07 October 2011 | Mackinaw City
Chris/ Clear and warm
Day 1A Monday October 3rd. Spend the day repairing, prepping, and loading the boat, Then we meet Mike and Bob, our crewmates for the next three to four weeks. Later we have a glass of wine with the two of them and our fantastic and beautiful wives.
Day 1. After getting to the boat at 6:00 am on Tuesday morning we make final preparations and leave. Cleared the piers at 8:15. It’s cloudy and cool, with small swells. By the time we get to the Welland at 11:45, it’s sunny, warm, and the seas are flat.
We check in to customs and wait to get into the canal. We clear the first lock at 12:15 and the last lock at 5:15. Five and a half hours, fastest I’ve ever heard it done. Get into Buffalo at 7:00. We top off the fuel with 565 gallons. We tie up at Mike’s home port and meet his wife Jennifer. Then off to his house to meet his boys Michael and Sammy, and Bob’s wife Joanne. Mike stays home with the family, Bud and I head off to dinner with Joanne and Bob.
Day 2. On to Toledo Michigan at the west end of Lake Erie. We depart Buffalo at 7:45, it’s sunny and 60ish, with fairly flat seas, just some small rollers. Bob and Mike, who are trawler and sailboat owners on Lake Erie, are amazed at how fast we get to points they’re used to taking all day to get to.
We arrive at Toledo Beach Marina at 5:30 and fuel up with 890 gallons of diesel. Tim a manager of the marina offers us his car to get to dinner. After I get a guided tour of the facilities from Ted the ‘master wood craftsman’ we go to Tim’s Hatteras for a beverage. Then it’s off to dinner with Tim and his ‘friend’ (she’s half his age if that) at the Harbor Inn and Ale. A little scary as Tim just keeps drinking and brags about knowing every sheriff in the county.
Day 3. We have an 8:00 departure in flat seas on another sunny and warm day. We head back east a ways to the Detroit River. As we are over 20 meters, we are only allowed to do 10.4 knots, so the trip is slow. But it affords us a good view of the home of the Tigers, who will play later in the day at Yankee Stadium.
At 11:30 we’re out of the River and into Lake St. Clair where the pace picks up to 25 knots. At 12:45 we’re into the St Clair River and its warm enough to sit on the fly bridge in shorts, no shirt. As we near the end of the St. Clair River and approach Lake Huron, we go by the yacht Rena, which was in Rochester the week before last. She looks just as impressive from the deck of a75 footer as she did from the parking lot at RYC.
It’s still sunny and warm with no wind at 3:30 as we enter Lake Huron. The lake is like glass. We make great time to Harbor Beach, MI. We have been on the phone with the marina several times, asking about fuel and depth. “No problem, plenty of both.” We get in at 5:15. As we make our way through the harbor to the marina, we’re kicking up mud for a quarter mile. When we finally make to the marina, there is a 50 ft Egg Harbor at the fuel dock. That’s trouble. He’s not going anywhere and he’s used all but the last 150 gallons of diesel. We don’t want the bottom of tank in our engines, so it’s no fuel for us.
As it’s now 6:30 and two hours to the next fuel, which is already closed, we decide to spend the night. Bud manages to pivot all 75 feet of boat around the gas dock and into the forty foot slip next to it in 5’ 9” of water, kicking up silt the whole time. We’ve go the generator off so we don’t take in the silt, and we have to leave it off, as we’re sitting on the bottom. There’s only one fifty amp outlet, so we have power issues to deal with.
But it’s off to dinner and then back to the boat for the ALDS game five. Go Tigers. Can’t get much better than watching your team beat the Yankees in the Bronx while you’re sitting in the lounge of your OP75, in Lake Huron.
Day 4. Friday. We dredge our way out of Harbor Beach at day break and clear the break walls at 7:30, just behind the Egg Harbor 50, who it turns out is making the same trip to Lauderdale we are. Now it’s a race to the fuel. It’s another beautiful, warm, sunny, windless, calm day on Lake Huron and we make great time to Mackinaw City, in the Mackinaw Straits between Lakes Huron and Michigan. And we blow by the Egg Harbor, and arrive at 2:30. We’ve been watching the Sabres on TV while traveling and fueling.
We fuel up, and even with a hose going into each tank, it takes nearly two hours to take the 1176 gallons we need. Then we move to our dock for the night. It’s the other gas dock, which had no diesel pump. You don’t just put this boat anywhere. There is a pump out at this dock, so I get started. I’ve never pumped out a 135 gallon holding tank, so for the first half hour I don’t think much of it. As we approach 45 minutes I begin to wonder and Mike and Bud begin investigating. Opps. Not going to put into print what the issue was. We’ll take the fifth, and you figure it out.
Then it’s off to enjoy Mackinaw City, a great meal, and a walk to burn it off. We’ve got a full day in front of us tomorrow as we finally start heading in the right direction, hoping for the weather to hold.
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