Meta Fog at Sea

11 August 2014 | Houghton/Hancock, MI
11 August 2014 | Houghton/Hancock, MI
26 July 2014 | Killarney
21 July 2014 | Beardrop Harbor
21 July 2014 | Beardrop Harbor
16 July 2014 | Whitney Bay, Drumond Is. Mi.
04 July 2014 | Detour Village, Michigan's U. P.
26 August 2012 | Tuscarora Bay, NY.
17 August 2012 | L. Ontario
09 August 2012 | Erieau, Ontario, Lake Erie
25 July 2012 | L. Huron
12 July 2012
06 July 2012 | Grand Maarais, Mn
16 June 2012
16 June 2012
16 June 2012
08 June 2012

From Ellie

11 August 2014 | Houghton/Hancock, MI
August 11, 2014
First, I need to vent and then I will tell you about how beautiful the last week has been.
Last night as we pulled into Houghton, Michigan and tied to a wall my body and psyche collapsed. We have had 10 days of no wind which means no sailing which turns us into a power boat without the power or the amenities. So, Jim stood by patiently and then poured me a glass of wine and put pork chops on the grill. I recovered.
The scenery along this coast of Lake Superior is so beautiful. We initially had days chugging along beautiful sand beaches, then a day going past the Au Sable Sand Dunes which are amazingly high dunes that have been sculpted by eons of wind and then highlighted by growths of pine. After that came the Painted Rocks, again very high cliffs but this time created from rock colored by various mineral deposits. Lastly, have been the Huron Mountains fronted by woods, beaches, large pink rocks along the shore which pop out of emerald green water.
Today we are parked in the rain, had breakfast out and are resting which means no boat projects. Then we will wait for a wind to help us travel east to Bayfield. The weather will determine whether we go north via Isle Royale or south along the South Shore.
So there you have it. I like having all of you out there to hear the story. Thanks for that.
Ellie

Leaving Killarney OR Meta Fog's Excellent Motor Trip

11 August 2014 | Houghton/Hancock, MI
Leaving Killarney OR Meta Fog’s Excellent
Motor Trip!
You may want to ignore the following as it is a boring day to day summary of what is turning out to be a motor boat trip west across the UP toward Bayfield. From Lime Island near the mouth of the St. Mary’s River to Houghton/Hancock, where we are now, we can count less than four hours of actual sailing.

Having made up our minds to return to Bayfield, it was time to leave Killarney and head west. A lack of wind caused us to motor our way back to Little Current, but soon after clearing the turn-bridge, a light northerly breeze popped up presaging the forecast switch to NE later due to a passing low to our south. So we put up the sails and slowly wound our way to South Benjamin where we dropped anchor to let the low pass with full protection from the increasing NE. After a comfortable night, we thought we would head back to Bear Drop Harbor and wait there for a good wind to go further west. But by the time we got underway, the wind was north and a little NW. We were making good time, but would not be able to lay Bear Drop without a good bit of tacking. It dawned on us that we just might be able to get all the way to Meldrum Bay, tightened up the sails and started out. The wind stiffened and we found ourselves dong six knots pretty steadily with no strain. Several hours later the wind relaxed just as we passed the entrance light to Meldrum, one of the fastest sails we had ever experienced in Meta Fog, and a truly joyous one.

After two nights waiting for the NW to settle down, we motored on to Harbor Island near Drummond Island. The next a.m. as we were leaving, the engine “acted funny,” spontaneously losing revs, picking up again, and losing again. Recognizing we were going to be heading into Lake Superior where finding help would be difficult, we made the snap judgment to go to the Drummond Island Yacht Haven a short three miles away. There a mechanic diagnosed the problem as clogged fuel filters. This seemed sensible to our amateur brains so we hired him on the spot. A couple of hours later, with new filters we departed for the second time that morning.

We needed to stop at Detour, to revisit Bruce at the Detour Passage Boat Yard to pick up a new remote bilge pump as the thirty year old, original equipment pump, had died. Unfortunately, as it turned out the pump was the wrong type.
Something had misfired in the conversation when we asked Bruce to order it. Generously, he said he would simply keep it and sell it on to someone else who could use it. We accepted his offer gratefully departing immediately thereafter for Lime Island about 12 miles up the St. Mary’s River. This sail involved a lot of tacking and dodging of lakers and salties as the River had become suddenly very busy.

The next day in flat wind we motored to the Kemp Marina at the Soo in a little over seven hours, very quick for Meta Fog despite the fact that we were reduced to three knots at several points due to the strong current. The dock guys recommended the Pub where Jim had a fish sandwich and a fine dork Michigan craft beer. Ellie had a perch basket and a glass of wine.

We stayed at Kemp for two nights waiting for a troublesome NW to lay down. The forecast called for it to stop for a few hours but resuming in late afternoon. We decided to take the weather window and risk it. Most of the way to Whitefish Point we had a small following breeze. A mini-cloud line advertised the resumption of the NW when we were a couple of miles from Harbor of Refuge. Again we stayed two nights waiting for the new NW to relax. While there we walked the mile to the light house and the sunken ship museum where the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald is located. The museum seems to have adopted the theory that the ship passed too close to a reef, dropped into a wave trough, hit bottom and broke the boat. Anyway, the museum got a little spooky for us.

A spread out, weak, high pressure center was slowly sinking into the Lake. We made Grand Marais, MI, after another motor boat trip. We wanted to obtain fuel, but the harbor master never answered our phone calls, so we anchored out among the moorings in 30 feet. The night was spent in total calm, but the new breakwater would have taken away most anxiety about anchoring even if the wind was not calm.

Now the high was in complete control so the next day we motored again to Munising. All of this motoring is boring, but we have taken it as a sign that we are heading the right way. Maybe tomorrow the predicted SE will be strong enough so we can sail to Marquette. We need a couple of days off, so we have already decided to stay at least two days. If we stay longer due to weather, we may anchor out inside the breakwater.

As expected, the trip to Marquette began as a motor boat ride in flat seas. But about half way there a NE popped up at about 10 knots+/- and E could not resist the urge to sail. So we did at 3.5—4.5 kts for most of the remainder of the distance. We are staying over for a second night here. Today, I borrowed a vacuum pump from Dockside Marine and changed the engine oil and filter and increased the amount of antifreeze coolant in the heat exchanger. We did grocery shopping, rented bikes and did the 7.5 mile ride out and back to Presque Isle Park, and went out for dinner. E is positively ecstatic about her fish tacos, really! In the am before we depart for Big Bay I will install a new impeller in the engine cooling water pump. This always gives me the hebbie-jeebies as I fear dropping something in the bilge, but it needs doing.

The fearful job went surprisingly quickly with nothing dropped. I had forgotten that years ago I had added the quick open device. The only problem was that I thought the impeller key slot was the same from each side. After a couple of blows with a mallet, I thought this is not right. The slot embraces the key only from one side. When I figured that out, it was all done a minute. But again, we had a motorboat ride to Big Bay except for a half-hour of wind just before we arrived at the buoy north of the point. One false stab at anchoring, sand over rock, led us to the tombolo-like beach and good holding. (Note: Locals tell us that with the high water, the harbor is easy to get into even for deep draft boats.) While eating supper, the wind shifted into the SE as predicted. It will be a quiet night and when we awake, the wind should be South. With the approaching cold front, which will finally start to move this stubborn high away, we may have some hours of sailing tomorrow.

The south wind came eventually, but it was only a whisper so the motoring continued to the wall at Hancock where we stayed the night. After a great breakfast at Souri, the finnish style restaurant, we crossed the channel and are now tied up at the Hancock County Marina. We will head out to Lilly Pond, just inside the north entrance to the Waterway tomorrow or the next day, there to decide whether to sail to Isle Royale or Ontonagon.

Finality

26 July 2014 | Killarney
On a mooring at Killarney Mountain Lodge, Ontario
July 25,2014

We have done what we came here to do! We needed to resolve in some way the terrible ambivalence we have had about where we wanted to sail. And you all have been witness to our sometimes ridiculous turn arounds.

We have just completed two days of vigorous sailing including a 35-40 mile day from Hotham Island to Snug Harbor on the Landsdown Channel. Dividing these two days was a midnight anchor watch. We were nicely settled, mostly asleep, and protected against the predicted northerly wind. Severe storms, announced only at the last hour by the weather service, erupted to our east-- thankfully not on top of us—when a strong westerly gust yanked the boat around 90+ degrees forcing the anchor to reset itself. In the process we lost some ground on the boat behind us. It took the next hour or so checking new sight lines in the darkness to satisfy ourselves that the anchor was indeed holding. We crawled back to bed again finally at midnight. The northerly came in sometime during the night turning us another 90 degrees, but with less fanfare. We slept right through that wind shift.

So we are tired, but still able to do what it takes, this year. And that is one of the dilemmas of aging: the unknowable “What about next year? And where will the boat be then, etc., etc. But in the end our decision to turn back west to L. Superior has less to do with our physical condition or the uncertainties of health, but of the total picture of who we think we are now.

The choice is not without the sadness and grief of a door closing forever; the dope slap of mortality. Our adventures in Far Atlantic Canada will be with us always, gratefully and proudly recalled yet now laced with finality.

In the end, commissioning the boat in four days in a faraway place with the hassle of getting there and back—well you know the drill-- seems like the opposite of our increasing desires for comfort. There is more, but as we said before, it is hard to put it all down in print.





On the move

21 July 2014 | Beardrop Harbor
July 21, 2014
We are on the move. Sort of. We have had one great sailing day and other partial wind days interspersed with too much motoring. Tonight we are sitting in Bear Drop Harbor, a large pool of water, entered through a very narrow winding entry. The pool is somewhat shallow, beautiful water surrounded by large hills of pink rocks topped with green pine trees. Quiet, peaceful and stunning.
However, Waldo has a question for Connie and Bill. We had met Connie and Bill when we first arrived in Newfoundland and spent several days in the fog with them. Then they returned to Nova Scotia and we continued along the south shore of Newfoundland. They reappeared as we launched our boat 2 weeks ago. We reconnected, but again we have taken separate paths. Before they departed to go south in the Mississippi, they gave us two suggestions for their favorite anchorages in the North Channel. Waldo loved Whitney Bay but when we arrived at Pilot Cove, Waldo wonders why they “wanted” to destroy his keel. Connie, it was beautiful, but you and Bill must have A: gone in during a very high water year, B: entered in a kayak, C: someone has filled up the very narrow entry with lots of rocks since you were there. Four feet of water was a bit dicey. Fortunately, it was a calm evening and we just threw down an anchor in the lake and Waldo forgave you.
So, now we are a few days away from Killarney Lodge at the east end of the North Channel where for a $25.00 mooring ball, we will luxuriate at the Lodge for a few days.

On the move

21 July 2014 | Beardrop Harbor
July 21, 2014
We are on the move. Sort of. We have had one great sailing day and other partial wind days interspersed with too much motoring. Tonight we are sitting in Bear Drop Harbor, a large pool of water, entered through a very narrow winding entry. The pool is somewhat shallow, beautiful water surrounded by large hills of pink rocks topped with green pine trees. Quiet, peaceful and stunning.
However, Waldo has a question for Connie and Bill. We had met Connie and Bill when we first arrived in Newfoundland and spent several days in the fog with them. Then they returned to Nova Scotia and we continued along the south shore of Newfoundland. They reappeared as we launched our boat 2 weeks ago. We reconnected, but again we have taken separate paths. Before they departed to go south in the Mississippi, they gave us two suggestions for their favorite anchorages in the North Channel. Waldo loved Whitney Bay but when we arrived at Pilot Cove, Waldo wonders why they “wanted” to destroy his keel. Connie, it was beautiful, but you and Bill must have A: gone in during a very high water year, B: entered in a kayak, C: someone has filled up the very narrow entry with lots of rocks since you were there. Four feet of water was a bit dicey. Fortunately, it was a calm evening and we just threw down an anchor in the lake and Waldo forgave you.
So, now we are a few days away from Killarney Lodge at the east end of the North Channel where for a $25.00 mooring ball, we will luxuriate at the Lodge for a few days.

Waldo calls in

16 July 2014 | Whitney Bay, Drumond Is. Mi.
Waldo
July 15, 2014
Where’s Waldo now? You ask? Not very far. We spent 4 days being sure the boat would float, all systems would work and that we had some semblance of order and cleanliness meaning no dead tree branches in the cockpit. This included some great time with my dear friend of long ago, Judy who came from Charlevoix to visit. We hadn’t been together for 40 years, her memory, and she is just the same. She talks fast and laughs heartily.
Monday morning we sailed away but not too far as we have to return to meet the UPS truck on Wednesday. The wind was light and the course required a lot of tacking so we got a much needed review on how to sail this thing. Our anchorage in Whitney Bay is quiet, amongst small islands within a large island. Last night we sat in the cockpit, in the cool sun but sun nonetheless, and watched a family of loons very close to our boat. The parents took turns diving, one always on the surface with the two babies, one of which tried to dive, the other not at all. This process is late this year as the loons were driven off their first nests by a wicked crop of black flies and had to start all over again.
Today this same setting is a scene of constant rain, some of it torrential at times. So we are sitting tight. We plan to cruise amongst the islands and anchorages of the North Channel for a week or so or until we decide where we are going next. We are older this year than last and are discovering that one important criterion for our choice of destination is comfort. We are finding that folks on the dock in our age group are talking about this issue. What decisions do we make based on our limited resources time, money, energy, etc.? And so we will sail slowly, making itinerary decisions as we go. Stay tuned and keep in touch.
Vessel Name: Meta Fog
Vessel Make/Model: Baba 30
Hailing Port: St. Paul, MN
Crew: Ellie Adams and Jim Hawkins
About: This blog contains current news as well as published and unpublished materials on their 30 years of sailing Meta Fog including the Great Lakes, US East Coast, Newfoundland and Labrador, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Nova Scotia.
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Meta Fog's Photos -

Meta Fog at Sea

Who: Ellie Adams and Jim Hawkins
Port: St. Paul, MN