Salmon running upstream
28 June 2012 | Lake St. Clair, MI
John and Cheryl
We had a really quiet night on Lake St. Clair. The wind died to almost nothing and we just bobbed like a cork all night. We set out early this morning to move farther upstream. We have a sudden affinity with salmon. The current wasn’t as bad as we had been told. The current against switched between one and two knots. We made it to St. Clair Boat Harbor by 1:30. Made it just in time for the bridge opening. We decided to stop here instead of moving farther to Port Huron. This is a little bit quieter harbor, with about 1/10th of the boat traffic.
We took a stroll around town to check things out. The town is small, but had a great ice cream parlor. We wandered the waterfront. The locals kids were all jumping off of the break wall, floating down the river with the current, then getting out and running back to do it all again. The water is amazingly clean. There were also a bunch of local boats anchored on a sandbar outside the channel. The water was about waist deep, perfect for swimming around the boats.
I have the next three days journey all charted out. I am shooting for Port Austin for my birthday. It has a pizzeria, a bakery and an ice cream shop. What else does a birthday girl need?
Shortly after starting out this morning we noticed a tug with a ship on the hawser (in tow). They kept steadily creeping up on us and eventually passed. Although we kept way to the starboard side of the channel, they gave us five blasts of the horn. I had tried contacting the tug and the ships bridge on all the usual hailing channels, but no response. I used our base VHF and our handheld. Nothing. After they passed, I decided to take the long eyes and look up the mast at our antenna. Gone! Must have happened during the storm at Put-In-Bay. The antenna base was there but the whip was gone. Drat. I have already lost radar for the balance of the trip home and I sure don’t want to make the rest of the way depending on the handheld for my base communications. The range just isn’t there. Chatted with our friends Pat and Dave about it on the phone. Consensus is that if all else fails, we could try and use a coat hanger, cut to the right length and somehow fasten it to the antenna base. Might work.
After arriving at our destination today, I called a couple of places to see if they had a new antenna on hand. Of course there was nothing. The closest place was a West Marine about 30 miles away which wasn’t going to do us any good without a car. The marina here could order one but would take a couple of days to get it. That didn’t exactly fit in with our plans for the weekend and Cheryl’s birthday. Just for the hell of it, we checked where we are going to anchor tomorrow night. The marina didn’t have anything but did give me the phone number of the “place” next door. Called them and not only did they have more than one available, they had the exact Metz model that we have and at about the same price as we could get one from Defender. Will pick it up tomorrow afternoon and then decide when to install. Could have been worse. After just re-installing that antenna last week, I’m having a hard time believing that it could have unscrewed itself in the storm. Then again, we were really rocking and rolling. It was the second worst night at anchor in the last four years.