Friday, August 31, 2018

Detroit Harbor, Washington island

What an amazing day it was yesterday. Beautiful, clear blue skies, with little wind, and a little chilly surprisingly, while some parts of the country are suffering a heat wave. There were just two other skiffs here in the harbor enjoying the day and another jon boat with a couple of fishermen on board.

It is actually a myth that everyone likes to get away from the maddening crowd and search out secluded coves idling away the day reading books and taking it easy. Most of the idyllic coves that I have been to even in the height of summer have been empty with my boat being the only one around. Mind you, that is during the week because when the weekend warriors are out, those empty bays become full of jet skis, young kids and partying. It is either one or the other and with Labor day weekend around the corner, I am confident that this Bay will become full.

Monday may be the only time I can sail to my target of Menomonie. Today the prevailing SW winds in the direction that I am heading, have returned with a vengeance with thunderstorms again predicted overnight. I have had my fair share of bad weather so far this summer and I am ready to call it a wash and head down under again for a fairer climate.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Lobdell's Point

All but 12 of the 14 hours crossing Lake Michigan yesterday was beating to windward over white capped water. The 70 miles was wet, bouncy and at times downright scary. Normally I would not have ever considered a voyage like this, but when you have to go against the prevailing wind, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. All day i used the same configuration of one reef in the main sail and my staysail so at least I didn't have to go out on to a pitching foredeck to make sail changes. I was exhausted by night fall so put my hook down when I got the first chance at Washington island grabbing a beautiful sunset photo as I got close.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Beaver Island day 3

I love this place. Lots to do and see. As usual I set off and walked a couple of miles and then biked for two hours. People are really friendly and it is not too crowded because it is late in the season. The weather cooperated unlike last night. I fear I jinxed myself yesterday by saying that the worst of the weather had passed. I woke at midnight to 2 hours of wave upon wave of thunderstorms with driving rain, lightning and ferocious wind. We are supposed to get another round tonight but this time not so severe. Tomorrow I am heading across the lake and if conditions are right I will continue overnight all the way through to Menomonie. I know I have been threatening to do an overnight ever since I got back here but the wind is favourable until Thursday morning and then after that it dies and clocks to the South which would mean a headwind. Anyway here are a few pictures from this place.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Beaver Island day 2

Well the boat is still in one piece and I managed to weather the storm. No thunderstorms thank goodness but talk about blowing! We were having 2 foot rollers inside the harbor here at lunchtime. My two anchors held firm and besides a bit of rocking and rolling and cabin fever the boat came through unscathed. We are not out of the woods yet however, with this bad weather supposed to be sticking around for another couple of days but we are over the worst of it. In fact, tomorrow if we get another lull in the wind like we did this afternoon, I will head into the marina and reprovision ready for a Wednesday push across the lake. It is a serious 70 mile leg however and the wind may be a little on the high side so stay tuned.

In the meantime here are some photos that I took Saturday. One of the strong looking ferry here, one of Gray's Reef Lighthouse and finally one of the buildings at the entrance to the harbor.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Beaver Island

I sailed the 30 miles across here yesterday at often hull speed or maybe a little less. I was over canvassed to say the least. The forcasted weather was the same as the day before where I had very little wind for sailing and had to motor all day. Most of the time yesterday it was 20 knots or more. I accept the fact that a metrologist might make a few mistakes but how can they be that far off?

Needless to say it gives me no faith in their predictions for this week. The forecast for the next few days is downright scary so I have put both my anchors out and I am hoping for the best. Thunderstorms are predicted for tonight and along with strong winds that are not meant to lesson until Thursday. At times like this, I am thankful for a strong boat and so glad that I do not have a Hunter or Catalina.

This protected harbor is as still as a millpond at the moment and I wish I could post a better picture of this beautiful scenery. The calm before the storm.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Trails End Bay

I stopped last night at a large Bay just west of the Mackinac Bridge. Sailing ended up being a bust yesterday with very little wind so I had to motor all 11 hours. I may have been motoring but at least I made good progress against the prevailing Westerly breezes. Most of the day was quite nice but it started to rain around 4pm and by the time I dropped my hook, it was coming down pretty good.

My cockpit is littered with dead flies this morning from me swatting them all day yesterday. They are a pesky nuisance but a fact of life up here in the Upper peninsula. Sometimes I am envious of those boats with enclosed cockpits. 

All night long my halyards were making a racket, slapping against the mast but it didn't bother me because I was so tired I slept through the noise. Normally I tie them to my pin rail away from the mast, but it was raining so hard last night when I got here that I didn't want to go outside.

It is blowing pretty good here this morning out of the south so I am hoping to be able to sail to my next stop at Beaver Island, about 30 miles west of here. From there I am going to be going nowhere for about a week if you can believe the weather forecast of Westerly breezes. I had been anticipating this weather and picked Beaver Island as a good place to stop because a lot of people have told me how good it is there with lots of things to do. I'm not really your typical tourist, but if it has lots of outdoor activities I'll be in.

Lots of rain outside but at least there are no thunderstorms and it is a warm 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Huron Jewel

Went for a sail last night for a couple of hours on a tall ship berthed at the end of my dock with Hugh and Julie. They live on the other side of Drummond Island and their dream was to build a tall ship and sail it here which is now done. It is a beautiful boat but I will let the photos and videos do the talking.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Drummond Island

Actually quite a bit to do here. I went for a 2 hour bike ride along the waterfront this morning but wait a minute. I am getting ahead of myself.

Yesterday I left Milford Haven and had a nice 2 hour downwind sail here just in time for the winds to really kick up and make a lot of white caps outside the marina. Checking in to the usa was easy as usual. It took about 5 minutes on my smart phone using a new app called CBP ROAM. I didn't have to leave my boat, or go to the customs office and the official on the other side of the app, video conferenced me and could see me but I couldn't see him.

Then I walked the 2.4 miles to the grocery store and gave my legs a scare. Having been living on the boat for the past few weeks, my exercise level has dropped to the lowest level ever. I am starting to develop a tummy and it has got to go!

Weather is not cooperating and going west from here back over to Menomonie against the prevailing wind is going to be difficult to say the least. Tomorrow I plan on heading to Government Bay but i may be relying on my engine more than I would want. In the meantime I plan on taking a 2 hour cruise tonight on an old wooden boat berthed at the end of my dock.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Milford Haven again

Well I stayed here again last night because of the weather and now I'm heading to Drummond Island to check in to the USA. The trouble or the great thing depending on how you look at it, these beautiful secluded coves have terrible cell phone coverage. It forces me to read and write and do a lot of boat chores. The other downside is that I don't get a lot of exercise so I am looking forward to doing some serious walking when I get off the boat later today.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Milford Haven

I had a long sail of 45 Nm in front of me and the winds were less than 10 knots when I woke this morning but after some periods of little or no wind, rain and the occasional gust of 20 knots I made it here. Phew! I did use the motor for about 40 minutes when the wind died and I had confused seas but other than that I had 10 hours of great sailing averaging 5 knots with the help of my oversized Genoa. This will be my last day in Canada because tomorrow I plan on sailing the 8 Nm south of here to Drummond Island which is a port of entry into the USA. I actually enter the country using an app that is called CBP ROAM. It replaces the old SVRS system for cruising back into the USA. Very convenient with just a 5 minute phone call required.

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.