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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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New Home for the Winter Season
90, sunny & hot
08/23/2007, Toledo Beach Marina

Home again, home again jiggity jig... We're now at Toledo Beach Marina for the winter season. Next summer will see us heading out to the canal system...

Now to tuck in and time to contemplete putting our little bird on the hard...

Hole In the Wall to Toledo Beach Marina
Cloudy, raining, muggy86 degrees
08/22/2007, La Salle, MI

The Detroit River Light in the Fog/drizzle

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What a nice peaceful night. No rocking - we stayed in one position all night with the Detroit River Current. Got up at 6:30am made coffee and breakfast.

The engine started up with no problem and we were off down the river system again at 8:30 am - following the buoys and dodging a couple of freighters. One really kicked up a wake so that we had spray over the bow even though we were way over to the side...

It was really misty out so I questioned as to whether we should turn on the radar or not... Self I said: If you have to ask or think about it then DO IT... so I did, then we put on our rain slickers and life jackets since it was getting really rocky and foggy. We lost a couple of buoys in the fog but the GPS put us back on track. Most of the day was spent in rain, or fog or haze, with choppy, shallow seas but when I could see the sister's outline (The Detroit Edison Smoke stacks) near Sterling State Park I caught the scent of home.

I was worried, as we got closer to the marina because the chart said some places were 5 and 6 feet and we've been pulling close to 6 feet this trip with our provisions and water tanks full. I couldn't find the range markers (only one) but did line up to 290 degrees true to come in (300 on our compass). It was still to hazy to see much until we were almost at the mouth of the marina. The 290 heading was good though and it looked like they dredged the heading because it consistently read between 7-9 feet all the way along that course even though the sides per the chart read 4 and 1 foot. I was a nervous wreck - coming into our new home for the first time. They had a pretty good map of the marina, and I knew where our berth was and this was probably the best docking I've ever done, with nobody to see me do it (it figures doesn't it?). Laced in tight by 2:30 pm.

Unloaded our gear and packed up the truck, checked in at the main office and departed for home around 3:45 pm... sleep tight little humming bird - torn sails, uncertain electrical, but a refrigerator that's kick-ass...

Home again, home again, jiggity jig... Tomorrow, we need to pick up my car from Tower Marine - a goodbye to Saugatuck.

End of Chapter 1?


Black River to Hole in the Wall
Hazey, warm
08/21/2007, Black River (Port Huron) to Hole in the Wall (Detroit River off Grosse Isle)

Hello Detroit!!! The Ambassador Bridge and Detroit in the background :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I must admit, I'm angry... What was up with Customs yesterday? We did what they told us to do, and then, when we did it, they told us we were illegal by doing that... Frigging pisses me off that they told us to do that and then belittled us and made us feel like criminals... I feel like I should hang out here today and vent to someone there...

What a night - the bumpers on the seawall at Desmond's Marine kept squeaking all night, and the Lights on the sign were shining brightly through the windows, even with the curtains pulled. I think I was awake, more than not. Then this morning over coffee, Wayne found the email response to a request that I'd written to the Customs Office requesting information on the I68 form and it specifically says I DON'T need it... in black and white. I wish I knew the names of those people that were so sadistic at the customs office at the Blue Water Bridge... I'd like to put a reprimand or something in their folder so they don't get away with bullying people. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with that. I have a feeling it was the supervisor...

Well, after we cast off we went through the St. Clair River and made pretty good time - whenever I checked the GPS we were going anywhere from 7.1 to 7.9 knots running with the currents (wow and with no sails up) while running at our normal 2500rpms. So we gained better than a knot of speed. We stayed in the channel system with the freighters. Passed by several chemical companies on both sides (Dow on the Canadian side). Saw several old salty freighters dumping their ballast water in the river - to be able to pick up their loads. Bothered me a little, I thought they weren't allowed to do that anymore but guess they can. I couldn't believe the number of huge houses all along our travels here - big bucks along the river system. There were a lot of fishermen with the same boats all along the rivers. All of them were 2 guys to a boat (the same type/color of boat too), all standing while fishing, and their boats always seemed to be facing us until we passed... Hmmmmm... should I report the federal agents to the federal agents?

One freighter we saw in Lake St Clair was from Russia. He was moving for bear and really kicking up a wake. We saw him bearing down on us and moved out of the shipping lane (we'd been following it on the edge) just in time because his wake generated 5 ft waves with mighty turbulence.

It was really bittersweet to pass by a lot of the places I'd known in previous years. While a lot of the area is industrial and dirty, a lot of it is where I called home growing up - as did Wayne. I'm not sure how he felt passing by Detroit, the Ambassador Bridge, Bell Isle, Bob-Lo, Zug Island, Wyandotte, etc... but wow some old memories came flooding back of lives gone by... He reminisced abit about dates on Bob-Lo, Belle Isle but I couldn't really vocalize any - just thought and felt them as I took pictures along the way. I'm glad we passed by here. In some ways it's like saying goodbye to the past and recognizing some of the things that made me who I am today. An acknowledgement almost.

Enough...

We decided we weren't going to make it to Toledo Beach today. By the time we reached a place called "Hole in the Wall", we still had better than 25 miles to go and there was no way we could make that before dark and neither wanted to put into a strange marina in shallow water in the dark, so we circled and circled and looked for somewhere to anchor. Stressful because of all the shallow water here - 3-4 ft with a few areas of 12-15 thrown in. The areas we can anchor are all in the open so if there's any weather - it could be problematic. The winds died down nicely and at anchor, the currents are keeping us in the same spot even though the winds (3 knots) are off our beam. This is a new concept to me - in anchoring we usually are lined up with the wind in order to back the anchor and lock her into the mud - here we align with the current. Looking at Sugar Island (?) - it didn't move as I revved the engine to 1500 rpms. I'd say we're anchored pretty solidly (oh oh?).

Made Steaks, cheddar/bacon potatoes and tomato/cucumber wedges for dinner. I was really hungry - but the steaks were incredible. Tobermory may not have a good restaurant but I'd go shopping there again at the grocery store (Big Tub) for steaks or produce in a heartbeat!

A few power/speed boats came by this evening to rock us but this is probably the quietest anchorage we've been at (I know, I know, it's because it's not really an anchorage). Almost forgot to mention - we saw this very pretty green/tan sailboat ahead of us on the Detroit River and had been admiring it for the longest time. When we caught up to it - it turned out to be Saudades - Toronto from John Island Harbor He hailed us on the VHF - Hey, didn't we anchor next to you in the North Channel (?) and to ask us where we were putting in for the night. We told him we were going to anchor in a place called hole in the wall or try and make our marina. He asked where Hole in the Wall was. I said I wasn't sure, somewhere up ahead of us, we'd never been there. Needless to say, he was going the same direction - but we told him we'd already cleared customs at the Blue Water (and would never do that again) so couldn't anchor near him on the Canadian Side of the river. He hadn't cleared into customs here yet and sympathized about the customs office at Blue Water Bridge and said he wouldn't clear there either, and wished us well with a "hope to see you in the North Channel again". He went towards Duffy's on the left cut, we turned into Hole in the Wall on the right cut. We saw him come back out and then go back in again too so he settled in somewhere there on the Canadian side...

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