Blind River to LaSalle (with a quick trip to Pensacola)

So, to quickly catch up to where we are now…
Drove To Windsor

Flew to Pensacola

Day 1 in Pensacola
-met up with Dave, our broker; saw boat, met owners, ate, slept
Day 2
– met sellers broker and our surveyor, surveyed boat, went on sea trial, tried to haul boat out for hull inspection
Oh oh, not enough water to get the straps under the keel – come back tomorrow at high tide. (Oh yeah, tides – gotta read up on those. )

Surveying the boat - the sea trial

Surveying the boat – the sea trial

Day 3
– haul out , inspect hull, hang around to catch plane home
Lunch somewhere in there at The Fish House – oh so good!!
Got survey – a few minor issues – asked sellers to fix some & we’ll fix the other.
Home by midnight

Next day, Friday, back to Blind River.  Waited to hear if sellers would accept
They did – Yes!!
We have a big boat!!

The big boat!!

The big boat!!

Celebrated with new friends, Heather, Dave and Simon (they are from Toronto; we met them in Sarnia)
And now we want to get down there and sail that big beautiful boat. But first, a few more days of friends and family in the North.

Saturday we sailed – really, there was wind – to The Turnbulls with Mugger and Nancy –

Nancy in her very nice kayak

Nancy in her very nice kayak

Relaxed, ate, kayaked (decided I need one – thanks  for the loan of your kayak, Axel ) – a very nice weekend.

Randy wanted Mugman to feel at home, so he put on his overalls and hat

Randy wanted Mugman to feel at home, so he put on his overalls and hat

Motored back to BR on a very flat lake.

Then, just the two of us. Off to Gore Bay on Monday,for a couple of days – nope, four days of high wind warnings. We did try to leave Wednesday but it was ugly and we’re not in a hurry.

Those wave are bigger than they look

Those wave are bigger than they look

High wind warnings

High wind warnings

Friday morning we stayed just long enough to catch some of the first vendors at the Farmers Market.

Beautiful produce at the Farmers Market

Beautiful produce at the Farmers Market

Big waves - rough ride

Big waves – rough ride

Cutting through the waves

Cutting through the waves

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Farmers Market

Made it back to Blind Friday – it was a very trying day.

Saturday, Randy’s sister Shae came to visit. We’d planned on doing some fishing but it was cold with wind warnings so we just stayed in the marina. In the evening the sun came out and the wind died to nothing. The Blind River Yacht Club invited us to their summer party – mmm, more good food and great people.

Shae laughing at her big brother trying to avoid the camera

Shae laughing at her big brother trying to avoid the camera

Sunday we started to head home on a glassy Lake Huron all the way to Presque Isle.

The sunrise leaving BR looked like fire in the sky

The sunrise leaving BR looked like fire in the sky

It doesn't get much calmer than that

It doesn’t get much calmer than that

Monday, Presque Isle to Harrisville where we got weathered in again. The wave were coming right over the break wall! We met Logan,a very nice young man, who is spending his summer getting to his job, that starts in November, in New Orleans. He’s sailing from New York to  New Orleans.

Waves coming over the breakwall at Harrisville

Waves coming over the breakwall at Harrisville

We then went uneventfully from – Harrisville to Harbor Beach to Sarnia to Windsor.

We docked Kewalo at Pilots cove for the night. Then Randy sailed her solo down the Detroit river to put her on the hard (that’s in a cradle up on dry land to all our non-boaty friends),

Sailing down the Detroit River

Sailing down the Detroit River

Sailing toward the Ambassador Bridge

Sailing toward the Ambassador Bridge

Detroit in the background

Detroit in the background

Our plan when we started home was to do laundry repack and leave for Pensacola with in a couple of days, but….
I calculated the number of days we would be in the US and realized we would have to wait until the end of September to make sure we weren’t going to over stay our welcome. Besides, it’s kinda nice here in September and it’s crazy hot in Pensacola.
So here we are – getting some great visiting in with family and friends.
Ok, well, that wasn’t exactly quickly… But we’re caught up.

Fox Island, Friends, back to Blind River

Beautiful!  Absolutely awesome.  No wonder the Group of 7 came up this way to paint.

Beautiful flowing rock on Fox Island

Beautiful flowing rock on Fox Island

 

Rafted together and tied to shore with friends. Dirk & Fran on Sea Gypsy, Miriam, Jamie and kids on Odyssey, and Miriam's sisters, Tina and Monica on Tina's boat.

Rafted together and tied to shore with friends.
Dirk & Fran on Sea Gypsy, Miriam, Jamie and kids on Odyssey, and Miriam’s sisters, Tina and Monica on Tina’s boat.

We dropped anchor on the north side of the inlet, Tina and her sister Monica were pretty much in the center.  Dirk and Fran on Sea Gypsy tied up with Tina, and Jamie on Odyssey went past us, and tucked in to a very protected area sheltered behind a rock outcropping.  This area was so nice, that all four of us rafted up in the protected lee of the rock….party time!

Beth and I toured around a bit in the dink….and what a dink she is.  15 two stroke Yamaha horsepower on a 10′ rubber dink with a hard bottom, this thing flies!  And speaking of flies….after dinner that night when we had a campfire on shore….we got to meet the flies.  Mosquitos…..pronounced “moss qui twos”….they ended up driving us back onto the boat shortly after dusk.  When we got back to Kewalo from shore, it was like the bug screens on the enclosure were alive!  Thank goodness for “OFF” products…they saved our skin!  One off lantern in the cockpit, and a personal off belt repellant in the cabin did the job.  The moss qui twos were unreal….don’t remember ever having experienced them that bad.

Hiking on Fox Island

Hiking on Fox Island

Fran, Miriam, Tina, Beth

Fran, Miriam, Tina, Beth

Fran, Miriam, Tina, Monica

Fran, Miriam, Tina, Monica

We stayed a couple of days in Fox Inlet…and then it was time to wander off, we were heading back to Blind River so that we could head back to Windsor and fly down to Pensacola to survey Kealli, a Stevens 47 that we had an accepted offer on.  My son Marty had graciously agreed to drive us home, wait for us, and then drive us back up north.  Great kid.

Leaving Fox inlet we had agreed to meet Tina and Monica somewhere west of Spanish.  They had left earlier to go into Spanish for a pump out, refill their water tanks and resupply the galley…..and of course the obligatory side trip to the LCBO.  For our foreign friends, the LCBO is a government regulated store that sells liquor, wine and some beer.  Kewalo, Sea Gypsy and Odyssey headed west.  Some great shots were taken as we all went through Little Detroit, and it was then I spotted a picnic table on a small beach across the bay a few miles away.  Off we went, and we all anchored in that little bay.  We had a great shore dinner with Dirk and Fran, while the rest of the gang ate on Odyssey.  We had a nice campfire, and called it a night.

Next morning, Beth and I were up bright and early for the trip back to Blind River, and with Dirk and Fran’s assistance, were able to unwind our anchor chain from a deadhead about 30′ long.  Thank goodness they were there to help.

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

We had a great motor sail back to Blind River, Beth got some great shots of a bald eagle, and we arrived in Blind River in time to have dinner at the 17 restaurant, located right on the corner of main street and highway 17 downtown.  Don’t be misled by “downtown”, Blind River is very small now, but was once a very large town back in the booming lumber days.  You can search that on the internet thanks to mom google.

Early the next morning, Marty picked us up and away we went, heading southwest to Windsor.

Spanish and Fox Island

Our trip from the Turnbulls to Spanish was uneventful; we motorsailed pretty much all the way.  Beth was quite excited when we passed Knight point…her birth dad’s last name.
Knight Point

Knight Point

Navigating into Spanish for the first time was quite easy, but it is a narrow channel….don’t want to venture outside of it at all due to it being so shallow.  We noticed that we had lost a boat bumper along the way, but we still have 3 onboard, so not a big deal.

Spanish Marina from the Lookout

Spanish Marina from the Lookout

Spanish…brown water, shallow water, and almost a full house in the marina.  In my opinion, for what it’s worth, this is the best jumping off point in the north channel.  Central to the Benjamins and Fox Island to the east, the Turnbulls to the west, and it’s a nice, deep harbour once you’re into the marina.  Nice, clean facilities, fuel and pump out. We pulled up to the fuel dock, took on fuel, there was a boat ahead of us pumping out. While we were waiting, a power boat jumped the line ahead of us to get a pump out, and then a sailboat after them.  I was attempting to be as diplomatic as I could be….and I let the student dock hands know just how things should have gone and what they should be doing…..Beth had to walk away or I’m afraid to think what would have ensued.  (Me!? – well, thank goodness it takes a lot to push me over that edge) Most, if not all of you have not had the “good” fortune to be around when Beth loses it…….those dock hands and the ignoramus’s in the other boats were lucky that she had to use the marina head….hope that’s not too much information.
 We walked into town, about a 25 minute walk with our cooler bags to re-supply the galley, and have what turned out to be a nice meal at what used to be Vance’s Inn. The only grocery store in town is the size of a Mac’s Milk convenience store here in the sunny south…but we did get everything that we wanted to get.  While having our meal, a kindly resident offered to drive us back to the marina when we asked the waitress about a cab….a cab?  Here in Spanish?  A cab?
Kewalo docked at Spanish (She's the smaller sailboat with the tan enclosure  with bug screens)

Kewalo docked at Spanish
(She’s the smaller sailboat with the tan enclosure and bug screens)

Back at the marina, we put away our groceries, and then climbed up the stairway to the lookout post…..a pretty view. The Spanish river dumps into Lake Huron here, and the waters in the river contain a very large amount of brown silt…it sure colors the once clear waters of the lake, but also provides one of the best habitats for pickerel in the area.

We departed Spanish marina and headed east to Fox Island, where we were to meet our Windsor friends.  It was another no wind day, so we were motor sailing.  We went through the Little Detroit Channel, which is the easiest way to head east..it is very narrow, and mariners are advised to announce their intentions before going through this very narrow, very deep passage.

That doesn't look like it goes anywhere.

That doesn’t look like it goes anywhere.

Oh, well maybe

How little is this Little Detroit?? East bound sailboat entering The Little Detroit.

Oh look at that - The Little Detroit Channel

Oh look at that – The Little Detroit Channel

Once into the McBean channel, the wind did pick up a wee bit, and we had a most enjoyable trip until some dickhead with a rather large trawler type vessel was overtaking us.  He was getting closer, and closer, and not moving out of our wake.  He kept getting closer, and closer, and I was beginning to wonder if anyone was at the helm.  Sure enough, there were two people on the bridge…and they kept getting closer and not changing course.  I decided enough was enough, and stood up and made sure that they could see I was not happy with the tailgating procedure….he changed course, and passed us on the starboard side, about 30 feet away.  The McBean channel is miles wide at that point…..we were rocking and rolling from his rather large wake…to say I wasn’t happy is an understatement. I was ticked right off.Our sail from that point on was great, awesome scenery, waves less than a foot, very little marine traffic.  Off in the distance Beth spotted two familiar boats….hooray!  Friends!  We navigated the channel into Fox Island, and proceeded down the anchorage.  The anchorage is very narrow, and lo and behold…who was in ahead of us but our friends with the trawler…..yes, the dickheads.  Mr. and Mrs. Dickhead.  They had gone in to the end of the anchorage, and decided that they weren’t going to stay there.  We were coming in, and they were going out.  It is a very narrow anchorage, and gets quite shallow very quickly on the sides with some shoals.  I pushed that trawler over to the side as far as I could, and I held my course, not moving a single degree.  Deal with this buddy……he slowed right up, and when we passed, he gave us an unfriendly kind of look….can you imagine?  My one finger Canadian salute made a good impression, and for those of you who knew my dad, I threw in an “Ernie” look for good measure.  That was the last we saw of him….probably a good thing that we didn’t meet at a dock somewhere, there is still some parts left in my mind that I would have gladly shared with him……
Look at all those Rocks and more under the surface.

Look at all those Rocks and more under the surface.

 

Yeah, friends waiting for us.

Yeah, friends waiting for us.

 

Finally an update – Our first visit to the Turnbull Islands

Time to get updating! The Turnbulls‏

Yes, I have been more than somewhat lax in updating the blog.  There are a few contributing factors…lack of internet service, leaving the north…I HATE leaving the north, plain and simple.  I get grouchy, irritable and besides being my normal self as mentioned at the start of this sentence, downright miserable.  There is something about leaving friends and family, fresh, clean air, water where you can see the bottom 20 feet down, beautiful scenery, quiet, sunrises and sunsets…I could go on and on, but….and going back to , ahem…Windsor.  Flatland, brown water, noise, light pollution, and hot!  It’s really hot and humid here today, the outside thermometer in the car was floating between 34 and 37 celcius, not to mention the humidity. (italicized comments by Beth – Yup the north is pretty and has wonderful friendly people but for some of us the flatland and the lovely people here, are home and it has it’s own charms – honest)

So…where did I leave off?  Hmmm, the good ol’ Blind River pickin’ and a grinnin’ session.  Off to the Turnbulls….but no eagle’s nests, they had blown down some years ago according to our friends Bill and Lynne.  Crap…there goes that idea.  When we purchased Kewalo, there was a Garmin chartplotter left to us…it showed us the way into the Turnbulls…it could be quite intimidating without either electronic or paper charts.  We ducked in behind Clara island, and found a nice beach, a fully equipped one at that.  There was a picnic table and fire pit on the beach!  Good ol’ northern hospitality.  We dropped the hook between a small island and the shore of a larger unnamed island, and settled in.

anchored close to an unnamed island in The Turnbulls at sunset

anchored close to an unnamed island in The Turnbulls at sunset

 

Sunset in The Turnbulls

Sunset in The Turnbulls

The anchorage began to fill up….the Great Lakes Cruising Club were holding their Wilderness Adventure here….trawlers, large sailboats, small sailboats…..and pretty much a full house.  Right friendly bunch, invited us to their functions and made us feel welcome.

Some of the Great Lakes Cruisers

Some of the Great Lakes Cruisers

Then….the winds came up late in the day out of the north.  I had almost all 50 feet of chain out in 6 feet of water…and the winds kept creeping up harder…and harder.  I was worried about the anchor dragging…and it was.  At about midnight I noticed that we were closer to the shore of the larger island.  We were hobbyhorsing enough due to the winds that the chain was not holding in the chain stopper….I tried lashing it down….suffice it make a long story short…no sleep for me that night, I eventually put out our other anchor to help hold us in place. (I woke up and went topside to make sure he didn’t fall off every time he went out  on the bow) Not a fun night.  We have since purchased an anchor snubber to help with the hobbyhorsing and anchor holding.

Is that unnamed island closer? .

Is that unnamed island closer? .

There were 16 other boats in the harbour later that day, a couple of other Bayfields, a Gozzard and other nice boats.

Sunrise Sunset

While we’re waiting out some weather (and waiting for Randy to write his next update), I’ve been looking at all the pictures I’ve taken and have come to the conclusion that I love sunrises and sunsets. So I thought I’d share some of them with you.

Blind River, Fishing, An Island Visit, and Pickin’ & a Grinin’

July 22, 2014
Well, it’s been 3 years since Kewalo has been in Blind River…and a lot has changed.  We arrived here at about 5:40 p.m. Friday night….the dock attendant helped to tie us up…and was gone.No shower key, no registration…thank goodness the restaurant was open and had a shower/washroom key.  Matt was very helpful.  Beth and I showered, and returned the key to Matt.  What a great guy.  We returned the favour by having breakfast the next morning at the ma rina restaurant….a small token of appreciation paid for by Mugger….the former owner of Kewalo who picked up the tab for Beth, my son Marty and myself…..breakfast of champions.<grin>Saturday was a nice peaceful day, we registered, paid for our slip and a pump out yet to come, and visited with Marty.  Off to visit old friends still in the area….and a chance to view just how much things had changed at the marina.  Darryl is no longer the head cheese, and it shows.  The docks are in need of some attention…nails popping up, boards not nailed down flat, no fuel available due to the pumps being torn apart for updating, and the showers showing obvious neglect.  Not the marina it once was.  No fuel…imagine that.  Marina staff leaving at 6:00 p.m….on a Friday.  And then, through the week, as was yet to come, leaving at 5:00 p.m….huh?

Sunday found us heading off to Lake Lauzon to spend a glorious time with our friends the Seidlers from New Mexico…Alberquerque at that.  Army has been coming up this way since 1948…I won’t go into the details of our meeting…suffice it to say that we have been steadfast friends some 25+ years….have been joyously greeted with new additions to the family including new grandchildren, new wives and husbands…..and although we have not been able to cross paths each and every year since our chance meeting with Army….each year we have grown closer and maintained a unique relationship that just about everyone we know would crave.  We are family, that’s bottom line.  Army is some 94+ years young, and except for maybe some hearing issues…is the same guy I met some time ago.

38 Seidlers Island  Sunset at Seidlers IslandSunset – Seidler’s Island
Monday was back to Blind River to prep for some North Channel fishing with my son Marty, his partner Kellie, Beth and I.  Fishing licenses for Beth and I….not cheap by any province’s standards, gassing up the boat, all the usual preps.  Tuesday a.m. we were off to Spragge Bay in search of lunker bass, pike, perch, pickerel…pickles, basserels…lol…whatever our lines would tangle with.  Beth caught the first fish, a nice sized smallmouth bass…and set the tone for the day.  We had a great day fishing in Spragge harbour….and headed home just in time to beat the big storm cell which invaded the marina.  Lots of lightning all around us, high winds….and then it was calm again, just like that.  Sure glad we weren’t out on the lake for all of the that activity.
45 My First Fish Fishing with Marty at Spragge FishingFishingWe headed off the a local watering hole for the local “pickin’ and a grinnin’ ” session which started at about 6:45 p.m.  Thank goodness our friends from New Mexico heeded our warning about getting there early to get a table…it was a packed house!  Guitars, fiddles, accordians, banjos, bass players…you name it..it was there, including washboard players!  What a night.  Lots of old time friends, great pics and just fun times….and did I mention really cheap booze?  Yup…by Canadian standards, really cheap booze.  The local pickin and a grinning nights have been run at the local Riverside tavern for some 5 or 6 years now……and things just keep getting better and busier!

The Doc and The Captain

The Doc and The Captain

Three Amigos

Three Amigos

Artists from near and far

Artists from near and far

The Mugman

The Mugman

Todd

Todd

Staley and Kerry

Staley and Kerry

Mugger playing banjo Tony gazing outside

Mugger playing banjo
Tony gazing outside

So, in the a.m., after some clothes washing, a trip to the local grocery store to do some provisioning….and getting the boat ready, we’ll be off, anchoring out somewhere to watch bald eagles nests, and get away from the so called civilization of the north.  Can’t wait.  Really.  Some quality quiet time…..time to catch up on some boat chores and reading time.

For those of you who haven’t acquainted yourselves with the North Channel…you have to get up here.  Enjoy the friendly people, the warm waters….relatively speaking…the breathtaking beauty….the friendly atmosphere…..it’s all here.  No light pollution…the calls of the loon to send shivers down your spine….the friendly folks who live here year round who will help/assist at a moment’s notice…..get up here!  It is better than any of your friends, including me can describe.
!

East Tawas to Blind River

We departed Port Austin, which has great facilities by the way, and a very protected harbour, early Monday morn.  Everything started out great…nice winds, clipping along under full sail at about 5 knots SOG….and then the wind died.  Time to motor…..it’s a rather significant crossing to East Tawas, and just no wind to sail.

We arrived in East Tawas to no fanfare, quite unlike our last trip there.  I’m not sure how many of you know the story, but when we sailed Kewalo from Blind River to Windsor, we stopped in East Tawas…..and we had the U.S. Coast guard, the local police, and the state DNR…who carry guns I might add…big guns…all chasing us.  We had inadvertently ventured onto a high powered boat race…yes, high powered as in 120 mph down the back stretch.  We did not know that there were races in the bay, and as we slowly crossed the bay headed to the state docks…..they had to shut the races down while we were chased off the race course…lol…..we were fortunate in that the DNR got to us first, and gently nudged us out of the way, having a good chuckle about the whole mess.  But, enough of the that.

We walked into town….by the way, East Tawas has what must be the longest dock in the world….google earth it and check it out….and Beth was fortunate enough to find a dentist who repaired her tooth.  What a relief!  Toothaches suck!  A crown is in the future…..$$$ ouch.  Maybe we can get that done in Mexico….300 U.S. bucks will get that done, and the folks at the condo we stayed in all had great reviews on dental work done.  We decided to stay two days in East Tawas, it was time for a break and it’s a nice little town with good food and good shopping.  Our dock neighbour loaned us her van to go to Wal Mart to resupply, I wanted to buy a snubber to put on the dinghy line, I had left ours at home somehow….and we needed some food replenishing.  What a great person Gay is….she rescues dogs…and apparently people as well, because it really rained while we were in Wal Mart, and we would have been soaked right through.
14 E day East Tawas rainbow 3
We left East Tawas and headed to Harrisville….yup, another motor sail.  The wind gods are overlooking us this year.  We met all the boats that had passed us in the St. Clair river, heading back down the lake having completed the Port Huron to Mackinac race.  It was a pretty sight to see.  The winds picked up huge when we were about 10 miles from Harrisville…and they were right on the nose….geesh!  But, we arrived safe and sound, and Beth is doing so much better with her motion thing….the ear plug, ginger candies and forced labour on a pitching and yawing small sailboat seems to be working<grin>  We bountied up on our “liquor” supply here, town is a nice little walk away…and I prepped the pork chops for dinner.  I warmed up the grill…..and promptly dropped one of the chops in the drink…so….time to split a chop.  I can now testify as to how quickly old dead pig sinks to the bottom of a lake.

Sunset At Presque Isle

Sunset At Presque Isle

Harrisville to Pres Q’ile, and we actually sailed for 3 hours…another day the wind gods forgot about us.  Pres Q’ile is one of my favorite harbours, deep, clean well kept.  A restaurant right at the foot of the docks…don’t order the prime rib……and a great jump off point to the north channel.   Some good history with old light houses and such.

Sunrise leaving Presque Isle - just like glass

Sunrise leaving Presque Isle – just like glass

26 Leaving Presque Isle  to cross the big water  Sunrise - love the colours

Sunrise – love the colours

We were up at the crack of dawn, and headed north.  No wind…nada….nothing, the entire crossing.  12 hours of the engine droning….flat lake…which by the way, I am not complaining about, much better than our last crossing 3 years ago.

watercolour of Kewalo -painted by Reg - a previous owner

watercolour of Kewalo -painted by Reg – a previous owner

30 Blind River Office Picture of Kewalo
Blind River marina is not what it used to be.  The docks are showing disrepair, the fuel pumps are all tore apart, the washrooms were not clean, the shower area…only a couple of the showers work……and if it hadn’t been for the restaurant in the complex staff doing clean up…we would not have had a key to get in for a shower.  The marina staff girl left….we hadn’t signed in or anything.  There is not much water in here….5’…..and not very many boats.  I am hoping we can get a pump out, but I rather doubt that will happen either.  Disappointing to say the least.

Looks like we’ll be here a couple of days before venturing off to begin our anchoring vacation….spend some time with friends and family, get some fishing in…….busy times.  Computer is about to sign off, battery dying….more later.