August 4 to August 10

August 4-Ludington, MI Day 2

During the night I was occasionally awakened by the movement of the boat and the squeaking of the fenders as they were pushed against the pier. The wind had picked up and was causing the “rollers” to be pushed into the marina. It continued until the early morning hours. I was again awakened by the Badger ferry arriving at 6:00 with a horn blast and finally got out of bed when she blasted her horn again as she left at 8:00. So much for sleep! After breakfast, we wiped down the boat and decided it was a good day to give Murphy a bath, much to his dismay. The clouds cleared off and the blue sky and sun appeared, so he would dry off nicely in the sun. We bathed him in the cockpit of the boat and he stood very still for the whole time.

 
 
What a good boy, even though, by the look on his face, he was probably thinking “OK, I had my bath and I didn’t like it one bit……but I do smell good!”

 
 
He dried himself off by rubbing against the towel on the floor.

 
 
After lunch, we took a dinghy ride around Pere Marquette Lake where the Badger ferry docks and out to Lake Michigan. There were some big rollers entering the breakwater from last night’s storm, so we decided to beach the dinghy inside the breakwater where it would be calmer. Bob walked the white sand beach looking for sea glass, while I did some swimming.

 
 
We headed back to the boat to relax and went to check out the fishermen as they were returning with their catch. The fish cleaning tables were abuzz with activity and we noticed a whole rack of salmon waiting to be cleaned and filleted.

 
 
 
 
Back at the boat, I did some reading, while Bob fished from the cockpit and caught a couple of small rock bass. The sun had disappeared and it started to cloud up. More stormy weather might be moving in from the west. (Just after we got everything dried off!) We battoned down the hatches and got ready for rain. We took the computer down to the boater’s lounge to download some pictures (it was faster there) and wait out the storm. Ooops! The storm arrived more quickly than we thought, so we left there and made a mad dash to the boat as the first drops began to fall. A dark wall cloud preceeded the rain which created a very eerie sky.

 
 
We sat in the boat enjoying cocktails, while we waited for the storm to pass so we could grill dinner. The rain never let us, so we cooked inside again. Finally, around 7:30 the rain stopped and the sky cleared, so we took a 2 block walk to the famous House of Flavors for an ice cream. They make their own ice cream and it was hard to decide what flavor out of the 50 we should have. We made our choices and sat contentedly on the benches outside to lick our way to the bottom of the cone. Murphy was content to sniff what was spilled or left behind. Back at the boat, we watched a 72′ Hatteras Motoryacht come in. It stuck out about 12′ beyond the 60′ pier. Very impressive. The owner was doing his own driving and getting docking help from his wife and 3 kids. We watched TV and waited anxiously for the press conference with Mike McCarthy and Brett Favre. No luck….it was cancelled until tomorrow. We walked Murphy and went to bed.

Cute boat names # 6, 7, 8

 
 
 
 
I like the graphics on this one.

 
 
August 5-Ludington, MI to Pentwater, MI

We woke to blue skies and lots of humidity. In fact, I read that Ludington has a comfort index of 50 based on humidity during the summer season. That is higher than the national average of 44. Whew! No wonder I am sweating! We cleaned up after breakfast and dried off the boat (again). Then we pulled lines and left Ludington at 9:20. It was sunny and calm. There was barely a ripple on the water. It was an easy 12 mile ride, but we had to be wary of the trap nets laid in our path. The entrance to the harbor was narrow, but not difficult.

 
 
We arrived in Pentwater at 10:30. Pentwater is a historic village on the shores of Lake Michigan. Almost everything is within walking distance of the marinas. We settled in along the wall at the marina and did our best to cool off.

 
 
We had lunch in the AC and watched the news about Brett Favre. After lunch we took a walk through downtown. There are a lot of cool shops and restaurants. By then we noticed that the entrance to the harbor was totally engulfed in fog and it seemed to blow in from the lake and over the hills in waves. At times we couldn’t see across the lake and at other times it was crystal clear. We took our lawn chairs and Murphy, and went to sit in the shade under the big tree in the nearby park.

 
 
The fog continued to come and go with a cool breeze off the lake.

 
 
After showering and eating dinner, we relaxed in the AC and watched TV. As the sun went down, it created beautiful cloud pictures in the sky.

 
 
Tomorrow we’ll try our hand at fishing and I want to do a little shopping in town. The charter fishing captains say that there are perch and walleye in this lake so we hope to get lucky. The forecast is for less humid conditions tomorrow. Yeah!

Cool boat name #9

 
 
August 6-Pentwater, MI

Happy 86th birthday, Jo. Today was sunny, but much less humid! We had breakfast and did some fishing in Pentwater Lake. We started out catching a lot of gobis (Ick!) and after moving a few times, found a good spot for perch, bass, and panfish. We caught nothing of any size, except one perch. We let him go since we didn’t catch enough to have for dinner. It was his lucky day! After lunch we walked into town to make a stop at the post office, aluminum can redemption site, and the library. The library, supposedly, had high speed internet. We have been trying for 3 days to upload pictures into the blog, but the library was slower than molasses. We walked the 2 miles there and back, carrying a 20# laptop, for nothing (except for the exercise). On the way back, I stopped to check out a few shops in town, but Bob didn’t stick around for that. He went back to the boat to hang out in the park with Murphy. It clouded up a little which helped to relieve us from some of the heat. I joined him in the park watching all the boat action. Again around suppertime, a thunderstorm blew in from across the lake. We noticed the increase in wind at first, then the rolling tubes of dark clouds.

 
 
The Weather Channel told us that the storm would be here within the hour. We closed everything up and checked all the lines and fenders. The forecast was for rain with damaging winds. Everything was ready, so we just sat on the bridge for a better view and waited for the excitement to begin. The storm came in slowly with amazing cloud formations.

 
 
 
 
The wind hit before the rain came and brought whitecaps to the lake. We were just around the corner on the seawall to be able to avoid the waves. The storm passed and a hole in the dark clouds emerged to let a huge sunbeam break through.

 
 
Soon a rainbow arched across the sky. Everything was eerily quiet.

 
 
Two sailboats had entered the harbor under sail during the peak of the storm and dropped their anchors. They were drenched, but safe. The storm didn’t do any damage, but it was fun to watch. We had dinner and waited for the next wave of storms. It started to rain again as the sun set and we remained inside the boat for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow we will head for Grand Haven if the wind conditions are favorable. It’s so nice not to have to move, if we don’t want to. I guess that means we’re retired.

August 7-Pentwater to Grand Haven, MI

According to the Weather Channel, a thunderstorm was passing 10 miles to the north of Ludington, but the winds were light in Pentwater. If we didn’t move today, the earliest we might be able to move would be Sunday, so we untied our lines and pulled away from the dock at 8:40. As we left the breakwater, the sky looked a little eerie, but we were committed to going now.

 
 
The lake was glassy, but there were swells from the west from last night’s storm.We picked up a little wind and waves about 4 miles south of Pentwater. The ride was a little bumpy, but not bad. The sky was partly cloudy with a dark cloud or two over land that seemed to be chasing us and the temps were in the 70’s. We passed more salmon fishermen. Those guys are real diehards! The coastline is interspersed with sand dunes, forested hills, and big homes. It is so different than Wisconsin. As we rounded Little Sable Point the swells increased to 2-3′ and began pushing us from the stern which increased our speed and created the “surfing effect”.

 
 
As we came up on Muskegon, the high speed ferry emerged from the breakwater. It took about 5 minutes to get up to its cruising speed of 34 knots and then it was gone. At that speed, he should be in Milwaukee in about 3 1/2 hours. (The distance from Muskegon to Milwaukee is the widest point in Lake Michigan.) We also passed an old rusty freighter going north.

 
 
There seemed to be quite a lot of boats on the move today. We arrived at the Grand Haven breakwater at 11:00, just like the GPS had said, passing two lighthouses at the entrance.

 
 
 
 
It was quite surgey (is that a word?)going down the channel which made for difficult steering and Bob had to really concentrate on what he was doing (not that he doesn’t do that anyway, but even more so now.)

 
 
That nasty looking storm was still chasing us, but we got into our slip and all tied up before the winds and rain hit. There were reports of water spouts on the lake and strong winds, but luckily we had none of that. We would have liked to have seen one of those (from a distance).

 
 
The storm passed on and moved farther south quickly. Blue skies and white cottonball clouds appeared. Our slip is right across from the hillside that presents the “Dancing Waters” show every night at 10:00. It is a synchronized water and light show accompanied by music. It was built in 1964 and is the world’s largest musical fountain of its kind. We have a front row seat. There’s quite a surge in this marina due to the direction of the winds and the boat was doing a lot of rocking and rolling, so we put out extra lines and tied off to the pelican poles. After lunch, I took a bike ride into town to the post office and dog store. I also made a stop at the Harbor House Inn to meet the manager there who is a friend of my friend, Pam VanGrinsven.

 
 
I had told Pam that I would try and look her up when I got to Grand Haven. We visited a little while and then I was on my way. Mission accomplished. When I got back to the marina, the boat continued its incessant rocking in the slip so while Bob took a nap (due to his seasickness meds), Murphy and I got off the boat and went to look at the Great Lakes Earth Voyager, a catamaran docked at the pier.

 
 
It is touring the Great Lakes this summer participating in the Healthy Lakes, Healthy Lives Tour-encouraging people to take action to restore and protect the lakes. It is one of the fastest sailing ships on the Great Lakes-62′ long, 44′ wide, and 100′ feet tall to the top of the mast. The tour began on June 4th in Buffalo, NY and will end Sept. 6 in Rochester, NY, visiting 13 cities and sailing in both the Port Huron to Mac and the Chicago to Mac races. For more info go to www.healthylakes.org/tour.

When we got back, the rocking motion was getting to me, so I took a lawn chair and went and sat in the park out of the wind and read. Later, Bob and I walked to town to check out a restaurant to eat dinner at tomorrow and shop for a t-shirt that I had been looking for. We returned to the boat and relaxed with the blinds pulled to limit the visual movement of the boat. The wind continued into the evening hours as we ate dinner. After dinner, I took a walk along the waterfront, checking out the shops and the boats which had come in today. Many people came down to walk on the 2 mile boardwalk along the waterfront, before or after dinner. I found a bench and did some people and dog watching. If I sat there long enough, I could probably see every breed of dog there is, from 3 legged Pomeranians to St. Bernards complete with a keg of brandy under the chin (true story). Two ladies joined me on the bench who were visiting from Grand Rapids and we chatted until dark (both were in the field of education). I went back to the boat to wait for the Dancing Waters show to begin. I sat in the cockpit and enjoyed the colored fountains and the music. It lasted about 20 minutes and then it was time for some shut-eye. Maybe the rocking motion will rock me to sleep (with the help of some sleeping pills).

August 8-Grand Haven Day 2

We slept well…. considering. After breakfast, we got a ride from one of the dockboys to the local grocery store for the price of a small contribution to their pizza party fund. I did some wash and put away all the groceries. It is a sunny day-clear, blue sky, temps in the 70’s, but still a little breezy. Murphy had a grooming appointment at 2:00 with the Lucky Dog Pet Salon-a mobile dog grooming unit. She came to the marina parking lot with her specialized self-contained, state-of-the-art salon on wheels van. Here are the before and after pictures.

 
 
This is the “before” look. The following is the “after” look. Doesn’t he look cute?

 
 
While he was gone, I did some indoor cleaning. After Murphy was done, we took a bike ride on the bike path across the Grand River to Linear Park and onto Harbor Island. We could view the city and marina from the other side. We rode back and continued along the waterfront boardwalk to the breakwater and Lake Michigan.

 
 
The swells continued to enter the harbor and many boats struggled to stay in control as they manuevered down the river. We stopped to watch the boaters and a wedding taking place on the beach. We continued our ride along the beach into the Grand Haven State Park. They are located right on the beach along Lake Michigan and have a huge RV camping section and a smaller tenting area. It is rated the best family beach in the country as featured on Good Morning America. We rode farther along the beach where there were about 20 sand volleyball courts set up. Many people were enjoying the beach activities.

 
 
When we got back to the boat, we cleaned up and got ready to go to dinner at the Porto Bello Restaurant. After a delicious dinner, we returned to the boat and relaxed. Sitting in the cockpit wrapped in a blanket, Bob and I watched the Dancing Waters show at 10:00 (They put on several different shows each week.) The banana moon was out and so were the stars. After the show was over, we took Murphy for his final walk and went to bed. It had calmed off so I’m hoping the sleeping will be better.

August 9-Grand Haven Day 3

I woke up about 3:30AM–you guessed it, the rocking and rolling started. I went up and slept in the salon until about 7 when Bob got up. It was a little better there. So much for a good night’s sleep. While we were eating breakfast, a freighter came down the river right behind the boat to pick up a load of ore.

 
 
That was unusual. We had never seen one here in Grand Haven before. After breakfast, Bob, Murphy, and I walked up to the Farmer’s Market at the marina. They hold it on Wednesdays and Saturdays. They had a lot of great looking produce so I bought some tomatoes and Peaches and Cream sweet corn. I had never heard of that before, but was assured that it was very good. I’ll let you know after I try it. Later, we walked over to the the Earth Voyager catamaran where they were having a little demonstration. They had booths set up with different things and the Coast Guard Auxillary had one there too. Bob asked the Coast Guard to come over and do a safety check on the boat so that we could get our inspection sticker. They spend about 30 minutes on the boat checking all kinds of safety equipment (life preservers, flares, lights, fire extinguishers, etc.) and we passed with flying colors! Having the sticker cuts down on your chances of being boarded by the Coast Guard while under way on the water. This way is much safer and less of a hastle. We ususally get a check up every year.

 
 
After they left, we readied the dinghy for a ride down the Grand River into Spring Lake. It’s about a 5 mile ride at “slow-no wake” speed most of the way. So we grabbed a few drinks and some munchies and headed down the “lazy river”. We passed that freighter loading up with ore.

 
 
On the weekend, many boaters make the “loop” down the river out to Spring Lake and back down the river again to the opening at Lake Michigan. It is a constant parade of boats of all kinds. It’s really fun to watch all the people and boats.

 
 
Once in Spring Lake we tooled around looking at what goes on in the lake. There are many parks and marinas. It was a hubbub of activity. Back at our boat, many people like to beach their boats smaller boats on the sand across from the marina we’re at and party there all afternoon. It’s quite a boater’s heaven!

 
 
Back at the boat, we relaxed a little before dinner. It was a sunny, breezy day and it was good just to sit still and do nothing. We were still rocking and rolling in the slip with the winds out of the NE blowing 20 knots, but by now we are kind of used to it. We’ll spend another day in Grand Haven -known as Coast Guard City USA by an act of Congress in 1998. The winds are supposed to continue to be strong until Monday when they should drop off. We hope to be able to leave for Holland then. After dinner we took Murphy for his evening walk into town before settling in for the night. We stayed up for the Dancing Waters show and then went to bed. The evening was again cool, but clear and starry. We rocked ourselves to sleep…..again.

Cool boat names #10, 11:

 
 
 
 
There was another cute name that I saw, but the boat left before I could get a picture of it. It was called “Tuition’s Done”. And for our Florida friends….We found two of your flamingoes. They must have gotten lost on their way to Florida. We found them hanging on for dear life and very disoriented as you can see!

 
 
August 10-Grand Haven Day 4

The forecast was for a high of 69 and it was breezy and sunny. Bob started the day with an engine check. It is something he does every day.

 
 
We had Sunday breakfast of bacon and eggs and then washed the boat in the high winds. It was tricky just trying to stay on the boat as it rolled or jerked in the slip. The parade of boats began down the river-only today people were bundled up wearing coats. We decided to take a bike ride out to the breakwater to see what the waves were doing. The forecast was for small craft advisories, winds to 30 knots, and seas building to 5-7’/ Yikes! The forecast is right on! We walked all the way to the end of the breakwater at the lighthouse. One side of the breakwater was calm and the other side was turbulent.

 
 
The waves were huge crashing over the rocks at the end of the pier, but the guys that were fishing were doing well catching salmon on the calm side of the breakwater.

 
 
People were hanging out at the beach catching some rays out of the wind.

 
 
We stood for a long time watching boats go in and out of the channel, in what looked to us like a death wish. The Coast Guard vessel, a MLB (motor life boat) was out practicing maneuvers in difficult conditions today.

 
 
Jet skiers and “go fast boats” were getting air off the waves and having a blast. A charter fishing boat called the Hillbilly caught salmon, right in front of our eyes, just trolling up and down the channel. It was an exciting place to be.

 
 
On the breakwater, you could see people walking around in swim suits and people in long pants and fleece (me). The wind was really making it chilly! We came back to the boat and I had a hot chocolate, believe it or not. That wind was nasty! We had been looking out from the back of the boat at Dewey Hill for 3 days now and noticed that there was a hiking trail to the top where there’s a flag and some kind of building. (This is the same hill where the Dancing Waters show is.) We decided to climb to the top of the hill and check it out.

 
 
We dinghied across the river and beached the boat on the shore. We made the short climb (700′) to the top. From the top, the view was spectacular.

 
 
You could see down the river to the east and Lake Michigan to the west. Out past the town there was nothing but forest for miles.

 
 
 
 
We sat up there for awhile and took it all in. Then we surfed our way down the sand dune hill and back to the boat. We relaxed before dinner, which I cooked inside due to the winds. After dinner, we took Murphy for a walk down to Chinook Pier-charter fishing boat row- and then over to the riverside grandstand where they have their weekly Sunday night revival meeting. There was singing by an enthusiastic crowd and group participation. There was quite a turnout!

 
 
We listened from back on the boat and waited for the Dancing Waters show. Just as it was about to begin, that old blue freighter came backing down the river, its belly full of ore. It was lit up like a cruise ship in the night. After the ship passed and the show was over, we saw 2 shooting stars fly across the sky. Amazing! Then it was time for some sleep.

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