July 14 thru July 20

July 14 thru July 20

July 14-Green Bay, WI

And the adventure begins….After 10 long months of waiting and preparation, we arrived in Green Bay at 7:30 AM to load up the boat and prepare it for launching. The Travelift operator brought the lift by around 8:30 and after rigging up the slings under the hull, she was ready to transport. For an hour, he walked alongside the Travelift as it carried the boat from the storage building to the water.

Slowly he lowered her into the water as we checked to make sure there were no leaks and she would float. Bob hit the starters and both engines started right up. It was a welcome sound! We let them warm up a bit and backed out of the slings. Almost immediately, the port engine died (Glitch #1) and the wind began to blow us against the fuel dock. I quickly attached fenders and lines before we made a slow bump against the pier. Fortunately the lift operator and dockhand were there to catch our lines. Bob spent a few minutes in the engine room before discovering one of the fuel lines had been shut off. A quick flick of the fuel lever and we were back in business. We got into our slip 5 minutes later and got tied up. After our blood pressure returned to normal, we were ready to begin the work ahead of us. We went to the grocery store to do some last minute provisioning of all our perishables. (Would you believe that Woodman’s was completely out of pork? Obviously the pigs were on strike.) Once we got back to the boat, Bob had to get all the systems up and running and wash off all the grime that had accumulated in storage, while I had to unpack and find places for everything that we brought from Florida. I think that I got the easier job. By 4:00 we were ready to relax with a cocktail and wait for our friends to arrive for dinner. In the meantime, Bob’s brother, Chris and wife, Dawn stopped by to say their final farewells. Our friends, Pam and Don arrived and we went out for a nice dinner at Victoria’s in Green Bay. Back at the boat we watched the news and went to bed. Falling asleep to the rocking motion of the boat after an exciting first day was easy.

July 15-Green Bay, WI to Sturgeon Bay, WI

First thing in the morning we waited for some severe storms to pass through our area. While we were waiting we had to make a stop at Farm and Fleet for a few last minute items -tighty whiteys and a TV antenna. (OK, Bob forgot his underwear.) We also made a stop at Woodman’s and still found no pork. (Apparently Porky Pig is still on strike.) We were ready to depart South Bay Marina at 10:05. The winds were 10-15 mph and the waves were forecast to be 1-2′ on the bay. The new turbo charger worked fine so we continued north to Sturgeon Bay. The trip was 38 miles and we needed to make the 12:00 bridge. The seas were building to 2-3′ from the southeast and were pushing us around. About halfway to Sturgeon Bay, Bob noticed we started losing RPM’s on the port engine.(Glitch #2) By the time we made the turn into the Sturgeon Bay harbor entrance, we had lost over 300 RPM and it was starting to look like we were going to miss the 12:00 bridge opening. As it turned out we just made the old bridge opening on time. We had to drop our antennas to make it under the new bridge and arrived at our slip at the Quarterdeck Marina at 12:30. Our friends, Patty and Paul were waiting to catch our lines. We were tied up and ready to relax by 2:00. We made a trip to the grocery store with Patty to check on the pork supply. Apparently Porky Pig likes Pick and Save Grocery Stores. We were able to stock up on pork for the trip. They invited us over to their boat for dinner where we visited with them until the sun set in the marina. We went back to our boat to walk Murphy and get a good nights sleep. We hope to be able to cross the lake tomorrow if the engine problem gets solved. After talking with a few “experts” about the problem, Bob determined that it was probably a fuel filter issue. He will tackle replacing the filters in the morning.

(Cute boat name #1)

July 16-Sturgeon Bay, WI to Harbor Springs, MI

We woke to a beautiful morning and a perfect day to cross the lake. The forecast was for light winds and seas less than 1′. We left our dock at 9:00 to fuel up and prepare to leave. Our power cord would not retract when we flipped the switch, so we wound it up and stored it in the cockpit until Bob could figure out the problem. (Glitch #3) Our friends, Patty and Paul, met us at the fuel dock to catch our lines and say goodbye. 407 gallons (at $3.99 a gallon) later, (you do the math) we were ready to leave. After a tearful farewell, we left the dock for a 106 mile trip to Harbor Springs.

To test out the fuel filter problem, we got the boat up to full throttle and everything ran perfect. (It’s alive!) So off we go. As we neared the end of the Sturgeon Bay canal, we noticed a big wall of fog waiting for us. Bob radioed some fishermen who were returning from their morning fishing run to find out that the fog continued for about 6 miles out and visibility was about 100′. As we entered the fog bank, Bob set up the auto pilot, got the radar running, and set up the automatic fog horn hailer. We slowed our speed to 10 knots and proceeded with caution. Outside of Sturgeon Bay is a popular salmon fishing ground and we had to travel right through the fleet of fishermen. The water was like glass and the fog seemed to be only about 30 ft. high. Good thing it was calm because dense fog and waves screw up your equilibrium (no visible horizon) and causes seasickness. We could see blue sky and clouds above us. We had never traveled through fog like this before. Boats appeared out of the fog like ghosts. An hour later and about 10 miles out, visibility improved to 5 or 6 miles. We lost about 45 minutes going slowly through the fog. We increased our speed to 27 miles an hour and cruised along in dead calm water the whole way to Harbor Springs. While crossing the lake, we passed only 2 other boats heading to Wisconsin. We passed within 1 mile of North Manitou Island which is a giant sand dune island 20 miles off the Michigan coastline.

We arrived at 3:00 CDT (4:00 EDT) in the harbor and the harbormaster found us a spot at the end of the main dock for the night. After tying up, we settled in with a cocktail and watched people mill around on the pier to watch the sunset cast a beautiful orange glow on the boats in the harbor. We ate a later dinner and I baked some cookies to celebrate another successful crossing. After taking Murphy out for his evening walk, we retired for the evening. (Note: The sun is out after 10:00 PM because Harbor Springs is on the eastern edge of the time zone.)

Harbor Springs History for you history buffs:

Harbor Springs is nestled in Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan with a population of 1,567. The city swells in the summer tourist season to 3,500 from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It is a pedestrian-friendly community with a picturesque New England feel to it. The median age here is 47 years old and there are 100 females over 18 to 74.4 males in the area. Over 100 years ago, it became known as a pristine resort community where steamships brought passengers from the Midwest. In the 1920’s, it became a summer destination for huge excursion boats from Chicago and other big cities in the South. It soon became a recreational and health resort where socialites could escape the heat. Generations of visitors have returned year after year and now spend their summers in lavish homes along the shoreline. The area boasts the best in sailing, golf, boating, fishing, biking, and more. Skiing is popular in the winter. You can enjoy outstanding restaurants, beaches, and lodging facilities. There are many shops that offer art, antiques, and unique gifts. The marina offers dockage for many yachts up to 100′. Walstrom Marine is located here which represents Tiara, Pursuit, Wellcraft, and Hatteras Yachts.

July 17-Harbor Springs

Dark clouds moved in and out all day. The boat water temperature sensor read 62 degrees even though the air temperature was 84. It was quite humid. We put on our walking shoes after breakfast and took a walk down Bay St. to Beach St. where the turn-of-the-century, old $ summer cottages stand. Many of them are landscaped with beautiful flower gardens. They are part of the exclusive Wequetonsing Land Owners Association.

Almost every “cottage” has a natural artesian spring in the yard, hence the name Harbor Springs.

We wanted to take Murphy swimming at the local dog-friendly beach, but there was a swimming advisory so we decided to take a dinghy ride instead. We motored around the bay along the shore of the private peninsula called Harbor Point. It is an exclusive area of homes where no cars are allowed and homes are meticulously landscaped by various companies. This is one of the cool trucks that works the area.

Murphy enjoyed the ride and we were all able to cool off a bit.

Back at the boat we sat on the bridge in the shade and enjoyed observing all the activity in the marina. We have a primo spot at the end of the dock. Bob ran into Tim Rennes, an acquaintance from our marina in Fish Creek, WI. They were just leaving in their boat for Bay Harbor, an upscale marina around the corner from here. We grilled pork chops for dinner and then walked up to Main Street for Street Musique which began at 7:00. It was a group of musicians who played various kinds of music on the street corners. We walked along the street, doing some window shopping and listening to the music, as distant thunder warned us of an approaching storm. We had seen one approaching on the Weather Channel earlier in the evening. It promised to be quite a storm. The flashes of lightning nearby gave us cause to hurry back to the boat. Drops of rain began to fall as people scurried to places of refuge. Bob and I made it back to the boat as the sky opened up. It continued to pour, with more thunder and flashes of lightning, for the rest of the night. We did some reading as the rain drops on the boat lulled us to sleep. It rained all night and into the morning, finally ending around 7AM.

July 18-Harbor Springs

We woke to calm winds, glassy water, and grey skies. It was a welcome sight after the 2 inches of rain that fell yesterday. A few boats left early for other destinations, to be replaced by other boats arriving from unknown places. Little by little people emerged and began their daily chores–wiping off their boats, eating breakfast, and for some people, preparing to leave. Bob worked on organizing our music collection on our newly acquired I-pod. We’re in the 21st century now! The sky began to lighten up as we made our plans for the day. Fog rolled in off of the lake and cooled the air. We wiped down the boat and decided to take a bike ride. Using our folding bikes, we rode for 2 miles down Main St. into the Glenn Dr. Association Neighborhood, another group of multi-million dollar wooded homesites along the lake. We stopped for a root beer float (my favorite) at Mary Ellen’s Place, an old fashioned soda fountain newsstand. While we enjoyed our cold treat on a bench outside, a lady drove up and parked her orange Fiat–a little picnic car with no top and wicker seats. It caused quite a stir.

Later we sat in the cockpit, enjoying a cocktail and pleasant conversation with 2 NetJet ( private jet lease company) pilots who were on a layover in Harbor Springs. We were invited over to our neighbor’s boat for cocktails and conversation before dinner. They were Bob and Lynne Doneff visiting from Egg Harbor, WI. While we visited, a 43′ Bertram Sportfish came by with a wedding party on board and dropped them off at the reception hall on the bay. Later a 1930’s tugboat carried a private party around the bay as they sang and partied the night away. After a couple of hours passed, we were back at the boat grilling Mahi Mahi for dinner and relaxing while the moon rose as a golden orb in the sky.

July 19-Harbor Springs, MI-Charlevoix, MI

We left Harbor Springs at 9:10 headed for Charlevoix. It was clear and sunny with temps in the mid 70’s. The seas were calm. Nearing Charlevoix the skies turned grey and overcast as we entered the channel.

It was a 15 mile ride and we had perfect timing to make the 10:00 bridge opening at the entrance to Round Lake. We had called the reservation system 2 days ago and were told that they were all booked up due to Venetian Festival starting on Sunday. We called the marina directly this morning, just to see if things had changed and were told to come on over and that they would find us a spot. ( This is a premier town to get into, so we didn’t have much faith in what he said, but we decided to stop anyway.) Once we came through the bridge, we radioed the harbormaster again who told us he would put us on a waiting list (of 10 boats already) and we would know by noon (checkout time) whether or not we could get in. We should standby on the radio. We were wavering on whether to stay or go, but decided we would wait an hour and then leave if they had nothing. We turned off the engines and just floated around in Round Lake while we waited. By 10:30 they radioed us back to say that they had a spot for us on the wall along the boardwalk.

We tied up and by 11:00 were feeling right at home. It reminds us a lot of being in our slip at the Alibi in Fish Creek. It’s has easy access to the bathrooms and grass for Murphy. As our friend, Paul, would say, “You guys are REALLY lucky,” and that’s exactly how we felt. This is the perfect spot to view all the action–boats coming and going all day long. This new marina is able to accommodate more boats and includes a new marina office with boaters lounge, laundry facilities, and kitchette. There is a bandshell in the park with observation areas above the harbor office. For those of you who have never been to Charlevoix before, it is a city located on Round Lake that is accessed through a manmade channel from Lake Michigan. You can go from there to Lake Charlevoix through another narrow channel from Round Lake. The following map really shows it well.

The color of the water is a turquoise blue and very clear. The lake is surrounded by multi-million dollar homes with lavish boathouses, some bigger than the homes themselves. It is quite a boating playground for many people from WI, MI, and IL. The Beaver Island Ferry operates from a dock just down the way from us, taking people to and from Beaver Island.

The 32 mile ride to the island takes you to a 6 X 13 mile island of 600 residents. It is about 1/2 way between Charlevoix and Mackinaw Island and is the most remotely inhabited island in the Great Lakes. If you ever get the chance to come up this way, Charlevoix is a must-see. Once we got situated, Murphy had some visitors. A mother duck and her 8 ducklings came to call, escorted by a white goose who was very protective. Murphy got upset when they got the bread crumbs and he didn’t!

Later we walked into town to find some nachos and beers for lunch. In town there was a vintage car show going on along the streets so we had to stop and oogle the cars of all makes and models. We stopped at the Village Pub for supreme nachos and beers. Deeelicious! It was enough for 4 people so we took some home for later. By this time the sun had come out and it was beginning to warm up. We decided to take a dinghy ride around Round Lake to view the extravagant homes and out into Lake Charlevoix.

The water was on the cool side, but very refreshing. We passed a cute little pontoon boat/floating restaurant called Two Guys and a Grill and that’s just what it was. You can drive your boat up to it and get something to eat. They also deliver smoothies.

We crossed Round Lake on the way back and went out the channel to Lake Michigan. The wind had picked up and created some bigger waves at the entrance to the channel, so we turned around and motored back to the boat. Bob worked on cleaning up the swim platform from all the diesel soot and I got comfortable on the bridge of the boat in the shade. Together we watched the boat traffic come in from the lake. Many boats arrived looking for a slip for the night. All but a few had to leave. Some boats anchored in Round Lake, but it isn’t advisable because it is 60-70 feet deep and A LOT of anchor line is needed. The holding isn’t very good either. We walked the docks earlier to view, up close, a 147′ Harvoort Yacht which spends its winters in the Carribean and summers in the Great Lakes. It is the biggest yacht we’ve seen so far on the Great Lakes.

We skipped dinner tonight—too many nachos, and just relaxed watching a DVD. Dark clouds moved in, but no rain is expected. We had another golden orb of a moon in the sky tonight. (Bob says only I would use the word “orb” in my writing.) Here is another cute boat name #2. I liked it because it’s so true of boating and many other things in life that should be easy (but aren’t).

Note: Our grandson, Kaya, wanted to see his picture on the internet, so here it is. Hi, Kaya!

July 20-Day #2 in Charlevoix

I must be retired because I don’t know what day of the week it is. We had Sunday breakfast of bacon and eggs, (I hope it’s Sunday) and then took a 2 mile bike ride to the hardware store and back for an 0 ring for the inflatable’s gas tank. It was partly cloudy most of the morning and finally cleared up in the afternoon, so we took a dinghy ride into Lake Charlevoix to test out the new 0 ring—no leaks, works great! Later that day, we took Murphy for a short walk to the bandshell. The Petosky High School Steel Band performed in the bandshell from 6:00-7:00. Many people in the town turned out to see the first musical performance in the new bandshell.

They are a group of about 60 talented kids who travel across the country and beyond bringing their special kind of music to others. After sunset, I took Murphy for his walk along the boardwalk. We found ourselves being pleasantly entertained by the new, colorful “dancing” water fountain near the marina office. It shoots out streams of water coordinated with colorful lights and music, much like the “Dancing Waters” in Grand Haven, MI but on a much smaller scale. We finished our walk along the tree-lined main street lit up by twinkling blue lights. It was very beautiful. It was a cooler night. Cute boat name #3.

Note to Pam V who is looking forward to using her new kayak: Forget about that and just get a surfboard and a paddle.


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