Blog

Continue our North Bound Journey

Long time no type. Why you may ask? A serious lack of cell service! Fine in my book.

7/31 We departed Port Austin to journey across Saignaw Bay to East Tawas. Some bumps along the way but generally was a good transit. We left at 6:00am because the wind was do to pick up by 8:00. We saw some swells but the late departure folks had a much tougher time of it. We had a nice looper dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Mango’s. We had 6 boats that participated. Weather kept us all in port for an extra day so we attended a church called Harbor Church, wonderful service. Bob from Benita organized another dinner up in the park, pot luck style.
8/2 We departed East Tawas and travelled to Harrisville. The dock master has earned a negative reputation and we could see why. We stayed on the hook and sat in the harbor listening to her bark at boaters left and right. It was quite amusing! We dropped the dinghy and headed into town. It was very quiet but a pleasant little place.
8/3 We swang around the corner after departing Harrisville and were headed to Presque Isle. The seas were very tranquil and made for a beautiful cruise. Once we hit the harbor we refueled and we hooked to a mooring ball. We put our danik hook to great use as a safety line on the ball. Awesome rest with the extra security! We dinghyed into the marina and tied off on Benitas boat. We all walked up to the old lighthouse. She is a glorious old light for sure. That evening we were joined in the harbor by two other loopers. We joined them on their vessel for cocktails, well everyone else, I as usual was sipping my H2O. We moved to the marina the next day as we had a new item delivered, we purchased an electric scooter for a mode of transportation.
8/5 We departed Presque Isle in route to Detour in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The route was 49 miles or so and was easy as could be. This was the first time we could not see land, although it was about 2-1/2 hours it seemed like forever. Upon arrival we docked up and hit town. We visited a great little museum down the waterfront. We reprovisioned because the next few days we are going to be traveling and staying on the anchor. Opppps we forgot something so I scootered back up and grabbed them. We will be in some very beautiful waterways but very remote.


Hello Lake Huron

7/26 We arise to excellent wind and favorable seas. We depart Port Huron at 7:30am and fight the 4 knot current up to and beyond the Blue Water Bridge. Once past the current and out of the shipping channel we proceed north to Lexington. The seas were flat as can be, why can’t it always be this way I ask myself, hahahaha is the response I received. We transmitted the 30 miles or so in about 1-1/2 hours and had the morning to explore the nice little town of Lexington. We went to the beach in the afternoon and enjoyed the water, a bit chilly for our liking. We gathered with about 6 other looper boats in the park and spent an hour or so sharing information and loop stories.

7/27 Again a beautiful day of water is in store and we depart for Harbor Beach about 40 miles away. The seas were so calm the boat actually tracked on our waypoint bearing without my hands on the wheel, I didn’t realize we had auto pilot! We arrived at Harbor Beach early morning. The harbor master Michelle gave us a ride to town and we spent time touring. We walked the jetty, picked up some groceries, toured the Murphy Museum. About 2 hours later Michelle gathered us up and brought us back to the marina. We spent about an hour or so on Silver Jubilee chatting and touring their boat, a 37’ Nordic Tug.

7/28-29 & 30: We departed to transit the 30 miles or so to Port Austin. We left at 6am as the wind was to pick up by 9. We arrived in the harbor at 8:30, we fueled and hit the slip. We new we were going to be in town for two days. We decided to have lunch in town and we enjoyed The Bank. Yup you guessed it, it was the original bank of Port Austin. Food was good and the atmosphere was very cool. We were entertained by a nice steel drum band in the evening. We were invaded by a swarm of jet skis later in the day. Turns out they are doing a fundraiser for special olympics. They do a 220 mile run on the lake, it is called water warriors. Couldn’t resist we made a donation. They brought a bunch of special needs folks down and took them for rides. We have a stuck starboard side window that we just can’t get open. Tried a few things with zero luck! So we resorted to our favorite thing ice cream! Want a true bargain checkout The Blue Moon, heaping servings and cheap! The weather has turned, the temp has dropped and the wind is blowing at a steady 15+ mph from the north. This is not the wind you want want. The lake is raging with seas upwards of 5 feet. We have stayed put for an extra day, looks like we have a window to cross Saginaw Bay tomorrow to Tawas.

Good Bye Lake Erie

7/23: We departed Put In Bay at 6am and we new the seas were going to be tough as we got closer to the coast and the Detroit River. The current flowing out of the river is south and the wind was blowing north. This always makes for sloppy seas. As we approached the Livingston Channel at the mouth of the river the swells very quite large and I really needed to put the engine in high performance to break through the swell. A lot like running into an inlet with opposing tide and wind, CRAZY WATER! We decided that once we entered the channel we were going to run to Detroit. Stayed over night and we were right next door to many cool riverfront attractions.

7/24: Departed early again to run across Lake St. Claire and up the St. Claire river to Port Huron. Again we encountered some tough stretches of water. As we approached Port Huron the currents began to get stronger and stronger. I watched our tachometer slow down and our gallons per hour burn increase. Another long run but we arrived at Port Huron Yacht Club. Toured the town and hit church in the morning. We took a dinghy ride up the Black River, visited the Maritime Center and visited the Ice Museum, quite interesting. Tomorrow we take on another Great Lake, Huron. First we go under the Blue Water Bridge where the current will typically run 4knots.

Major technical difficulties

Partner Updates

Bolster Buddy: We have used this daily when the boat is under way. We have used the product in various scenarios. I have placed it behind me on top of the helm seat as a backrest leaning post while standing. I have placed it beside me and used it as an armrest. I have used half(2 equal halves connected with Velcro) to sit on while piloting. I have also used it in the dinghy as a backrest so I can layout and relax.

Backrest

Aqua Vault: This portable safe has kept our valuables secure all day everyday. Superb product to help you rest easy. We store cash, checks and passports in our vault.

Secured to a rod in v-berth

Impact Fenders: These fenders have come in very handy in numerous scenarios. We have use them on pilings and poles. We have used them in the locks on the Erie Canal quite often up on the bow so if the stern rolled out a bit impact was there to fend of some nasty lock walls.

Perfect for poles

Swift Knot: We have used these many times as spring lines. For longer stays these make excellent spring lines. As well We have used when going in to fuel and just needed a quick tie and go. We have used the swift knots to loop around pilings at the dock as well. The product is very versatile and I am sure we have not maximized there potential.

Quick and easy

Danik Hooks: We use these on our fenders and it makes adjusting them a breeze. We have also rigged the heavy stainless hook as a secured line for when we are attached to mooring balls. This gives us piece of mind to sleep easier at night.

Great hook


Boat Loop. Great boat hook! Very versatile with the loop attached. It has made grabbing cleats and pilings very simple. Also have fended off lock walls as well.

Easy to grab and very safe

Top Knot Dinghy Bridal: Well you all read about my mishap with the bridal, again this was a operator error and certainly not the product, the product preformed awesome. We still have the 25’ attaching rope and I have rigged new lines so when we go back to towing the dinghy Top Knot will be in action again.

Great product

Fortress and Cooper Anchors: We have not used either product to date. I do see us using these a lot in Florida so stay tuned for the reports on these products.

West we go on Lake Erie

7/21 We departed Cleveland at around 7:30am or so after Tom from Sand Dollar replaced the impeller in our boat. Tom was kind enough to volunteer his service when he heard I was trying to put together a mechanic and location to have the work done. I helped, more like watched him do it and clearly confirmed why I will have a mechanic do it, if she needs it replaced again. Cleveland was pretty cool, we were tucked directly behind the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame and the stadium where the Cleveland Browns play. We went to the Hall of Fame on Monday which was very cool. I think for me the greatest part was seeing the artists original drafts of songs on plan loose leaf sheets of paper. We stayed two days at this port! After departing Cleveland we moved to Vermillion to provision the boat. Vermillion was a beautiful little town and the people were extremely friendly. A gentlemen helped us tie up upon arrival, he worked in the building right at the town dock. He heard us asking about the nearest market and he said “take my car it is about 2 miles away” off we went in his car. Got back to the boat put the groceries away and went out to tour the town. We departed by 1pm and headed to Kelly Island. We stayed two nights at Kelly Island. The Island was small and we rented a golf cart to tour it. We visited a very cool spot called Glacier Grooves. Literally ice carved rock, very cool.

7/22 Departed Kelly Island and had a short ride over to south Bass Island and picked up a mooring ball in Put in Bay. Boy if I was drinking this island could have been a train wreck! Party central, for our Rhode Island friends the Block has nothing on Put In Bay! Thank god we depart tomorrow before the weekend madness arrives. Michigan here we come, we will enter the mouth of the Detroit River tomorrow.

Lake Erie Finally!


Our goal for Lake Erie is really to get to the western end ASAP to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the islands on that end. We have some stops planned but we are going to move quickly west along the shore.

7/15 Departed Buffalo bright and early, to make the 83 mile trek to Erie, PA. The seas were about a foot and half into the bow, not a bad ride. Traveling at 15mph we were on the water for 6 hours. We landed in a very peaceful Anchorage where we spent the night on the hook. So our first experience on one of the Great Lakes was a success all in all. Got a ride to town, to reprovision some needed supplies.

7/16 Departed Erie early to travel to Grand River, Ohio. We planned on Geneva on the lake but the marina had no available spots! We had following seas which is no fun to navigate to. The seas were varying in swell size, but by the time we reached our destination after 5 hours at the helm I was done for the day. The plan we had was to wake early to a weather window of about 4 hours to move to Cleveland. The transit to Cleveland is about 23 miles or so, about 1-1/2 hours piece of cake. We could not find a marina with slip availability in Grand Rivers but did find a little public park that we tied up at. Went over to Pickle Bill’s for a refreshment and snack. Turns out to be a very cool place with all sorts of nautical items. While departing we meet up with the owner and discussed how cool the restaurant was. Well the conversation led to put your boat on our dock for the night, awesome and she gave us two free drink tickets! Pierre and Sweety his wife came over from there house and offered their dock with power as well. Very nice couple they stayed and chatted for about half an hour.

7/17 I woke up early 4am checked the weather and all went bad. The wind arrived a lot earlier then expected, there was flash flooding going on. I walked to Pierre and Sweeties house and told them we were staying and would take them up on there offer to dock at there house, that way we could tie into electricity. We spent the day pushing logs off the dock, the least we could do for their hospitality. Sweety cooked us steaks for supper, all is good! We depart for Cleveland in the morning.

The Rain!

The weather is the big news. It just will not stop raining. We experienced a real nice storm while at Mid River Marina, wind blowing 50 and torrential rain, arghhhhh we want the sun.

7/11 Arrived in Medina about midday to rain. We needed ice and water so I hiked about a mile or so to a Walgreens, thanks for rain gear! Didn’t really tour Medina because of the weather. However with that being said the town looked very cool as I walked. We missed the train museum there which I heard from another boater was awesome.

7/12 Departed Medina and travelled to Lockport and the final two locks on the Erie Canal. Locks 34 & 35 were a double lock raising us up about 50’. We actually docked up in the original flight of five locks. That was pretty cool! They have a great museum at the lock and we really enjoyed our time there. The town had some great old buildings as well. We walked quite a bit so we could explore.

7/13 Departed Lockport and headed to Tonawanda NY. We refueled before heading up the Niagara River to Mid River Marina. The water is a beautiful green and quite clear. We have a couple of parcels waiting on us and work to do on the boat. Tomorrow we will head toward Buffalo and stage up for our transit on Lake Erie on Thursday. We will run from Buffalo to Erie, PA about 80 miles or so. We will take the Black Rock Canal into Buffalo because once we hit the Niagara River we encountered a 4 knot current. Will transit our last lock in the black rock canal until the middle of the country. The canal is used so you do not have to fight the current once in the lake it will diminish greatly. Kudo’s to Buffalo we visited a great military park today. They had many different stone monuments throughout the park, very cool.

Getting closer to Lake Erie

7/7 We departed Newark and transited to Fairport, NY. Great stop, then town was very vibrant and loaded with great shops as well as history. Met up with an old friend. We shared a great dinner with he and his wife. Steve Rosenberg is a great drummer and published author of children’s books. It has been 40 years since we have seen each other and he hasn’t changed a bit. It was wonderful to see my old friend. We spent two days exploring and enjoying the town especially the gelato!

7/9 We departed Fairport and made our way to Spencerport, NY. We arrived later in the day so our visited was brief. But we did have time for pampering and we enjoyed some spa time.

7/10 We departed Spencerport and transmitted a short 8 miles or so to my old alma mater Brockport, NY. Boy have they spruced up the water front. We used the free loaner bike to head back to campus and explore my old digs. After that we tried to find a couple of old watering holes but they were gone. The Barge Inn is now a recycle center and Club 2 on 2 is now a dollar general store. We did however have some great Buffalo chicken wings at The Taproom. We also attended church services at Brockport First Baptist.

7/11 We departed Brockport and travelled to Medina NY about a 25 mile trip today. The weather has been horrible all day. Just a steady rain!

4 Days on Seneca Lake

We spent 4 days down at Seneca lake so we didn’t have to deal with holiday weekend boat traffic. Did some maintenance checks and changed the primary fuel filter. Cleaned all the intake strainers. Ended up having to change the crank case filter as well boat wouldn’t turn over. We departed Seneca lake on 6/6 and made our way to Newark, NY. Trip was about 40 miles and many locks today, LONG DAY! Newark is a nice little town the waterfront is awesome. We will head to Fairport tomorrow to meet up with a long time friend.

Pre 4th of July

6/27 Attended a very cool little non denominational church service prior to departing Sylvan Beach. We are going to cross Lake Oneida to Brewerton. We put the boat up on plane today and ran about 16 miles and hour across the lake. Nice little cruise took 1.5 hours. We have decided to go to Seneca Lake to the state park Marina and get off the water for the upcoming holiday. We are going to stay at Winter Harbor Marina tonight so we can access water and electricity because after that we will take 4 days of travel to the park.

6/28 Accessed the marinas courtesy car and did some errands prior to shoving off. Short travel up to Phoenix Park on the Oswego Canal. Arrived to be treated by some grade school kids. Turns out the have a great program for the area youth called the Bridge House Brats. The program has been going for 25 years started by Kathy Lee. The kids work the docks and the reception area. Jobs include track pickup, tending to the gardens they planted, water rescue training and general hosts to boaters. I think I may have a new calling once I get home. The program is worth duplicating. Tomorrow we are off to Baldwinsville to meet up with Gene Miele a friend from South Carolina who moved back home.

6/29 Uneventful trip into Baldwinsville or B’Ville as the locals call it. We visited town to pick up some boat items at the ace hardware store. We were caught in a nasty rain storm on the way back to the boat. Although B’Ville was larger there really wasn’t anything exciting. We meet up with Gene and his family for dinner. It was great to see him!

6/30 We departed the dock at 9am and Marie was just getting out of bed. Traveled about 32 miles today to Seneca Falls. We actually went through a double lock today. Entered one rose 30’ then the doors opened and we immediately entered another lock and rose another 30’. This is a side trip to Seneca Lake one of the finger lakes in New York. We will be going into a marina for the 4th of July weekend. So we tested our GoPro camera and will video the double lock going back to the Erie Canal. Tomorrow we tour Seneca Falls.

7/1 Departed Seneca Falls around 11 or so and we traveled about 9 miles down to Seneca Lake and are staying in Seneca Lake State Park. We will be here until the 5th.