Saturday, September 5, 2009

Green Bay

Saturday, September 5

Just a quick update, Thursday we had a nice day and travelled from Washington Island to Menominee. The skies were clear and the winds light. In the afternoon we walked from the marina to a nice sand beach just outside the breakwater.

Yesterday was another good weather day, glassy flat water to finish our summer. We got to Green Bay about 1:30. Arrangements are all set for the work to be done on the boat and it will be hauled out on Tuesday as soon as we leave, to go into heated winter storage.

I have a flight out this morning to get the van and expect to be back in Green Bay tomorrow afternoon. We will clean and pack up on Monday and drive Home on Tuesday.

I think Diana has some pictures, I will add them to this post later.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Headed for Home

Wednesday, September 02

After talking it over and checking on options last night and this morning, we have decided to end our journey this year early. Instead of continuing on to St Charles, MO to put the boat in winter storage there we are headed for Green Bay and have made arrangement to store the boat there this winter.

Tomorrow we will go from Washington Island to Menominee MI; then on Friday we will go on to Green Bay. Over the weekend I will fly to St Louis and retrieve the van we left in St Charles. I will drive back to Green Bay where we will pack up our gear and on Tuesday turn the boat over to Harborside Yacht Center for them to store the boat for the winter .

There were several reasons for the decision, a few of which include, both of us having had plenty of time on the water, the ongoing problem with the fish barrier on the Illinois River, two less than pleasant days on Lake Michigan with the prospect of about seven more.

If you are interested in the problems the fish barrier has caused on the boating public check this web page. The short story is you have to get off your boat and have a commercial towing company tow it a half mile through the fish barrier.

We will decide this winter what we will do next year. The current options are to re-launch the boat and continue the trip including up the Mississippi to St Paul (about 1200 miles of water) or to have it trucked to St Paul (about 275 miles). There may also be other options to consider.

With all that arranged, it was a beautiful day here on Washington Island. It was clear skies and light winds with a temperature in the low 70s. We went for a walk and saw some a pretty rural area. The marina has a restaurant and we had dinner there, it was excellent.

I don’t know when I will have both internet access and time for another entry. It may not be until we are home sometime next week.

Detroit Harbor, Washington Island (Door County)

Tuesday, September 1

The weather looked like another fine day, so we were up and out of the Manistique Marina early, (7:30) and headed south. Although the wind was light and forecasted to remain fairly light there were significant left over swells from yesterdays winds.

We punched into them for the first couple of hours but they settled down as the morning went by. They produced more motion then we like but it was nowhere as bad as yesterday. By late morning it had become a beautiful day on the water.

Our destination today was Washington Island which is a short ferry ride north of the north end of Door County, Wisconsin. By mid-afternoon, (we gained an hour on a time zone) we were pulling into the Marina here in Detroit Harbor. The Island is a tourist destination, hopefully tomorrow we can do some sight seeing.

It was a good day of boating but not a lot to write about.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Monday, August 31

First an update on Sunday, as forecast Sunday was still windy, no day to travel. At least the skies had cleared and it was a nice day for a stroll around Mackinaw City. We had breakfast in town.

Then after lunch (when it warmed a little) we walked over to stroll thru Mackinaw Crossings. This is a new pedestrian plaza surrounded by shops. In the center is a fountain that feeds a stream that runs down to a pool at the far end.

Next to Mackinaw Crossings is a large waterfall that is part of an adventure golf center.

Across the street was a large arts and crafts show with 60 or 70 vendors in tents. Diana stroll the displays while I walked down to check the new state harbor marina. It is a beautiful new 130 slip facility that just opened the last week in July, very few boaters know it is here. We got another picture of the old icebreaker and Diana liked this fancy clock and flowers at the end of main (Central) street.

For my birthday dinner, Diana did individual chocolate cakes in the microwave. It is a receipt she saw last spring and made sure she had all the ingredients onboard. Who knew you could bake a cake in less than five minutes.

Now for Monday.

From Mackinaw we were looking at a long day somewhere to get to the west side of the lake. We decided that today looked like a good day to run straight west to Manistique. It would be 76 miles (almost ten hours) but a straight shot once we were under the bridge. The forecast was 5 to 10 NW going SW in the afternoon waves one foot or less, other than 45 degrees a good day.

We were off the dock by 7:30 and under the bridge just before 8:00. The prospect was for driving over 70 miles by compass. I can steer by the compass but it is much easier with a visual reference. As fortune would have it there was a freighter in front of us by about 3 miles, he was on our heading. He was just a little faster than we were but I was able to use him as a visual reference for 50 miles, he was just a spec but then slowed and finally turned north to go into Port Inland. It was only a couple more miles and I had a tower on shore near the Manistique Harbor entrance.

The weather was clear with the predicted 5 to 10 from the NW. About 1:00 it went to the SW as forecast, but instead of remaining 5 to 10 by 2:30 it had built to 15 to 20 and the waves were 2 to 3 feet. It was a very uncomfortable ride for the rest of the day; everybody hunkered down and made the best of it. Just before 5:00 we made the breakwater and on into the marina. Everyone was relieved to be tied up in calm waters.

At least now we are in a position to run down the Wisconsin shore. It will be one day from here to Washington Island at the north end of Door County, and then there are many harbors going down the coast.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tourists in Mackinaw City

Friday, Sat and Sun, August 28 - 30

The weather Friday was not bad but the forecast was for a terrible weekend. We decided Mackinaw was a better place to spend several days then anywhere we might get to, so we stayed put. We had a leisurely morning and finally about 11:00 we walked around to the Mackinaw Icebreaker Museum.

The icebreaker Mackinaw was built for the Coast Guard starting in 1942 and commissioned in 1944. The idea being that it was important to extend the great lakes shipping season as long as possible to keep the iron ore (and other commodities) flowing for the national interest.

She served as the principal great lakes icebreaker for 62 years being decommissioned in 2006 when a replacement also name Mackinaw was ready for service. She has now been turned into a floating museum. If you are ever near Mackinaw City, she is worth the couple of hours it takes to tour.

Diana got many pictures; the executive officers conference area, one of six engines, the mess hall, the aft deck, looking over the bow from in front of the bridge, inside the bridge, the captains quarters and a guest “stateroom”.

She carried a crew of 75. There are six Detroit engines in three engine rooms. All engines drive generators, the props are driven by electric motors. There are three props, two aft and one forward. The forward one draws water out from under the ice making it easier to break. She cruised through three feet of solid ice, about the most encountered on Lake Superior. The ice can be thicker in windrows and pressure ridges, reaching 10 and 12 feet. For this the technique was to drive up onto the ice, pump 100,000 gallons of water from stern tanks to bow tanks and then back off and repeat.

Although the ship is still solid and very capable of doing the job, the 1940s equipment is becoming dated. Her replacement has the same ice breaking capabilities, using a crew of 50 instead of 75 and has more ability to performed needed summer tasks after the icebreaking season.

On the way back Diana took this picture of Memories. It shows two things, the high docks I mentioned yesterday and also the two large cruisers on our starboard side. By late afternoon and through the evening the wind had picked up to 15 to 20 with gusts over 25 knots. It is from our starboard side and those cruisers make a nice wind break.

After a late lunch and a little rest for the feet, we walked into town, getting pictures of the marina and main street on the way. We window shopped all the way to the far end of the street where the grocery store is, picked up a few items and came back the other side of the street.

Later we walked back into town to a pizza place that has a bridge museum upstairs. We had been here years ago but I wanted to go back. They had a wonderful museum detailing the building of the Mackinaw Bridge. Unfortunately it burned down a few years ago. They have rebuilt but have lost most of the original memorabilia they had. They still have an interesting movie of the construction that makes it worthwhile. The pizza was good and they had a cherry wheat beer on tap that was unusual.

As I write this it is Saturday afternoon. It rained much of the night and the wind never settled down. This morning the temperature was 58, it is now 55 with drizzle all day and winds continuing to gust in the high 20 knot range. The marina internet does not reach the boat so I have made a couple of trips to the office; otherwise we have hunkered down for the day.

Tomorrow the rain is forecast to end but the wind will blow until tomorrow evening. The slip is paid through tomorrow evening, we aren’t going anywhere before Monday. Hopefully we can at least get out and go into town tomorrow.

The Illinois Waterway remains closed at the fish barrier, still no word on when that might change.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mackinaw City

Thursday, August 27

The weather continues on the cool side, morning temperatures in the low to mid 50s and highs of barely 70. Today looked like a good travel day with a forecast for light SE winds, we are headed west.

Our destination today is Mackinaw City; we can either run a straight course to Mackinac Island or we can go inside through the Les Cheneaux Islands. Since the water is calm and we did the inside going east we decide on the straight run. It is almost two hours shorter.

We are underway a little after 8:00. As we leave the St Mary’s River Diana gets a picture of De Tour Reef Light. The wind is ESE about eight but drops to flat calm by mid morning. There is still a bit of a swell running but it is behind us and the ride is very comfortable.

By 1:00 we are making the passage between Mackinac Island and Round Island. Diana gets pictures of the Convention Center, the harbor with the hotel in the background and the edge of the fort to the right. Unfortunately her telephoto lens has a problem and is no longer working, it limits the pictures she can take.

As we approach the harbor entrance the ferries are leaving. There are three ferry companies, Arnolds, Sheplers and Star Lines, each runs to Mackinaw City and to St Ignace. Six ferries leave the harbor and accelerate to full speed in just a couple of minutes. We are now rocking and rolling all the way to Mackinaw City.

The Round Island Light is a famous lighthouse. I believe it is now in the hands of a non-profit that has restored it and is maintaining it.

When we approached the Mackinaw Bridge going the other way it was very haze and we did not see it until we were a few miles away. Today I first saw the towers from almost 30 miles away. For the first few miles after I saw them I thought it was a couple of sailboats. At about 25 miles I realized what it was.

By 2:00 we are into the Mackinaw City Municipal Marina. It is nice old facility; I was first here in 1985. The only problem is the docks are fixed (not floating) and with the current water level we need a two step stool to get up to the dock.

It is another great day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

De Tour Village

Wednesday, August 26

With a forecast of nice weather the plan today was go nine miles to De Tour Village and fuel then go on to Mackinaw City , another 45 miles. Unfortunately the weather was clear but with winds of 15 knots gusting 18 and temperatures in the mid 50s.

Finally about 10:30 the winds dropped to the 8 to 10 that was forecast. Then just as we are getting ready to go Solstice comes headed in the channel. We wait and say hi to Cappy and Judy then finally about 11:15 we are out and on our way. We stop at De Tour for fuel and decide that it will be after 7:00 before we can get to Mackinaw City so we decide to take a slip here at De Tour.

The fueling was 157 gallons at $2.90 a gallon. With an eight gallon allowance for sixteen hours of generator it works out to 3.4 mpg.

We walk up to the Main Sail resturant, where we had a good lunch going the other way. They have Wi-Fi, the marina does not.

A very short day.