Monday, June 20, 2005

White Lake to Leland (posted from Charlevoix)

We finally escape White Lake and the nasty north winds.

On Friday afternoon 6/17 we left the marina at the far end of White Lake and anchored nearer the channel to Lake Michigan. (Anchorage 43 22.85 by 86 26) On the charts this is in Indian Bay. A very nice night only ruined by the Cubs. The satellite radio is turning out to be a curse only worsened by having to listen to the Yankee broadcasters! Hey, learn the English language for Newton’s sake!

At 0600 we left the pier head at White Lake. We need to make up for some lost days and a through the night passage taking us to Leland MI would be just the thing. This may just be the weather for it too. We have some worries about vibration from the prop shaft but when I play my iPod and wear my stocking cap over my ears it seems better.

What a great, though chilly (freezing), day of sailing. The wind was at about 340-350 degrees and between 10 – 15 knots. The waves were only about 1 foot. So we spent many hours tacking between around 300 degrees and back to 20 or 30 degrees working our way to first little sable point and then on to, you guessed it, Big Sable point. I was anxious to make Big Sable as from there the land slides off to the north east and this fine reach I was having at 20-30 degrees would take us right up the coast. Of course upon finally reaching Big Sable around 10 pm the wind turned to the north east and then died. Oh well…that’s sailing in a nutshell. You want it? YOU CAN’T HAVE IT!

We settled in for a long night of motoring and taking turns sleeping. Being our first time going through the night without additional crew we made a bed of sorts in the cockpit so help would be right there if needed. A chilly, beautiful, and uneventful night from there. The clouds left and a crystal clear sky showed off a billion stars and the Milky Way. We are about 5 miles off shore and the only boat around. Creepy and wonderful all at once. I see a couple of Lake Michigan ore boats paralleling our course about another 5 miles out and that’s about it. Some coffee, a cigar and just enjoy being in it. Around 0230 we decided to make for Frankfort rather than try to stretch our remaining fuel all the way to Leland.

We arrive at Frankfort at 0500 and drop anchor beside the seawall. Gas dock isn’t going to be open yet anyway and we could use naps and a big breakfast. Yea! Having accomplished those two tasks we chugged into the gas dock around 0800 and filled ‘er up! Now we can hope for some more wind and make our way the last 30 miles to Leland. Now, which point are we heading for?

We had a very slight south wind but not enough to even make 2.5 knots going wing and wing. So, back to the little engine. Now we’ve been on it for well over 24 hours with 1-2 hour naps. The engine noise and and flies were getting just a little tedious. This is old ground for us as well so we fell into the “are we there yet” mode. Finally made Leland at 4:30 and took a slip. That’s 34.5 hours with short stopover in Frankfort for fuel. Good to know we can make long runs when necessary and make up for lost time.

One reason that Leland was almost planned stop for us was the existence of a cyber cafĂ© so we could catch up on e-mail and post this very blog. Denied! For some reason our “configuration” was wrong for their signal. Bonus…no cell phone signal in town either.

We both agree that there is no point worrying about the engine vibration. We had better get it looked at by someone with training. (I only read about how to do things and then give it a try!) We decide to head for Charlevoix where lives a very nice yard called Irish Boat Shop. We’re hoping they can take a look. Best case, they realign the engine with the boat in the water. Worse case, they have to haul us out and replace the cutless bearing and maybe the stern bearing and we lose a day. Worst case, the have to haul us out and wait a week for parts! We’ll see.

Below are some random pictures. Enjoy and comment often!

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