October 4-9, 2018 Pentwater, Michigan & Muskegon, MI.  

After seventy-five days and close to thirteen hundred miles since I left Vermont, it’s time to haul out the boat for the winter. No more travel until next year. The weather is not cooperating and I’m getting farther and farther behind as the weather turns colder on the Great Lakes.

October 5: Departed Ludington, MI for a two hour run to Pentwater, MI due to weather constraints. The city dock is right downtown along the main boulevard. This is a summer resort town and the place was pretty much deserted. Most of the stores and restaurants were closed for the season. I stayed two nights and then made a six hour run to Muskegon, MI. Spent the night at the Harbor Town Marina and watched the dismal weather report through October 22 rule out any travel on Lake Michigan. Twenty plus knot winds from the south or west were forecasted everyday. These are the kind of winds that make it unsafe and unpleasant for me to travel on Lake Michigan.

October 7-9. Prepped Katrina for a long winter’s nap at Torrensen’s Marine prior to the boat being hauled out of the water. I was very lucky to have such a nice marina right here on Lake Muskegon. The lake is five miles long that joins Lake Michigan via a narrow channel.  You can visited a restored World War II submarine, the U.S.S Silversides, on this lake. I rented a car and will head back to Michigan via the Mackinac Bridge ( I cruised under it, I might as well drive over it). I will venture through Canada on my way back to Vermont.

I have no idea when my trip will continue. I will decide in the Spring of 2019 on an actual date. You will know when I know what is happening. Thanks for the comments and concerns throughout the trip. If Santa Claus is listening, I want an autopilot for Katrina.

With warmest regards,

Rob Lencke

Robert.lencke@gmail.com

Off season in Pentwater, Michigan.
Public fish cleaning station that is found throughout Michigan. This one is in Pentwater, MI
Katrina II and the dinghy ready to be hauled out for the winter at Torresen’s Marina in Muskegon, MI

Headed home for the winter. See you in the warmer days of 2019. Don’t be fooled by the T-shirt weather in Muskegon. We had a two day hiatus of 80 degrees but that’s about to end. At least all the sails and equipment were put away dry for the winter.

Yours truly- Rob Lencke

September 29 – October 3, 2018 Leland, MI, Frankfort, and Ludington, MI on Lake Michigan

Left Harbor Springs, MI, Saturday morning, with very little wind or waves. Destination was Leland, Michigan – thirty-five nautical miles south of Harbor Springs. The lake was fairly calm and the journey uneventful. Arrived in Leland after seven hours and 30 minutes of motoring. Again, not enough wind to sail and reach port before dark. Leland is an old fishing village that is now lined with fishing shanties filled with arts, crafts, clothing, galleries, gifts shops, and restaurants. The waterfront has a nice city marina and provides easy access to the harbor. There are lots of tourists roaming around the town. Leland is also called “Fishtown”. There are many plaques around town describing the history and its local characters that lived and worked there.

Leland, MI “Fishtown” shops along the waterfront.
Leland, MI “Fishtown” shops along the waterfront.
Local boat builder in Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
Fishing boat “Janice Sue” Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
Fishing Boat “Janice Sue” launched in Leland, MI October 1958
Leland, MI “Fishtown” river flowing into the harbor.
More shops and fishing boats along the pier. Leland, MI “Fishtown”.
AMC Rambler. Looks right at home in Leland, MI.
ATM Leland, MI
Local bank Leland, MI.
More shops along the main Street in Leland, MI.


October 1, 2018 Frankfort, MI. Lake Michigan.

Left Leland, MI early in the morning (no fog) with calm waters and motored  thirty-six nautical miles to Frankfort, MI. It was a cloudy and cold day. I had quite a few layers on to keep warm while steering for six hours (really need to install an autopilot).  Arrived in port early afternoon. The fuel dock was closed. I called the number in the window and the attendant said he would come at 8am the next morning to dispense some diesel fuel.  I spent the afternoon and evening visiting with friends of our family. They have a camp on Crystal Lake and summer here. Mary was my wife’s neighbor and friend growing up in Morrisville, VT.  We had a great time swapping stories and watching a fourteen month old toddler zip around the camp. Riding back to the boat after dinner, the rain was coming down in buckets and the wind was blowing at thirty knots. I added extra lines between the boat and the dock in the dark. The dinghy kept banging up against the hull of Katrina so I decided to haul it up on to the dock. The torrential rain and waves ended up swamping the dinghy as I lifted it out of the water. A hundred pound dinghy weighs a lot more when its filled with water. I did manage to wrestle it on to the dock and secure it for the night.The next morning, I topped off the fuel and departed for Ludington, MI.

October 2, 2018 Ludington, MI

As you leave Frankfort, MI harbor, you will see the famous sand dunes known as the “Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes” and its two cubs, North Manitou Island and South Manitou Island. My mistake was waiting to get closer to take a picture of the sand dunes. By then, you don’t see the outline of the sleeping bear. 

This is the Sleeping Bear Dunes. It looked more like a sleeping bear about 5 miles back before I got too close to the sand dunes.
South Manitou Island is in the forefront (Internet image) and can be used for a port of refuge if the wind is not blowing from the east. North Manitou Island is in the back ground. Both islands are the “cubs” to the Sleeping Bear Sand dunes according to local lore.

I arrived late afternoon at the harbor of Ludington, MI and tied up at the city marina. The harbor has a beautifully developed waterfront that accommodates a car ferry service, marinas, walkways along the shoreline, and breakwaters. A park with bronze sculptures and playground equipment is nearby. The city marina provides all the services a boater could want. As luck would have it, gale warnings were up for Wednesday and Thursday. It’s an automatic four days in port for me, and most small boats, when a gale comes through. Six to nine foot seas are forecasted with thirty-five knot winds. Once the boat was secured for the pending storm I heated up another one of those Plath’s smoked pork chops and organized a few things on the boat before going to bed. I plan to walk around town in the morning before the wind and rain arrives.

Plath’s Meats Smoked Pork Chops http://www.plathsmeats.com They ship anywhere in the U.S.

Next morning, I went for a walk. The ship S.S. Spartan is one of the largest car ferries on the Great Lakes built in 1952. It’s sister ship S.S. Badger (built in 1953) was in port last night, all lit up. You can read about the car ferry service from Ludington. MI  to Manitowoc, Wisconsin on their web site at http://www.ssbadger.com/

Passenger fare is $129 round trip per passenger. Add another $138 if you decide to bring your car with you.  Ludington got its start as a logging industry for the first forty years. The early ferries carried railroad cars from Ludington to Chicago and other ports on the Great Lakes. Hence, the name “car” ferry.

S.S. Spartan. Ludington, MI.
S.S. Badger car ferry Ludington, MI. The ship drops it’s anchor in the harbor and then swings around on the anchor to back into the pier.

Bronze sculptures at the waterfront park Ludington, MI

The sculptures you see here were created by George Lundeen. He created the Ernest Hemingway sculpture in Harbor Springs, MI. There are quite a few sculptures in the park commemorating the history of Ludington by various sculptors.

Downtown Ludington, MI
Downtown Ludington, MI
Near the lake shore Ludington, MI
Harbor entrance to Ludington, MI
Ever wonder where the seagulls hangout when gale warnings are posted?
City of Flint, MI life boat # 32. At least that is what the plaque indicated.
Notice the buoyancy tanks under the seats. Image 30 thirty people sitting in this boat, in heavy seas, waiting to be rescued. It’s designed to save a life not comfort.

I did make a few videos but the internet connection kept timing out. I will try to upload them at the next port which will be Muskegon, Michigan as soon as fair winds and waves return on Saturday October 6, 2018.

September 25-28, 2018 Harbor Springs Lake Michigan

September 25: Left Mackinac City early morning with wind on the bow and choppy seas. Motored along the Michigan coast about 2 miles from shore heading west then south. The coast line had beaches, bluffs, and houses most of the way. About an hour from Harbor Springs, the west wind was pushing larger swells and the sky was darkening. I decided to divert to the Harbor Springs Municipal City Marina and wait out the pending gale winds forecasted for the next few days. I was motoring along, when I noticed the sandy bottom of Lake Michigan. I immediately became alarmed thinking I was off course in shallow water. A quick glance at the depth gauge indicated thirty feet of water below the hull; that’s how clear the water is on Lake Michigan. Here is an aerial photo of Harbor Springs, Michigan. The municipal marina is over in the left hand corner of the harbor.

Harbor Springs is an affluent summer resort town. The main streets in town are lined with upscale boutiques.

One of the local art galleries featured bronze figurative sculptures by George Lundeen. George is a nationally known sculptor of realistic figures. Google his name and see some of the incredible bronze sculptures he has created.

Hanging out with some of the local boaters, I took a ride over to the town of Petoskey, MI. Turns out, Ernest Hemingway hung out in Petoskey, MI at this location:

We also stopped at a an old church and burial ground near Cross Village, MI.

While in Cross Village, MI, we stopped at a restaurant called “THE LEGS INN”. The wood decor inside the restaurant can be seen in the photo.

Back at Harbor Village Municipal Dock:

This sailboat is the “Trois Vignes: from Naples, Florida. The yacht was built in France, put on a ship to the United States, commissioned, and now being delivered to Chicago. It’s about 80 feet long. The LED lighting is elegant at night.

September 27, Thursday: gale warnings were posted for Thursday, September 27 and I spent the day securing Katrina to the dock and hunkering down after a little window shopping in town.

September 28, Friday: I had hoped to leave today for the port of Leland, Michigan about forty-nine miles south of Harbor Springs. Wind and wave forecasts were not favorable. A south or west wind is not particularly fun when heading south on the east coast of Lake Michigan. I expect to leave Saturday morning. Here’s my sailboat, Katrina II, waiting for favorable weather for departure to Leland, MI. The yellow cord is for connecting to shore power.

Please obey the signs around marinas that say, “No swimming”. Besides being run over by a boat, you might receive an electrical shock in the water that incapacitates you and causes you to drown. Boats that are not properly grounded could send electrical current through the water.

September 22-24, 2018 Makinac City, Michigan -Lake Huron

Left Rogers City Saturday morning, September 22. Hard to believe just a few hours ago the wind was gusting to over 40 mph. Now, there was hardly any wind and Lake Huron was calm (no fog either). I motored along the coast headed north to Mackinac City- a forty-nine nautical miles cruise. I passed two ports of refuge- Hammond Bay, and Cheboygan. These were my goto ports if the weather turned unfavorable before I reached Mackinac CIty. For some very strange reason the boat was making 7.2 knots at the same engine speed as 6.2 knots that I normally see on calm waters. I figured it was the magnetic pole at the Arctic circle pulling me closer the farther north I traveled. Ten miles from Mackinac City, I could begin to see the Mackinac Bridge (nick name the Mighty Mac) and Mackinac Island (Mackinac is pronounced, “Mackinaw” which means Great Turtle). I was pretty excited to see the bridge because it marked the end of my journey on Lake Huron and the start of traveling south on Lake Michigan to warmer weather (I hope). Well, wouldn’t you know, after having perfect weather while cruising on Lake Huron, the last ten miles turned ugly. The wind picked up against me and the waves and swells started pounding on Katrina all the way in to the harbor where Mackinac City Marina was located. I tied up at a slip, secured the boat, and checked in at the Marina office. The City of Mackinac has taken great pride in maintaining a first class public marina. It has all the amenities boaters want. The marina is next to to Shepler’s Ferry service to Mackinac Island. It’s a family owned business for seventy-three years. They carry tourists and supplies out and back to Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, Michigan. You can read all about them at http://www.sheplersferry.com. Leaving the marina, you discover a wide boulevard lined with tourist shops for about a half mile on each side. Lots and lots of small shops selling gifts, clothing, and souvenirs. There is no shortage of restaurants, either. I did a lot of people watching for a few hours until the wind caused me to retreat back to Katrina in the comfort of my little space heater. Again, I had to add a few extra lines to hold the boat to the dock due to the wind just howling all night long.

Sunday, September 23, 2018: Boarded the Miss Margy ferry at Shepler’s ferry dock. The ferry is a high speed craft and took us under the Mackinac Bridge (Lake Michigan) and then over to Mackinac Island (Lake Huron). The Mackinac Bridge is still the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere and the seventeenth longest suspension bridge in the world. You can see live web cams of the bridge here as well as the history of it: https://www.mackinacbridge.org/history/history-of-the-bridge/. It was a quick ride across the Mackinac Island and you could easily spot the Grand Hotel as we approached the harbor. WHen you depart the ferry, it looks like an airport runway with all the luggage carts waiting to be loaded on to the ferry leaving the island. The Main Street is lined with tourist shops. There are no cars or vehicles allowed on the island since the late 1800’s. You either ride in a horse drawn carriage, ride a bicycle, or walk. I rented a bicycle and rode around the shoreline of the entire island ( eight miles) in under 3 hours- stopping along the way at to admire the view or visit some of the historical sites. The good thing is the paved road around the shoreline is flat except when you go uphill to see the Grand Hotel. It’s quite an experience as you approach the Grand Hotel. The beautiful horse and carriages are a sight to see with their driver dressed in days gone by attire. I enjoyed being able to sit in a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch and rock to the views of Lake Huron and the Mackinac Bridge. Strolling through the hotel’s eloquence has to be seen to be understood. The movie, “Somewhere In Time”, starring Christopher Reed and Jane Seymour, was filmed on site. The derby he wore in the movie is displayed in a glass case on the wall along with few photographs during the film be made. Photographs of famous people that have stayed at the hotel are displayed on various walls of the hotel. Information about Mackinac Island can be found here: https://www.mackinacisland.org/

Monday September 24, 2108. I was hoping to start heading south today on Lake Michigan- not happening. The waves were crashing over the break wall as the winds howled and the flags on the flagpole were stretched straight out. Spent the day fixing the bathroom sink (again). Turns out there was a hairline crack where the drain pipe exited through the hull. A quick trip to to the nearby marine store for caulk fixed that issued. Took care of some laundry. Wandered around the tourist shops and did a little Christmas shopping. Looks like I will be able to leave for Harbor Springs, Michigan or Charlevoix, MI on Tuesday.

Mackinac Bridge. West side is Lake Michigan. East side is Lake Huron, Michigan
Mackinac Island, MI
Mackinac Island, MI near the ferry dock.
Mackinac Island, MI
The Arch. Mackinac Island, MI Lake Huron waters.
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, MI
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, MI
Longest porch in the world. Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, MI ‘m standing in the middle of the porch.
Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, MI
A group of Silver Ghost Rolls Royce car’s participating in the Wholly Ghost tour in Michigan. Mackinac City, MI
Mackinac City, MI
U.S.S. Mackinaw. Largest ice breaker on the Great Lakes. It could go four mph through ice three feet thick. It’s now a museum. Mackinac City, MI.

September 18-21 Rogers City, Michigan Lake Huron.

September 19, 2018: Left Presque Isle Bay (Pronunced Preskeel Bay) Wednesday morning (8:20am) hoping to reach Cheboygan, Michigan by 5pm. 17 miles north of my departure, the easterly winds picked up producing larger waves and swells. The rain joined in with the fog and looking at the chart plotter I was not in the mood to cruise another five to six hours to Cheboygan. I pulled in to the Port Calcite harbor where the largest open pit limestone mine in the world is located. I checked out Rogers City Port of Refuge on the chart. Turns out, Rogers City harbor was right next store to the mine. I was very happy to get off the lake, out of the swells, and it’s was only 11am in the morning. Of all the marinas that I have visited, Rogers City is at the top of the list as one of the nicest ones. The harbor is well protected, the docks are in excellent conditions. The fuel dock is well maintained and has all the services a boater needs between stops. This is a municipal marina run by the city. All the facilities here are neat and in working order. The staff is extremely helpful and pleasant. There is a park next to the marina and a beautiful beach. The town is an easy walk within two blocks and has a variety of local stores for shopping. I went to Jack’s barber shop for a haircut. Jack’s been in business since 1963. “Andy”, took over the business from his dad who opened the shop on November 1, 1963. Andy was an environmental engineer and decided the corporate life was not for him. Now he cuts hair in the town where he grew up. I got a great haircut and an earful about the town. Many of the workers in town are employed by Michigan Limestone and Chemical Company. Limestone is a raw material essential in industry for making steel, chemicals, and concrete. You can read all about the limestone mine here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Limestone_and_Chemical_Company

Some of the freighters that transport the limestone are 1000 feet long (think three football fields). About 3pm, Rich Brand (www.capturedheartbeats.com) came paddling in to the marina. He left Presque Isle Bay an hour after me and paddled seventeen miles along the lakeshore for six hours. He had enough of the rough conditions and decided to take refuge from the lake. Rich can paddle thirty miles a day when conditions are favorable. During the afternoon, I watched the staff use their nifty boat hauler to pull boats from the lake and store them on trailers or cradles for the coming winter.

September 20, 2018: Thursday, the marine forecast was predicting windy conditions (25 knot winds) and waves two to four feet. Not a good day to be on the lake. I spent the morning hanging out in the laundry room doing laundry and chatting with, Wayne, the harbor master. He was drying a binder full of papers that got wet in one dryer while I was using the other dryer. He mentioned that last year there was a guy rowing around the Great Loop in a dinghy with just oars and no motor. He also told me about an elderly couple that is a day or two behind me doing the Great loop in the same direction (counter-clockwise) as me. This will be their twenty-ninth year around the Great Loop. Their boat is called the “Manistee” and is painted orange. I’m looking forward to hearing some advice from them. I walked a mile to the Ace hardware store and bought a small ceramic space heater for those chilly days and nights in port. I can also use it to warm the engine compartment to help get my diesel engine started on cold mornings since I have access to shore power when in port.

September 21, 2018: Another day in Rogers City, Michigan due to Gale Warnings posted. Here was today’s forecast:

FZUS53 KAPX 211408

NSHAPX

Expires:201809212200;;985439

Nearshore Marine Forecast

National Weather Service Gaylord MI

1008 AM EDT Fri Sep 21 2018

For waters within five nautical miles of shore on Lakes Huron…

Michigan and Superior.

LHZ347-212200-

5NM East of Mackinac Bridge to Presque Isle Light MI including

Bois Blanc Island-

1008 AM EDT Fri Sep 21 2018

…GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS EVENING…

.TODAY…West wind up to 30 knots. Gusts up to 40 knots. Isolated

showers in the late morning, then scattered showers in the

afternoon. Waves 7 to 10 feet. Waves occasionally around 13 feet.

.TONIGHT…North wind up to 30 knots with gusts to around

40 knots. Isolated showers. Waves 7 to 10 feet.

.SATURDAY…West wind 10 to 15 knots. Sunny. Waves 2 feet or

less.

.SATURDAY NIGHT…West wind 5 to 10 knots. Mostly cloudy. Waves

2 feet or less.

The wind is just howling today and I now have five lines tied between Katrina II and the dock. The wind is broadside to the boat causing it to heel a bit as it pushes the hull away from the dock. It should be interesting sleeping on the boat tonight since the wind is expected to be gusting until midnight. Yesterday was cold and damp. Today it’s sunny and warm despite the wind. Saturday the wind is expected to be light and I should be able to make a run to Mackinac City. In the meantime, I’ll hang out here in Rogers City. I hope to go to the movie theater tonight. It’s been restored and still has the classic big screen like the Bijou theater, in Morrisville, VT had years ago. In the meantime, I visited Mr Mustache and Company toy Shop. It’s wonderful toy store with a great selection toys and no plastic junk. The owners are very nice and friendly (they would have to be with raising seven kids and now twenty-seven grandkids). I also went to Plath’s Meats. Fourth generation family business since 1913. It’s famous for its cuts of meats, smoked meats & fish, and baked beans. This is the butcher shop that used to be in every town. Wicked good beef sticks! I bought a thick, smoked pork loin for supper.

Lake Park next to Rogers City, MI Municipal Marina
Lake Park next to Rogers City, MI Municipal Marina
Lake Park next to Rogers City, MI Municipal Marina
Rogers City, MI

Rogers City, MI
Rogers City, MI
Great place for a haircut! Thank you Andy! Rogers City, MI
Rogers City, MI
Calcite Port of entry Light (Fresnel Lense) Rogers City, MI
Classic Large Screen Movie Theater. Rogers City, MI
Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
Ride On for kids. Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
1923 Player Piano- works! Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
Ride On for kids. Mr Mustache and Company. Rogers City, MI. Toy Store http://mrmustache.com
Rogers City, MI
Rogers City, MI
Rogers City, MI
Rogers City, MI

September 15-17, 2018 Port Austin, MI, Harrisville, MI, and Presque Isle Bay, MI

September 15, 2018 Departed Harbor Bay Michigan on a warm, sunny morning with very little wind. Lake Huron was calm. Destination was Port Austin, MI on the “thumb” of Saginaw Bay. The twenty-six mile run was uneventful until the fog decide to return the last hour and a half of the journey. Fortunately, my GPS kept working, otherwise I would have had to anchor and wait for the fog to lift. Fishing nets are marked with small buoys and floating flags. The nets are not always charted making them difficult to see in the fog. Arrived in Port Austin at the municipal marina in the afternoon. Port Austin, MI is known for its sport fishing (bass and perch). The town is quaint and lit up at night with lighted trees. The beach here is very nice with easy access to the lake. Downtown is an easy walk from the marina with the usual stores and restaurants to be found as in any tourist town.

September 16, 2018: Departed Port Austin, MI, after the fog lifted in the morning, with a destination of Harrisville, MI harbor. A forty mile run for the day. Again, the day was warm, sunny, and the lake was calm. Trust me, I’m not complaining about the weather! I had to stay at least a mile off shore to avoid the rocks and shoals and was not able to see a lot of detail on the shoreline. Arrived in Harrisville, MI harbor late afternoon. I did not spend much time in town because I anchored in the harbor late in the afternoon. It was after 7pm when I walked around town. All of the stores were closed by then. The most interesting things I saw was the local newspaper in business since 1877 and a fitness park that actually had fitness equipment outdoors that you could use to exercise while looking over the Lake Huron.

September 16, 2018 Departed Harrisville, MI headed for Presque Isle Bay Harbor. The distance was forty-seven miles northbound. There was a light breeze behind me with following swells on the stern. The wave height was about two to three feet. Each swell would push the boat along an additional 1.5 knots making for good time to my next stop. I arrived at Presque Isle Bay, MI around 5:30pm. The harbor had the usual municipal marina behind a break wall but there was a designated area were you could anchor. I chose to anchor since the water was clear and calm – meaning no wind. My mistake that night was I forgot to check the evening wind forecast. Right after dark, the wind start blowing from the north sending waves and swells into the harbor. My anchor alarm (software app) indicated that the anchor was holding steady. The boat was rocking and rolling and it was very uncomfortable while in the cabin. I considered pulling up the anchor and motoring over to the marina but decided to much could go wrong with that idea and stayed put. I ended up sitting and sleeping on the floor in the center of the boat to avoid be thrown out of my bunk. Not a particularly restful night until the wind stopped howling around 3am.

September 17, 2018. Got up early to make a forty-nine mile run to Cheboygan, MI. The wind was from the north and Presque Isle Bay harbor was still a bit choppy. As I motored out of the harbor on to Lake Huron, the waves were smack on the bow of the boat and it was too choppy for a nine hour journey. I returned to the harbor and motored over to the municipal marina. The forecast looked better for tomorrow and decided to stay one more night. I met a guy (you won’t believe this) who is kayaking the Great Loop. He left Florida two and half years ago and expects to take another two and a half years to complete the loop. He has already kayaked up the eastern seaboard to Maine and down the Saint Lawrence Seaway as well as kayaking from San Francisco to Sandiego, California. He has twenty sponsors and also gives motivational speeches to kids in schools along the way. He sleeps in a tent where ever he is and has a dry suit for cold weather. HIs name is Rich Brand. He is a professional adventure/explorer/inspirationist and a photographer. Check out his website at http://www.capturedheartbeats.com.

Port Austin, Michigan
Lots of people come down to breakwater wall to watch the sunset.- Port Austin, MI
Sunset 7:27pm Port Austin, MI
Sunset at 8:25pm Port Austin, MI
Fitness Park on Lake Huron- Port Austin, MI
Fitness Park at Port Austin, MI
Fitness Park at Port Austin, MI
Fitness Park at Port Austin, MI
Bike rack at municipal marina- Port Austin, MI
Local newspaper Harrisville, MI
Local newspaper Harrisville, MI

Rich Brand, kayaking the Great Loop. Www.capturedhearts.com
Rich Brand, kayaking the Great Loop. Www.capturedhearts.com
1840 Lighthouse Presque Isle Bay, Michigan. It was replaced 30 years later with a taller one.
1840 Lighthouse Presque Isle Bay, Michigan
1840 Lighthouse Presque Isle Bay, Michigan

September 12-14, 2018 St. Clair River and Lake Huron

Departed the Algonac Harbor Yacht Club around 11am the morning of September 12. Destination was Port Huron, MI. With the fall weather approaching, morning fog has become an occurrence. This fog is sneaky. You wake up to a bright, sunny day with no fog thinking you can get an early start on the lake or rivers around 7am. About 8am, the fog sets in and you can’t see anything. You have to wait a few hours until the sun burns off the fog. Once underway, I continued up the St. Clair river to Port Huron, Michigan. The river is lined with the usual assortment of houses that you could imagine. Some of the mansions were breath taking. The St. Clair river water is clean having come from Lake Huron upstream. I arrived in Port Huron and stopped at Desmond’s Marina’s fuel dock just inside the Black River. Hoping to tie up at this marina, I was told the Antique Boat Show was in town this week and not likely to find a place to tie up for the night. I did manage to find dock space at the Port Huron Yacht Club and spent the evening walking along the Black River Walk admiring the retstored classic wooden boats of all shapes and sizes.

September 13: departed Port Huron and motored across the river to the Canadian side to head upstream. With just a few miles to go to reach Lake Huron, you pass under the famous Blue Water Bridge. It’s actually two bridges side by side. The incredibly strong current under the bridge is where Lake Huron empties in to the St. Clair River. The four knot current makes for a slow going upstream. My friend, Mac, gave me a tip about hugging the Canadian side of the river to ride in the eddies that form along the shoreline and walls. The current actually flows the other way upstream. Once you pass under the Blue water Bridge, you can see the water pouring in off of the lake at a rate of 186,000 gallons per second. I finally made it out on to Lake Huron and pass the grip of the current. Immediately you notice a deeper blue and clarity in the water. Traveling north just over 200 miles north to top of Lake Huron where it meets Lake Michigan will take about eight days weather permitting. Lake Huron has man-made ports of refuge about every 25 miles. My first stop was Port Sanilac, Michigan. I anchored behind the breakwater and rowed in to the public dock. The town is quaint and has many amentities within easy walking distance. Raymond Hardware store is the oldest hardware store in Michigan that’s has been in business since 1928. It was amazing how big it was and how much merchandise they had on hand. People were very friendly in town.

September 14: The next morning, after the fog lifted, I started to pull up the anchor only to discover the it was fouled with these long weeds that had wrapped the anchor line, chain, and anchor. It took an hour to pull up 81 pounds of anchor and chain, with about another 50 pounds of snarled weeds. I ended switching out my storm anchor to a lighter one for the remainder of the trip unless we get a storm. It was a perfect day on the Lake Huron (if you are a power boater). The water was flat, no wind, and an easy reach to the next port at Harbor Beach, Michigan. I entered the port, refueled, and tied up along an old barge pier near the breakwater. The town was about a mile from the harbor and I decide not to go ashore. Next stop is Port Austin on Saginaw Bay.

Houses along the St. Clair River, Michigan
Antique Boat show at Port Sanilac, Michigan
Looking back at the Blue Water Bridge after entering Lake Huron. You can see how narrow the river is under the bridge where 186,000 gallons of water per second leaves Lake Huron into the St. Clair River.

Raymond Hardware since 1928 in Port Sanilac, Michigan.
Lake Huron waters.
Lake Huron on a calm day.
Lighthouse entering Harbor Beach Michigan.
Tied up to an old barge wall at Harbor Beach Michigan.
Fog formed right on time 8am this morning. At 7am it was clear and you could see for miles. The sun will dissipate the fog by 11am. Good thing I did not head out on to the lake at 7am.

September 7-11, 2018 Detroit, Lake St. Clair, & St. Clair River

September 7-11, 2018 Lake Erie & Detroit, Michigan.

September 7, 2018:

Departed Toledo, Ohio at 7:15 am with a destination of Detroit, Michigan. It was to be a nine hour run for fifty nautical miles. The wind was from the Northeast with three foot short period waves directly on the bow. No chance to sail as I motored along. About an hour later, the engine rpms slowed to half speed as the boat took a pounding from the waves. Weather reports were predicting bad weather for the weekend in to next Monday with seven foot seas possible on Lake Erie. It was my last day on this lake and I was not turning back to Toledo. I finally made it to the Detroit River. It was nice to be off Lake Erie. The river was calm but I was motoring upstream against a one mph current. I reached Kean’s Marina in Detroit at 7:30 pm. By then, Katrina’s engine speed had slowed to three mph. I’m hoping it’s just a fuel problem.

September 8, 2018:

Took an Uber to Dearborn Village in the morning. Destination was The Henry Ford Museum. The museum was set up with different themes. It’s well done and has something for everyone. It took most of the day to tour the museum. The highlight of the museum for me was to sit in Rosa Parks seat she refused to give up on the bus that made her famous. The museum had the restored bus on display. I had planned to go back on Sunday to tour Dearborn Village, next to the museum, as well as tour the Ford factory where they assemble F-150 trucks but engine trouble on Katrina took up most of the day and I will have to have a mechanic fix the engine on Monday. Remnants of Tropical storm Gorda is blowing through the region. I discovered I have to type facing the bow of the the boat to avoid the nausea when the boat is rocking. Kind of like getting car sick when reading in a moving vehicle.

September 9, 2018, Sunday:

Lots of wind and rain. Spent the day working on the diesel engine and was not successful in getting it running. Also the fresh water pump for the kitchen and bathroom sinks quit working and could not be fixed. Just one of the days!

September 10, 2018 Monday: I took refuge in the laundry room this morning at the marina because it was warm, had a table, and electrical outlets to charge my electronics. I was being careful not to run the batteries down on the boat until the engine was fixed. It being Monday morning, I started calling around to all the marinas looking for a diesel mechanic that could help me. Not a single marina had a mechanic available for at least two weeks. An older gentleman, “Nick” came in to the laundry room to sweep the floor. He overheard my conversation and ask me if I was stuck here. I explained the situation and he immediately called a friend that works on diesel engines. The mechanic told me what to do over the phone and if that didn’t work, he would come down the next day to fix the engine. It took most of the day, but I finally got the engine running again thanks to the wonderful advice I got from the diesel mechanic. I will cross Lake St. Clair on September 11 and spend the night in Algonac, MI.

September 11, 2018 Tuesday:

Installed a new fresh water pump, topped off the fuel tank, and headed across Lake St. Clair. My destination was six hours away to Algonac, Michigan. The Harbor Club Marina is next to the former Chris-Craft boat factory. The lake was calm with light winds. I stayed in the channel with all the freighter traffic and enjoyed the warm, sunny day. The water on the lake is almost a turquoise blue. I arrived at the Harbor club on the St Clair River and settled in for the night after visiting Kroger’s Supermarket for supplies.

Detroit Skyline. GM building in the foreground
Exploded view Model T at the Henry Ford Museum
1952 Prototype that was used to build the 1988 fleet. The Henry Ford Museum
President Kennedy’s limo on that fateful day. Since modified and was put back in service for awhile. The Henry Ford Museum
First Mustang ever sold. Serial number 1 to a Canadian airline pilot.

The bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. The Henry Ford Museum.
Kean’s Marina Detroit, Michigan.
Freighter Traffic on Lake St. Clair, Michigan
Shoreline along the St. Clair River heading north.
Water tower at the Harbor Club Marina Algonac, Michigan

September 2-6, 2018 Lake Erie- Huron and Toledo, Ohio

I left Cleveland on the morning of September 2 with a 7 hour run to Huron, Ohio. Another day of wind on the bow making the day too long to sail and arrive in port by dark. As I motored along, there was a southwest wind blowing and the waves were less than 2 feet. It was hot and muggy! The trip was a pleasant journey as the bluffs along the south shoreline eventually evolved in to beach front properties. I arrived in Huron, Ohio late afternoon and was able to tie up at the city dock. The municipality has very nice accommodations at a reasonable rate of $25 for the night. My purpose of stopping in Huron was to visit with an old shipmate from the Navy. “Mac” lived about two and half miles directly on the main road from the marina. I haven’t been in touch with him for over thirty-eight years. Mac and I were on the same Navy ship back in 1972. I had been trying to reach him all week but no return call. With Katrina II all secured, I walked from the dock to Mac’s house in hot, muggy weather only to discover he was not home nor was his neighbors at home. I left a note in the door and walked back to the city dock. Along the way, I passed GMO corn fields. A special type of tractor had driven through the fields and gave the entire crop a hair cut just above the husks of corn. I was told that the GMO corn cannot reproduce so why waste the growth of the plant above the husks (instead we waste fuel for the tractor?). I ate dinner at a local pizza place, grabbed my laundry from the boat, and walked another half mile to the finest laundromat I have ever been in. I’m not a fan of laundromats but this one was exceptional.

September 3, 2018. Left Huron the next morning for a nine hour run to Toledo, Ohio. Passed the Cedar Point Amusement park that seemed to have an endless supply of roller coasters. Twenty-five miles from Toledo is a place called Put-In-Bay. It is a popular spot with boaters and tourists. The bay is where Commodore Perry put the British ships he captured on Lake Erie during the war of 1812. There is also 352 foot tall monument commenerating Commodore Perry and International Peace. I was twenty miles from Toledo when the cell phone rang. It was my shipmate “Mac” calling to say he was in a hospital in Cleveland. Wish I had known that when I was in Cleveland! I motored up a very long channel and arrived in Toledo, Ohio. The Toledo Yacht Club accepts transient boaters and I tied up there for the next few days. The Toledo Yacht club was established in 1865. A pleasant place with a friendly and accommodating staff.

September 4 & 5, 2018. I rented a car from Enterprise (they pick you up and bring you back for free) and drove two hours back to Cleveland to see my shipmate, “Mac”. We spent the next twenty-four hours in the hospital catching up on thirty-eight years of life’s events. Mac was discharged from the hospital the next day and I drove him home to Huron, Ohio. Mac brought me to a place where you can get a fresh yellow perch sandwich right off the fishing boat. The yellow perch and chips were delicious! We sat in the car and ate while staring out at Lake Erie. Back at his house, I visited with Mac and his wife, Lisa, for a few hours and then drove back to Toledo in the early evening. The next morning, September 6, I picked up some supplies and returned the rental car. I had hoped to leave and head for Detroit but thunderstorms were in the forecast. I was not anxious to get caught in another thunderstorm on the last leg of Lake Erie before entering the Detroit River. It’s a nine hour journey to Detroit. I will leave early on Friday, September 7, and spend the weekend in Detroit visiting the Henry Ford Museum.

Photos:

Cedar Point Amusement Park, Cedar Point, Ohio
Huron Boat Basin (City of Huron runs it) Huron, Ohio
Notice the the curfew for minors under 16 – Huron Ohio.
Huron Lakeshore Laundry- Huron, Ohio
Rogue seagull that kept all other birds away from the car while we ate fresh yellow perch sandwiches and fries. Yes, I gave it a piece of fish and French fry- Lake Erie, Huron- Ohio.
Guess they don’t want you driving your snowmobile on the golf course in the summer while you are golfing- Toledo, Ohio

August 30, 31, & September 1, 2018 Ashtabula, OH and Cleveland, OH

I was finally able to leave Presque Isle Bay in Erie, PA on Thursday, August 31, around 1:30pm. The winds were from the northeast and the waves were less than two feet. It was a seven hour run to Ashtabula, Ohio. I approached the channel at dusk and ended up tying off on an old barge pier inside the channel.   I was not sure how late the drawbridge operated that would allow me access to the marina on the other side.  Next morning, I watched a fleet of charter fishing boats head out around 7am (when the drawbridge opens on the half hour until 10pm). I left shortly afterwards and made an eight hour run to Cleveland, Ohio. The northeast wind pushed me along which helped cut the travel time. As I approached the Cleveland harbor, the Blue Angles jets were using the channel to practice their maneuvers for the air show scheduled for all three days during Labor Day weekend. The local sheriff and Coast Guard made me leave the channel and go back out on the lake and steer to the west end of the breakwater to re-enter the channel to access the marina. I tied up at the Edgewater Yacht Club marina in Cleveland  for two nights. On Saturday, September 1, I rode the bus downtown to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Spent part of the day looking at  memorabilia that traced the history of rock and roll. The museum was nicely done and easy to get around. There were lots of displays with clothes, guitars, sheet music, and handwritten songs on various sheets of paper. I stayed too long and miss the trolley tour around Cleveland for two bucks. Dang! Once back at the boat, I went through a checklist to ready the boat for my next stop in Huron, OH.  Edgewater Park is next to the Edgewater Yacht Club. It’s a beautiful park with a beach and grassy area that is right on Lake Erie. It was a popular spot for watching the Air show and for checking out the conditions on the lake.  After visiting the park, I walked two miles to a Sav-A lot grocery store to pick up supplies. The odd thing about it is that I would never walk that far at home for groceries. At least I have enough food for when I anchor out with no access to town.

Here are a few photos:

1F59C0C6-A589-45D8-9D33-0D2CE29A4CEE
Ashtabula, OH harbor channel.
CC7BD242-6ABA-4F10-88DC-6A9DE7915DDE
Cleveland Skyline from Lake Erie.
C36A35A6-4E61-48F1-B5DF-AA45C63AE49E
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cleveland, OH

58D89110-204B-454E-9E3F-4F429FC4742A

3B28EC2D-34AD-409C-AC34-014F045D5882
Easy way to find your way to Edgewater Park in Cleveland, OH
B1309D29-932F-42AE-901D-5561805F2C07
Bicycle embedded in a telephone pole. Not sure the lineman is going to laugh at it.