Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Windsor to Vermilion

Wednesday, August 23 - Last Day, Home Port Bound

0700 Depart Lakeview marina

Last night we had dinner at the local restaurant at Lakeview. The Captain was exhausted after staying up all night on the sail down Huron and went to bed at 2100. Gregg, the first mate, retired shortly thereafter. After sleeping most of the day.... the crew stayed up and played a little poker.

We shoved off at sunrise. The forecast for today was light and variable winds...... most likely a full day of motoring.

0830 Grassy Island, 12.5 NM

The crew was up for departure from Lakeview and then quickly slipped below or on deck for more sleep.

Grassy Island is memorable to the Captain.... for he ran aground here in 1985 aboard his Bristol 22. There are two types of sailors; those who have run aground and those who lie....

0945 Detroit Light, 25.5 NM

The river current has allowed us to make good time downbound. Lake Erie is flat and the wind is light.

1400 Kellys Island Long Point, 57 NM

Since we are motoring in flat water, the captain has time to pack and clean the boat. It will be nice to dock the boat ship shape. The crew is put on notice not to soil anything..... the galley and bar is closed.

1630 VYC, 75.5 NM

It got rather warm aboard the last few hours and we got attacked by flies.....But.....the Bumboat is back in the home port!

An excellent voyage!

Sunrise over Peach Island and Lake St. Claire
Early morning on Detroit River
Party boys still struggling two mornings later
Detroit River Light
Leg 6 crew

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Leg 6 - Offshore Lake Huron to Windsor

Tuesday, August 22 Off shore on Lake Huron

1230 10 NM East of Point Aux Barques

The wind is still out of the west and holding at 15 to 20 knots. The Bumboat continues to ride on a beam reach. GREAT SAIL!

The crew is, at best, just aware that we are sailing..... let alone having a possible Top 10 sail.

The crew has just noticed the meteor shower taking place for the past few hours and are now trying to see who can see the most meteors. The Captain believes most of the streaks they are seeing have nothing to do with celestial bodies.

0130 10 miles off of the Michigan shore NE of Harbor Beach

All of the crew is still pretty fired up. A while ago the Captain had to remind them not to leave their seats unless they were going below. Ben and Alan are being watched closely due to their erratic behavior.

0200 East of Harbor Beach

The wind is fantastic. We still are screaming along on a beam reach, full sail, 9 to 10 knots. This couldn't of been scripted better.

The crew has flamed out. It is as if a switch was turned off. They are now laying about the boat in various stages of slumber.

It is quiet again. Gregg and I can hear the wind and waves as they interact with the vessel. Gregg is going below to catch some sleep. I will try later to catch a few winks.

0500 10 NM Northeast of Port Sanilac

Since midnight we have seen a steady stream of lakers going upbound and downbound Lake Huron. We are inside the Upbound Laker course...but, they don't appear to be sticking too close to the charted courses tonight. Right now I have six lakers within 10 miles of the Bumboat, all being tracked by our radar.

0550 4 NM Northeast of Port Sanilac, 80.5 NM

All of the lakers have behaved predictably except for one rogue heading right at us. It is about 5 miles ahead and closing. Gregg and I decide to fall off the wind and try to get some distance between us and the laker. The laker passes between us and shore within a half mile of the Bumboat. It was strange that the laker was so near shore.

The crew is still passed out.

1015 Blue Water Bridge, 111 NM

Most of the crew is up as we approach the Blue Water bridge. We have just started the engine a little while ago. Our sail last night was a Top 10 sail; beam reach most of the night, 7 to 10 knot boat speed, 2 to 4 foot seas, crystal clear sky, meteor shower..... perhaps the only downside was some of the racket the crew made....

1745 Lakeview Marina in Windsor, Ontario, 161.5 NM

We had an uneventful motor down the St. Claire River and across Lake St. Claire. We stopped briefly in Lake St. Claire to clear some grass out of the engine cooling intake.

Since the Captain didn't sleep last night.... and the crew was looking a bit whacked..... we decided to spend the night at Lakeview Marina in Windsor.

Lake Huron sunrise
Party boys at 0930
Ben was wacked
Fort Gradiot Light, just west of Blue Water Bridge
South of Blue Water Bridge after leaving Lake Huron

Monday, August 21, 2006

Presque Isle to Harrisville to Open Water (Leg 6)

Monday, August 21

0900 Leave Presque Isle marina

Another bright sunny day with a forecasted west wind to take us down to Harrisville.

1010 2 NM West of False Presque Isle, 6.8 NM

The winds are out of the SSW at 10 to 15 knots which are OK for now. Hopefully, they will shift to the west as forecasted.

1500 Southeast of Thunder Bay

We've been hard on the wind all day. The wind is now shifting slightly to the SW. We are a good 10 miles offshore so its time to motor into the wind and get to Harrisville. Crew 6 will be there by 1700.

1715 Harrisville Harbor, 51 NM

The Leg 6 crew is waiting at the fuel dock ready for our arrival.

The captain is feeling pretty good and the weather forecast is sounding very nice. Winds are forecasted out of the west at 10 to 15 tonight.... looks like it could be a nice night sail down Huron.

As the Leg 5 crew begins disembarking, the captain informs the Leg 6 crew that we won't be staying the night in Harrisville.....but, pushing on. The crew looks a bit bewildered and accepts the proposition.

1800 Leave Harrisville Harbor - LEG 6 BEGINS

While the Leg 6 crew stows their gear, the Bumboat takes on 23 gallons (204 engine hours) of diesel to top off the tanks. After only 45 minutes in port, the crews have been changed, boat fueled, and provisioned with food and drink..... almost as fast as a NASCAR pit change.

1830 A few miles SE of Harrisville

The wind has now shifted to the WSW and seems steady at 10 to 12 knots. Gregg and I tune the sails to get us moving at a nice 7 knot clip. The Leg 6 crew is yakking and full of energy. Thirty minutes into Leg 6, the crew has finished their first round of beer.

2030 Off shore on Lake Huron east of NE of Oscoda

Crew 6 is in the midst of a serious onboard party. They are now working on their second case of beverages. The music is spirited and the crew continues to yak endlessly. Right now they are totally oblivious to their surroundings. I don't even think they know they are on a sailboat 20 miles offshore.... it could just as well be a bar, recreation room, picnic table in a park.....

The sun is setting and the wind is holding out of the WSW.

2230 Somewhere Northeast of Saginaw Bay

The party continues. Any tranquil sounds of wind and waves are totally overwhelmed by the crew's need to shout to one another.

Ben discovers that it is dark outside..... really dark.... and the sky is on fire with stars...... lots of stars.....

The wind has become a steady 15+ knots. The Bumboat is screaming along on a beam reach at 8 to 9 knots. The waves are building to 3 to 5 footers since we have the fetch of Saginaw Bay to our west.

Gamblin' crew
Fair winds and skies
Leg 5 crew
Leg 5/6 crew change
Leg 6 crew in party mode
Old Presque Isle Light
Sunset off shore on Lake Huron

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mackinaw City to Presque Isle

Sunday, August 20

0800 Depart Mackinaw City

Getting an early start with a large crew is difficult. However, 8 AM wasn't too bad. The morning sunshine was brilliant for our sail into Lake Michigan. The wind was a fluky 10 knots.

0900 Under Mackinwac Bridge

The camera shutters were clicking... who knows how many shots were taken by the crew. I managed to get a few while Chris kept the helm steady.

0930 3 NM Southwest of Lime Kiln Point off of Bois Blanc Island, 7.6 NM

The wind is still blowing well and we're sailing along fine. The crew is settling into their own routines; sleeping, reading, drinking....

1155 Poe Reef Light, 21.42 NM

Another photo opportunity. Leg 5 will be the winner for most lighthouses past and photographed.

1330 1 NM off Nine Mile Point, 28.72 NM

The wind is beginning to diminish and swing aft. Since today is a long ride and we want to get to Presque Isle before it gets too late, we fire up the iron genny and motor the last 15 miles to the harbor. The crew has caught up on their sleep, Matt has read an entire book, and Michael has investigated every menu item on the chart plotter.

1840 Presque Isle, 66.75 NM

This is the third time the Bumboat has been to Presque Isle. It is a very beautiful secluded harbor. It has only a restaurant, bar, and general store.

After dinner at the restaurant, we moved to the bar for a few stories and drinks. Toot has been itching to drink something stiffer than beer.... so, Michael had the waitress prepare one of his favorites; apple tequila. Seven triple shots of apple tequila hoisted for a toast.... "Hail to the captain, hail to the crew, hail to Toot's upcoming wedding"..... Toot! Toot! It appears toot got the straight tequila without the mixer......

Approaching Mackinac Bridge
Hello Lake Michigan
Crew in cruise boat mode
A gamblin' cruise, Toot cleaned up
Fill the Bumboat tanks Michael, not the lake

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Leg 5 - DeTour Village to Mackinaw City

Saturday, August 19 - LEG 5 Begins

0940 Casting off from DeTour Village

The gray morning and last night in DeTour Village resulted in a late start. Last night we had a marginal dinner at the Mainsail restaurant and then proceeded to the Village Inn for a few beers and pool. The Inn was full of locals and one mean ass barmaid whom didn't appreciate our company. After poor service and music discrimination (she turned down the volume on our juke box songs) we moved on to a more hospitable drinking establishment. Toot held her own at the drinking establishments.

1015 DeTour Light, 3 NM

No wind.... an unusual event this cruise up North.... The weather forecast was 100% chance of rain and thunderstorms. Matt, Michael, and Kevin were trained on driving us under diesel power.... and all did well. The entire crew was amused by the onboard radar tracking the weather ahead.

1310 6 NM East of Mackinac Island, 26.5 NM

The chart plotter was painted magenta by the radar scanner..... The weather we have been watching has arrived. It is now raining hard and visibility is low.

1400 Mackinac Island Harbor

The rain has been intense for the last half hour. As we approached Mackinac Island, the radar and chart plotter was our only view of the Island a quarter mile away. The radar did a fine job identifying the six ferries around us. We entered the harbor, allowing us to be placed on the dock wait list. However, we would not be notified if a dock was available until 1700.... prompting us to move on to Mackinaw City.

1515 Mackinaw City Marina, 40.1 NM

Our wet ride today ended in Mackinaw City. We pulled into some very high fixed docks, making crew disembarking challenging. We promptly boarded the Shepler ferry and headed to Mackinac Island for the remainder of the day and evening. The island was a bit cool and damp... but, we made the best of it.

Detour Reef Light
Freshly trained helmsmen
Rain starts and fickle crew abandons captain to eat lunch
Rainy Mackinac Island harbor
Round Island Light, across from Mackinac Island harbor

Friday, August 18, 2006

Meldrum Bay to DeTour Village

Friday, August 18

0900 Leaving Meldrum Bay

After breakfast at the Inn, we motor out to the North Channel. Today we are headed for DeTour Village. Detour Village is on the eastern end of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. This will be a nice place for a crew change.... minimizing their driving time. Reaching us on the western portion of Manitoulin island would of taken them 15 hours.... DeTour almost halves the driving time.

1200 Off Reynolds Point, Drummond Island, 26.8 NM

The winds were light today and we have some distance to travel.... so the diesel is the preferred method of propulsion. The crew is chipper enjoying the sun and sea. We just crossed the international boundary line and are back in the United States.

1400 Yacht Haven, Drummond Island, 186 engine hours (total since commissioning)

DeTour Village doesn't have a customs agent, so we proceed to Drummond Island. We fuel (36.6 gallons of diesel), pump out, clear customs, and walk to the nearest ice cream stand.

1615 DeTour Village, 43.2 NM

We arrive in Detour. The next crew will be here in just an hour. At the crew change.... Crew 4 lingers.... having one.... then two.... beers..... waiting in anticipation of being retained onto Leg 5. The Leg 5 crew begin to be annoyed by the Leg 4 crew's desire to hang out.... wanting to get on with their voyage.

Reluctantly, Leg 4 crew depart. They clearly are the winners of the most beverages consumed.... and the most waking hours aboard the Bumboat.... They will be missed..... but... only for a minute or two....

Drying out again
Welcoming Leg 5 crew
Crew changeover
OK...... we're going
Tom didn't see this shot

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Beardrop Harbor to Meldrum Bay

Thursday, August 17

1015 Raising anchor in Beardrop Harbor

A tough morning for the crew. Tom, Dan, Dave, Dave, and Jim appear to be struggling with normal functions. Justin and Moondog are moving about better. Dan appears to have a stiff neck from crashing last night by the port wheel...

We're not underway more than 30 minutes when the crew has their first bloody mary.

We were going to anchor out another evening at Turnball Island about 8 miles west. However, yesterday's antics have resulted in a need to return to mainland. The crew has depleted the Bumboat of most liquid beverages.... they have consumed all of the ice.... the holding tanks are full.... and we have no more room to store garbage.... So it's off to Meldrum Bay.

1515 Entering the north side of Meldrum Bay

We've had another good sail. Winds were 10 to 15 knots from the northwest most of the day.... making for a pleasant beam reach to Meldrum Bay. Justin sailed most of the way. The remainder of the crew read and continued to consume warm beverages.

1600 Docked at Meldrum Bay, 26.8 NM

Most of the crew jumped ship to run.... then Dave and Dave kayaked a considerable distance to the other side of the bay.

1930 Meldrum Bay Inn

We had a very nice dinner at the Inn. This is the fourth time I have been here and I continue to like this quaint Inn.... the food and service are five star....

2230 Drinks aboard the Bumboat

After dinner, Dan and Dave visited some locals (Meldrum Bay and North Bay) whom they met earlier. Since we now had ice.... they invited them to the boat for a drink or two.... as time marched on it seemed like most of the rest of Meldrum Bay (population 41) stopped by for a nightcap on the Bumboat. A few of the Inn's guest invited us over to a bonfire at the Inn...... where we met the rest of the town. Dave took over two more bags of jello shots... which pleased the locals....

Water toys following us to Meldrum Bay
Dave and Dave test kayak weight limit
New Canadian friends
Meldrum Bay serenity

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Leg 4 - Gore Bay to Beardrop Harbor

Wednesday, August 16 - LEG 4 Begins

0830 Gore Bay

The crew is up and about... we had a nice dinner last night at Gordon's Lodge.... which we had virtually to ourselves.... The crew had breakfast in town and then proceeded to the grocery store to provision the boat. They purchased plenty of beverages and the same lasagna dinner Leg 3 purchased.

1120 Leaving Gore Bay

The weather is sunny with a forecasted high of 25c. We have a 12 knot wind out of the northeast enabling us to have a nice sail on the beam. Our destination would be Beardrop harbor followed by a night in Turnball Island. The weather looked good for two nights on the hook.

1220 Five miles NNW of Janet Head light, 6.3 NM

Nice wind and virtually no seas. The crew has broken open the beer and are kicking back..... reading.... munching... and quenching their thirst.

1500 Beardrop Harbor, 20.3 NM

We had a great sail all the way to Beardrop Harbor and have just lowered the anchor... Beardrop Harbor is on the north shore of the North Channel a long way from anywhere. The entire crew was awake for the entire passage to Beardrop..... this could be a new record for crew staying awake.

1530 Beardrop Harbor

The crew is now launching all the water toys; two kayaks and the dingy. They only stop for a refreshing beverage. Everyone's off exploring the harbor and hiking on shore.

1800 Cocktails on the bow of the Bumboat

The crew is tired of paddling and has decided to conduct a happy hour. They are now well into their second case of Canadian products.

2030 Cocktails in the cockpit of the Bumboat

The crew has moved the party aft. They have made an attempt to invite other boats to our vessel.....but, no one elects to join the boisterous Bumboat crew. A kayak is launched providing a photo op for the Captain and crew. Tom claims everyone is infringing on his image ideas. The third case of Canadian products have been consumed and the last bags of ice have been deployed to the cockpit cooler to cool the fourth case.

2200 Dinner in the salon

At 2100 the crew decided that dinner was in order. They quickly realized their lasagna dinner would not be done until midnight.... resulting in a backup plan.... the Captain cooking dinner..... pasta and sausage..... and beef stew with biscuits..... all thanks to meals in a box..

The crew ate every scrap of food and then we broke out pies for desert.

 2330 On deck gazing into the sky

Another crystal clear night. The moon doesn't rise until well after midnight.... allowing the stars and meteor showers to shine. One by one the crew retires..... some to their bunks.... but, most sleep all night in the cockpit.....

Bumboat provisioning in Gore Bay
Underway to Beardrop Harbor
Moondog gets tour of Beardrop Harbor
Beardrop Harbor
No respect
Happy crew
Serenity II

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hotham Island to Gore Bay

Tuesday, August 15

0900 Raising anchor at Hotham Island

The sky is clear, but the wind is up. The forecast for North Channel is NW wind at 25 knots diminishing to 15 knots. We have a crew change tonight in Gore Bay.... so it's time to rock and roll.

1000 East of Eagle Island, 3 NM

We are in the lee of Eagle Island. The wind is blowing a solid 25 out of the west. The Bumboat is moving along at 7.5 knots with a reefed main and reefed headsail. Lots of whitecaps.... but, waves are only 2 to 4 feet. The crew is jovial looking forward to a nice sail.

1100 East of Innes Island clearing the south tip, 9 NM

Between the islands to our west we have sailed through open fetches with seas 4 to 6 feet. The crew is getting a kick out of the boat action. As I look out into the North Channel, I warn the crew that the seat belt signs may be required.

1115 Entering the open waters of the North Channel

The wind is now blowing hard out of the northwest..... resulting in, you guessed it, another close hauled sail. The wind is averaging 25 to 30 knots apparent. Waves are building and the Bumboat is riding well.

1130 Well into the open waters of the North Channel

No turning back now. The ride is spirited. I have had to tell the crew to sit down and stay down. There voluntary and involuntary movement is distracting and potentially dangerous to them. The crew is now asking the captain for constant reports on estimated wave height. I'm glad I reefed the sails significantly. I'm not sure this crew could help me much if conditions degrade.

1200 Halfway across the North Channel

Whoaaaa.... instead of falling... the winds are building.... the apparent wind is a solid 30+ knots and the seas are 2 to 3 meters (sounds smaller than 6 to 10 feet). The crew is quiet.... holding on.... and staring dead ahead in awe of the waves ahead of us.... The Bumboat is running great.... and this sail is a blast...... but, with this kind of wind.... any error is magnified significantly.... which concerns me...

1230 Entering Gore Bay

I'm working pretty hard at the helm to claw upwind so we clear Gorrel Point east of Gore Bay. The winds have increased to 35 knots and I'm not sure the crew would appreciate tacking back into the channel to clear the point..... I believe the crew senses my concern.... increasing their concern. Still no crew conversation... just stares toward the bow. It's pretty damn windy.

1300 Docked at Gore Bay, 19 NM

The spirited sail to Gore Bay is a success. We didn't get the protection from the west peninsula, as I expected.... resulting in a rough ride all the way to the harbor. The crew jumped ship as soon as the boat was secure....probably looking for a stable foot hold. In reflection, the crew handled the situation very well.... But... note to self.... I can't underestimate the need to have a seasoned crew member on each leg.

1600 Dock 1, Gore Bay

The Leg 4 crew has arrived on schedule. Bryan's constant calling to the Leg 4 crew did not result in any improvement in arrival time. The Leg 3 crew departed as fast as the Leg 1 crew..... oh boy... fresh crew ready to party....

As the waves built, so did the silence
A 9 footer off the starboard bow!
Janet Head did not provide the protection expected
Crew change
A departing Leg 3 crew
This crew had special needs
Leg 4 crew boarding
At the dock of the bay (Gore)