Hole in the Wall
08/15/2007, Detroit River
August 13th Port Huron to "Hole in the Wall"
I was up at 6:20 making coffee. Kathy was shamed out of bed shortly after and we made it to the fuel dock to top off our tank as the dock hands showed up for work at 7 am. Three blocks downstream was the only draw-bridge and ,before 9am, it opens on demand. One long blast followed by a short and then wait for traffic to be stopped and the bridge raised. I was a little concerned about the downstream drift, but as it turned out the keel kept us straight while in reverse and we had no problems.
At 2000 rpm our engine is working nicely and usually keeps us between 6.8 and 7 knots. On the St. Clair River were getting a 2.5 to 3 knot boost with the current. Later in the day the Detroit River was running at about 2 knots.
The ride south was far more entertaining than normal. The first freighter that we met knocked us around quite a bit but the rest of them ... throughout the day, were fine. Unlike a day off shore, where we usually travel, there were homes and docks and strip malls. Harsen's Island looked like a neat place to spend the summer. The channel markers continue right into Lake St. Clair and we stayed close as depth's were as shallow as 7 feet in some areas. We did , however , put up a sail and did some surfing ... small craft warnings were in effect.
Belle Isle is Detrot's first impression as you enter the city from the water. It looked a little shabby... lawns were not watered as they were on the other side of the river. Over-all though the impression was positive with lots of open spaces and playgrounds, new ball fields, and fishing docks. Downtown was crisp and clean. The People Mover was zipping around and landscaping looked like a million dollars. We learned why "down river" is not where we want to live. For miles, the post war industrial center of Detroit drags on. On the other hand, neither of us knew anything about Gross Ile. The island goes on for miles with mansions and summer estates. I thought Gross Ile was just another suburb.
As the Detroit River nears Lake Erie it widens to about 4 miles and shallows to about 4 feet. At some point in time channels were dug through this area and that tailings were heaped in perfectly straight piles that are miles long. Over time the rock tailings grew trees and so the now as you motor through the area it's like driving down a tree-lined, five mile long driveway. The "hole in wall" is literally a 100 yard area where the tailings were put someplace else and boaters can get out of the channel.....Now normally, since the water is 4 feet deep, we would stay in channel ....but the map showed a spot, out of the way, that was about 10 feet deep. We inched our way through and carefully found a weedy spot to anchor for the night. There was a current of about 2 knots from the north so even though the wind was from the south the current pushed us in the opposite direction. We had seen very few boats on the Detroit River but our anchorage, which was about 3 miles square, was hopping.
We grilled the last of our venison ...and had a nice meal with rice and a salad.
Mike and Kathy
08/12/2007, Port Huron, MI
Sunday, August 12, 2007 Port Sanilac to Port Huron
We motored once again on calm seas to Port Huron. All the marinas here are in the Black River., off the St. Claire. The Black River is fairly narrow and has drawbridges that open on the hour and half hour. Luckily, one is being repaired and is always open, so we only had to wait for one bridge. We took a dinghy ride up the river for about 3 miles which was interesting. There is a huge marina up about 2miles with very few boats and lots of seagulls and ducks seem to have taken over the docks. It was pretty sad. Most sailboats couldn't get there because of power lines across the river limiting mast height.
We came back and walked to a decent boat store downtown and picked up a few things. We also found a hardware store for some other things we needed. We haven't seen a grocery store, but we didn't ask about one either.
Day two in Port Huron... It's not that we like this place so much but the forecast was for rain and I wasn't comfortable with our destination and or bailouts. I worked in the basement replacing a check valve on our bilge pump hose and repairing an air leak in our manual pump. I also spent a hour or so down there trying to re-engineer the position of the hydraulic arm of our auto pilot to decrease our turning radius. I have it figured out but need some material to reposition things.
We thought yesterday was a long day!
08/12/2007, Port Sanilac, MI
Friday, August 10 Kincardine to Bayfield
We left Kincardine in calm seas and motored to Bayfield. In route I scrubbed the decks while Kathy worked on the cockpit. After about a hour things were looking better than they had in a long time. I went below for a shower to get a little grime off myself as well.
There was very little of interest on this leg, but one thing I found interesting was that for about 40 miles the shore is lined with huge wind turbines. It would seem that conditions here would be very close to the western shore of Lake Michigan...if wind power is a viable option over here why isn't it in Michigan?
We have also noticed that all of the Canadian ports that we have visited there seems to be and on-going investment in the waterfront areas. There are new docks, walkways, hiking paths, as well as many other civic improvements. Canadians complain about their taxes but the improvements are going to make a difference.
We arrived at Bayfield at about 2:30 and were turned away. Both of the marinas that normally have slips were full. Without many options, we decided to cross Lake Huron and ended up anchored inside the jetty in Port Sanilac.
We had our hearts set upon spending all of our remaining Canadian money in Bayfield. We are thinking about mailing it to Tom and Carol ..."Start'n Monday" and having the Admiral select a couple of T-Shirts for us.
We are heading down to Port Huron this morning but are still thinking that Kincardine may be a place to return.
......Jimmy if you happen to read this ... I need a couple of small pieces of aluminum stock ... you may be able to help... email me. thanks