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OK. This is just after we were all rested up from the stay at Mackinaw City and we are now on our way to conquer Lake Huron. Don’t be fooled by the tranquility of this setting. Lake Huron can be a mean and our greatest test lie not too far ahead. The beauty of this Lake is a wonder. The beaches are not as pretty as those on the Western shore of MI, but the water became clearer the farther south we went. Sum together crystal clear water, beautiful inlets, and the peaceful solitude of N. MI and you soon find that this area has a unique wonder that is a joy to discover.
The Mackinaw Bridge is in the background. We passed under the big arch which add a few miles to the passage, but I decided to play it safe since this area has a lot of dangerous rocky shoals. Jay is manning the helm in this picture. He loves sailing. Does it show?
There was plenty of traffic in these narrows and a lot of it was these Laker ships going through.
More Laker ship traffic. This is still in the Mackinaw Island area. I am wondering why this ship is passing Starboard. I thought I was hugging the MI shoreline as much as possible, but then again, maybe not. I recall that the winds were a bit light when we departed Mackinac City, so maybe I was trying to get better wind advantage and tracked further offshore. Quite possibly we were motor sailing when I took this photo.
This is still in the desolate northern reaches of Michigan. Presque Island Inlet goes in to a one of the nicest natural harbors I have ever been to. I wish I would have taken some pictures of harbor area. It was so nice and peaceful. We no sooner got anchored and a gentle rain began to come down. We were both tired from an exciting day of sailing so we didn’t mind being battened down snug in the cabin to eat, read and relax until the sun when down. I slept like never before under the serene patter of the evenings rain and awoke early to a gray misty dawn. Moments like this make you feel good to be alive.
Taking turns at the helm. The winds were picking up a bit and the lake was getting bigger.
8/21/02, Wed. This shot was taken prior to the critical off-shore crossing out beyond Saginaw Bay. I didn’t want to venture into Saginaw Bay for a number of reasons. 1) Much of it was shallows and rock shoals. 2) I didn’t want to linger in one area too long and risk not getting to my destination before the cool autumn days began. 3) The area didn’t look all that interesting to me. So I decided to keep well off shore. Travel into the evening and nearly round the clock and make the best time and mileage I could until I was in more safer near-shore area. The plot was from Presque Island Inlet to Harbor Beach (down on the thumb of the MI mitt) which was about 120 miles. A long haul, but the weather man gave reason to feel good about it. The winds would be from the NW at 15 to 20 knots for the trip.
Thurs, 8/22/02. We got under way to clearing weather and gentle winds at 7:30 that AM. It looked like a piece of cake. We were wishing for more wind in the AM and had to run the aux motor for a few hours. Then around noon, it started to heat up to about 10 to 20 knots. Jay piloted the majority of the day and I took time to overhaul some rigging and nav lighting while underway. The wind kept building in the afternoon and I went below for a nap so I could do the night shift. I had to come up several times to help reef in the sails as the wind and seas increased. I slept pretty well, but at about dusk, I was catapulted from my bunk and thrown against a bulkhead and bruised my hip. I thought well, maybe it is high time I gave Jay a rest anyway. Upon going topside I found Jay with a grin on his face yet still peering behind us from time to time to keep an eye on the 10 foot waves that were trying to climb into the cockpit with him. The wind was howling I would guess at about 30 knots. It wasn’t stormy out, just low scud, but just a steady high wind. Jay let me take over, but refused to go below until we had the sails reefed down to about the size of large handkerchiefs. I sailed into the night thinking that now that the sun was down it would let up a bit. NO CHANCE! I bet it was howling at 35 knots before I got to the safety of the substantial breakwater at Harbor Beach. We tumbled though the slot in the breakwater at about 4 AM – wet, cold, and tired. The boat handled the ordeal much better than we did.
I slept on and off during the next day and heard on the radio that another sailboat was lost at sea, off of Saginaw Bay. While out there we never saw any other boats. I was wondering how we would have done if we were near to them and needed to go to their aid? I was thankful that we made it through OK.