Fun in the Fog
25 July 2009 | Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
July 23, 2009
We left Marquette at 07:00 with clear skies. By 09:00 the fog had come in and it stayed with us the entire day. At times it was light but most of the time it was just plain fog. We could see beyond the boat but probably only 200-300 feet. It is hard to judge out on the water when there are no real references.
It was a day of learning to use the radar overlayed on the chart plotter. That worked extremely well as did the electronic fog horn on the boat and the AIS (Automatic Identification System) that put a triangle on the chart when the Michipicotin, a commercial laker, appeared on the radar. For those not familiar with the Great Lakes shipping, there are lakers (those too big to get out the canal to salt water and so they only sail the Great Lakes) and salties (those smaller international ships that get through the canals). We passed the Michipicotin without seeing her, of course. It was great to have all of the systems working and to be able to learn to use them in calm seas and fog only.
By 16:30 we were wandering around the bay in Grand Marais, MI, trying to find the wall to tie up to. The fog was very thick but after a circle around the bay orienting ourselves we moved in closer and found it. The local dockmaster was there to greet us since there is only one area on the wall where it is deep enough for Eos' 7' keel. We worked her in and with the dockmasters help got her situated in just the right spot and tidied things up. Then it was off to the local microbrewery for some supper and really good home-made root beer.
July 24, 2009
Although we were concerned about the shoaling near the wall we threw off the lines and motored out of Grand Marais at 06:15 with no problems and no help. We had been warned by many folks about the shallowness of the water near the shore but it rapidly dropped off after a boat length or two.
It was another day of motoring in calm seas. The skies were sunny and then partly sunny. We could see the weather system coming up behind us and the fog bank in front of us. Luckily we didn't reach the fog bank before it moved further out on the lake. We rounded White Fish Point at 13:00. The weather system finally reached us as we were crossing White Fish Bay heading toward the St. Mary's River. All we got was some light rain from a few little clouds passing over the bay. We locked through the Poe lock in the American lock system. We were the only boat in the lock so our first time taking Eos through a lock was an easy learning experience. We docked at the George Kemp Marina in Sault Sainte Marie, MI at 18:30. Some folks who launched their boat in Marquette and had seen us there were waiting with the marina staff to take our lines and act as "official greeting party". I couldn't help but ask if they were going to be in De Tour Sunday evening to greet us as well. They just laughed and said they would have let someone there represent them as the official greeting party.
July 25, 2009
It rained most of the night with some small thunderstorms passing over us. They weren't bad but they would have made the trip uncomfortable yesterday. The weather gods were good to us yesterday and let us get all comfy in Sault Sainte Marie before sending the rain and thunderstorms.
We are taking a lay day here so we can meet up with my sister Diana, niece Mitzy Johnson and her 16 year old son, Seth, who is going to join us until Labor Day. When Mitsy found out Marba and Rich had left she called and asked if we wanted to take Seth on for the rest of the summer. We had all talked about him joining us for part or all of next summer so we just moved the plan up a year. He hasn't sailed before but is eager to come with us. We are sure he will do fine and are looking forward to having him along.
The sun has come out now and it is time to pump the head, top off the water and diesel and get Seth settled in before we go off and enjoy the town with them all. Tomorrow we will motor down the St. Mary's River and overnight in De Tour, MI heading out onto Lake Huron the next day.