Summer 2008 Lake Superior Cruise
14 August 2008 | Murray Bay, Grand Island (Munising)
Murray Bay, Grand Island
We were off the wharf by 0745 and as we were departing, our sailor friend came out and bid us farewell. I replied that we were getting an early start because I had just listened to NOAA and it sounded like the winds would steadily decline throughout the day and we just wanted to get out there before we had to power all day. I knew that there would be a lot of leftover slop from the day before, so we hoisted sail prior to exiting the breakwall. Soon, we were doing a steady 6.5-7kts and Isak was doing a nice job driving so I went down below to get "harnessed up" just in case I needed to go up on the bow later. While I was down there, Isak yelled that the wind was now blowing 22kts so I knew I needed to get up there fast in order to pull a reef in. I quickly went up and did that while still wearing my sweats. By this time, we had cleared the point and the waves were now 3-5'. I briefly looked back towards the breakwall that was now quickly getting smaller as we sped away and saw another sailboat heading out. Assuming it to be the our sailor friends, I wondered how long it would take them to turn around and I briefly thought ot this myself but the boat was responding well and I knew that if the wind held, we'd be in to the Munising area by lunch time so I went down below to continue to suit up. As I was doing this, a particularly rogue wave must have come out of nowhere as I heard the rest of the crew scream a loud "oohhh" and then the boat heeled way over. For a brief moment, it got very dark down in the cabin as the wave passed over the port holes in the cabin top. Then the coffee pot still full of water came careening across the cabin at me along with the quart of blueberries that we had purchased at the farmers market. After a brief moment, the boat righted itself and light began to come through the port holes once again. After discovering much to my relief that the boat had retained the crew in the cockpit, my attention turned to cleaning up the mess down below. The coffee pot had a huge dent in it where the handle is but was otherwise no worse for the wear so I began to crawl around on my hands and knees scooping the blueberries off of the cabin sole with a spatula into a plastic bag. My thoughts began to turn to NOAA and how that particular organization had betrayed me once again but I was thankful that we were in a solid, secure vessel that could withstand way more than the crew could.
With all that now behind us, I crawled back into the cockpit realizing that we didn't need to be careening along at 8 kts so we rolled in the jib which reduced our speed to a more manageable 5-6kts. Unfortunately, this caused the boat to roll back and forth even more and soon those of the crew who have a propensity for seasickness were clutching the blue bucket.
Being one of the crew who doesn't have a propensity for seasickness won me the task of steering virtually the whole rest of the trip. I managed to steer clear of any more rogue waves but I dodged many. The wind briefly receded to 15-18kts and we redeployed the jib but an hour later, the wind was back up to 20-22kts. We finally made the turn downwind into the channel west of Grand Island and soon the waves began to recede as we entered the protected waters. Needless to say, this made the crew very happy and they soon began discussing what was for lunch.
We anchored just south of the shipwreck of an old schooner in Murray Bay. The wind blew like stink all afternoon, so it was hard to get the crew motivated to go ashore although the kids did get the kite out as it was perfect weather for that. Later in the evening, the wind began to calm and we watched the bald eagles soar once again above our anchorage.