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Sloop Les Miserables
Running Under the Bridge
Wiley and Cold
07/26/2011, Straits of Mackinac

We left the dock at Beaver Island Marina at 0645 on July 25, and cleared the harbor sailing southwest to clear all the shoals, and then steered north under sail for Grays Reef Passage; it was cool, with seas of 1-2 feet. The lighthouse at Gray's Reef is one of humanity's most forlorn- looking objects; Merry got a picture of it as we passed. One of the boats in the Mac came to grief here, and was abandoned, but we don't see the wreck. Unlike that sailboat, we safely navigate the infamous passage and then turn due east for the run to Mackinaw Bridge. We can see the bridge from 18 miles away. "Running" is the point of sail wherein the wind is behind the boat pushing it. Since we do not have a "whisker pole" or a spinnaker this is not usually a good point of sail for us but on this day we found ourselves doing an incredible 6.2 knots. At 1300 we pass under the bridge with all colors flying including a huge American flag that once flew over the U.S. Capitol. Although we did this once before with the kids in 1993 it is still a huge thrill. However, unlike 1993 we are not able to get a slip at the harbor at Mackinaw Island so we go into Mackinaw City. Ever since we left our home port we have been sailing in the wrong direction - north! Our charts seem to show that the Bahamas are in fact to the east and south after clearing the bridge for the very first time we turn SOUTH. After 300 miles in the wrong direction our passage under the giant bridge marks the start of going in the right direction.

07/29/2011 | Matt Roberson
Glad major pit-falls have been avoided, but I have to say, 6.2 knots?! You are going to be lucky to make the Atlantic by next year. You may want to shift the oars and row a bit. All kidding aside I hope that both of you are having a good time. Take care and be safe. Matt
07/31/2011 | karen
Enjoying your blog and pictures. Glad you are both safe! Have a toast on monday Aug. 1 & 2 for the SIP meetings yo are not at!
Pratfalls, Stings, and the Wonder of it All
07/22/2011, Beaver Island, Michigan

What are the chances that our leisurely planned short sail from Charlevoix to Beaver Island (32 miles) can turn ...Edmondson's odds are pretty high! After yesterday's adventures in Charlevoix - (hmmm Wiley dunked the sailing dinghy Dimples and had to be rescued by another boater in a Zodiac, he put the inflatable dinghy dogs on the dinghy (no more dunking the dinghy) put the motor on and upon leaving the Charlevoix dock - missed getting into the boat and fell into the water, and during his training run managed to fall on both knees - poor guy!) Of course, it doesn't help that his wife is either laughing or lecturing or both.

Very little wind on our way over and then when we arrive to dock - gusts 25+ from the wrong direction SE - pushing us into the slip. Merry somehow manages to find the only yellow jacket in the vicinity and it stings the palm of her left hand just prior to an exciting docking experience. Anchoring is looking more and more attractive. Obviously, as we sit writing this we have arrived and with little damage - just one cleat that bit the dust during the docking maneuver and a swollen palm.
This Michigan island was once a kingdom in 1850 - yes, they had a self appointed King - a mormon named James Jesse Strang. Hence St. James Harbor, however, 2 of his followers were not so great at following and murdered him. The murderers were found to be heroes. After the mormons ruled then many Irish families - (fishermen) took over the island. So no doubt we will be going to the Shamrock Restaurant for some spirits. There are around 600 people who live here year round. It is very quiet and slow paced.
We are planning to stay for a minimum of 2 nights - and will rent bikes tomorrow to ride around this small island.

07/22/2011 | Hea
Hi guys... Watching your progress. Glad you are both ok and hope Merry's hand is feeling better. Stay safe ...
07/24/2011 | Keri Warehime
Hey guys....was at belmont harbour last night and thought of you both!!! Hope you are having fun!!! Be careful/safe! XOXO! Keri
07/24/2011 | Merry Edmondson
Hi back Keri,
We are in Beaver Island and sailing to Mackinaw tomorrow - being very careful. Hope you were having fun in Belmont Harbor - some great restaurants nearby!
Stories and "Unstories"
Sunny, hot, strong SSW winds
07/20/2011, Charlevoix, Michigan

Left the fog behind in Leland and motor sailed to Charlevoix. Waited for the bridge to open at 6:30 and came in and anchored. Wiley and I were doing our strength training on deck when I heard Wiley's name called. We were surprised by seeing Jim Doyle on a Mac boat. Wiley rowed over and we learned that another strong storm maybe on the way -pulled the anchor and tied up at the gas dock. An "unstory" -thank goodness. However, we hear frightening stories from Jim and Greg about what was like to be out during the storm and also learn that another friend had his boat T-Boned during the race and is in Charlevoix for repairs. We return to anchoring in the morning and are enjoying Charlevoix's festival -lots of live music in the evenings, street vendors, etc. There is a little restaurant in the middle of Charlevois - A Girl A Boy and a Girl - we dinghy over for some smoothies. Dimples goes out for some fun sailing on lake Charlevoix. Tomorrow we hope to leave for Beaver Island -the bridge opens on the half hour.

Don't Try to Fool Mother Nature
Merry/ Perfect - Sunny day 80/ 60 night
07/18/2011

Five boats from the Mac race limped into the Leland harbor around 4 am which is where we spent the night. Wiley had spent the late afternoon pouting because he wanted us to anchor at South Manitou Island. After consulting radar on mu Ipad I refused and seeing the five boats that came into Leland - 1 dismasted, 1 with a broken boom, 2 with torn sails....and learning that 2 sailors died during the storm - well, we were relieved that we made the choice we did.
Wiley loves it when I am right...so we even spent another day in lovely Leland - swimming at the North beach, eating, visiting with boat neighbors, taking care of provisioning, laundry and joyfully living life while reminding ourselves that we need to listen to Mother Nature. We will be off to Charlevoix or Petoskey tomorrow. We are concerned about our friends who sailed in the Mac race and are eager to learn of their safe arrival at Mackinaw Island.

08/27/2011 | Dawn Neuman
First time I have had a chance to check your blog. I was worried about the hurricane and wanted to know where you were.
Merry saves the Day
Wiley; weather bad and then ok
07/18/2011, Leland

I thought that Merry and I had a clear understanding that we would sail from Frankfort to an open anchorage at South Manitou Island, after a stop at the huge Sleeping Bear Dune. The first part came off. We passed the famous lighthouse at Point Betsie. The wind was out of the south at 14 mph, and the waves 3 feet or so, as we reached the great dune. We anchored, putting our new 37 lb Bruce anchor down, even though we had never used it before, and since our boat has no windlass, I was not sure that we would ever get it up again. The water temp was 74, and I was able to use mask and fins to see that the anchor was entirely buried in the sand. I convinced Merry that it was so rough, that we should wear our wetsuits when I rowed us ashore in Dimples, our 8 ft dingy. We were able to run the dingy ashore through the surf without too much of a problem. We walked down the beach and found a trail that led up into the dunes. The dunes were full of unique and beautiful wild flowers; we took pictures which we hope to post. We finally got to the high point where we could look down at our little boat. We made our way back down to the beach to discover that the wind and waves increased. We attempted to launch or dinghy but it took waves over the bow resulting in 4 inches of water in it. Merry shouted for me to get in and start rowing. We kept getting thrown into the beach. Merry gave a mighty push on the transom, and did a nose dive into the dinghy her posterior pointed to the sky and her face in the floorboard. We finally got to our boat and were able to set sail.

07/19/2011 | Heather Richter
Glad to see you are both safe and sound. We might fly over you on our way to Cleveland about 07:30 on Friday :0)
The Turtle Wins the Race?
Merry/ Perfect - Sunny day 80/ 60 night
07/15/2011, Ludington

From North Point to Milwaukee! It took us about 7 hours and we arrived in the dark of night. We picked up a can at McKinley. (Hmmm... it is hard to believe that we could have driven this in about an hour - but must admit that the sailing was beautiful, that is ...until the attack of the FLIES!) I have quickly learned to talk like a sailor as I swing multiple flyswatters.
Onto Sheboygan, shopping, hot tub, pool time, ...a respite after storms and bugs. Yes bugs (plural) - every possible place that a mosquito can truly drive one crazy - ears, toes, fingers, the middle of my back have been bitten. So, when not swinging a fly swatter I am madly scratching.
A beautiful motor sailing crossing to Ludington- a wonderful harbor. A fantastic dinner at P.M. Steamers. We spend the next day swimming in icy waters using tri-athalon wet suits, sailing the fatty knees dinghy without be run over by the Badger car ferry, time in town at the Friday festival - free ice cream, music, etc. , a workout before writing our blogs and plan our next leg of our trip. All is good - we may be slow- but we are having fun!

07/16/2011 | Heather Richter
Hi guys.... Just to let you know we are watching you and reading all about your adventure. Glad you are off to a good start but we will surely miss you both. We can't wait to join you in Marsh Harbor ! C and I have come down with some exotic virus. I have been sick for 2 wks now. Finally went to the Dr. so perhaps I will be on the mend soon. Stay safe H & C
07/17/2011 | Dave & Sandra
Merry and Wiley, it sure was great to see you at Dairy Queen before you left. Otherwise, we would have missed saying goodbye to you. Sounds like you are making good time. We are keeping our eyes on you and pray for safe travels for you both. Keep the posts coming and when you get a chance, post some pictures.

Dave & Sandra from J84

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