Having to try another blog site
16 August 2016
After the recent and very unfortunate problem with the hack attack, now a good friend and blog follower found that you cannot easily go back to previous posts from over a year ago.
I acknowledge that this site is free to me and I can't really complain, but I also need something that will do the job.
As of tonight, I am trying to use WordPress for all future posts. I cannot got back and re-create all the previous posts on WordPress, of course, but hopefully they will still be there for a while.
For the new blog, please visit: https://divadiblog.wordpress.com/
If anyone out there has a real interest in the text of the posts for a specific region of cruising, contact me and I will try to accommodate:
Day 79 - White Lake, MI
15 August 2016
Day 79 - Mon 15 Aug 2016
Anchored - White Lake, MI
[photo: an antique store in Ludington, MI]
We slept great and didn't get up until almost 0630. We wanted to get going early to beat the typical building of wind and waves, but the boat was so filthy from the bugs, again, that we took the time to set up the hose and do a quick cleaning. We cast off at 0710 and were surprised to find the waves about 2 feet and "confused". Rather than having waves come at you from one direction, we had two different wave sets and that made it more like a washing machine than a rhythmic motion.
It was still not terrible by any means, but part of what kept our attention was the Coast Guard radio call announcing a person was reported in the water at a location we would be passing right through. They usually don't give you enough information to answer your obvious questions. We assume since they told the person's sex, age, height, hair color, and described his clothing to include "not wearing a life jacket," that some other person on the boat he was on must have made the report.
That implies the overboard man could not be found by the rest of the crew, otherwise he almost certainly would have been brought back aboard. So, we transited the area for many miles keeping an extra sharp lookout, but saw only one CG vessel and one helicopter, plus a few dozen fishing and cruising boats. We found out later via the Internet news that three guys went fishing late at night, two fell overboard wrestling with a big fish in the net, one apparently drowned and was later recovered, and the other was presumed dead after an unsuccessful search.
We arrived safely after 5 hours and anchored just inside the inlet of White Lake. Our location was in very shallow water near the end of the no wake zone, so we had people zipping by at high speed. Fortunately, it is Mon and most people stayed at least 100 yards away from us. Overall, it was not bad at all.
We decided not to leave the boat today. The beach is outside the breakwater (rough) and we just saw no need. Diane sunned in her chair on the deck while the sun was mostly out, but it got completely overcast before long. The good news for me was that it never got too hot, either outside or inside the boat. We had showers off the stern before supper.
The Diva Di medley of green beans, potatoes, onions, and hot sausage tasted mighty good and what we thought would surely be more than enough for a meal, turned out to be just enough. Afterwards, the flybridge was very comfortable in a light breeze that clocked from every direction over several hours. Tomorrow, we expect to be on the free wall at Grand Haven and get ashore to explore.
Day 78 - Ludington, MI
15 August 2016
Day 78 - Sun 14 Aug 2016
Docked - Ludington, MI
[photo: The latter part of Sat and all of Sun was gorgeous, but hot weather. The pool and spa were our main focus for this much-needed period of luxuriating.]
The fishing trip never happened because they all overslept and I was too polite to knock on the hull. It was almost 0830 when I saw someone rouse in the boat and almost 1000 when the guy came over with some previously caught salmon and apologized for the mix-up. I was not happy to have woken up at 0415 and staying up until 0730 waiting, but stuff like that happens.
We were busy in the interim with Diane cleaning, me getting supper prepped (I like to do some meals in advance because the flavors blend and then do the final step right before we want to eat), and then defrosting the refrigerator. We are now convinced we have a problem in that we are need to defrost every 3-4 days. I used a dollar bill to test the seal on the door gasket and it pulls out easily everywhere around the perimeter. I am hoping the gasket is the problem and will try to get an order placed ASAP.
About 1030, we got out the bikes and cycled up to the main drag, then to the beach park (very nice!) and back. Along the way, we walked through a huge craft sale complete with all sorts of food stands. We resisted everything, but enjoyed the walk. Further down, just a few blocks from the marina, we found a very nice, new food market. It was not huge, but big enough to have almost everything you could want, and the prices were not unreasonable. They do a great business with the numerous marinas nearby as boaters stock up on stuff.
Back at Diva Di, Diane made a batch of potato salad by microwaving the potatoes instead of the slower boiling method that adds a lot of unwanted humidity to the boat. It works great if you don't mind skins on your potatoes and not boiling them in water means they absorb more of the dressing to add flavor.
It was off to the pool after that. The day was quite warm with gorgeous blue skies and low humidity - a Chamber of Commerce day, as they say. It was Sun, so there were still a lot of families here for the weekend, and up here there are probably not a lot of swimming pools, so guess where all the kids want to be. I was able to secure a somewhat quiet corner for the most part to read and enjoy.
Following a late mid-afternoon nap, I hiked to the grill and cooked the marinated flank steak with some onions and mushrooms in a foil pouch. The grill was a lot hotter than the thermometer indicated, but it all came out great, if slightly charred. Diane cleaned up and then we headed up to the pool and spa again.
Tomorrow, we will head about 5 hours S to White Lake to anchor. The only thing on our agenda is to drop the dinghy and head to the beach. If there is something particularly interesting at any of our stops, we try to enjoy that, but sometimes just chilling out (like we did this weekend) is a nice thing.
Day 77 - Ludington, MI
13 August 2016
Day 77 - Sat 13 Aug 2016
Docked - Ludington, MI
[photo: the Badger is a large passenger and vehicle ferry that is the last using coal-fired boilers]
It rained hard overnight, which was perfect. It brought much needed moisture to the region and didn't interfere with too many people's activities. We both slept really well and partly due to the lack of light, didn't get up until just after 0600. I was eager to enjoy the shoreside facilities once more before we left, so I walked up, got a fresh pot of coffee going, took a nice shower, etc.
Diane enjoyed the drip-brewed coffee as a change of pace from the percolator and had made toast and jam while we were still connected to shore power. Working as a well-practiced team, we got the boat ready for departure and cast off at 0700. Tom, our dock neighbor, helped us get off the dock with the current pushing us on. The forecast winds and waves had not appeared, which didn't bother us one bit, and we motored down the coast under completely overcast skies and a light drizzle.
The one thing that kept the helmsman on duty occupied was the well over 100 fishing boats slowly trolling along about the same path that we were taking to round the next point of land. It didn't take too much maneuvering on our part to keep clear of them, but since they were all moving and sometimes zig-zagging across our course, it kept us on our toes. If I heard correctly at the marina, this was a steelhead trout tournament.
We arrived at the marina and tied into our slip with no help, and then I checked in. Harbor View Marina has a pretty decent lounge, baths, and showers, but the big draw for us was the nice pool and spa. I was in the spa under gray skies and threat of rain until almost noon. After lunch, we both went up as it cleared a little, but another quick shower sent Diane back to the boat to close up the openings against rain intrusion.
She was content to lounge on the boat most of the day, while I was admittedly too busy making conversation with just about everyone. Most were fascinated with our trip, but I was interested in their methods for catching fish up here. It was a good exchange.
For supper, we had the last of the fresh lake trout, but this time I blackened it with a special seasoning and it was wonderful. We had some of the fresh green beans and a microwaved sweet potato to round it all out. After supper, while Diane cleaned up and elected to stay aboard, I went back up to the pool but took almost 30 minutes to get there after stopping for a long chat with one group of dockside partiers.
As a bonus for my socialization, I was invited with the strongest terms, to go salmon fishing with a family in the morning, leaving at 0445. That is not a problem for me, so I will report tomorrow how things went. I am looking forward to a fun morning fishing tomorrow, and an afternoon checking out the town with Diane.
Day 76 - Manistee, MI
12 August 2016
Day 76 - Fri 12 Aug 2016
Docked - Manistee, MI
[photo: some of the interesting and attractive architecture downtown]
Boy, did we sleep well and long last night. I wasn’t up until 0730, but it felt good for a change. It was a good morning to have home fries with onions and veggie omelets. Following that, while I took care of some administrative matters, Diane got busy cleaning. Then the unthinkable happened – she asked me to turn on the A/C! That must be the first time she had wanted it on when I didn’t feel the need. There is hope for me yet.
After we both enjoyed the lower humidity in the boat, it was time to see about using the marina bicycles to ride to what we thought was the nearest decent grocery store. I knew it was generally uphill and our little one-speed bikes would not make it. Well, the ladies’ bike had a flat, and the two men’s bikes were very large-framed. In fact, the smaller of the two was still too big for me to ride comfortably. The seat was also so small, narrow, and hard that it had to be designed for eunuchs (or those that want to be).
I offered to ride up alone, so I donned the backpack, taking the list, my wallet, and (unknowingly) the boat key with me. I found out later that Diane had remembered generally where we hid the spare key, but still had to spend a bit of time searching. The ride was only 1.5 miles, but was indeed all uphill, and even using the lowest gear on the 24-speed bike, parts were a struggle.
My shirt was a soggy mass of perspiration when I arrived but at least the store was nicely air conditioned. The backpack was quite heavy with two large glass bottles in addition to the groceries, but the ride back was all downhill. When I delivered the goods to the boat, Diane got my shower gear ready and that felt wonderful. I will mention, again, that Manistee Municipal Marina has very nice facilities.
After a bit of rest, we got ready to walk the downtown area. I really enjoyed how much of the old architecture survived and how they had preserved or restored a lot of it. The stores were not very upscale and touristy, which we liked, as well. The place was packed and many stores (mostly women’s clothing – surprise) had sidewalk sales. Diane bought two pairs of stretch warm-up pants for $6. She was happy to have more everyday boat attire.
We wanted to find a hardware store to buy a storage container of a certain size. They didn’t have anything we could use, but on the way back we passed Miller’s Produce and after seeing the hand-lettered signs advertising their wares, we had to go in. Well, they certainly had just a tiny selection compared to the big grocery store, but what they had was far better looking and much cheaper. We indulged ourselves and got some incredibly fresh green beans, baked on the premises bread and carrot cake, and some other good stuff.
It wound up being several hours of walking and shopping, but it was all good exercise and enjoyable. Back at the boat it was time for a few games of Mah Jongg and then a nap before supper. We finished the pasta with meat/veggie sauce and read for a bit. Afterwards, we strolled the Riverwalk and talked to some other boaters for a while before returning just before sunset.
It was a great visit here in Manistee, and we look forward to another one in Ludington tomorrow.
Day 75 - Manistee, MI
12 August 2016
Day 75 - Thu 11 Aug 2016
Docked – Manistee, MI
[photo: the concert in the park after the rain stopped]
I didn’t mention in yesterday’s blog that we went hunting last evening. As we sat on the flybridge enjoying the moderating temperatures after sundown, we noticed lots of spiders, large and small, getting active rebuilding their webs. With Diane in her spotting position (sitting comfortably with a beverage), I took pieces of paper towel in hand and set about eliminating them as she called out their positions. It got so bad I had to get more paper towels after 5 minutes. Left unchecked, they create a horrible mess.
Speaking of horrible messes, going onto the deck early this morning, it was filthy with dead bugs in the dew. I would love to hear from other boaters up here following the blog if they have always had the same problems. I will be scrubbing the boat, again, later today when we get to Manistee.
We weighed anchor at 0645 in the almost still air and after a fair distance at slow, no wake speed, exited the breakwater into the lake. There was definitely some swell from the S, but overall the wave action was pretty tame and had a good run of 3.5 hours down to Manistee. About halfway through, we got into a discussion of meals for the next several days and decided that a good, hearty spaghetti sauce with plenty of veggies and meat would be a good way to use up some things that might not be fresh too much longer. I got that all into the crockpot in short order and it was done, and delicious, shortly after we docked.
As we pulled into the slip, there was no way to stop from bumping our aluminum rubrail against the numerous wooden posts along the finger pier. We had a current of several knots and a slight breeze both pushing us sideways as we maneuvered our 17 foot wide boat into a 19 foot space. With no damage done (that’s what a rubrail is for), we got the A/C hooked up fast since it was already very hot both outside and inside the boat.
My first inspection of the shoreside facilities yielded an extremely high appraisal. It has a beautiful lounge with two TVs (separated enough to make it practical), new washers/dryers, and numerous private showers with great water pressure.
After checking in, Diane served a nice lunch and then we set to work. One of my first tasks was to plug about 80 percent of the grille letting the cold air into the head (bathroom). I like the cabin cooler than Diane, but her tolerance for the colder temperatures gets tested a lot quicker if the toilet seat is freezing cold. My solution is to not air condition the head so much and see if that helps.
The office had Diane’s prescription, but the chartplotter had not yet arrived. Diane got to work with a load of laundry (inside the air conditioned lounge with TVs, of course) and I started the long and tiring chore of scrubbing the boat. I got a reprieve when the FedEx guy arrived just as Diane was there so she lugged the rather heavy package back and I got to work reinstalling the unit to test it. It worked just fine.
Resuming the scrubbing, I was getting tired, but persevered until it was done. Diane helped with the windows and we called it a day. It may rain much of tomorrow, but today was not going to be one for walking around town. We relaxed a bit, caught up on some interior tasks, and then hit the showers.
We had an early supper of the sauce with some pasta and both took a nap. We awoke in time to get ready to walk about one-third of a mile to the park across the channel where they were holding a free concert. It was definitely threatening rain, but we decided to take a chance. As soon as we got there, the husband-wife duo announced they were going to wait to start until the narrow squall passed. Many went to their cars, but a number of us huddled under the gazebo and helped keep their gear as dry as possible.
When they started the performance, they played almost all original music. We liked most of it, especially her violin when they did numbers they called ‘hillbilly romp-stomp,’ In addition to the music, we were entertained by several families with young children dancing and really getting into it. We left a little before the show ended because Diane had gotten wet and was getting cold.
Tomorrow, we will stay put and see what the weather will allow us to do.