On our way

A post here to catch up with all we’ve seen in the last month.

We spent the last couple of weeks in July making our way across beautiful Lake Superior during what has to be the best time of year. We had very little foul weather to speak of, just one day where the rain and wind conspired to toss the boat around and make some real work of the day.  Leaving the Apostle Islands behind, we motored on a calm lake across to Houghton, Michigan. That was a long 15 hour day but with the time change we were safely tied up to the city dock wall before sunset having gone under the structurally massive lift bridge there. Duluth’s lift bridge seems light and airy by comparison. We spent a day and another night at Houghton getting a few small things arranged on the boat and splicing a new eye onto our new mainsail halyard. We left Houghton at 6am the next morning and motor-sailed our way to Marquette, MI to the small city marina at Presque Isle. We then spent another whole day there before moving on again. Having hoped to have avoided some weather, we set out to make the short(ish) jump to Grand Island near Munising, MI. It turned out we were not as far behind the weather as we had hoped and we ran into rain an waves on the lake that were a bit more than we expected. Still, we got to our anchorage at Grand Island in the rain and found it to be calm and tranquil despite the rain. We dried off, made some dinner and went to bed.

The next morning we motor-sailed up the coast of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the day was extremely beautiful. Neither Marge or I had seen that shore of the lake before and it was all new to us. Then the engine quit. Having some wind to keep us moving along, I went below to change the fuel filter while Marge took the wheel and kept us on track. I had the fuel filter changed out and the fuel lines bled in about a half hour and we were able to get the engine started again. We figured that we have spent about as much time running the engine in the last few weeks as we normally do in an entire season and with the rough seas from the day before we had probably stirred up the diesel tank and sucked the slime into the filter where it eventually clogged and stopped the flow to the engine. Thankfully it has been running just fine ever since and I still have 3 extra fuel filters on board. We got into Grand Marais, MI and tied up to their small, but very nice city dock wall and were greeted by the City Dockmaster John and made to feel very welcome. We followed his recommendation and headed up town to the Lake Superior Brewing Company for dinner followed by a walk around the town and out to the beach afterwards.

The next morning we sailed to Whitefish point on the east end of Lake Superior and stayed at the Safe Harbor there. Coming in to the Whitefish Harbor is a tad tricky because of shoaling on the south side and we had to hug the north wall when we came in at a normally uncomfortable distance, but in doing so we were just fine and were able to keep from hitting bottom. Once inside the breakwalls and past the shoaling the depth is 12 feet or more up to the docks and we had no problems.

There is a very nice shipwreck museum about a mile’s walk up the road from the safe harbor and we walked up there after dinner and we donated blood to the local mosquitoes along the way. We were too late to get into any of the museum buildings there, but it is very nice from the outside and there is lots to see there. Moving along early the next morning we motored away from the dock at 6am towards Sault Ste. Marie. It took us maybe six hours to get there and once out of Whitefish Bay and into the Soo Waterway it is very beautiful. At one point along the waterway leading into the Soo we officially cross in to Canadian waters for a bit as the border meanders through there not exactly in a straight line. When we noticed that we would be in Canadian waters for the first time, we broke out the shot glasses and toasted our unofficial entrance into Canada with a shot of maple syrup! What else, eh?

We chose to go through the Canadian locks and “Lock Down” into the St. Mary’s River and Lake Huron. Going through the lock was easy and yet a big experience for both Marge and I. Our destination was the George Kemp Municipal Marina on the Michigan side and we were tied up to the dock by early afternoon. We rode marina bikes out to “Clyde’s Drive-in” about 2 miles away and had the biggest cheeseburgers we’ve ever attempted to eat. 3/4 pound of deliciousness later and it was a good thing we had to ride back to the boat afterwards just to burn off a little fuel. The next day we visited the American locks at the Soo and saw a few boats and one ship come through the locks and that was pretty neat to see and be tourists for the day. Sault Ste. Marie is a great place to visit and we really enjoyed it. Having places to go and people to see we continued on the next day making our way down the very scenic St. Mary’s River waterway to DeTour, MI. We tied up at the State Harbor there and waited for our boating friends Bill and Ella on Vixen to arrive.  We spent a couple of days there in DeTour before heading out to the North Channel of Lake Huron and into Canadian waters.

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