Sunday, August 19, 2018

Turnbull Islands

Little wind and none to speak of this afternoon meant I stayed yet another day here in the Turnbull Islands. I am having a hard time trying to decide what to do over the next few days. There are just light easterly winds forcasted until Tuesday night, when some very strong winds are predicted followed by Westerly breezes from where I am going to.  The nearest safe harbor is 45 Nm away which would involve some night sailing to make it in the one trip. I'm tempted to just stay put in this place because it is very safe and beautiful. I have it all to myself tonight.

I'll sleep on the decision and make up my mind in the morning.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

John Island

Well it turned out that my hunch of anchoring in a cove on the south side of John Island was the right thing to do. It blew like stink from the north from sunset so I was on anchor watch a lot of the night. Actually I had just half an eye open but my anchor alarm was on all night.
I nearly put my second anchor out but the wind was not meant to be too much and even if I dragged, there were no other boats near me and I would have only headed out of the Bay.  As it was I did drag my 35lb CQR anchor about 100 feet but nothing significant.

I headed east again until noon when the wind died and found myself in the Turnbull Islands. It is very pretty here and I am sharing this beautiful Bay with a lone catamaran.
Not sure what I will do tomorrow because the wind is supposed to be light so I might just stay here another day.

Friday, August 17, 2018

South Benjamin

Another good easterly breeze when I woke this morning so I up anchored and set off from the Benjamin's without any engine. I always like doing that and the same with anchoring without any engine and for that matter, sailing as much as I can without using the yanmar diesel. Well I made good progress of about 15 Nm but the wind died around noon (again!) There was no suitable anchorage near me so I just headed for the nearest cove on the south side of John Island. Boy was that ever a mistake. The wind is blowing from the SW instead of the forcasted north and this Bay I am in is exposed to the SW so my boat is doing some serious rocking and rolling. I could move around to another cove but I'm hoping that the wind will diminish after sunset. The other reason that I don't like this cove is because there is a house with a family on a vacation here and they probably don't like having boats anchoring in front of them.
I did my usual nap, swim, shower and boat chores this afternoon before fixing rice, beans and vegetables along with a good movie.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Little Current

The forcasted weather was for light winds but when I woke there was a good easterly breeze so I quickly got myself organized, ran up to the store and picked up a couple of bags of ice. Good sailing until lunch time which put me in the Benjamin islands. On the way though my telltale at the top of the mast was not working.
So some explaination here. The telltale is the arrow at the top of the mast that tells you which direction the wind is coming from. I got my binoculars out and to my dismay...... Cobwebs!  Spiders! My worse nightmare had come true.  Ok, from now on no more nicey nicey with my 8 legged friends. This is war. I tried going in circles and speeding up without any luck. It was still stuck. I don't like climbing up the mast anyway but when I am sailing, it is even worse. Nothing to it though but to go aloft. This is the second time I have had to climb up the mast while I have been sailing so at least I knew what I was in for.
I think that the problem may have come about from the fact that I have such a good anchor light so tonight I plan on raising my Luci light up the mast instead.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Snug harbor

I'm playing catch up here because I have had no internet at the last two anchorages. Night before last was the pool at Baie Fine and last night was snug harbor.
I caught a rare easterly breeze this morning to head west back to Little Current where I will be staying overnight and catching yet another breeze in the morning to push me back towards Michigan.
BTW i have it on good authority that all the rocks here might look like granite, but in fact they are hardened sandstone or quartzite.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Pool

I don't have any cell coverage at the Pool anchorage but I'm out on a hike overlooking the harbor and I have a connection here so I am updating my blog while I am able to.
I walked to Topaz Lake along with a lot of people who like to jump off the cliffs to go swimming.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Baie Fine

Had a great sail again downwind to Baie Fine from Little Current. It is going to be tough sailing back against the prevailing wind to where I started. This morning i attended the regular 9am north Channel net hosted by Roy and Annie.
It is very popular among all the cruisers here and they had 124 boats call in this morning.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Little Current

It took four hours to get here and it was all motoring unfortunately because there was no wind. A cruise ship was in town so it was a little bit busier than usual but it left late afternoon and the town resumed it's quiet self.
I dumped off my trash and did laundry followed by a visit to the store for veggies. Tomorrow I will visit the store again before leaving, to buy items for the fridge like salads, yogurt and the all important coffee creamer. I have been drinking black coffee over the last few days but it just doesn't cut it. I'm a creature of habit, what can I say. I know that half the world drinks instant coffee but it just seems like my day starts out better with my  french press Joe.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Fox harbor

I lucked out with a great anchorage tonight here in Fox North. This spot is the primo site for the North Channel with excellent protection and gorgeous scenery. Went for a long hike and row in my dinghy and even though the high was just 79 degrees, a swim followed by my favorite beverage was very welcome.

After being on the hook for 12 days, it is time to get back to civilization to get some fresh vegetables and fruit, dump off my garbage and do my laundry so tomorrow I will stop off at a town near here called Little Current.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Dragging in East Hotham

Decided to stay another day here in East Hotham to take advantage of the many hiking trails that are here on the island. I hiked in the morning and this afternoon I took my dinghy out for a row and got about a mile away when my neighbor came looking for me to say that my boat had dragged in the wind. He kindly towed me back to the boat and true to his word, my boat had dragged about 5 boat lengths. I promptly pulled up my hook and anchored again, this time using much better scope. If one thing is true about the cruising community, its that they will go out of their way to help each other. Many thanks to Randy and Terry on the Nordic Tug "Hogsbreath."

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hotham East

I was here last year and visited Norm and Elaine in their idyllic cove and had to return to see them again. They arrange happy hour every day at 5pm for the cruisers. This was the photo that Elaine took of my boat.
I was the only one here last year but this year there were 15 boats and over 30 cruisers at happy hour.
This place has to be seen to be believed.
It has the best fresh water cruising of any place in the world.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Shoepack Bay

Tall majestic steep hills and ledges define this anchorage and as a result it provides great protection from the bad weather. It rained heavily for a lot of the afternoon after a walk through the thick woods to the other side of the peninsula. Lots of singing and hand clapping were involved to keep away the bear that was sighted here a week ago. On the way sailing the 10 miles here from Moiles Harbor I had to thread my way through islands and a narrow channel called Little Detroit. Tomorrow I hope to meet Norm and Elaine again in Hotham East about 5 miles east of here who I met up with last year.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Lost Lake, John Island

I searched online for any information about this lake but couldn't find out anything about it. I decided to stay another day here in Moiles Harbor to hike to it because it is a good hour's walk but well worth it. Now that I know that there appears to be no bears on the island, I didn't have to sing while I was walking which can get quite annoying after a while. It is quite a large lake and unique in that it is a lake on an island in a lake. I wore my hat sprayed with deet, and gloves this time so that the biting flies couldn't get a taste of my blood. It was another beautiful day so I had to escape the heat by swimming in the freezing cold water. Brrrrr!

Dinner was delicious

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Moiles Harbor

I was here last year and saw my first black bear in the wild. However the bear is no longer here. Today I took a walk over to the other side of the island where there is the YMCA John Island camp and the camp Director Roxy Peterson kindly gave me a tour.
The camp can cater up to 200 children at anyone time. Anyway according to Roxy, they captured the bear, put him in a cage and took him away so there are no more bears on the island.

So I have got good cell coverage here and I want to catch up on some of the photos from past bays. Here is one of Long Point Cove which really shows up the type of granite outcroppings here.
And here is one that shows how good the beavers are here at chopping down trees.
There used to be a sawmill here in Moiles Harbor before the YMCA and they have a museum showcasing many of the old tools.
The is a lake at the top of the island here called Lost Lake, that I plan on climbing to first thing in the morning.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Cleary Cove

I was here last year and had to return to see it again. Only difference is that this year there are four other boats, whereas last year I had just about the whole North Channel to myself.

I finally got to swim today. Up to now the water temperature has been in the 60’s and I had got into a routine of climbing down my swim ladder and putting my legs into the water for a few minutes or so until I got used to it enough that I could float around for a few minutes on a pool noodle. Today the water temperature was 72 and it was warm enough that I could actually swim around the boat. What gave me motivation was that I had just gone for a long hike and been eaten alive by these black flies. Nastiest things around. Anyway, going for a swim seemed to relieve all the bites I had on my hands, face and neck.

Up here in the North Channel, it is very rare to see a rugged ocean going sailboat like Onapua. Most of the boats are Catalinas or Hunters or boats that are set up with a sugar scoop with large cockpits for entertaining. Either that or motor boats although I must say that the majority are sailboats probably because of the great sailing conditions up here. There always seems to be a good breeze so you only have to use your engine for getting in and out of Harbor. Today I only had to go 5 miles and even though it was a light breeze, I was quite comfortable with going along at three knots. Anyway because my boat is so unusual it tends to attract a lot of attention and inspire the imagination of those who would like to sail further than just in the vicinity of their backyards.

I have had great cell coverage up to now here in Canada with my project Fi but today has been the first day without 4G LTE service so I cannot post any photos.

Tomorrow I will sail just a short distance again around the corner to Moilles Harbor where last year I saw a black bear for the first time in the wild.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Long Point Cove again

There were storms that blew through today that kept me at anchorage busy with boat chores and hiking.
I ended up hiking a good hour away from the boat deep into bear country and in the middle of the photo you can just see the boat.
There are not many blueberries this year and the ones that are here are small albeit tasty.
Finished up the day with a tasty meal.
Tomorrow I hope to make it to Beardrop Harbor not 5 miles from here.

Long Point Cove

The very best thing about this place besides the fact that it is very beautiful are the Beavers.
This evening, I had a beaver swim by my boat. 

I rowed the dinghy ashore for a hike among all the blueberries.
And tonight I ate dinner with Jerry and Cindy on a beautiful Catalina 34.
Tomorrow i will stay put and let a cold front with thunderstorms pass through.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Turnbull Islands

Not much of a distance to travel today, just 20 nautical miles, but there was no wind so I had to motor all the way. I met up with my friends Dan and Francine who I had met in Cuba and who own a beautiful Catalina 34.
But the big news today is that I ran aground quite hard on to some granite. The rocks were on my charts, it's just that I didn't see them. My friend Dan swam under the boat and took a photo of the damage.
Not too good but I didn't have any leaks fortunately. I did have a stick of underwater epoxy that Dan plastered over the damaged area and when I pull the boat out of the water I will make sure it drains before I do a repair.

Monday, July 30, 2018

East Grant Island

After restocking with salads and vegetables at the local store in Thessalon, I pushed off into a calm lake with not much wind.
As placid as it looked, I was able to maintain an average of 5 knots over the 12 nautical miles using my giant yellow genoa. It was on my fastest point of sail at about 90 degrees to the wind.
It is a beautiful island so I got off and clambered over all the fractured granite and through the thick birch forest to be rewarded by lots of monarch butterflies.
Tomorrow I hope to sail 20 miles east of here to the Turnbull Islands.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Thessalon, Canada

Today I crossed over to the north side of the Lake into Canada and after a 5 minute telephone call to customs and immigration, was cleared into the country. My second priority was a visit to the bathroom. After not having a shower for a week, I had some serious scrubbing to do.

I have fast internet here so I can upload some photos from the last few days. First the stern showing the windvane steering the boat in some quite boisterous conditions last Thursday.
So the next clip is sailing downwind a few hours later.
So as a result, my Spinnaker pole lost the ends so I had to fix them by putting screws around the pole.
The next photo needs some explaining. I was sailing towards the Mackinac Bridge in the company of another sailboat who was seriously out of his element. He didn't have his sails up even though it would have steadied the boat down in the windy conditions and he didn't have his radio on. Now there was a tanker bearing down on us and just before we got to the bridge, this sailboat decided to cross from the correct starboard side of the channel to the Port side right in front of the tanker.
Next photo is of the beautiful roundhouse lighthouse opposite Mackinac Island.
And here is one of Mackinac Island itself.
And finally one of a beautiful old classic Northsea 27 near DeTour Village.
There are light winds predicted for the next few days so who knows where I will end up. Tomorrow after visiting the store for veggies, I will probably aim at the Grant islands, just 12 miles east of here.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Harbor Island

Light winds had me bring out the yellow light weight giant genoa today. It meant the difference between sailing all day and motoring which is ok in and out of harbors but it gets on your nerves after an hour or more. Lots of sunlight today so my battery banks are all full again. Tomorrow I am going to Canada which is a short 15 miles north of here. Hopefully I will get some decent internet so I can post some photos from the past few days. The spot that I am anchoring in tonight is just beautiful. Secluded, surrounded on all sides by lush bush and forest. Three deer were eating on the water's edge just behind my boat at dusk. Water temperature is a chilly 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so no swimming though.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Government Bay, Marquette Island

I had a 12 hour sailing day in almost a straight line on a deep reach with perfect 15 knot NW wind conditions and no rain. I didn't use my genoa because of the direction of the wind but used my staysail instead with the main sail and was able to get overall average 5.5 knots speed over ground (SOG.) No sun however so I was struggling with power consumption and even curtailed my music listening (horror of horrors.) I also ran the engine in idle out of gear for an hour or so to get back up to full charge. That's a first for me and I'm not sure what is going on. Whether or not the batteries got effected by the cold weather over winter or whether they just didn't like sitting around for 9 months idle. I will check their acid levels tomorrow morning before I set out. It is quite difficult to see down into the battery caps because of the cramped placement of them in the engine bay.
The cell coverage here is not good so no pictures again today but I hope to be able to post them from De Tour tomorrow if I make it that far. I'm enjoying having a full night's sleep by picking up these anchorages on my way to Canada.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

High Island

Bad weather chased me into an anchorage after crossing Lake Michigan. Great sailing day.
Not much internet here and it is very secluded. Just one other boat and it is pouring rain here again like last night so it will be an early night. I did break the ends off my Spinnaker pole so I will not be able to do much downwind sailing until I get it fix it. As much as I would like to stay here and check this place out, I want to take advantage of the favourable winds and head east again tomorrow. I was actually hoping to make it to Beaver Island next island over because it is supposed to be very nice but I will save it for my return.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Washington Island

What a wonderful 20 mile, 5 hour, wing on wing, downwind sail in 10 knots of wind, I had today to get here at Washington Harbor in Wisconsin.
Beautiful conditions with high clouds, low humidity and a high of just 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Lots of people enjoying Schoolhouse Beach Park even though it is midweek. There was even a car getting in on the action in the water.
On the way, one of the new military ships built in Menomonie, the USS Sioux City passed in front of me.
I tried calling them on the radio but got no answer which was not surprising because I have an AIS transponder so they can see exactly where I am. Normally I get a wave from crewmen when I am that close but in this case there was nobody to be seen on the decks.
Thunderstorms are predicted for tonight which is why I am hunkering down inside this harbor well protected from the SW winds. Tomorrow I am heading 150 miles to the NE to either Mackinac Island or De Tour Village, which will probably involve an overnight sail. I don't like sailing overnight, but I want to take advantage of the good SW breeze forcasted. After that I plan on crossing over into Canada to a place called Thessalon but don't hold me to it.