipers almost couldn’t keep up. Number 1, I HATE a beam sea, and Number 2, I HATE not being able to see….we were straining to see the channel markers and, at the same time, watch for other boats. Even with all that, we made it across in one hour. What amazes me is on some of the nicest days, we wouldn’t see hardly any boats out, and today we saw all kinds of boats going both ways – we saw one trawler that was wallowing side to side in the water….it was not a pleasant trip! We went 119 miles today in 6 hours and 35 minutes, and we are tired!!
We finally arrived at the Riverside Marina at Port Huron, which is on the Black River, a tributary of the St. Clair River, at 2:10 – a miserable day weather-wise with some rain….seventy-one degrees upon arrival.
A little history about Port Huron….Originally a lumbering town, the present city of 34,000 is a popular summer recreational center with little heavy industry. The myriad lights of “Chemical Valley”along the riverfront of Sarnia, Ontario, its Canadian sister city, are a dazzling spectacle after hours of darkness cruising Lake Huron….Port Huron figured prominently in the early trading era. Michigan’s second fort, Fort St. Joseph, was constructed in 1686 by French explorer and fur trader Daniel DuL’uth. Marine lore abounds in the area and many artifacts are on display at the Museum of Arts and History.
|FRIDAY, JULY 11TH
This has been a bit of a strange day….we are still in Port Huron. It has rained off and on all day with the sun coming out inbetween. The worst part is how windy it has been, and I don’t know if it will let down tonight or not….it has really been chilly today. It sure doesn’t feel like it is JULY.
The marina is close to downtown, so Jim suggested we go for breakfast this morning….we both needed haircuts badly, so we walked into a beauty shop before breakfast and asked if they could take us - they said if we could come back in an hour, they could take care of us….so we went back and got our haircuts (plus I needed to get rid of my white roots). I think when we walked out of there, we both felt so much better. We thought about taking a trolley to see the town but we never did see one come by, plus it was soooo cold from the wind, we just went back to the boat.
Jim spent the afternoon working on the satellite putting new lead wiring in and repositioning the satellite dish to the correct satellite. We are getting satellite once again….for a few days there, we couldn’t get it at all, and local stations were so bad you couldn’t see them. I got ambitious and cleaned the boat AGAIN, baked a chocolate cake and put a beef roast in the oven. So we did get a few things done today!
We hope to leave in the morning if the wind lets down. The wind is supposed to be out of the northwest and be light to moderate….so it may not be perfect, but we hope it won’t be bad if we follow the shoreline.
Miss you all….we are anxious to get back into more familiar water on Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.
|SATURDAY, JULY 12TH
First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARB!!!! We’re not there in person, but our thoughts are there with you!!!! So happy to hear Jeff and Cindy are there to help you celebrate your birthday….how nice of them to buy you a new computer – yes, we did get your email telling us about it and also got your new email address. Jim has gotten a couple very short emails out, but with this Yahoo program we have while traveling….also, going through our cell phone which takes forever….it is really hard to even email anyone. That’s another reason I try to do my log everyday – it’s about the only way we have to communicate with people!!
Well, we are still in Port Huron – the wind has continued to blow hard. We are really hoping to get out of here tomorrow morning. They keep saying the wind will die….but it hasn’t yet. We went for breakfast again this morning – long pants, sweat shirts and jackets….doesn’t that sound delightful for July???? Jim was happy though….they had an antique car show downtown today – I couldn’t care less about antique cars so I browsed through some of the stores.
Later we went for a trolley ride through Port Huron, which was interesting and passed the time. It HAS warmed up some now….I just hope the rain is out of here and I hope and pray the wind will die tonight….we have been traveling so long (and we love being on our boat) we are both really getting tired. If we get some good weather by tomorrow morning, we will go all the way to Alpena…okay, I have a job for all of you…..pray that we can get out of here tomorrow morning and make some tracks into familiar waters.
We are really glad we were able to make this trip; however, with all the wet, chilly and windy weather we have had, it has taken some of the fun out of it. I’m really getting homesick now!!!!!!!
|SUNDAY, JULY 13TH
Fifty-four degrees and sunshine when we woke up at 6:00 this morning. It is now 7:20 and fifty-nine degrees and we are almost done fueling the Nauti Gal. It looks like a beautiful day to run….the wind FINALLY quit blowing, thanks to all the prayers!
A small boat pulled in yesterday afternoon next to us….they had crossed Lake St. Clair and had a miserable run. The wind was behind them which should have made it an easier crossing than what we had; however, because their boat is so light, they still had a rough time. A huge boat came in later – it was 124’ long and beautiful. A tanker truck came to the marina to fill them up as they took on between 4,000-5,000 gallons of fuel!!! We think we take a lot!!!!
Back to today….the channel leading out to Lake Huron always has a very strong current. We probably have a three knot current against us. Of course all the fishermen are fishing in the channel too, like they do at home! That always makes it interesting too.
It is 8:05 and we are out on Lake Huron – it looks mighty good to us. The temperature has already climbed to sixty-five degrees. We hope to have a good run!
At 9:28 we just caught up to the 124’ yacht that left an hour or more before we did. Lake Huron is absolutely gorgeous this morning….by waiting it out until the winds dropped, we can now enjoy the “reward” of a great ride today. We learned a long time ago, you don’t start out in rough water because the big lakes will win everytime if you do. Pam and Frank….you need to try Lake Huron and Lake Michigan AGAIN and WITH US!!!! We will PROVE to you how fantastic and fun they can be!!
There are a lot of boats out today – especially fishermen; however, traveling boats too, most of which seem to be going south. It is 11:50 and we are crossing Saginaw Bay – water is still great and we are doing 24 knots at the present time. It still hasn’t warmed up a whole lot, but that’s okay….the sun is shining and the water good, so we’re not complaining!
We reached the Alpena Harbor fuel dock at 2:30….Jim decided to once again top off his fuel tanks. Our thermometer says it is eighty-three degrees but it doesn’t feel that warm. Just before we arrived here, the wind came up some (a few whitecaps) but was behind us, so it didn’t bother us at all. I know it’s the wind that makes it feel cool though.
All the various marinas we’ve been in, we’ve been told how bad their weather has been all summer. So far we’ve been told that the marina business has been very slow also….I don’t know if that’s strictly because of the bad weather or if a lot of boaters have just stayed home this summer, afraid of all the stories they have heard about “low” water. I suppose it could be a combination of both.
Briefly, Alpena lies at the head of Thunder Bay, the most prominent bay on Lake Huron’s west shore. The bay is about 10 miles wide, north and south, and nine miles deep, with good protection from all except southeasterly gales.
Our boat neighbor told us he saw on the TV that we are supposed to get thunderstorms tonight, so we will just have to wait and see….our plan is to go to Cheboygan tomorrow, weather permitting. Today we ran 145.9 miles which took us 6 hours and 56 minutes.
|MONDAY, JULY 14TH
The storm predicted for last night never materialized. We got started around 8:00 this morning from Alpena. It is another beautiful and sunny day with a temperature of sixty-eight degrees. We don’t even have jackets on today….we DO have long pants on though. We don’t want to get carried away, you know!! The water is gorgeous and very smooth. I can’t hardly believe we have two days in a row like this!
A lot of people avoid this particular marina where we stayed last night because it is kind of out of the way; however, it is a very protected marina from bad weather. After leaving the marina, we have been going straight out nine miles before making our turn in order to avoid many shallow areas and many rocks along an island. There have been many shipwrecks in the area. In fact, we just saw one who apparently cut too close to the island and ran into trouble….you could see part of the boat above water. Then we also saw a boat laying on its side, actually ON the island. Okay, now we have made our turn….I’ve never been in this particular area of Lake Huron before; however, Jim has….he and Bob Oates helped Lee Hornack bring a boat home that Lee had bought.
We have had another good run today….we are now entering the Cheboygan Harbor at 12:37. We encountered a few whitecaps just before we arrived, but nothing of any significance….we are at our dock at 12:50.
Briefly, a little bit about Cheboygan….Cheboygan is one of the major ports on the northern shore of Michigan, providing the cruisers with all the services of a major city. It is the home port of the USCG Cuter “Mackinaw” and the entrance of the Inland Route. It is also one of the few northern ports which is totally immune to winds from any direction. For this reason, it is a popular spot to leave a boat for a few days or weeks.
A side note: After entering the Cheboygan Harbor, off to the left of the channel, we saw the pilings (now sticking out of the water) that our good friend Spike put his boat up on top (when they were totally submerged many years ago). Jim and our good friend, Fred Rendall, were helping Spike bring home a boat Spike had bought.
Jim suspects that THIS log will not go out tonight – same problem as last night. You get in certain areas and you just can’t get anything sent out.
We plan on calling our good friend, Joann Prince, sometime today….as some of you know, Joann’s husband, Pete, is in a home here in Cheboygan and Joann comes from Harbor Springs to visit with him all the time. She said when we get here, she will pick us up and we will all go see Pete for a while. She says he is doing much better since the doctor took him off of one of his medications.
|TUESDAY, JULY 15TH
We woke up to rain this morning….Joann Prince picked us up about 10:45 this morning and we went to see her husband, Pete. The home he is in is small – only has approximately 6-8 patients there which is really nice, as each individual gets a lot of attention. We have been friends of Pete and Joann for years and have done a lot of boating together and also winter down-hill skiing. We did a lot of reminiscing about both and all the fun we had. We had a good visit and a lot of laughs. Pete seemed to be having a good day! So good to see both of them….we hope to see Joann again in Harbor Springs (where she lives) – also looking forward to seeing friends, Bob and Joanne Palmer who also live there.
The weather today has been really on and off….rain and then sunshine….then more rain and more sunshine. Unfortunately, the wind came up AGAIN and, at this point, we don’t know if we will go in the morning or not. They have a nice downtown area here, so if we do get weathered in, we are very close to town.
When we DO leave here, we may or may not stop at Mackinac City…..The sailors are probably still in there from the Chicago to Mackinac Race….this coming weekend is the Port Huron to Mackinac race, so we are trying to fit our schedule in a way that does not conflict with the sailors. When they are there, they pretty much take over the Island and Mackinac City. I understand St. Ignace now has a brand new marina, but don’t know much about it.
Well, that’s about all for today….it’s been a pretty quiet day, but we need those days too!
|WEDNESDAY, JULY 16TH
Before I do anything else, I must wish our good friend, Florence Rendall, a Happy Birthday a day late….we hope you had a fabulous birthday celebration yesterday, Florence!!!
It was cloudy and windy when we woke up this morning….this has been a funny summer – we might get a fabulous day for running and then, two or three days of either rain or wind….or both. It turned out that the sun DID come out today but it was windy. We sure hope the wind drops tonight (it has dropped some already) so that we can go EARLY in the morning. Our plan is to bypass Mackinac this year and go on to Harbor Springs…..if the lake starts to kick up, we may go into Beaver Island. They have really updated over the years. Usually, if the wind is going to really kick up, it happens in the afternoon. Jim has to check tonight and see how early the bridge opens (we are just upstream from it), and if it opens early, we can get out of here hopefully.
Cheboygan has not been a bad town to get weathered in however….they have a lot of stores to roam around in and most everything is convenient. The man whose boat is behind ours – a trawler - had rented a car while here. He found out we were in critical need of a Laundromat – and he had to go to the airport in Pelston to pick up a new crew member this morning anyway, so he offered to drive us to the Laundromat (which we really appreciated). Not only did I have dirty clothes, but also sheets, towels, and even rugs to wash, so his offer was really appreciated. We called a taxi when we were ready to come back – too far to walk, but by taxi not far. It seems so good to have everything clean again….I HATE dirty clothes, etc.!!!!
One of my prayers tonight will be for smooth water and good weather for tomorrow!! Talk to you tomorrow!!! Miss everybody!!!!!
|THURSDAY, JULY 17TH
We got up at 6:00 a.m. and went under the bridge with the first ferry of the day at 7:00 a.m. It is partly cloudy – however, the sun is doing its best to come out. It is sixty-five degrees this morning and, as I write, the sun is really shining brightly. Hopefully that means it’s going to be a good day. The water is not perfectly smooth but not bad at this point.
We can see the Mackinac Bridge ahead of us – it always looks so majestic! As I told you yesterday, we won’t be stopping there this year. With the strange weather we keep having, we want to get a little further “down the pike”!! We just went under the bridge at 8:00. It’s funny, we’ve gone under the bridge many times over a lot of years, but have never driven across it in a vehicle!
After going under the bridge, we went straight out twenty miles until we reached Greys Reef where we made our turn (we do this to avoid shallow water and rocks)….once we made our turn, the waves we had were behind us, so we did even better – we actually had a good run today, although the sun disappeared again and it got really quite chilly – we went and got our little heater and plugged it in on the back deck….that really helped. By the way, for those of you who might not know, Lake Huron is on one side of the big bridge – Lake Michigan is on the other side. So we are once again in Lake Michigan….yea!!!!
We arrived at Harbor Springs – one of our favorite harbors – at 10:00 a.m., and decided to fuel. We called the Municipal Marina to see about a slip and they said they would put us on their waiting list. There were about four boats ahead of us waiting for a slip….this is not uncommon. Before we finished fueling, we got a call assigning us our slip number. They are really good about getting people in – and I think especially if you are a yearly repeat customer! We were in our slip at 11:15. We will stay here a few days or possibly a week. Joann Prince lives here and also Bob and Joanne Palmer. We plan on getting together with all of them, plus two other couples we do not know, tomorrow night. I’m sure we will have a great time!!
A little history: Harbor Springs is situated on one of the finest natural harbors on Lake Michigan, along the north shore of Little Traverse Bay. It offers security in almost any weather. Harbor Point juts out south and eastward from the north shore of Little Traverse Bay, and the harbor is enclosed by this point. It can accommodate the largest vessels on the Great Lakes.
This part of Michigan has been many things including a home to Native Americans, a trading center, a mission, and a summer resort. The area along the Lake Michigan coastline from Middle Village (Good Hart) to Mackinac City was the home of the Ottawa tribes for many years. White settlers began to move into the area around 1870….the coming of the railroad in 1882 and the arrival of steamships allowed Harbor Springs to be discovered as a summer resort. By the 1920’s Harbor Springs was known as “The Naples of the North”. Eventually the growing ski industry and the nearby resorts of Boyne Highlands and Nub’s Nob made the area a winter destination also.
It feels so good to be back in familiar waters again – it’s like we are almost home – yet we are not going to rush it. In fact, our next destination after we leave here, will be Northport where our son Bruce and his wife Leann (and little one) will join us. He plans on towing his 30’ Sonic (go-fast boat) and we’ll do some boating in that while they are with us – we really look forward to seeing them!! Then, when we get down to Pentwater (3 hrs. driving time) our son Keith, wife Jill and three kids will join us for a while also…..again, we will look forward to that too!!!! We’ve missed all of them!!!!!!
Here in Harbor Springs we have clear blue skies and lots of sunshine….when in the sun, it is very warm; however, in the shade it is still a little cool. Talk to you tomorrow.
FRIDAY, JULY 18TH
I slept in until 8:30 this morning as I just wasn’t feeling up to par (just my dizziness) – as the day goes on, I think I’m feeling better. I sure want to feel good when we go out to dinner tonight with our friends.
We sure enjoy it here….Harbor Springs is a unique, charming town. It is also a busy town as it has a nice downtown area. You won’t find a fast-food restaurant anywhere in Harbor Springs – if that’s what you want, you have to go over to Petoskey. There is always something going on here – they have a lot of concerts in the park close to the waterfront.
This weekend they are having what they call their “Shay Days” which is sponsored by the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society to celebrate the life and genius of Ephraim Shay. Mr. Shay was an inventor of vision who knew how to put his ideas to work. He built locomotives, boats, and railroads. He had numerous inventions. Picture live steam Shay model locomotives; approximately 18” long, pulling a log train on raised track layouts. They make steam just like the full-size Shays do! We will get glimpses of what life was like when the trains were the preferred way to travel. We will learn about the logging era in the State of Michigan, and learn how the railroad played an important role in the development of the logging industry in our state. We will see electric model trains in various gauges running all weekend. In addition, they will have a slide presentation as well as videos and photo displays. Sound like fun??
Do any of you remember when New York (or was it Chicago) had “cow” displays all over the whole city?? Well, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, and Cheboygan have “fish” displays all over their towns right now, each one different, some more elaborate than others, but all done by artists. On August 23 they will all be auctioned off and the proceeds will all go to the American Red Cross of Northern Lower Michigan. Each artist has a sponsor of course. We have a pamphlet showing all the fish and I just counted fifty-four!!!! Kind of neat, eh??
Like yesterday, it is sunny with clear blue skies….it is very warm in the sun, but the air is chilly in the shade. There are all size boats in this harbor from very small to up over 100’….. I have to tell you though, yesterday there were two small cruisers (24’ approximately) in here. On each of the boats, there were three huge dogs. One boat had two Golden Retrievers and an Irish Setter on board – the other boat had two Airedales and a Collie on board. Usually it IS the small boats that have all the big dogs on board….I don’t know where or how the people fit in!!!! It’s funny to watch them get their pets on and off the boats!
A note to Bruce and Leann: If there is anything you want me to pick up for you in Northport for little Elise, let me know. They DO have a pretty nice grocery store there and that way you won’t have quite so much to lug from home - I’m thinking about diapers, certain things she likes to eat, etc. We are most anxious to see you all – we are hoping soon after that, Keith and Jill and kids can ALSO join us! We have sure missed our family – and friends too!
Jim was unable to upload my log from here – he tried last night and again this morning. Soooo, you all may not hear from us until after we leave Harbor Springs!!!!
SATURDAY, JULY 19TH
We had a wonderful time last night….Bob and Joann Palmer and their eldest daughter picked us up at the marina and went to the Traverse Bay Golf Club where we met with Joann Prince and two couples we had never met….Bob and Nancy Cook and Bob and Annie Ford….what delightful people! We really enjoyed being with them all. It turns out it was Joann Palmer’s birthday (a little bird told me), so I picked up a birthday card for her. We had wonderful dinners and, afterwards, we all sang Happy Birthday to Joann and had the cutest little chocolate cupcakes (each one had a candle) that Annie Ford had brought. The restaurant had a beautiful view of Little Traverse Bay in the distance.
This morning Joann Prince and Nancy Cook picked me up at the marina….we drove into Petoskey where they were having an art and craft show. We really enjoyed it, and saw a lot of very pretty things. It was a pretty big show. Other than that, Jim and I have not done too much today except relax! It felt good!
We had another beautiful sunny day with clear blue skies….the wind came up this afternoon but we weren’t planning on going out on the water anyway – already, the wind has calmed down for the evening. What a neat harbor and town to come to.
SUNDAY, JULY 20TH
Joann Prince picked us up this morning at 7:45 and we went to the Presbyterian Church with her. It was a very nice service. Afterwards we all went out to a restaurant we’ve been to before that only serves breakfast – but you really have to call this a “specialty” restaurant….not cheap, but worth going to at least once while in Harbor Springs. A husband and wife own and run it….the husband does the cooking and the wife is the hostess/server. They don’t give you a menu….they always have about four specialties you can choose from, and no matter what you order, you can be assured it will be “out of this world”. It is a house with the restaurant on the main floor….they have a very pretty patio outside where – if you have to wait to get in – you can sit and have coffee. You are so full when you leave, you don’t care to eat again until evening….tonight we had popcorn for supper, and that was plenty.
This afternoon it really clouded up here and rained really hard for a while – lightening and thunder too – and then the sun came out and it was beautiful. We both took naps (which we never do at home) and my nap was quite lengthy….when I woke up, Jim was very busy polishing the stanchions on the boat, trying to remedy what the salt water had done to them. Whatever he was using, it worked and they look really good again. I have said it before and I will say it again, no way would we ever keep the Nauti Gal in Florida on a permanent basis in the salt water. I have also said this before….if we ever make this trip again, we would go down river and back up the same way….no more east coast. Besides, we know (from experience) we can make that trip in three weeks, or four at the most versus being gone as long as we have been this time.
We are enjoying Harbor Springs and our friends that live here. The water here is so clean and clear. One thing that really surprised us was the point of land that we usually went to in the dinghy with our two grandkids, Alex and Austin, has really eroded. There was always a nice “spit of land” where the kids would swim, and so much of it is gone now. Of course, just down a ways from the marina, they have a very nice beach area ….that still looks really good.
We are watching a movie – Pearl Harbor – which is a great movie. If you’ve never seen it, you really should. Yes, it is graphic, but it is about “real life”.
We apologize for getting these logs out to you late; however, our server will not permit us to get out while in Harbor Springs. We hope we don’t have the same problem when we reach Northport.
MONDAY, JULY 21ST
It has been a chilly, cloudy, rainy day today….been on the boat most of the day. They are supposed to have a weekly band concert down here on the waterfront tonight, but I imagine it will depend on the weather if they have it or not.
We were moved into a different slip today….they were moving boats all around today as some of the sailors that have been racing will be coming in sometime this week.
A note to Alex and Austin: I just found out what happened to the “swimming hole” where we would take you guys in the dinghy and let you swim here in Harbor Springs. This spring, after a strong east wind, people here woke up to find the Bay clear of ice and a large section of “Harbor Point” missing. They think that as the ice was blowing out of the Bay, it scored the end of the Point and created a “lagoon” – the power of the wind and “Mother Nature”.
We plan on staying in Harbor Springs until Thursday morning, at which time we will run down to Northport – it will only take us two hours. If we hear that Thursday is going to be bad, we may leave sooner.
Sorry about the logs NOT going out….I hope we can get them out when we get to Northport.
TUESDAY, JULY 22ND
You’ll never know how frustrated I am that my logs aren’t going out….we didn’t expect this in Harbor Springs. Jim said it isn’t our cell phone….the problem is the server.
The sailing regatta is supposed to start coming into Harbor Springs tonight….we have paid until Thursday, but we told the Harbor Master today that if he needed us to move tomorrow, we could do that. The forecast says the same thing everyday….chance of rain and/or thunderstorms. It has been partly cloudy the last couple of days….the sun comes out part of the time, and then it clouds up again. If you are in the sun and out of the wind, it is really warm….the wind is still really chilly.
Since the marina doesn’t have a Laundromat on premises, we had the Laundromat (too far to walk) pick up our laundry….that worked really well. It only cost $21.00….it seems the Harbor Master has an agreement with the Harbor Springs Laundromat – that they would not try to compete with them as long as they would come down and pick up laundry from the boaters and, after washing it, return it to the marina.
If we are still here tomorrow, we plan on having dinner with Joann Prince and the Palmers. It has been good seeing our friends (and meeting some new friends) here in Harbor Springs. I’ll be typing my log again tomorrow, but just don’t know when you-all will get my logs from the last several days.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23RD
We’ve had sailboats coming in all day long….quite a few of the power boats left today to make room for the sailors. The Harbor Master told us we could stay where we were….our plan is to leave around 7:00 a.m. in the morning. We’ve had sun most of the day – again, it got pretty warm when in the sun but was chilly in the shade.
Jim scrubbed down the Nauti Gal really good again today….she looks good!! Tonight we went out to dinner with Joann Prince and Bob and Joann Palmer. We had a good dinner and a great time…we usually only see these friends once a year and it was so good to get together with them once again. I wish we lived closer to one another!!
Northport will be our next stop and it should only take us 2 hours from Harbor Springs. Maybe, if we are lucky, we will be able to upload from there. We are looking forward to our son, Bruce, his wife, Leann and little Elise’s arrival in Northport tomorrow.
THURSDAY, JULY 24TH
We left the Harbor Springs dock at 8:15 this morning. What a gorgeous day to run – it’s warm, the sun is shining brightly, the flags at the marina are drooping. I hope we have this kind of day when we run through the Manitou Passage. With rough water, that passage can be awful and yet, on a nice day, it can be great! We’ve experienced both!! Today, however, we are going to Northport, which is a two hour run. I hope I can get my log out to you-all there!
Before I go any further, we want to thank Joann Prince and Bob and Joann Palmer for being such great friends to us. You-all are always very hospitable to us and always make us feel so welcome. Thank you all!!!!
We arrived at Northport at 10:10 – it’s good to be back here. We have already gone to the grocery store as we were about to run out of food – that’s not good!!!
Bruce, Leann and Elise are on their way….they expect to get here about 7:30, so I have chicken in the oven waiting for them. He is bringing his go-fast boat and we are looking forward to riding in that again. We were told he could leave his boat on the trailer in the marina parking lot overnight (normally they won’t let you do that) – then, tomorrow, they will give him a boat slip and said they had a place where he could leave the trailer while here. Very nice people!
Before we leave here, I will try to give you a little history about Northport….since our company will be arriving soon, I’ll catch you up on the history a little later.
FRIDAY, JULY 25TH
Hi everyone…..we woke up to another gorgeous day – warm and sunny. Bruce, Leann and Elise got here right around 7:30 last night. It was great seeing them again. He put the “Thriller” in the water today and has it in a slip not very far from us. We took a ride in it to Suttons Bay this afternoon and had a great time. The wind REALLY came up – they said on Traverse Bay we would have a l’-2’ chop, and on the big lake 4’6’ chop. Well, it looked to us like some of those waves on the bay were more like 5’ than l’-2’. It was fun though! Suttons Bay is a neat town and we had a good lunch there. Elise fell asleep almost immediately after her dad turned the engines on, and on the way back to Northport, she would giggle everytime we went over a wave….she is definitely a boater already! Suttons Bay is on the west shore of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay. It is protected from all except northeasterly winds – the village of Suttons Bay lies on the southwest edge of the bay.
Northport is a charming, unique little town….another one of our favorite ports. Northport Bay is on the northeast end of the Leelanau Peninsula, just inside the entrance to Grand Traverse Bay. The village of Northport is on the west shore of the Bay and is an attractive stop for people cruising. There is live music in the marina park every Friday evening during the summer.
One of the reasons we went boating today is because the forecast for tomorrow is for storms….so we may be doing our thing via Bruce’s truck tomorrow rather than boat.
We finally now know why we can’t get anything out on our website…..we need a digital signal and it appears a lot of these towns are still behind times and have an analog signal; thus, we are “up the creek without a paddle” – maybe our next stop (Frankfurt) will be up to date and have a digital signal.
Guess who has a cruiser right across the dock from us – are you listening, Keith?? Tim Taylor, the Tool Man!! Anyone ever watch “Tool Time” on TV?? He is down on his boat right now!!
Talk to you as soon as we can get out……
SATURDAY, JULY 26TH
We all slept in this morning and woke up to a thunderstorm, as they had predicted. So, we stuck some cinnamon rolls in the oven for breakfast and, in the afternoon, we got in Bruce’s truck and drove to Leland…..by that time, the storms were over; however, the wind came up again. It really was blowing while we were in Leland. At the marina there they had boats rafted all over the place, and they were all bouncing….that’s the main reason we don’t even try to get in there anymore….if you get a blow off of the lake, the boats just rock and roll in there. A HUGE boat that was docked at Harbor Springs while we were there was also moving around a lot, and I’m sure it is a very heavy boat. We spent most of the afternoon in Leland just walking around – lots of little shops and lots of people. We got back to Northport and decided to have an early supper before little Elise got too tired…after that, we walked over to the beach/park where Elise got to slide down the slides and swing in the baby swing for a while. We have had so much fun with her and she is so funny…..she is our entertainment! Bruce and Leann had told us how she “hates” walking in the sand, and really hates getting sand on her hands. She just kind of plants her little feet and stands there. Well, before we came back to the boat, she had started getting used to it and was actually running in it. What a sweet, precious child she is!!
We are hoping, weather permitting, to maybe go to Traverse City tomorrow – hopefully, by boat. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we could still go in Bruce’s truck. It is a neat town and, as far as I know, I think they have a nice zoo there. Elise loves the zoo.
We do hope everybody is well – both family and friends.
SUNDAY, JULY 27TH
What a great time we’ve been having with Bruce, Leann and Elise. What a neat family!!
We got out again today in Bruce’s go-fast boat – that is a fun boat! Little Elise was almost asleep before we left the dock…..for those of you who don’t know, Elise (Nikki) is only 20 months old and is adorable. When Nikki is on the boat, Bruce probably only runs 30 MPH – later today, Bruce and Jim took the boat out alone and were running 78 MPH!!!! Anyway, we ran to Traverse City today; however, it got pretty choppy on us and, when the sun went behind the clouds, it got pretty chilly. While in Northport we have had only one day that it rained on us – the rest of the time the sun was shining and it was warm….each afternoon the wind would come up though.
MONDAY, JULY 28TH
Our family left this morning around 9:45 – their plan was to leave at 9:00; however, with a baby, it always takes longer to get everything ready….anyone who has a little one will agree with that.
After getting the weather forecast for the next couple of days, we decided to leave this morning also. So we left our dock at 10:10. We are not supposed to get more than a 10 MPH wind today out of the northwest. Tonight it is supposed to drop to 5 MPH and switch to the southwest. Soooo, we are heading for Frankfurt today and should get there around 1:30-2:00. Jim has already called for a reservation. Then tomorrow (Tuesday) our plan is to go to Pentwater. We are hoping our other son, Keith, and his family will be able to join us there. Pentwater is only five hours (by boat) from home. By car it is three hours. It is a pretty day and we should have a great run.
At 11:50 we are passing the North Manitou Island and the South Manitou Island on our right. Up ahead is Sleeping Bear Dune on our left. I will see if I can’t find some history on the Islands and Sleeping Bear…..if I can do this, it will be in tomorrow’s log because we think and hope we can upload tonight (we have a digital signal as we get closer to Frankfurt).
The water is beautiful out here and has gotten even smoother as we go….it is a bit chilly out on the water though. We just rounded Sleeping Bear Point and are now passing Sleeping Bear Dune (12:10). I’ve always been impressed by this very big sand dune. We are approaching Point Betsie at 12:50 and will be in Frankfurt very soon.
We got to the pierhead at 1:04 and docked the boat at 1:20. We found lots of Sea Rays here…they are all headed out in the morning, going to Mackinac Island to a Sea Ray Rendezvous..
We had a nice dinner tonight with Fred and Florence Rendall. They had planned on going up to Traverse City over last weekend but didn’t make it. They arrived up there today and called us to see where we were by now. They decided to drive to Frankfurt and have dinner with us….we had a great time. It is so good to see our friends again.
If we can get “out” tonight on our website, you-all are going to get a BUNCH of logs all at once..keep your fingers crossed!!
|TUESDAY, JULY 29TH
All the Sea Rays left between 7:00-7:30 this morning….they had reservations at Mackinac Island. We left our dock at 8:38, a clear, sunny day with a temperature of sixty-eight degrees. A few waves coming at us, but nothing (so far) that would bother us. There are a lot of boats traveling today, same as yesterday, and always lots of fishermen.
I’m thrilled that we were finally able to upload my logs last night, and Jim even got his map updated. He is working on getting a few more pictures organized, so you should be getting those real soon.
We have enjoyed all the comments you have put on our website…..also have enjoyed the short email messages that some of you have sent (it has been difficult for us to email back). Anyway, last night, we were finally able to bring up 23 messages that we had gotten – one from the “Rudy’s”, one from the “Smith’s”, and also yours, Alex (we miss you too!)….we also got your email, Pam, of you with your new grandson – he’s adorable! Thanks for the picture.
Gosh, it’s so good to be back in good ‘ol Lake Michigan!! The Nauti Gal has been running so well for us – she’s a great boat even at age 17. Of course, we take good care of her and she responds to us by performing so well. We are constantly getting compliments on her from people wherever we go, and sometimes they have fairly new boats themselves. I guess they appreciate how good she looks and her classic lines also.
We just passed Manistee at 9:50 and can see Big Point Sable from here even though it is quite a ways ahead of us. We are running at 22 knots.
Bruce, Leann and “Nikki”…..WE SURE MISS ALL OF YOU!!!! I can’t tell you how disappointed we are that our other son, Keith, and family are not going to be able to join us in Pentwater….we were really looking forward to it. We DO understand though….between the traveling you are doing, Keith, for Midwest Timer Service, and your DJ’ing on the weekends, plus the fact that Alex (our granddaughter) is soooo busy with basketball practice…..but we ARE still disappointed….we MISS YOU GUYS!!!!
We are just going around Big Point Sable (10:30)….fishermen are EVERYWHERE – it’s like an obstacle course getting around them.
We passed Ludington at 10:50…..we have eleven miles to go until we reach Pentwater. We have a slip reserved for us but will fuel and pump out first. We reached Pentwater’s pierhead at 11:20 and docked soon after. Pentwater is another one of our favorite ports!!!!
Pentwater is a pleasant little harbor on an inland lake, connected by a deep water channel to Lake Michigan. Pentwater Lake has virtually no commercial traffic but is heavy with pleasure boats. The inland lake is well-protected, about two miles long and a half-mile wide, with depths from 25’ to 50’. It is the only port on the east coast of Lake Michigan between Ludington and White Lake. Town is a short walk and so is the little grocery store. I always do laundry here (did that as soon as we arrived), and the Laundromat is on the premises (a big one with many machines). It is just a neat place to spend some time.
I should tell you a little bit about Frankfort (where we spent last night) – it is also a neat town, but by the time we got back to the boat from dinner, it was getting late and Jim was anxious to try uploading the many logs I had typed but couldn’t get out. Frankfort, once a busy commercial port with its amenities and charm, has become a favorite stop for the transient boater. Being located at the narrowest part of Lake Michigan, it is a popular destination for boaters crossing Lake Michigan to and from Wisconsin.
Frankfort was settled in the 1850’s and soon became an industrial town. A foundry was built in 1869, and several lumber mills were built on the shores of Betsie Lake about the same time. Commercial fishing was also an important industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The predecessor of the Ann Arbor Railroad reached Elberta and Frankfort in 1892 and, for 90 years, the Carferries carried rail freight and passengers from Elberta across Lake Michigan. Frankfort and the surrounding inland lakes have been popular summer vacation destinations for over 100 years. The foundry and lumber mills are long gone, and recreational fishing has replaced commercial fishing.
I promised to try to get some history of the Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Dune for you history lovers…..I failed on the Sleeping Bear Dune; however, I did get some history on the two islands….and here it is – I hope you won’t get bored!
North Manitou Island….is a part of the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore park, but isn’t visited very often. The island is about seven miles long, north to south, and about four miles wide. It has twenty miles of shoreline. The highest point on the island is 1,001’ above sea level or 421’ above Lake Michigan.
The island has seen the heyday of the lumber industry, has known farming, has watched a lighthouse and the US Life-Saving Service come and go, and has been an escape for summer residents seeking solitude. Today, little remains of these activities. A few buildings are scattered throughout the island. Some appear usable while others are in obvious decay. Small family cemeteries are a sign of the time when people once dominated the island.
South Manitou Island….after a century as a busy cord-wood cutting and farming community, South Manitou Island (the smallest of the two) has returned to its pristine beauty as a favored attraction of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Its extensive beaches, dunes, trails and forests, and its quiet natural setting, make it an ideal stop for boaters who wish to escape the busy harbors nearby. South Manitou is a campers and day-hikers dream, but watch out for the poison ivy!!!! We have not stayed on either island but have gone around both of them by boat.
Hopefully, we will be lucky again tonight and this log will go out to all of you!
|WEDNESDAY, JULY 30TH
We walked up town this morning for breakfast….there is a small restaurant called the “Cottage Garden Café’where we have taken our two teenage grandkids when they have been with us. I love their Quiche! They also have a beautiful flower garden outside. We walked around town for a bit and came back to the boat. The rest of the day we were just doing miscellaneous things.
It is evening now and the skies are really getting dark….according to the “Weather Channel”, for the next five days the Midwest is supposed to get scattered thunderstorms each day. So I really don’t know how soon we will be getting home….we may get weathered in! I’m sure we are going to get some storms tonight! If you have to be weathered in though, Pentwater is not a bad place to be stuck..
When we DO get home, it will be good to see all of you!!!!
THURSDAY, JULY 31ST
We have a hot, sunny day today….the wind is out of the south, and supposed to go to the southwest tonight with 10 MPH winds. If it is not storming in the morning, we plan on getting up fairly early and heading out. We could make St. Joe in five hours from here; however, we may stop in So. Haven, if we can get a slip, and come home on Sunday. I’m wondering if we can get a slip at the Maritime Museum – if we would get a blow off the lake while there, we would be less apt to “rock and roll” if we are up there.
We are most anxious to get home and see everyone but, at the same time, we know that our “big trip” is almost over. So we have some mixed emotions! We HAVE missed everyone though!!!!
I think Jim and I will go for a ride in our dinghy pretty soon….we really haven’t used our dinghy much at all on this trip – so much of the trip was windy, wet and cold. Today just might be the ideal day to do it!!!! Talk to you tomorrow.
|FRIDAY, AUGUST 1ST
It’s just me again……can you believe today is August 1st???? Before I go any further, I want to wish Peg Ball (Leann’s mom) a VERY, VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!
Our plan was to set our alarm this morning for 6:00 a.m. (which we did), but before it even went off, we could hear the rain starting – also thunder….so we crawled back into bed and slept until 9:00 (Jim) and 9:30 (me)!!!! Gosh, it’s easy to sleep when it is raining. If it had been just rain, we probably would have left Pentwater this morning. It is the wind, thunder and lightening, that makes it just plain “not fun”….also, “dangerous”. So we’ve been fairly lazy today…..boy, can you ever get lazy when you are on the water! I cleaned the inside of the boat AGAIN, even though it really didn’t need it (gave me something to do)…..later today I did laundry AGAIN, but that accumulates fast! In between I got a lot of reading done. Jim did some small fix-it jobs, and also got a lot of reading in! I’m afraid we will be in for a shock when we get back to reality!!!!
So, tomorrow we will play it “by ear” once again….the wind has pretty much died and the sun is shining now (it is a little after 6:00 p.m.) and we will wait and see what morning brings!
|SATURDAY, AUGUST 2ND
Once again we set our alarm for 6:00 a.m., and left our dock in Pentwater at 7:10. It looks like we may have a good day to run. It’s hazy but sunny….our radar does NOT show any rain at all.
As we go, we have encountered some left-over rollers from the wind and storms we have been having. Some of the rollers are “capping”.
No more whitecaps and, for a while, we thought the rollers were going to lay down; however, it didn’t happen. In fact, they have gotten bigger – we have quite a few six footers out here hitting us on the starboard quarter (out of the southwest). Jim has slowed down to around 15 knots (we usually run right around 22-23 knots) to try to get a more comfortable ride.
We finally have decided to go into Muskegon – we know we can’t get into Grand Haven (which is the next port) because they are having their Coast Guard Festival that draws many, many people. If we continue on at this speed (15 knots), it will take us forever to get to Holland, the port beyond Grand Haven, and this is not especially fun – the boat does fine….however, it is very tiring for us.
We pulled into “Harbour Towne Marina” in Muskegon at 9:45 a.m. It is the first marina you come to after entering the harbor, and is very protected. The lady on the next boat over told us about a submarine here that has been made into a museum – also pointed out a restaurant to us that she said was pretty good. Jim decided to walk over and see the sub. I decided to stay here as I am not quite “up to par” (just my dizziness again)….this too will pass!!
We will try the lake again tomorrow….It, once again, depends on the weather if we leave or not. I don’t know if we will stop overnight at So. Haven or come directly home; however, I DO know it won’t be long before we get home!!!!
|SUNDAY, AUGUST 3RD
WE ARE BACK HOME……HOME SWEET HOME!!!!!! The forecast last night said the winds today were going to be light and switch around to the north-northwest…..just right since they would be behind us making for a comfortable ride home. We woke up to winds still coming out of the southwest! Wouldn’t you know??!! Anyway, we thought we would try it anyway – no rain in sight and, in fact, the sun trying to come out. We left the dock in Muskegon at 8:05 a.m. By the way, this is the first time in years that we have gone into Muskegon. Last time we were there, there was nothing there!! Well, they have made some changes and we WILL go back there again. We stopped at the first Marina as you come in – “Harbour Towne Marina”. Very nice and the people were very friendly. There are condos built around the marina, a lot of landscaping has been done with picnic tables around the edge of the marina with, would you believe, nice GAS grills. Nice restroom facilities also. A Yacht Club is close by for those who belong to a yacht club (it looks very nice) and with a pool. Just a very short walk from the marina is a very nice restaurant – indoor and outdoor serving. If you eat outside, you can hear the live entertainment which I believe they have every weekend. A nice place!
Back to today, it wasn’t quite as rough as yesterday and, of course, we were anxious to get back home. The waves were still hitting us on the starboard quarter. As we got closer….just past So. Haven….the water got a little bit calmer with an occasional whitecap. We arrived here in St. Joe at 12:34 p.m. and were happy to be back home……nice part about going away, is coming back home, right????
Those of you who have followed our journey from beginning to end, we thank you, and hope that you enjoyed the trip via our website as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you. We are happy we were able to make this trip and thank the good Lord for keeping us safe and well during the whole time. We may or may not make the trip again. If we do, as I have told you before, we would go down and come back up by river….not do the east coast again. The trip was a real adventure – fun and good part of the time – not so much fun and not so good part of the time. It was an eventful trip, as we never knew what to expect!! The Nauti Gal did a great job for us and deserves a winter of rest at Pier 1000 in a nice heated building!!
Jim just handed me his list of statistics which covers the entire trip:
5308 nautical miles traveled
6302 statute miles traveled
358 hours underway
8080 gallons fuel used