Saturday, 29 August 2015

South Haven Marina and arriving in Chicago

Checking the weather and winds we have decided to stay put another 2 days.  Winds and waves should be calm on Thursday August 27th so we will get up early and travel 74 miles across the lake to Chicago. 

Tuesday we thought we would check out the bike trails in South Haven.  We found a trail that connects South Haven and Kalamazoo, 39 miles.  We cycled to mile 5and then turned around so it was a great ride through forests, past the river and through farmers fields.


Wednesday we spent cleaning and doing laundry.  It rained most of the day so it was a good day to do chores. 

Thursday morning I heard Steve get up.  I checked the time and it was 4:30am.  I figured he would be right back to bed and then........the sound of the electric tooth brush...really??  By the time we got hydro and water unhooked and took Dexter for a walk it was 5:30 and we were ready to go.  We exited the entrance to South Haven, which had been literally impassible for the past 4 days due to high winds and waves.  Out to the lake and set our course and was it ever dark.  We were both quiet and then Steve said "what time does it get light out?"  I just laughed and reminded him that I was fast asleep an hour ago.

It was a beautiful ride across.  There wasn't a ripple in the water and we first spotted Chicago when we were 37 miles away.  The smooth ride even allowed Steve to do some last minute deck scrubbing.
Nice and clean for Chicago.


The ride across was 9 hours but Chicago is an hour behind so we arrived at
1:30pm.  Still lots of time in the day. 

We pulled in to the Marina and were met by 4 other Looper boats.  There is one right beside us. "Sea to See" - Ron and Vicki Montgomery.  While we were checking in at the Marina Harbour we heard someone ask, "Can you please tell us where One Bay at a Time is located?  We told them that was us and they are also Loopers staying in the same Marina, "Sea Moss" - Clark and Evelyn Woodworth.  Then 2 other couples came over to our boats and we talked until 8pm (7pm Chicago time).  "Knot Home" -Al and Kaye Sterling, "Namaste" - Jim and Joann McFail.  Ron, Vicki, Al and Kaye decided to go for dinner and asked us to join them but we had had a long day and were looking forward to a hot shower and a pillow. 

The next day we thought we would take a walk and see the sights of Chicago.  We walked out to the Navy Pier and decided take an architectural boat tour.  It was a 75 minute tour of the Chicago River with all the history of the buildings and interesting architecture.




  After the boat tour we took Dexter for a long walk and then decided we would go on a hunt for Chicago deep dish pizza.  We found the address but walked and walked but never could find it.  Turns out we were walking under the street not on the street.  By the time we realized what we had done we had walked a long way so we came back to the boat and made burgers for dinner. 

The view from our boat at the Marina after dark.   
The next day was rainy and damp so we thought we would check out the Aquarium.  When we arrived there was a very long line to the entrance of the Aquarium.  We waited for an hour before we even entered the Aquarium and we were both just a little disappointed.  It was crowded and the shows were not until 4pm which would have been too long to leave Dexter on the boat so we just walked around and looked at marine life. 
When we left the Aquarium we thought we'd give our hunt for deep dish pizza another try....GREAT SUCCESS!!   Now that's what I call a pizza pie.  We ate at 3pm and that was lunch and dinner.  We also had left overs coming back to the boat. 
 We are both exhausted from all of the walking but we needed to burn some calories today after the pizza lunch.  Got back to the boat just in time to avoid the rain.  Heading south tomorrow on the river....not sure what that has in store for us but what ever....we will take it "One Bay at a Time."

Monday, 24 August 2015

To Walmart in Michigan windy day pictures

Steve was up very early this morning so he took Dexter out for his morning exercise with out waking me.  It was a great sleep in until 9am.  Just as I woke up Dex and Steve were back on the boat.  Steve turned the coffee on and we were good to start the day.  There is no grocery store in town so we asked the locals where they shop and they said Walmart!!  It is only 3 miles from the Marina so we broke out the bikes and put on our nap sacks.  Fully replenished for at least a couple of weeks.  Had to pass on the great wine prices to make room for more important calories in the nap sack :(...
Nap sacks full....ready for our ride back.  It's an easy ride...sidewalks most of the way with a bicycle path on one road. 
The day is a very windy day with waves on Lake Michigan at 11 feet!  Once we got back to the boat and put all of our groceries away we thought we would take a walk to the end of the pier.  There is usually a 4 - 5 foot clearance from the water to the top of the pier but today the waves were coming right over top the pier wall.  Soaked me up to my waste.  It was hilarious.
Here it comes!
 


                                                                             Soaked!!
We walked back to the boat via the beach.  There weren't many people on the beach given the high winds and the beach warnings due to high waves and currents.  You could feel the sand blasting your legs along the walk.  Crazy winds today.  Not a boat in sight when we looked out to the Lake.
The beaches aren't patrolled so if you wanted to swim you could.  However there were warnings posted at the beach entrance. 
Tomorrow still calling for high winds so we will break out the bikes again.  There is a bike trail that goes for 34 miles that we will explore.  Looks like we may be able to move on Wednesday but for now we'll just take it "One Bay at a Time"

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Portage Lake anchorage to South Haven Lake Michigan

After we left White Lake we travelled to Portage Lake.  It is a small lake with no Marina but very popular with the locals to come in off of Lake Michigan for the day to swim, barbeque and even stay the night.  We were with 4 other boats that also anchored that night.  The water was 75 degrees F.  It was very refreshing.  Steve, myself and Dexter all enjoyed a refreshing swim!

Only calling for 5 - 10 mile an hour winds the next day so we are moving on down big ole Lake Michigan.  The pictures below show Lake Simcoe in comparison to Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is the picture on the left and Lake Simcoe is being pointed to in the picture on the right.  Our boater friends at home can respect how Lake Simcoe can kick up in heavy winds.  Lake Michigan is a Lake to be watched closely for winds and waves and given utmost respect.  Always count on more winds and waves than are predicted. 
Our trip the next day was 30 miles which takes about 4 hours.  We were only about 8 miles in when the waves started to kick up, more than predicted.  We decided to tuck in to a small lake in Holland.  Just as we approached the entrance Steve left the helm for about 10 minutes.  By the time he came back I had turned the boat around and headed for our original destination of South Haven. (He just thinks he's the captain.)  The waves had calmed so I made an executive decision to carry on. 

South Haven is a very busy town.  The busiest we have stopped at yet.  There are two beautiful beaches on each side of the entrance. 



There was a veterans celebration just as we entered the entrance to the town.  Boats were coming and going. 


 When we arrived at the Marina they had us tie to the dock wall.  We were actually lucky to get a dock at all for the evening.  Boats from Chicago (yes we are getting close) and other places in Illinois will visit this port on weekends.  We did not have a reservation which we should have but again very difficult to time your arrival when waiting on Mother Nature.  I did call earlier but this facility did not offer a refund if you didn't show regardless of the weather and at the time we didn't know if we would make it or not.
Once we were there they were very accommodating.  We settled in and then Steve dropped the dinghy for a ride down the Black River

Dexter loves to have bow watch....or bow wow watch lol.
The shoreline existed of dock after dock with many fishing boats and pleasure boats.  Spotted one with a great name!  Right Mom and Dad!!!
As we approached our boat after our dinghy ride we were stopped by the Sherriff.  He started by saying we were not in trouble......well that's a good thing.  Then he asked us where we got our boat registration numbers from on our dinghy.  I laughed and said "oh we just made them up" but then quickly recovered by saying..."we're Canadian!....eh"  They said they wondered if we were from Canada.  We had a short chat and they were on their way. 

A few hours later while we sat on our boat we noticed many people walked and driving to the end of the pier.  We wondered what was happening so we decided to take a walk.   As we were approaching the end of the pier everyone was walking back so what ever it was we figured we had missed it.  Turns out everyone was going to the end of the pier to watch the sun set.  We missed the best part but it was still very beautiful and hard to believe looking out at the Lake that it could be so mean at times. 
There was an old light house at the end of the pier.  I went inside to snap a picture and was followed by a very knowledgeable man about light houses.  He pointed out all the spots that were rusted and where the sun would now shine through.  They are planning on restoring the lighthouse. 

 The following morning the Harbour Master came out and asked us to move to the Northern part of the Marina off the dock wall.  The winds were supposed to kick up and even though we were inland she said that spot will have you rocking uncomfortably in the wind if we didn't move. 

We will be here for another few days as there is a small craft warning due to winds until Monday night and even then not looking favourable to travel until Thursday. The Harbour Master told us there were a couple more Loopers in the Marina.  Going to do some exploring tomorrow and possibly meet some new Looper friends, "One Bay at a Time."



Friday, 21 August 2015

Frankfort - Manistee anchorage - Whitelake Marina waiting out wind

 Stayed a couple of nights in Frankfort.  There was a large grocery store there which allowed us to restock at good prices.  Steve and I walked up and after everything I put in the cart Steve would say "OK that's enough we have to carry this stuff back."  But then we would see something else we needed or wanted.  We took a nap sack and some larger bags so the walk back to the Marina was a good work out.  We took a little detour to the end of town and sat by the beach for a while.  The beach sand was like silk between our toes.  Good thing the grocery transport was a good work out because we had to stop for ice cream on the way. 

There were probably 3 other Looper boats in the Marina so at about 4:30 one of the other Loopers came to our boat and asked us to join them for drinks on the lawn at 5:30.  "Velomer," Bob and PM Amidon, "Kat in The Hatt," Richard and Katherine.  Also another American boat "Navigator."  The third boat were not Loopers, just very knowledgeable boaters.   We had some appetizers and drinks and some very good conversation.  So much in common when you meet someone with the same dream as yours so conversation was very easy!  Looking forward to meeting up with this group again, along the way.
Left Frankfort on Monday August 17th.  Had a nice ride to our next destination where we decided to anchor for the night.  Just stayed one night and didn't do much exploring.  Just stayed on the boat and played with the Kayak, Dexter and watched the fisherman.  There were many in this area.  Dexter needs his exercise so we threw a ball off of the boat and he continued to retrieve.  He loves his swimming.

There is a ship museum here but we didn't go ashore.  Very interesting to get up close and check out the boats by water.
We were up early....with the fisherman.  They start at about 5am and they didn't go slow past our boat because we were sleeping.  We decided to be on our way to our next destination.  We decided, once it got to be a half decent hour of day that we should probably reserve at the Marina in Chicago.  The only tough thing about that is you just can't predict when you may be held up with wind.  Lake Michigan is a huge body of water and can kick up quickly. We have downloaded probably 3 or 4 weather apps that we check daily, more than once. Wind Alert seems to be very good and very accurate.  This app gives you hourly winds and waves.

We headed toward our next destination, White Lake, Michigan.  For you land lovers it is close to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  We were about 1/2 way there when the clouds rolled in and we were in heavy rain.  The visibility was poor so we decided not to go quite so far and tucked in to Pentwater.  Just as we pulled in to Pentwater the skies opened and the clouds were gone.  I looked at Steve and said "wanna keep going to White Lake?"  he was in so we carried on.  We knew the next few days were going to be wind days where we wouldn't be going anywhere.

Waiting out the wind in White Lake and man is it windy.  White Lake is a small Lake with access to Lake Michigan so it is not a rough lake in winds but there have been white caps on this lake the past couple of days.  The flags on the Marina boat house have been straight out most of the time we have been here.
 Steve took the day today to do some maintenance on the boat.  There is a Napa Auto Parts just across the street from the Marina.  We went there yesterday and they were so accommodating.  We purchasing some oil so Steve could change the oil on both engines as well as the generator.  They offered to deliver the oil and also pick up our old oil and dispose of it. 
There are two towns here.  White Hall and Montegue, we took a walk up to White Hall yesterday and are about to go check out Montague.  Dexter will make this walk with us.  If he doesn't get his exercise he is like a spoiled 2 year old.  Right about now my sulking, pouty puppy needs to move.

7:30am on Friday August 21st.  Woke to calm winds so we are off to our next destination....."One Bay at a Time"......



Sunday, 16 August 2015

Travelling to Frankfort on Lake Michigan


These are pictures that PV "Kat in the Hat" took of our boat the day we travelled from Charlevoix to Frankfurt in flat calm waters.  The hills you see in the distance are sand.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Mackinaw City to Harbour Springs (rough ride) to Charlevoix to Frankfort Lake Michigan

We were up early and planned to head for northern Lake Michigan. Listened to the weather and decided not such a good idea so we just went across the channel and stayed at Mackinaw City. The minute we pulled in to the dock we had so many people approaching our boat asking where we were from, where we were headed. We met the sweetest couple. They have been boating for 60 years. When I was out on the dock talking to them she said "oh you are Canadian!".... Wasn't quite sure how she knew.....then she told me....."you said it's really windy out there EH".... It's the eh....I told her you've got me...eh is your version of y'all. We laughed as she told me how she has many relatives from Canada.  I was hoping to get a picture of them but when I went back out they had gone boating. They had to be well in to their eighties.
Stayed the night in Mackinaw City and watched the tourists line up for the ferry over to Mackinaw Island.
Left then next day for Harbour Springs and took a shot of the Mackinaw Bridge from underneath.  The bridge appears to be grill type surface so you can see the vehicles passing overhead.
  Thought the winds were to be only 10 MPH with waves 2 feet or less...that's what weather said.  Easy trip to our next destination.....well you would think.  It was about 45miles, which travelling at 7 knots (1 mile = 1.15 nautical miles) we figured would take us approx 6 1/2 to 7 hours. We were about 1/2 way there when the winds picked up to 20 MPH which is a huge difference on the water.   If we were close we would have turned back but there was no turning back. When you're half way there it's half way either way.  We always batten down. We put the coffee maker in the sink....it either bounced out or came out when we went sideways.  We were on the bridge and it wasn't safe to even go down the ladder to check on anything as we could have been tossed ourselves. The second half of the trip actually took us 4 hours in very uncomfortable weather but the boat can always take more than the crew.
 Made it safely to our anchorage that day and stayed for 2 days to wait out another windy day.  We had a great time watching young kids that belonged to a sailing club sail off of our stern. They loved Dexter!

After 2 days at Harbour Springs we left for Charlevoix. It was only about a 2 hour ride. Found a nice anchorage close to shore so we could swim and kayak.  Dexter loves to swim beside the kayak.  The lake had a swing bridge that opened every hour and 1/2 hour that allowed passage in to the lake.

We only stayed one night there because winds were supposed to be very calm and we had a 70 mile journey to our next destination....about 10 hours. We were both awake at 4am so it was anchors away!!  The world is actually a very pretty place at that time of the day. Who knew?!  When we left we were relying totally on our instruments as it was pretty dark.  Then the sun came up on our stern as we travelled in flat calm water.....so peaceful we were both having trouble staying awake.

Apparently some us can't take the early mornings so I snapped a picture while he was catching a nap.
I didn't know until I started to update our blog that he did the same....busted!
Dexter made it 10 hours without even asking to pee. I need a Dexter bladder!  The water was flat calm all the way but a little foggy.....actually pea soup foggy. We used our radar and chart plotter to tell us where we were going....very much like navigating at night but I'll take fog over wind any day. Fog doesn't break shit!

Arrived at Frankfort Michigan at around 4pm. Met the crew of  a 150' boat. This is what their dinghy looks liked.  The boxes you see at each end is actually the holding tank from the bathrooms on the much larger boat.  Not many docks can accommodate a boat this size so this is how they get pumped out. 
And this is what their boat looks like.  We had a good chat with the crew of the boat.  When we asked where they were from they said "no fixed address".....gotta love that!  The one we chatted with was Australian.  He asked what we were doing and when we told him he said "You will use much less fuel and have much less paperwork that we do."

Staying put tomorrow as they are calling for thunderstorms and strong winds.  The town of Frankfort is just up the street from the Marina so we will explore that tomorrow.  Gonna be a good sleep tonight.  Love living "One Bay at a Time"