Summer 2011 – Sailing from Blind River to Windsor

Blind River to Roger’s City

We arrived at the boat last Friday, thanks to our travel agent brother in law Mark and his flying friend Dr. Callahan.  Awesome flight, Beth’s first in a smaller plane, she was thrilled.  Our other awesome brother in law picked us up at the airport, took us in to Elliot Lake to get provisions, then down to the boat.  We’re blessed with great family.

The remainder of Friday was spent organizing and cleaning.  Saturday, we cast off to Gore Bay, Manitoulin Island.

Mug checking the mainsail

Mug checking the mainsail

Great initial run, but ran out of wind around the Cousins Islands, so motored in to Gore Bay.  Rounded the tip at Gore Bay…and winds from hell.  Literally….had lots of help at the dock, gently landed Kewalo second try, then had a splash of wine with new boating friends.  Sunday, we relaxed after a night of howling winds and rocking at the dock.  The dock lines were stretched 3 feet by morning…yup, long night….#1.

We departed Gore Bay, great facility by the way, and sailed off through the Whalesback Channel to Long Point, where there is a well protected bay.  Good thing…the winds picked up again just after supper….dropped both hooks for the night and we were fine.  In the morning, in a pea soup fog, we motored back to Blind River as it was Beth’s birthday, and dinner at Pier 17 was in order.   Pretty good food for the birthday girl, and our thanks to Mug and NF for joining us in the celebration.

 

Wednesday, got to have breakfast with Marty who had just flown in from Red Lake, where he is working for Redpath.  After a late breakfast, we headed out to Meldrum Bay.  Great sailing, we arrived there shortly before 6 p.m.  Lots of tacking back and forth to get into the marina facility.  The general store, which houses the LCBO closed at 4 p.m…..what the heck?  We had a drink and some coconut shrimp on the deck at the only restaurant in town, run by a U.S. citizen and his wife from Persia.  How the hell did they end up there?  I mean, where the hell is Meldrum Bay????

Thursday, we departed the dock at 6:45 p.m. after getting the latest weather update and MAYFOR codes for northern lake huron.  MAN, WERE THEY WAY OFF!  We got out past the southern channel marker,  and pointed to Rogers City, and things started to pick up.  Wind pretty much on the nose…so motoring again!  What great sailors we are!  By the time Cockburn and Manitoulin were just a shade on the horizon,  we were into some pretty heavy water….and it got worse.  6-8 footers, most breaking on the top.  Not fun.  Poor Beth!  Motion sickness from hell.  But, she survived, and after some meds and a nap at the dock in Rogers city, the marina staff drove us around town to various stores for provisioning.  What a great set up.  They drive you around, either wait for pick you up when you’re done.  Quaint, cute little town.  Today, we head south.  Way south…..a week to get there but the weather is beauty for the next few days.

The boat handles like a champ…think we finally got rid of all the mouse nests…found another yesterday behind the main fuse panel……what a mess.  We are both a little slow today, got a bit of a beating yesterday.  Not sure how far we’ll sail today, probably just down to Presqe Isle.

Well, shower and breakfast time.  There is a bakery about 12 blocks from here that we are going to walk to, then we’ll head out.  Hot, fresh baked goods!  YES!!

rand

 A Few Days In East Tawas

No access to the internet yesterday, none here at the East Tawas marina.

We left Harrisville and motored down to East Tawas yesterday, the lake was flat as a pancake, not enough wind to even compete with my own<grin>  We sailed the inside passage which apparently horrified some local sailors, but with a 3’2″ draft, the charts and chartplotter indicated we would be ok.  We saw a shipwreck, a very old one, in about 4 feet of water.  Really cool!  Also some really large fish.  The passage had me sweating a wee bit, but it was pretty nice.

Did anyone else know that there were APBA races in East Tawas bay on the weekend…Beth and I didn’t.  We did hear about the Thunder in the Bay races in Saginaw…………..so…we rounded the point out of Lake Huron to Tawas Bay, and proceeded to motor towards the government dock for the night.  We both noticed the large number of boats rafted together in the shallows off the point, and I thought it was just another Crystal Bay type deal.  We continued motoring……next thing I see, the LARGE coast guard cutter is steaming big time right at us, there is a helicopter flying over us, the MI DNR boat is coming right at us, and so is a police boat.

OH Oh…time to shut this thing down.  The DNR got to us first, and were very nice about informing us about the races, the no entry zone, how popular we were at that moment, and that we perhaps should turn around and get anchored to enjoy the show.  Of course I plead ignorance…heck, I think I even looked that part.  They escorted us to the anchorage area, and then scooted off.

The DNR guys came back over later, told us we should switch our VHF to 78 and listen to the race control and how popular we really were, and then laughed.  I offered them some pop, and believe it or not, they actually accepted some Pepsi.  Nice and cold right out of the cooler.

We watched the final two races, which were absolutely awesome to see by the way, an eight mile course, and we had, according to the DNR, the best seats in the house.  When the races were over, we just stayed put…and the DNR guys came back over……I put my arms up in the air to admit surrender, which had them laughing, and they said welcome to East Tawas, enjoy your stay, and left.

We motored over to the docks, all the while watching the boaters leaving the area like a migration of lemmings.  We made it in, got docked for the night, had a nice pizza dinner, a few drinks with a fella named Dave who owns a 38 foot Island Trader ketch, and called it a night.

The winds picked up about midnite, and this morning there are 6-8 footers out there, cresting to 10 feet.  WE AIN’T MOVING!

So, here we are, possibly today and tomorrow, waiting for mother nature to cease pissing in our cornflakes so to speak.  East Tawas is a typical quaint, small town USA type place, nice little shops and touristy things…..so we will have stuff to do.  Might actually do some stuff on the boat as well…but it is cool here today, winds out of the north.

Beth did very well yesterday while we were moving, perhaps she is getting her sea legs….that would be a good thing!

More to follow later.

Oh, I’m thinking we’ll rename the boat…..SHOWSTOPPER  <grin>

randy

 

East Tawas to Harbor Beach

Well, here we are in Harbour Beach, MI.

We left East Tawas, UNESCORTED, at 6:40 this morning, and headed for Harbour Beach.  I was just a wee bit under the weather this morning, we were befriended by some great folks in East Tawas who own a 38 foot Island Trader Ketch….and we had a few pop last night….Beth abstained, I wish I had.

Anyways, we got away, and hoisted the sails once we were out of the bay….no wind.  We motorsailed, then lowered all the sails because of the fickle winds and the sails snapping.  A premonition of things to come…..

Rough….freakin’ rough again.  Two footers my ass.  We pounded across Saginaw Bay, and finally round the point at Point Austin where things calmed down.  Just as we were hoisting the stay and yankee, I noticed a boat bearing down on us…and obviously someone who meant business and was from some sort of officialdom….yup, U.S. Customs and Border patrol.  They pulled up beside us…and I’m not sure whether they noticed it was those crazy Canadians who delayed the boat races over in Tawas…or they just quickly decided that the two old farts in a small sailboat who were both wearing their life jackets probably just weren’t a threat to the USA.  Didn’t matter to us, they pulled away….and what a boat!  4, count them, 4 300 hp Merc outboards on the back end of a rubber dinghy no longer than 25 feet.  Wiith a friendly wave and a couple of grins, they departed…quickly.

We sailed right on in to Harbour Beach…..and Beth has finally found her sea legs.  She did pop a ginger gravol and used the quease ease sniffer once…but other than that, she is feeling awesome.  YAHOOOOOO!

We should make Lexington tomorrow, weather permitting, then hit the St.  Clair River on Thursday sometime.  Perhaps home Friday……

We are very pleased with the boat,  it has been awesome, but footitis is creeping in.  After being on board that 38 foot Island Trader…..electric flush toilet, teak all over…and room to breathe…footitis has arrived.

We are both a wee bit wobbly as of yet, it was rough out there, but after eating here at Smalley’s, and some groceries…we’ll be all set!

More to follow, the battery is dieing…..

 

 Harbor Beach to Lexington

Well, here we are in Lexington, MI…what an absolutely awesome ride we had today!

Beth has her sea legs at last..she can go down below while we’re travelling, make lunch, go to the head, etc., and not necessarily in that order….lol!   We had a great ride today, left Harbour Beach at about 7:30 a.m., and motored…. absolutely no wind.  Finally, about twenty miles from Lexington, the wind picked up, and up went the sails.  We sailed along our merry way at a wee bit better than 5 knots for a substantial amount of time…dropping the sails outside of Lexington Harbour.  What a ride!  It almost got boring….can you imagine that?  Beth had a nap, read her E-reader…went back and forth down below, sailed without otto, our third hand to get a feel for the boat…just a great , GREAT day.    Once in Lexington, we docked, and we only have a 3-4 foot climb to get off the boat…getting back on is so much more fun!

Cute little town…..the same 1200 horsepower customs and immigration or whomever the heck they are went by us again…key words…by us again!  Talk about a testosterone tool!

We scrubbed bottom in the main channel leaving Harbour Beach….our boat draws 3’2″…don’t know how anyone else gets in, no wonder there were about a half dozen sailboats moored out the other side last night.  Was probably time to scrub off some weeds and zebra mussels anyways…drown the crustaceans in mud I says!

So, tomorrow, we hit the St. Clair River sometime in the morning, and hope to make it to Marine City for the night, then on home Friday.  S’posed to be 95 in Detroit,  might be a wee bit warm on the boat tomorrow night…it’s hotter than Hades here right now, but I expect it will cool off after a couple of beer<grin>

So, on we go!

More to follow

randy

 

Home at Last

435 nautical miles, 13 days, and we’re here in Windsor……what a trip!

From a swarming of flies, ankle biters and non, to huge waves, cold, now heat…and lots of it….it’s been a real trip to remember.  We met some great new people, viewed some awesome boats….met some great dogs, enjoyed our time away, and here we are back in Windsor.

We departed Lexington, MI at 7:30 this morning after pumping out the…well, you know, the stinky part of the boat.  Best $10 a man could ever spend…really!  We were at the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario at 10:30 a.m., and kept on motoring until we hit Windsor, the city marina, at 6:30 p.m.  Long day in the heat and brilliant sun…I have one of the weirdest sun burns one can imagine….because of my jelly belly, strips of white and red…just think about inverting a zebra and you’ll have a pretty good picture…and then the outline of my inflatable life jacket on top of that….hot damn, I do look weird.

Beth really has her sea legs, she actually made lunch down in the galley while we were bouncing around in mega pleasure craft waves, what a trooper.   She suffered through having to dress up in a winter coat and wrap herself in a blanket to stay warm, to becoming green with sea sickness for what must have been an eternity, then fighting the massive fly swarm when we left Blind River to sail to Meldrum Bay, the huge seas of Lake Huron crossing from the south marker off Manitoulin to Rogers City, and then again across Saginaw Bay.  Learning how to use the manual head, run the boat, stay calm, and stay calm and run the boat….you get the picture.  435 miles went by way too fast….next time, we`ll have a larger boat….as much as we have become attached to KEWALO,  we really need a larger SHOWSTOPPER.  Lol!

Mark and Cheryl joined us at the marina here in Windsor tonight…it is rather warm, and after a quick tour of Kewalo, we were put up for the night and fed on their boat…a 44` Viking with AIR CONDITIONING AND SHOWERl  Yup, could get used to that in a hurry.

Tomorrow morning, it`s off  to Boblo Island to meet some fellow sailing friends that we met while dock stalking last year…it will be great to see them again, although it will be a hot couple of nights without air conditoning in our boat…I know, suck it up butter cup.

OK…when I get time, a full summary with pics will be forthcoming…..we`ll bug our neighbours in A`burg to pick us up tomorrow once we get settled in at Boblo, then a weekend of fun over there, and then back to work on Tuesday.  The preparations for the move back into Windsor begin full swing, it is going to be a very busy month, we move on the 22nd of July.  Cutting expenses and getting ready for retirement is on the top of the list now…we`ll see how that goes.

I`m beat….more to follow, g`night all.

randy

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