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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What a difference a day makes

All the weekend warriors are gone and now I am (still) here at beautiful Horseshoe Island enjoying the vistas. It was actually a great day to catch up on some long overdue boat chores. I hadn't really cleaned up the boat since winter so today it got a good scrub. I had 9 months of mail that needed to be filed and there were a lot of little bits and pieces that needed to be done. There was no wind to speak of but it was supposed to kick in around midday. Well midday came and went without any changes so I decided to fix an ongoing problem I have been having with my autopilot. The bracket attached to the bulwarks was loose so I had to fashion a fibreglass mounting plate to strengthen it.
The problem was the access to the cavity behind the bracket. I had to act like Houdini to get to it in the engine bay plus it was hot sweaty work that took me so long to to complete. Now I am hoping that it will work tomorrow. The wind did kick up for an hour or so later in the day but by that time I was thinking about my favorite beverage rather than sailing.
Tomorrow has a better chance of getting some decent wind for sailing so I am planning to sail up to Washington Island about 20 miles north of here.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Horseshoe Island

It was a 20 mile sail over to a beautiful cove well protected from the brisk northerly wind. There were some bigger boats but mainly smaller skiffs came and went throughout the day. It was just great to get back sailing on the boat again and I started out at 5am to grab a 6 knot romp there.
The wind clocked around to the north east around midday in the direction that I am heading so I put my hook down and called it a day with a serious nap on my schedule to catch up on lost sleep.
Ok a bit of trivia today. Which state in the USA has the most lighthouses? I mentioned lighthouses because just before I arrived today, i took a photo of the Eagle Bluff light. It was built in 1868 for $12,000 and automated in 1926. The former lighthouse keeper's home has been a museum since 1963.
Michigan has the most lighthouses with 124 followed by Maine with 80

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Well I discovered my depth Sounder was toast so I had to scramble around looking for a new one and fortunately there was a Walmart close by that had a replacement. It took me a while to run the cable to the inhull transducer and build a new backing plate for the control head, so I didn't get finished until midday. By the time I had put on the mainsail, stowed the last of the provisions, had a shower, parked my car and finally got to a point that I could leave, it was 4pm and little bit too late to get started out. So I paid $40 for another night at the marina and my plan is to wake early tomorrow morning and head north. Depending on the wind I hope to make either Horseshoe Island or Rock Island where there is a State Park. Either place might be hit or miss with regards to the internet so my blog entry tomorrow may just be text without photos. I use a cell service called Project Fi from Google and so far the reception has been a little spotty both here in Michigan and also in Wisconsin. The good thing about Project Fi is that when i go to a new country like Canada, I don't have to buy a new Sim card.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Yooper accent

Before I had visited here I had never heard of the expression "yooper" before but it is the name given to someone who lives in the upper peninsula of Michigan. It is not unusual to see people here wearing sweats and rubber boots, eating pastries and talking with a dialect that is distinctive for the area. Listen to Skip, give a short history of the lighthouse and you will see what I mean.
Today I have been preparing to leave by visiting the local farmers market and stocking up on fresh vegetables. I took out my life jacket and manually inflated it to test it and put my personal locator beacon into it. I also went down to see progress on the military ships being built here which is the driving source of the economy for the area.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Weather never cooperates

I'm sitting here in the Menomonie Marina getting ready to leave for the North Channel. As you can see from the picture, I don't have my mainsail up or my Genoa because it is too windy and of course the wind is out of the NE in the direction that I want to go. I have been busy provisioning because for the next month, I am going to be in some very remote places where there are no stores. Think beans and rice with an onion for flavor......... Actually it is not that bad. There is a place up there called Little Current that has a sizeable grocery store.

The locals here have all been complaining about the cold summer they have been having. The high temperature this afternoon was to me a very nice 73 degrees with the lake at 63 almost warm enough to swim in.

People are very friendly. Tonight, a couple on another boat came by and we started talking. They invited me to dinner at the local Legion adjacent to the marina and told me all about the area and all the things going on here so I have a busy day scheduled for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Splash day

Well I found a refuse transfer station in Green Bay to dump off my shredded tarp at. I couldn't think of any other way of getting rid of it. I think next time I will buy 4 smaller tarps and lash them down a bit better.
The yard here at Marinette did a great job of looking after my boat and splashing her.
It was totally scary jumping back into the boat and out into Lake Michigan. There was a stiff 20 knot southerly blowing with a steep chop. What if one of my through hulls failed? What if the engine stopped? What if I grounded?
As it was I broke my rule about not getting on my bowsprit without wearing a life jacket. I would freeze if I ended up in this water here, summer or no summer.
It is supposed to be raining tomorrow but I am itching to leave.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Preparing to splash

Well after searching for a device to help change the oil in my yanmar diesel engine, I found the green device above at an Advanced Auto place. It worked a lot better than the other one to the left of the new one sold by Napa that I bought 4 years ago but the new one doesn't show how much has been collected.

It took me all day to change the oil and filter. First I had to run the engine to get the oil warm and that involved finding a few water hoses to connect to bring the water from a nearby building.  I wanted to run it anyway to check that all was ok. Then while the the pump was vacuuming out the oil, I decided to drive up the road and to buy some paint to paint my topsides because they looked so bad. Of course I had to stop for lunch.
Cute place but my word they were slow. In fact everything about this town is done at such a slow pace. The speed limit downtown here in Menomonie is either 15 or 25mph and the locals drive AT the speed limit.
I'm not going to paint the bottom as it is cold fresh water that I will be sailing in, and I will only be in for less than 2 months. Hopefully I will splash tomorrow because it is supposed to be raining Friday and Saturday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Back to the boat

Well today I visited my boat for the first time since last October and wow, how easily you forget. The tarp that I had spent so much time on was ripped to shreds so I will have to rethink my strategy on a new one. I did manage to remount the stanchions, tighten the rigging, connect the batteries, tighten the belts and tighten the nuts on the impeller cover. However I ran into a problem trying to change the oil from a pump that evacuates the oil out of the dipstick. I will shop around for a new pump tomorrow and hopefully splash Onapua Thursday.