Day 67 - Leland, MI
04 August 2016
Day 67 - Wed 3 Aug 2016
Docked – Leland, MI
[photo: Amphicar tooling around the marina]
Knowing we wanted to get going at first light for the long run today, we hit the sack early and slept well. I woke up feeling refreshed and then checked the time – 0530, good. But I noticed it was still extremely dark and then I remembered we still had all our clocks on EDT, so it was just 0430 CDT and we had another 70 minutes to sunrise.
Diane awoke at 0500 CDT and I said we should get going in a half hour. It took almost 20 minutes to stow the electric cable, water hose, and cast off the lines, and then we were ready for the bridge opening at 0530. Diane pointed out a very dark mass of clouds to the SE, so I checked the weather RADAR to see that it was a small cell that was moving out of our path of travel.
Fortunately, we could just squeeze under the next bridge (several hundred yards away) without an opening, which saved time. We motored on at minimum wake speed for several miles until we got to the ship canal, which was obviously man-made. At the end, we entered Lake Michigan and passed a coast guard cutter that appeared to be just drifting a mile offshore. We gave her a wide berth in case they got nervous and then got back on course to Leland, MI, about 66nm away.
There were numerous fishing boats trolling slowly where the shallow waters started dropping off to hundreds of feet of depth and we had to adjust course to cross their paths. Normally, you try to pass vessels astern, which is not only safer, but it means you don’t force them to cut through whatever wake you are creating. With trolling fishermen, however, you may not always be sure how far back their lines trail behind the boat, so it is better to cross their bows.
The wind and waves were not quite as forecast and the waves were more on the beam (from the side) which was not as comfortable. I finally altered course to the N somewhat and that made the ride better, but forced us to go out of our way by an extra 2.5nm. That added less than 20 minutes, so it was OK. The new course had us passing South Manitou Island on its W and N sides. Most of what we could see was massive sand dunes that looked 200 feet high and it was quite majestic.
As we approached Leland Harbor, we were amazed to see a bright sandy bottom in over 20 feet of water. It was like the Bahamas or Caribbean except for the temperature. The only glitch was that we needed fuel and a very large vessel had blocked half the fuel dock. Another sailboat had radioed earlier than we did, apparently, and we were asked to wait while he approached, tied up, and did his thing. My immediate reaction was to tie up at a neighboring dock temporarily and shut down. It turned out to be a 35 minute wait, so it was good that we did.
Once in our slip, we got the A/C running since it was about 85F and people were complaining about the heat. Diane rushed to the laundry while I checked in. The bathroom/showers here are fabulous, as is the lounge. We both had a few chores to do, and while I was rinsing last night’s dirt off the boat and putting water in the tank, I saw that Diane has invited two Greek guys aboard, father and son. She gave them the tour while I continued my work.
Diane wanted to check out the small town and I wanted to get rid of the waste oil from the oil change I did the other day. We walked to the local garage only a few blocks away and they accepted my offering, and then we strolled the main street, checking out the shops. Surprisingly, Diane did not seem interested in going inside more than just a few. Almost every person we saw on the very pedestrian-busy Main Street was licking an ice cream cone.
I made some phone calls to friends back home while Diane showered and then we enjoyed the healthy ‘stir fry’ I made the other day. Not long after the clean-up, we walked the docks to view the other boats and found two other Loopers. Wye Tug from MD was back on the loop after a delay due to health issues and Lord’s Protection from PA was now single-handing after his wife decided she didn’t care for the work involved. It was great getting to know them a bit.
Back on Diva Di, we heard this funny sound and Diane called me to come up with the camera. An old, but beautifully maintained Amphicar had just entered the water by driving down the ramp, turning on its propellers, and was slowly tooling around for fun in the marina. They certainly got a lot of attention. We got the best photo when they came over to talk about Punta Gorda, because they have friends there and visit a lot.
Not long after that, we had conversations with several other boaters and the final part of that story was a young couple who just pulled off the lake at 2015, with the marina staff gone. The only open spot was at the fuel dock so they took it, knowing they would have to move in the morning. The problem was there was only a 50A electric service open and they had not brought their adapter. We loaned them ours, Steve got it set up, and then we invited him and Lindsey aboard. When Diane found out she is a teacher, they had one gab session after another about that.
After a long and tiring run today, with no nap, and then socializing until almost 2200, we both slept really well. Exactly where we wind up for the next week will depend on the wind and waves direction.