Thursday, August 26, 2021

Start of Cruising Season 2021!


Mid May, 2021

The Kittiwake was scheduled to be splashed (put back in the water) on May 19.  We were pretty excited.  During our time at home, we had accumulated quite a pile of items that needed to go to the boat.  Included in that pile were a number of projects that Captain Dan wanted to get done.  We moved back onto the boat on the 19th, and just took her right up the river about ½ mile to slips that the city of Cheboygan manages.  They are in perfect position for us, since we can park the truck right by the boat.

We spent the rest of the month cleaning, organizing, working on the projects.  Home for the Memorial Day holiday, to be there for various events (think grandchildren games and meets) and medical appointments.  While at home, we accumulated more ‘boat stuff’, as usual.  One project that is all me is sewing new Sunbrella covers for our flybridge chairs and for the Garmin.  We lost one chair cover and the Garmin in some high wind last season.  I got the material, the thread, and needle needed for the machine.  Got the fabric cut and ready, then discovered the sewing machine needed one part.  The part will be coming to us in Cheboygan, so the sewing will happen on the boat.

Some notes about Cheboygan.  Having spent some time there last Fall and again this year, we find that we really like this small town.  There are several restaurants that we have enjoyed.  One in particular, the Nauti Bar, is owned by a couple, Brian and Sharon, who are fun to visit.  They are boat people, too, so we have that in common.  The town seems to be having a bit of a renaissance, with some new businesses, some art work, twice weekly Farmer’s Market.  There is even an “antique” store – I use the term loosely.  If your grandma had an extreme hoarding problem, her house would like this shop.  Oh my goodness, just as a matter of course, we went through one day.  My opinion is that there is not one thing in there worth a nickel!!  But it was interesting.

Before we went home, we moved the boat to the Cheboygan County Marina, where we felt the boat would be safer, watched over by the marina staff.

Upon our return from home, we moved what we needed onto the boat.  The next day, we cruised on the boat to Mackinac Island for a couple of days of fun and relaxation.

June 2021 in Cheboygan

We stayed in Cheboygan County Marina through May 26, mostly sitting at the dock doing jobs that we had to accomplish.  We like our dock position – right next to the gas dock, which affords us some free entertainment!  The position is also a good way to meet people – we are always on the lookout for other Looper flags.  There have been several Looper boats in and out of here, with one, “Subject to Change” being here the entire time.  Nice to have social activities after our Covid year!  This marina also give me an opportunity for a nice walk to and from town.

When our month’s slip rental was up, we cruised to Roger’s City for two days.  We had gone there last year too.  Nice little town, grocery store right around the corner, some nice gift shops, an old hardware store.  We met some looper folks there – that’s always fun.  One young couple, on the sailboat Dragonfly, were on their way back to Chicago where they live.  They left there last October, and will be completing their Loop in July. 

We had to be in Cheboygan  on July 2, since we had a neighbor from Royal Oak meeting us there.  Plus, we had purchased a new motor for our dinghy and we had to pick that up.  The night before we had to be in the marina in Cheboygan, we decided to try anchoring out nearby, in Duncan Bay.  Totally new experience for us! We haven’t done it before, because, up until this year, we’ve always had a big dog with us.  Getting the dog to go potty on the boat was a losing proposition!  So, this year, with no dog, we should be able to anchor out whenever we like.  Not only does it save the money for a marina slip (at least $69 per night), but you are out on your boat enjoying the scenery and the quiet.  I would say we could enjoy the night sky, but, honestly, I cannot stay awake until dark – these days that would be about 10:30 p.m.!

We cruised into the lovely Duncan Bay, picked a spot, and put out the anchor.  It was such a lovely afternoon and lovely evening!  I even posted a video on FB showing the lovely rolling waves in the sunset.  Then, about 10:00 that night (our bedtime), the wind picked up and was out of the north – we were totally open in that direction to Lake Huron, a slightly large body of water!  The boat was rocking and rolling really badly.  Impossible to sleep, plus we were nervous about being ‘on the hook’.  Would the anchor drag, putting the boat aground??  Dan went off to bed, having set an anchor alarm on his phone.  It would alarm if the boat moved more than XX feet.  Of course, it started alarming around 1:00 a.m.  The boat was moving so violently up and down, that I was a bit seasick.  Dishes in the cupboard were slamming back and forth.  Everything that could move in the boat was moving!  So, around 2:00, Dan decided he needed to let out more anchor.  Because of a ‘snubber’ we used to take the strain off the anchor windlass, Dan had to lay on the bow pulpit, unhook the snubber line, and then let the anchor chain out some more.  Picture this:  completely dark, boat going up and down, nothing keeping Dan on the boat but a railing about waist high.  He wore his safety vest, told me what to do if he went in the water…Yikes.  He actually couldn’t do it all by himself, so I had to also go out there.  I’m the big chicken in this duo, so I was not happy!

Luckily, the wind died down around 3:00, so we finally could sleep a few hours.  That was our first anchoring experience.  We really didn’t do anything wrong, other than picking an unprotected spot.  We’ll do better next time!

Our first over night guest

We pulled into the Cheboygan County Marina the next morning, somewhat the worse for wear but ok.  With considerable help from a marina employee and a kind person on a neighboring boat, we were able to get our new motor mounted on the dinghy – the motor weighs about 130 pounds!  Good grief.

We had a badly needed nap during the day.  Fred, our neighbor from Royal Oak, arrived early that evening.  Next morning, we were off!  We had a slip reserved in St. Ignace for 2 nights.  Fred had not seen the big bridge, nor any of this part of the world.  Enjoyed our time in St. Ignace, topped off by a pot luck gathering on our friends boat, Subject to Change.  The fireworks were spectacular!

On July 5, we decided to stop over for a few hours on Mackinac Island.  We walked around downtown, then walked to the Grand Hotel.  We were too late for their fabulous lunch, so we had lunch at another restaurant.  I happened upon a couple in the marina and started chatting.  Turns out, they had come to the Island with her sister, thinking her sister and husband were planning to be back in Cheboygan that day – the husband needed to be at work on the 6th.  Unfortunately, the sister and husband were planning on staying on the Island until the 6th.  Luckily, we were headed that way, so we were able to transport them to Cheboygan.  Lucky meeting!

We arrived back in Cheboygan, dropped off our passengers, and stayed one last night.  We had been in Cheboygan so long, it felt like leaving home!

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