Summer 2008 Lake Superior Cruise
01 August 2008 | Rocky Island Via Devils Island
Rocky Island Via Devils Island
This morning, I awakened to rumbling thunder in the distance so I turned on NOAA and they were actually talking about a line of thunderstorms coming through our area during a time period which hadn't already passed. Since Presque Isle Bay isn't exactly protected from a big west blow, I donned my foul weather gear so that I could be prepared for a hasty departure if the need arose. Once again, the worst of the storm seemed to be south of our location but soon the winds and waves began to build out of the west as the storm blew through. A couple of smaller sailboats who were anchored too close to the beach were now aground but the worst of the storm seemed to have passed so I got into the dinghy and motored over the first guy who was frantically revving his small outboard that was being lifted into and out of the water by the waves. By the time I got there, he was off of the bottom and was making way on his own so I went over to the second boat where the skipper and crew were now waving frantically in my direction. As I approached the boat, I could tell that they were really stuck and in fact, their rudder was getting pounded into the sand by the wave action. Initially, they asked if I had any oil as their engine had shed its oil breather and wouldn't start. I replied that we'd get them some oil but first, we needed to get them turned so that they could be bow out facing the waves. I ran their anchor out as far as I could in the dinghy and waited while he winched the anchor line tight. This actually spun the boat stern to the waves which worked out ok as it freed the rudder from the sandy bottom but the skipper was still unable to get enough purchase on the winch to free his boat. My next thought was to take a line from one of his halyards to the dinghy so as to heel the boat over some hopefully freeing his keel. This helped slightly so I reset his anchor for him once again and with all of the torque that my Briggs outboard could muster, I was finally able to pull him off of the sand by the halyard extending from the top of his mast.
After towing him out into deep water and re-securing his anchor, I introduced myself to the boat owners who were a retired couple from Munising, MI who had their grandchildren aboard. The woman in particular was quite shaken and understandably emotional over the whole ordeal. They were both very greatful for my assistance and I promised to return to help them get oil for their engine right after breakfast.
I returned back to our boat rather satisfied with the outcome of the whole situation but at the same time somewhat disgusted that there were more than 20 boats in this particular harbor and no one else had arrived to help. I hope that it was simply because of the early hour, or perhaps concern for one's own boat. Granted, this wasn't a life or death situation, but as a boating community, we must always watch out for and protect our own. What comes around goes around and it might be you the next time someone needs help.
Around 1100, we departed for Devils Island where Deanna and the kids explored the sea caves on the northeast end while I stayed with the boat. Anchoring is reported to be difficult at best there so I drifted along during their tour. Late in the day, we anchored just south of the dock at Rocky Island were we swam and prepared dinner. While we were relaxing, I reminded the crew that if we were to continue according to our plan, we would need to depart early for Isle Royal in the morning. This announcement wasn't well received by anyone including myself and although I personally had mixed feelings about cutting a return to Isle Royal from our plans, I began to realize that we have been moving throughout the summer at a rather brisk pace and that everyone needed a few days of doing nothing before making the long passages that will be required on our way back to "the Soo". Moreover, I became content in knowing that while I might someday return to Lake Superior, in the interest of exploring other parts of the lake more thoroughly, I might not make it back this far west and this would give us a chance to say that we've really "done" the Apostles.