Cruising

Wow! It has been a long time.

It has been a long time since I’ve let my fingers walk on the keyboard. So long that I had to look up my last post to figure out where I left off.

Four Months!

July. It has been a long time.

Let’s get started. Here’s what I’m going to do. Give a brief review of our travels in the last 4 months then go back and expand on what I thought were significant.

Last time we were in Canada celebrating Canada Day with new friends. We still are in contact with them through Facebook.

While traveling the Trent-Severn waterway we had a situation with a recurring problem that required the boat to be lifted out of the water. With out a place to stay we rented a vehicle and drove to our home port of Grand Haven, Michigan. Friends and family were gracious enough to put up with us for almost 3 weeks.20160729_134614

 

Thanks again to everyone that helped out.

With the boat back in the water and August slipping away we pushed through the Georgian Bay in 2 days and back into the North Channel of Lake Huron. At the top of Georgian Bay is Killarney, Ontario. We were now in familiar waters, having travelled here in 2013. My thoughts were to push to Mackinac and down the coast of Michigan to Grand Haven. Silly Me

Lake Michigan is not a lake to mess with. We ended up in St. Ignace, MI waiting for weather and waves to become better. Waves again forced us into Beaver Island. Then with our sights set for Frankfort, we were forced into Charlevoix. Let me tell you this. If you are forced into a harbor Charlevoix is a great place to pushed into.

With an open window we moved from Charlevoix to Frankfort and from Frankfort to Manistee. Where again we had to wait for a weather window to move again. Then to Pentwater, Muskegon and finally on September 4 we reentered Grand Haven harbor and completed our Great Loop.

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We stayed at the municipal marina for 2 weeks, met with friends and family, went to Dr, appointments, and caught up with what needed to be caught up with. We were so busy that by the time we left we were ready to get back to the easy pace of cruising.

A salmon festival had us leaving Grand Haven in not the best of conditions. We traveled the Lake Michigan coast in 17 – 20 feet of water. Very close to shore. But any farther out and we were being banged around by 4-6′ waves. We made South Haven and stayed til better conditions arrived. Then New Buffalo MI and Hammond IN.

We arrived in Hammond on Cynthia’s birthday and went to the Casino next door to the marina. If we signed up for Player’s Cards we would get a free buffet. Whoo Hooo, free food and a birthday dinner to boot.

Now off the big lake and into the rivers again for smooth cruising. Our cruise down the Illinois River was uneventful. The upper Illinois River is highly commercial and is not the prettiest of scenery but in improves the closer you get to the Mississippi River Valley.

The Mississippi River has a great current that makes for easy travel at speeds unthinkable in slow-moving vessels. We would travel around 14 to 15 mph at engine speeds that would usually have us at 8 or 9 mph. Then we make the turn up the Ohio and speeds drop from 15 down to 6 in a boat length. But this is only for a couple of days and we enjoyed our nights at anchor on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

From there we entered the Cumberland River just north a Paducah, KY on a Sunday. The Kentucky Lock and Dam was closed for repair and barge and tow traffic had been re-routed onto the Cumberland. Where when we first traveled the Cumberland we saw 1 barge this time we saw and passed more than 12 moving tows. The Cumberland is much more narrow than the Tennessee and the Ohio and water levels were much shallower than the last time we were on it, making the passing just a little more nerve-wracking. But a great day and we were able to enter the Barkley Lock without waiting.

Now up the Tennessee and on to the Tom Bigbee River. We are currently in Columbus MS and what was supposed to be a short stay has become weeks. I turned and put out my back and have been here recuperating until we both feel comfortable in my moving capabilities.

Life goes on.

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Cruising

Excape from reality, cruising

We have been cruising up the West Coast of Michigan. We are now in St Ignace Michigan in the upper penninsula and prepairing to head into the “North Channel”. We left our home port of Grand Haven and with good weather and seas we about doubled our time out for the day and traveled to Manistee, Michigan.
Manistee’s municipal marina is almost new and the facilities are clean and comfortable. In the boaters lounge there is a “put and take” library. Bring in a book and take one of their’s. I found a book, however, after a couple of pages realized that I already read it. I’ll save this for the next “put and take”
Day two found us travelling in good weather with a southwest wind. Our boat handles well in a following sea. Plus, if waves build we can surf down the backs and gain some speed. We have found that our most economical speed is at about 75% of the power of the engines. That’s about 1950 Rpms witch gives us a speed of around 12mph. Yep, I’m and “airconditioned gypsy”. “Bright Angel” is a power boat and uses diesal fuel. Lots of it. We get use about a gallon per mile at economy and if we power up to make time or run in bigger waves it triples. We try to make the best economy we can but when the waves build I do what I think is necessary to get to a port of refuge as soon as possible.

We passed through the Manitou Passage on day two. The Manitous are islands off Sleeping Bear dunes, last years Goodmorning America’s most beautiful view. The wind and waves funnel through this passage and make it exciting to pass through. Like I said our boat handles a following sea pretty well so it wasn’t a bad ride but after 4 hours it gets old. We opted to travel to Northport Michigan on the Leelanau Penninsula. (I talked about this in an earlier post so if your new look it up. There are not that many.)
We stayed in Northport over the weekend and then headed out to test the waters so to speak. We found them “rough” and discovered the best way to deal with rough conditions in our boat is to power up and attack the waves instead of letting them push us around. I’m glad for the extra power on our trip to Charlevoix we passed trawlers moving at 6-7 knots and really taking a beating.
Chalevoix, Michigan is a beautiful spot and the Municipal Marina is very pretty and the accomadating, when there is room. See everyone else thinks the same and it’s mostly full most of the time. I prefer to go day to day rather than schedule a time and date to be in a certain destination. With no room at the inn we had a break from the waves in Round Lake and then made the 10:00A.M. bridge opening and headed out into “Little Traverse Bay” and Petosky, MI
Only 1.5 hours at full speed Petosky was open to all and we were tied up before noon. The dock attendants were helpful and gave us a lot of information before we were even fully tied up. Like the numbers to the bathrooms. Boy does that make sence, because sometimes it’s nice just to take a leak and relax after a push and rough water. They had bikes available for use and we found beautiful skys and great weather for the afternoon.
Fuel prices in Petosky seemed higher than normal. Could be because we are getting farther north in Michigan. I had enough to get to Beaver Island or St. Ignace but decided not to chance with low fuel. Almost 300 gallons later and the head pumped we headed toward Beaver Island. Outside Little Traverse Bay winds picked up and waves only 1-2 feet. But, Lake Michigan has a phenomenon we call “Rollers”. I guess on the ocean they would be swells. Waves that come from who knowes where and add to the wave conditions. So we get waves of 1 to 2 feet but they are on “rollers” that can be 3-4 feet and out of a different direction. I try to set cource to make for the easiest ride. This day did not mean Beaver Island but more north toward the Straights of Mackinac. Once around the top of Michigan we were in the lee of the land and water smoothed out and made the last 3 hours ride very nice. Dearest posted a video to Facebook as we got close to the Mackinac Bridge. Funny the wind switched again and came right into our faces. No waves though so a smooth ride.
We arrived to St. Ignace, Michigan and tied up. St. Ignace is right next to Mackinac Island where most people try to go. Like Charlevoix it’s beautiful and a destination. St. Ignace Municipal Marina is large and newer. The facilities are clean and up to date, and less than half full. My feelings is if you want to boat to Mackinac do it once for the experiance then go to St. Ignace with its resturants and groceries and parts stores and if you still want to go to Mackinac Island take a ferry. Arnold’s classic (slow) boat trip is $15.00 for adults round trip.
We are here until storms pass then it on toward DeTour Village, Michigan about 45miles away and the entrance to the North Channel.
The North Channel has me apprehensive. Never been there and instead of sand it’s granite. We have been giving lots of advice from other boates and will proceed slowly. Will fill you in more as we go.
Until nex

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