See: Panta Rhei had no chance over four Grandchildren
Our Plans to take Panta Rhei south hit the realities of four grandchildren. Susan’s education in early childhood told her not to miss a year of any of her grandchildren's very important early years. Spending a year away and sailing south would have to take a back seat and as I said after the sailing Lake Superior , I have gotten 99% of everything I expected when I purchased Panta Rhei.
See: Panta Rhei had no chance over four Grandchildren
Panta Rhei's new home. Susan and I sailed her from DeTour Mi stopping off a Harbor Island to sit out the storms. Harbor island is a horse shoe shaped island that provides and great harbor the size of a small lake. We watched deer come down to the water to feed on the grasses. The whole Island is a game refuge. We dropped two anchors to be safe as thunderstorms passed thru several times. The two anchors allowed us a great night sleep even sleeping thru the horns blasting as a fellow boat's anchor broke loose allowing it to drift dangerously close to another boat. This we all heard the following morning talking with our neighbors.
Above:Drummond Island Yacht Haven our new home
Below: Susan heading home across the ferry on our folding bikes. Big load for the ferry
We're heading up August 9 through the 13th to do some easy sailing. Relax from a busy summer and just take it easy. Panta Rhei is now in the De Tour Marina. We'll sail her east to Dummond Island where she will winter at the Dummond Island Yacht Haven. www.diyachthaven.com/ We hope explore the west end of the north Channel before we put here away for the season. Looking forward to visit Harbor Island Wildlife Refuge just near by. www.google.com/search?q=harbor+island+michigan&rlz=1C1CHBF_enUS743US743&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif6u_Fg7zVAhUM94MKHcy3CGwQ_AUICygC&biw=1031&bih=847#imgrc=UVQVq4YgkJlTRM:
Here she is heading for the water.
Panta Rhei on the hard overlooking the narrow channel where the down bound ships head into Lake Huron. No more shrink wrapping thanks to the brand new cover.
We are now high and dry in Detour Village Michigan.
The St. Mary's river is very wide but too shallow for us in many places. We must share the narrow channels with the big guys.
Nice to see them up close and nice to see they (and Susie) can pilot precisely. I took pictures and was ready to swim to shallow water in a moments notice.
Downtown Detour. Panta Rhei's new home.
Many thanks to Bud and Glenn for giving me a hand for the leg to the Soo locks. These guys are great for moving the boat, ready to motor if things slow down. We skipped a few ports to race ahead of the weather and found ourselves short on supplies. Buying Diesel at a local gas station was an adventure.
We were rewarded with the scenery around the Munising and Picture rocks and motoring through Lake Superior's shipwrecks in the grave yard just outside the entrance to White fish bay.
We stayed for the night at White fish Point harbor of refuge. It's described in cruising guides and primitive. It's well beyond that, it's an abandoned fishing station and the most desolate point I have ever seen.
That work of putting miles on is over. The engine has performed flawlessly doing the bulk of the work for these long trips. Sometime in the fall we will take the easy trip down the St. Mary's river and sail the east end of Lake Huron's North Channel. This will be more hiking and enjoying the area than pounding out miles.
We left Houghton on a nice morning with reports of severe thunderstorms by evening . We had time to have Panta Rhei tucked safely in Big Bay harbor of refuge by mid afternoon.
We left the protection of the Keweenaw waterway checking the weather for changes. At that time there were severe weather warnings for west of Houghton and as far north as Isle Royale. It was a massive storm but we planned to out run it.
We kept checking in as the sky behind us kept darkening. All going to plan until we hear the report that the storm is now moving a 35 mph. We are traveling at 10 mph.
As we take photos of the storm approaching, we now hear warnings for our position. We can get more speed with the sails up but know there is no chance to out run or out maneuver this storm. We drop sails and get ready for the blow.
The storm starts out with high winds from the west ripping the tops off the small waves beginning to build The ride is fast being pushed in our easterly direction. The wind shifts as the storm overtakes us and lightning surrounds.
We are just 3 miles off the south shore which is now a lee shore. Had we had room, we could have run with the wind reducing it's effect but we would have soon run out of room. Our other choice was to head into the wind which out autopilot was capable of handling but the seas where now steep and Panta Rhei would launch off the waves and crash down pounding the boat. We chose to continue east taking the full force of the wind on our beam. I realized that I need to add goggles to out equipment list as the horizontal rain stung my eyes and face unless I kept one hand up for protection. Susan was down below watching our position and progress as our visibility was a few yards. It was a rough ride for her as we climbing each wave and then slid into the troughs.
The boat was doing well. The slamming had stopped and but the ride for Susan below was tough to take so she came up in the companionway as she could see that we were making good easterly headway. My only challenge was to prevent seas from washing into the cockpit. I took my first full hit with solid water from the side partially filling the cockpit. I did not have my storm gear pants on so I was completely drenched. I kept thinking to myself
why did I purchase them and not use them. Too late now as the auto pilot could not safely steer a path with the waves breaking over the boat.
I look a Susan and wonder what she is thinking, Will the divorce papers be served soon? I find out later the song of the Edmond Fitzgerald keep repeating in her head.
Two hours later the Susan reports that we were due north of Big Bay Harbor of Refuge but it would be very unsafe to enter the harbor with the seas running behind us and no visibility as the harbor is often silted up and running aground in these seas would be the end.
We see the sky to the west lighten up and our window to enter the harbor opens. The wind begins to die viability improves to the point we can now see the harbor and plan a safe approach. We see that we can get the shelter of the break wall without entering the area where silting had been reported in the past. There is plenty of room to maneuver and the water is calm. We can relax now as we could simply anchor here if needed. We move (very slowly) into the channel following the cruising guide's suggestion but run aground softly into the silt. We back up and try again, No luck. Susan had talked the the harbor master a few days earlier and he said the channel had been dredged and we should have no trouble. So Todd, why don't you just go down the middle? Sure enough deep right down the middle. So much for my research.
We come into the small marina holding no more than 20 boats to the surprise of all the boaters there who there hiding from the storm. They had just come out to inspect for damage and adjust lines. They had seen our mast coming in and where happy to see Susan with a smile on her face safety harness on and standing on the bow ready to pas lines. Trees where knocked down causing the power to be out but all we needed was a spot on the wall.
Our boat looked like a floating clothes line as we dried our gear and many items that were wet down below as some hatches were not completely tight.
We went into town as the sun came out and had a wonderful nigh and slept through another storm that night.
The very small town was the scene of a murder and the source for a best selling novel and Jimmy Stewart movie.
Anatomy of a murder.
We set sail the next morning in winds of 30 mph with larger gusts but the sky was clear and winds favorable. It was a fast ride to Marquette where we had a wonderful diner (see photo of my steak and Susan pile of green stuff with some fish hidden under it)
Bud, Glenn and I splashed the boat in Ashland and immediately made way to Stockton Island in the Apostles for the night. The forecast was for fog the next morning but we woke to a clear day with severe weather chasing us. We skipped a port call at Ontonagon to get ahead of the storm and sailed 100 miles directly to Houghton where we were protected and enjoyed the local sea food fest taking place. It made for a very long enjoyable day.
I'm making tentative plans to start our journey south to Cuba. The first segment will be to get out of Lake Superior. I'll looking at the later part of July or early August
I plan on the following segments
Ashland to the Keweenaw Peninsula making port in Haughton MI.
Haughton MI to Munsing MI
Munsing MI to Grand Marais MI
Grand Marais to Sault Ste Marie
Sault Ste Marie to Kemp Marina on Lake Huron.
From that point we must decide to go east out the great lakes and the Erie canal or south down Lake Michigan and down the rives to Mobile Alabama. Fortunately we do not need to make that decision until possibly next year.
Here is a bit more info on each segment.
Ashland to Haughton MI
We can pre-position the boat in Bayfield to take an hour off the route. This is the longest segment and one that we may need to sail at night since we can not make the entire trip during the daylight. We could leave very early before sunrise but leaving and entering ports in the dark is not ideal. We can discuss this further at a later date. As with everything boating it's all up to the weather.
Haughton to Munsing MI
This is another long sail but one we can break it up easily. The first segment from Houghton to Marquette is protected by the Keweenaw Peninsula so it should be a nice sail if we have wind from the south, west or northwest (which are most common that time of year) we can also break off the route to Big Bay Harbor should we decide. This would allow us to choose between a 4 hr very protected route to Big Bay or a somewhat longer route to Marquette (8 to 9 hours) or 15 hrs to Munsing. Lot's of choices here. It is an ideal segment to experience Lake Superior while being close to one of many harbors.
Munsings MI to Grand Marais MI
This will be a day to catch up or just relax. This day will be used to catch up if we decide to head in early the day before. Our Goal will be Grand Marais MI. It's a 14 to 17 hr sail from Houghton, 11 to 12 from Big bay, 9 or 10 from Marquette, or 6 to 7 from Munsing. It will all depend on where we stopped the day before.
Grand Marais to Sault Ste Marie. This will be a protected sail east on the south shore followed by protected waters of the Whitefish bay. About 12hrs.
Sault Ste Marie to Kemp Marina on Lake Huron will be a very nice protected power and sail cruise of about 6 hrs. We can stop for lunch on the way. This is by far the easies segment. It will simply be a joyride where we can stop anytime along the way.
We have lots of logistics to figure out but first I need to know who is interested in what portion of the trip. You can take a single segment of the whole trip.
There are 4 cabins for sleeping. 3 are roomy singles or VERY friendly doubles the other is using the main salon RV style. Ideally, a crew of three or four is ideal (couples are great).
I have a few people that can sail the entire way so no one needs to over commit.
One major point, We will have a plan but not a schedule. We watch the weather very closely and take advance of what it gives us. We will never leave port due to schedule. I'll deal with the logistics of getting people to the boat and back home but keep in mind that we follow the weather not a schedule.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.