Short Stories

This blog is a series of quick stops of note as we traveled through the rest of The Great Lakes on our way to Buffalo, NY.

There is a set of 36 islands called the Les Cheneaux Islands. These US islands are located in the upper shoreline of Lake Huron and are part of the State of Michigan. In all of our years of boating on the Great Lakes, Dorothy and I did not know this area existed. We spent several days anchoring and docking while checking out these small towns. Just a beautiful cruising area by water. This area is know for old wooden powerboats and just about everyone had a old restored “Woodie” at their dock. We visited the wood boat maritime museum in Cedarville, MI. When we asked for directions the local lady told us to go 2 blocks and turn right at the “blinker” pronounced “bleeeen-kr”. UP talk for a red and yellow intersection flasher.

The very small town of Hessel, MI has 2 things going for it, The Annual Antique and Wooden Boat Show held in August and The Les Cheneaux Culinary School. The school is very small and reservations are required. WOW, we were amazed at how wonderful our dishes were. I had French scrambled eggs and Dorothy had Avocado toast. The buttery whipped eggs just melted in my mouth.

Wooden boat show in August

Here is a fixer upper we saw on the side of the road.

We did some quick stops down the eastern Michigan shoreline on Lake Huron. The weather and sea conditions was general acceptable, we did run into some 6 foot seas for few hours but nothing we could not handle.

Childhood flashback in a public park in Harrisville, MI. Monkey bars and a hot metal slide that you stuck to going down.

We had options to stop at either Put-in-Bay or Kellys Island on our way down Lake Erie. Put in Bay while historic (Think war of 1812) also has the reputation of being the Key West of the North. We decided on Kellys. Great move on our part, it was homecoming weekend for the island. Not your typical high school homecoming, but a celebration for the locals honoring anyone who has ever lived on the island past or present. The Main Street ran right next to the marina and we had a front row seat for the Parade. It had all the usual suspects of a small town parade, firetrucks, law enforcement, local politicians, a marching band, church and civic organizations, and a long string of golf carts decorated by locals. They were all throwing candy, so much so the kids could not keep up with the bounty. Which meant Dorothy and I scored a couple of tootsie rolls.

We rented a golf cart for the day so we could tour the island in style. During our travels we ran across the Homecoming celebration open to everyone. They had games, rides, raffles, local vendors, music and the best was lunch. You could get a grilled hotdog, brat or hamburger with chips, pickle, slice of watermelon, can of soda, and a piece of cake for $4.50.

One of the local sites we stopped at was the Glacial Grooves. Very historic and cool to see. Gelogists from all over the world come to study this pheninon. The photo of the sign explains it all. I highly recommend viewing, if you ever find yourself in the area. its really impressive in person.

Another stop was the Inscription rock on the shoreline. It has a lot of history but not really much to look at. Most of the pictographs were well worn from weather and years of abuse by visitors. I am not sure why people felt they had to throw perfectly good money onto the rock.

From here we moved at a good clip across Lake Erie. Not much to see in the smaller towns and we were taking advantage of good boating weather. Lake Erie can be rough when the wind kicks up the waves.

We arrived a couple days early at Buffalo Yacht Club. This club is one of the friendliest yacht clubs we visited in our travels. All of the members we met were very helpful. Another Grand Banks owner, even let us use their car to sightsee and provision the boat for as long as we needed it.

We toured the USS The Sullivans a World War II destroyer. I was excited to see it because my father served on a similar vessel in the Pacific during the war. This is a very well preserved and clean vessel. I was able to get a glimpse of what his life was like on board. He served on the USS Shubrick from 1943 to 1945 when it was hit by a Kamikaze pilot with a large bomb and decommissioned in California shorty there after.

My father’s ship USS Shubrick

Our good friends Martha and Larry arrived in Buffalo the following day and we readied SEASONS for the trip on The Erie Canal.

Here are some sunset photos to close this edition of

Random Experiences

Sometimes Dorothy and I find ourselves in unplanned random situations. These events turn out to be some of the more memorable experiences of our travels on board SEASONS. This blog is about one of those encounters.

After we left the island paradise of Isle Royale National Park we headed back towards the lower Great Lakes. We retraced the same route and harbor stops back down Lake Superior as we did on our way north.

We stopped in Detour, MI for 2 days to relax a little. In the afternoon Dorothy and I went for a bike ride on some side roads near town. Our ride took us past the backside of a ships bow we had seen from the water. We had been kind of curious about the story of the structure which seemed out of place on land.

When we stopped our bikes we could see 2 people standing on the upper deck outside. The man turned around and waved at us. Then he started motioning for us to come down the driveway towards him. We met Marc and Jill Vander Meulen as they walked towards us. They seemed genuinely happy to welcome us to their dream. Marc asked us if we would like a tour? “Of Course” we said without hesitation.

For the next 2 1/2 hours we shared in their life’s passion. Marc talked with so much pride and enthusiasm about the project it was infectious. I found myself wanting to jump right in and help on a project of the day. We climbed ladders, squeezed past rusty parts, side stepped open hatches, and ducked through small openings. Outside on the foredeck the view over the St Marys river was spectacular. They told us they often waved to passing ships and some would sound their ship’s horn in salute to them.

Below are some photos of the Bridge where Captains would pilot the ship to ports on the great lakes. When Marc is finished this will be the center piece of the project.

Newel post where many have put their hand while climbing onto the bridge.

View from behind the ships wheel showing the Steering Pole. Captains used the Steering pole to line up the ship with a target in the direction he wanted to go.

Captains Quarters with solid oak paneling and a rolltop desk.

Other photos around the ship.

The outside is freshly painted with the last owners colors and logos.

Here is an article I found which has more details

Interlochen Public Radio | By Linda Stephan Published September 4, 2009

In the quaint tourist town of Detour, in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, a couple is slowly chipping away at decades of rust. They’re creating a summer cottage out of the front-end of a 1920s freighter. So far this is just a big hunk of steel, filled with all the junk no one else wanted when the ship was retired in 1980.

A crowd gathered when the freighter-home first arrived in Detour on a barge, back in 2005. Four years later, and house movers are just finishing up the process of solidifying the freighter’s cement foundation.

But owner Marc VanderMeulen is not deterred by the slow process. He stands, neck craned up toward the hull, surveying the four-deck, 5,000 square foot forward cabins now beached on his property.

“So you can see the original name of the ship, the John W. Boardman, painted on the side,” he says, pointing up. “We’ll repaint the hull, and it’ll be in the dark green color, which is called Huron Green, for the Huron Cement Company of Alpena.”

The hull will match the company’s logo, a green “H” still flying high atop the mast. 

Half her life, this ship sailed as the John W. Boardman. She retired as the Louis G. Harriman. Her whole life at sea spent delivering cement from Alpena throughout the Great Lakes.

The boat is far from handicapped accessible, with narrow stairways and vertical metal-wrung ladders. But the reward for reaching the bow three decks up is a view any boat nerd would love.  In her new life onshore, she overlooks the St. Mary’s River and Potagannising Bay, nestled between Lakes Superior, and Huron, and the Canadian North Channel.

“All of the down-bound shipping, coming down from Lake Superior passes between us and Pipe Island, close enough that you can read the names on the boats without binoculars,” Marc VanderMeulen says.

This view of the shipping lanes is the reason Marc and his wife Jill first bought land and a home here in Detour. Self-described “boat nerds,” they know the freighters that sail the Great Lakes, and the companies that run them. Now, from their own bow, Marc can almost forget he’s on dry ground.

“When the waves are coming from the right direction, if you stand in the right place, I get the impression that the boat actually moves, that you feel it rocking back and forth,” he says.

But there’s little time for standing around on the front porch to enjoy the view. The VanderMeulens don’t plan to retire from their jobs down below the Mackinac Bridge, in Holland, for at least another decade. And they’re doing much of the work themselves. That means vacations and weekends are spent out on deck, pounding and scraping chipped paint off the hull.

And the work won’t end once the boat is water-and-bug proofed. Then it’ll be time for the couple to focus their attention inside.

Maneuvering a tricky rock pile and a pretty big step up, Marc and Jill VanderMeulen enter the basement floor through a square-shaped hole in the hull. And, Marc says it best: inside is a bit of a mess.

Beyond the need to tidy, much of the ship looks little like a nice beachfront residence. Much of the lower decks are steel from toe-to-ceiling, painted in the hideous green you might remember from an old elementary school bathroom. It’s dark, and cold, with lots of tight spaces. One crew cabin, designed for four, is so small you can’t stretch out your arms between the bunks.

But if you keep climbing to the deck just below the pilot house, Marc and Jill’s vision starts to make more sense. This is the deck they’ve had their eyes on all along. The walls here are no longer steel, but covered in a cozy maple.

Jill VanderMeulen says nothing is set in stone. But part of this deck may one day be a Bed & Breakfast.

“These are the captain’s quarters,” she says. “This would have been his office up in the front, and his bedroom, and the bathroom with a full tub and shower.”

Marc says the goal is to restore this deck, and the pilot house above it, to its former glory.

“We don’t have any period furniture for this,” he says. “The plans called for a leather couch in this room, which would have been appropriate in the 20s probably. So we’ll try to find something that will look right.”

This has been done before. The forward cabins of another freighter, the Benson Ford, lie at the water’s edge in Ohio.

The Ford family used the finer woods for the Captain’s quarters, including mahogany. So, the VanderMeulen’s Maple walls are working class, by comparison – which they say fits them pretty well.

Wearing jeans and work pants, Marc and Jill like to break from their work as freighters pass. That’s less frequent this year. Shipping traffic is down by about half because of the economy. But when a ship passes, they try to get the attention of the crew – hoping for a salute.

Down the beach from the ship, Cathy Kohring says she hears the couple get their reward.

“The last week from where I live, up the bay from them, I could hear a boat go by and I ran out to look and I realized they were saluting Marc and Jill,” she says. “They’re saluting the fact that that boat is there. It’s kind of like a sign of respect from the other shipping lines.”

Kohring says hearing a salute like that really gets her “boat nerd juices going,” and she says among freighter-watchers all over, there’s all sorts of buzz about the freighter cottage. And the interest is nice for the small freighter-watching town, where tourism is the bread-and-butter.

So if you are ever in Detour, MI it would be worth your effort to stop by and just maybe you can get the personal tour. But fair warning you might just feel like picking up a brush or helping to wave at a passing freighter.

Lake Superior Paradise, Isle Royale National Park

You may think of paradise as a tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific. But we have paradise right here in our own back yard. Its a remote island that’s hard to get to. Our goal for the month of July was to cruise Lake Superior and see some of the remote areas of the lake. So we set our sights on Isle Royale National Park. It is a set of more than 400 islands which make up the archipelago. The park covers 894 square miles of which 75% are underwater. Isle Royale National Park is the least visited National park in the lower 48 states. The area is only accessible by boat or seaplane. There are 165 miles of foot trails and 36 camp sites. Most visitors come to the park to hike and primitive camp. Everyone must obtain a permit ahead of time to enter the park and give a detailed timeline of your travels within the park.

The red dots show our anchorages for the week. The Map is a little hard to read, but you can blow it up. I will give the details of each stop during our stay.

First Stop after we crossed from Copper Harbor, MI about 50 miles to the south was to the Rock Harbor ranger station to check in. We also wanted to gather information and get the lay of the land. We stayed at the small marina for a night. Rock Harbor has fuel, boat rentals, kayak rentals, small store, ranger office, cabins, and a small restaurant. This area is the busiest area of the island. Once you leave here its true wilderness everywhere else.

The next day we traveled to Moskey Basin a fairly short run down the Rock channel. On the way with Morty’s help (see earlier post), Dorothy spotted our first Moose in the wild. We were so excited. She was a cow swimming right in front of us from Tooker Island to the main island. We later learned she probably had a calf on the island and was swimming back for food. Moose will have their young on the small outer islands to protect them from wolves on the main island. She will return to the calf until its strong enough to swim across on their own.

After setting the anchor, we launched the dingy and we were off in search of more moose. Dorothy’s research lead us to visit a couple of historical sites in the area. The first stop was the Edisen Fishery. This site is a very well preserved fish homestead of the Edisen family. It looks as if they walked away yesterday. A volunteer caretaker lives in the house during the season, talks to visitors, and maintains the grounds. The picture of the sign gives you the details of their lives. We were amazed at the well preserved equipment and buildings.

Next we hiked to the “Moose Man” cabin. Rolf Peterson is the leading authority on moose in the world. Think of Jane Goodall and her gorilla studies. He along with his wife Candy have been studying moose and wolfs on Isle Royale since 1960. They moved into the Bangsund fishing cabin. A couple of Pictures will tell you the Bangsund story. We were the only two visiting at that time of day and the Petersons were so welcoming. We talked with them for an hour about their studies, life on Isle Royale, and current events effecting the environment around us. They expressed such enthusiasm and passion as they talked about their work it made you feel like we should jump right in and help out. After we left their home, Dorothy and I were even more determined to see moose in the wild. A few interesting facts to share;

  1. The Bull moose with the biggest antlers gets the girls
  2. Cows will swim to outer islands to have their young, safe from wolf predators.
  3. The cow will swim to back to the main island each day to eat and then return to the calf at night to nurse.
  4. The calf will stay with the cow for about a year until the cow one day just says, Goodbye.
  5. Moose are very good swimmers and can dive up to 30 feet deep.
  6. Underwater they eat seagrass and have special nostrils which close during underwater feeding.
  7. Moose have terrible eyesight, if one is coming towards you just stand behind a tree.

Dorothy playing tour director for us driving the dingy.

Another boater gave us 2 fresh lake trout filets for dinner. The fish slept in Lake Superior last night. A little seasoning and butter on the grill. They were delicious.

After leaving our anchorage at Moskey Basin we traveled to Chippewa Bay for the night. The next day we took a dingy ride and hiked a few trails. We found an island on a lake on an island on a Great Lake.

SEASONS at anchor this was 8 o-clock in the evening and the sun was starting to set.

Hay Bay was the next destination for anchoring. We had to navigate a narrow channel which then opened up to a very peaceful serene setting. Only one other boat in our anchorage. It just happened to be a Grand Banks from Hancock, MI. Photo is Sunrise the next morning. The haze and color are from the wildfires in Canada.

Hay Bay was the gem of the Isle Royale National Park. We were treated to some of the best moose watching just 200 yards from our boat. For hours in the evening Bull moose would come and feed on the sweet grass which grew underwater in this shallow bay. They would appear out of the low brush on shore and wade into neck deep water. Then dipping their heads underwater for a few minutes collecting mouthfuls of grass they would come up for air and chew the tasty grass. A moose has a digestive system similar to a farm cow, they will chew their meal at least 3 times over. We watched this process over and over for hours. I must have taken a hundred pictures. Here some of the better ones. We did see a cow moose and other bull moose feeding that night, but it was to dark to snap a photo.

I caught this bull shaking water off his back as he came up with a mouthful.

2 Bull moose and a couple of geese.

Other wildlife during our stay.

A Gaggle of Geese

Common Megeser Ducks, Mother and babies

Great camouflage for this family

A couple of hundred toads that just matured from the water.

Some sunrise and sunset photos. The colors were fantastic because of the wildfires in Canada. At times we could smell the burning wood.

Traveling on Lake Superior

Grand Marais, Munising, Marquette, Copper Harbor

With Morty our new Mascot on board, our plan is to spend the month of July 2021 on Lake Superior. We know there is no way to see everything on the Lake. With the Canadian Boarder closed due to Covid concerns we planned to just visit a few areas. We also know the weather can get ugly and we could be stuck somewhere for a few days. Our goal is to spend time at Isle Royale National Park, to get there we made a few stops in the upper peninsula of Michigan on the way.

Grand Marais, MI – Woodland Park Marina – This was a great stop. They have wall space only, but its nice. Power, water and fuel. Restrooms are OK. Great little Up North town within easy walking distance. I would recommend eating one meal at “The DINER”. The restaurant is a restored 1949 Paramount “Road King” dinning car. All stainless steel and glass. Ellen the owner is very nice and book author. Dorothy can’t put her book “South of Superior” down. Dorothy had a homemade Pasty the crust was very flaky and buttery. The pecan pie was fantastic.

Its a short 2 mile bike ride outside of town to Sable Falls. Very nice waterfall and hiking trails.

Sometimes the tourists get in the way

On our way to the next stop, we passed by Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We were able to get fairly close and take some great photos. Its just a beautiful shoreline only visible from a boat. The colors, textures and depth created by various rock and minerals were spectacular. There were several tour boats, kayak companies and pontoon rentals taking passengers past the shoreline.

I have avoided taking pictures of all the lighthouses we pass. There is so much published material on lighthouses, however, this abandoned light on Grand Island caught my eye because it is all wood and still in good shape. It looks like something from the old west.

Munising, MI – Murry Bay Anchorage – Grand Island – we anchored in a little bay here largly because its been awhile since we were on the hook. There is a 1800s ship wreck that is in 10 feet of water and visible from your dingy, its marked by a couple of buoys. Glass bottom tour boats bring people out to see the wreck.

Bermuda. Also known as the Murray Bay wreck, the Bermuda was a 130 foot long wooden schooner that sank in the Bay off Grand Island on October 15, 1870. She is popular with sport divers because of her depth and condition. The wreck is upright in shallow water and the top deck is reached at just 12 feet. Three large hatches open to the cargo hold and two companionways. A large cabin trunk, where the cabin blew off while sinking is near the stern.

Shipwreck tours are a top summer attraction | |

We did take the dingy into the town of Munising, MI, it is a nice little town that rebuilt itself on the tourism industry.

Marquette, MI – Cinder Pond Marina is probably one of the nicest facilities we have stayed at. Very clean with a pleasant staff. This is a working ore town. Great Lakes ships still arrive here to load iron ore for the steel mills. Ships dock at large trestle like structures and loads of iron ore drop from rail cars above, thanks to gravity. Unfortunately we missed a ship loading at 2 am in the morning, he was gone by daybreak.

A stop at Thill’s fish house for fresh and smoked whitefish. We picked up 2 filets from a whitefish that slept in Lake Superior last night. Dorothy lightly seasoned them and they were delicious on the boat grill.

The next day was a perfect day for a little dingy ride. We went up the coast about 3 miles to find the black cliffs and watch the kids jump into the water. It’s a local thing that has garnered some social media notoriety. People come from all over to jump 30 to 40 feet into the cold Lake Superior water. Dorothy and I were happy to just watch.

We had dinner in town at Lagniappe – a Cajun Creole Eatery owned by a chef who worked in New Orleans for many years. The food was awesome. I even took a Muffuletta home for lunch the next day.

Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery, Marquette, Marquette

SEASONS is the “Pot – O – Gold”

A few sunset photos from this portion of the trip.

Whitefish Point Harbor

After the Soo Locks we stopped at Whitefish Point Harbor. This is a harbor of refuge just to get off the lake, if the weather turns bad. Very bare bones, no facilities, power, or water. In the past there was a fish processing building here where fish tugs would bring their catch. Now a days there are just some small commercial Indian fishermen working the cold Lake Superior waters.

The big attraction is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum about a mile away. After we docked the boat, Dorothy and I stretched our legs and headed for the museum. The reasonable $14.00 entry fee allowed us to enter the museum, keepers house and the lifesaving building. We have visited quite a few museums on our adventures and this is one of the best museums to date. the displays are presented nicely. The narratives are concise and convey the information well. The setting is somewhat reverent which is good because a lot of sailors lost their lives on Lake Superior. The self guided tour ends with a detailed account of the famous Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald in 1975. They have the bell and other artifacts recovered from the wreck. ( The Valley Camp Ship museum also had quite a few items from the wreck.) The museum also serves as the gathering point for the annual remembrance ceremony for family and friends of the lost sailors.


If you are a big ship fan, this is your place in the US, the volume of Great Lakes Freighter traffic is amazing. What makes it special is the Big ships have to slow and stop to go through the locks and you can get very close to watch them. The whole town of Sault Ste Marie, Michigan is built around ship watching with free viewing platforms and gift shops loaded with ship merchandise. At the viewing platform an announcer broadcasts facts, statistics and destinations about the ships in the locks.

The city of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan is very nice and is geared toward history and tourism around the locks. We were there over the 4th of July weekend. The area was busier than normal with visitors. We toured the Valley Camp ship which is now a museum. You get to walk through the entire ship, crew quarters, the bridge, engine room, and even the cargo hold. Well worth the entry fee. The big black ship is the Valley Kemp museum and SEASONS is docked in left center of the photo.

The city had a 4th of July Parade. Dorothy and took our lawn chairs and grabbed a spot on the curb. The parade turned out to be mostly a motor vehicle drive by. Law enforcement, various organizations, and some businesses made up most of the parade. There was no marching band, but the parade marshal was Jeff Blashill coach of the Redwings hockey team. The best part were the 4 antique tractors. We watched a very nice fireworks display from our boat that evening.

We stayed at the George Kemp marina with a front row seat to watch the big Lakers go by all day long. Photo is of 2 ships from the same company passing each other. The one on the right just left the locks and the left one is entering.

And another ship right behind it headed to the locks.

Fun Facts; 100% of the iron ore used in the US steel industry passes through the soo locks, 7000 to 10,000 ships pass through the Soo locks each year, it takes 22 million gallons of water to lock a boat through, ( that means our little boat, Seasons, used that much water to go through the lock). There is no charge to pass through the lock, thank you American taxpayer. We used the lock on the right. The Soo Locks - Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Vintage Original  Postcard #2669 - 1960's: Everything Else

If you are inclined you can even ride a tour boat into the locks just like the big ships do. We of course have our own tour boat with SEASONS. Our trip through the lock was easy and the lockmasters are very nice to work with. Here is a time lapse video with a little music. We never caught the big ship.

While in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan walking through the many gift shops, I decided we needed a Lake Superior Mascot for good luck and to attract Moose sightings. Dorothy’s main goal to see a moose in the wild. We named him “Morty the Moose” and he sits in the front window keeping an eye out for his friends.

Lets go Morty! our Lake Superior adventures begin.

Island Hopping

  • Horseshoe Island
  • Washington Island
  • Beaver Island
  • Mackinac Island

We made our way up the lake to Sturgeon Bay, WI and stayed for a couple of days just to relax a little and complete some boat tasks. Then on to Peninsula Bay State Park were we anchored in Nicolet Bay for the night. This was a task we needed to do to check anchoring systems and some other stand alone systems on the boat. Everything worked well. After launching the dingy we when to Horseshoe Island and walked the perimeter. Not much to see, it was just something fun to do.

Horseshoe island at sunset from the anchorage
Plaque on Horseshoe Island.

Next stop Washington Island, WI. This Island is located at the top of the Door Peninsula. The Visitors booth used to be on wheels so they could roll it around town. We rented E-bikes for the first time to try them out. Dorothy and I are considering purchasing electric bikes for the rest of our trip. They are really nice especially on the hills. We rode to some of Dorothy’s old family vacation spots. Schoolhouse Beach, Sand Dunes Park and Jackson Harbor. At the end of the day we had gone about 25 miles all over the island. My behind was sore, but that’s probably too much information.

Old visitors center Washington Island
Schoolhouse Beach
Jackson Harbor

There is always some boat project to do. I worked on the riser for our upper helm seats. This will give us better visibility when driving.

Mr. Otter eating some sea grass near our boat

Next is big hop across to Beaver Island. The trip was 92 miles and took us a little over 9 hours. Dorothy and I take turns driving and relaxing on long passages. Beaver is always a fun little Island with a lot of interesting history. Including Piracy and a theocratic monarchy with a self appointed King. In looking through my photo files it seems I did not take very many pictures on Beaver Island because of the heavy fog. This is looking east towards the harbor entrance. Taken from our dock.

Here is a photo from the web. We stayed in the harbor on the lower left side.

On to the next Island. We had to pass under the Mackinac Bridge. Always impressive from the water and even more fun when a Great lakes Freighter is in the area.

Round Island Lighthouse, this is the finish line for the Chicago to Mac sailboat race.

Mackinaw Island was a little different for Dorothy and I this time. We are usually on the Island because of the sailboat race, Chicago to Mackinac Island. This race runs every year during the month of July and takes anywhere from 3 to 5 days to complete. The Island is swarming with sailors having a good time. This visit was a little calmer on the streets, although there was still a lot of day tourists who came over via the ferry boats. Dorothy and I remarked to each other, we did not know anyone on the streets. During the race we could not walk 100 feet with out knowing someone to talk to.

The one person we did spend time with was my son Garrett. He came to the Island on his new boat. It s 2021 Ranger Tug. This was his first big travel adventure on the water.

We spent time biking around the island, visiting Fort Mackinac, eating fudge and dinning out.

Fort Mackinac with SEASONS at the Marina

The bike ride around the Island is about 8 miles. This year there was a bit of a detour into the inner Island, the high lake levels have caused complete washout of the road along the shore on the north end.

On to Detour, MI and the entrance to the St Marys River.

Ready to set Sail

Dinners, Boat Visits, and Provisioning

For the last couple of weeks Dorothy and I have been getting SEASONS ready to take off on our next traveling adventures. Moving clothes, staples, and other supplies we will need as we travel. We have also been taking things off the boat that we never used in our previous 2 years of cruising. This is the problem with a boat like a trawler. There is plenty of space to carry extra stuff and I must admit, I am the guilty of bringing to much stuff.

One of activities before departing is getting together with family and friends. Dorothy and I will be gone for quite awhile. So its great to catch up and share our travel plans going forward. Breakfast, lunch, and dinners with friends and family gatherings with birthday celebrations. We even had breakfast with our Pastor.

This time period always seem to go to fast, but if you don’t set a date for departure you would never leave. So on June 15, 2021 we dropped our lines in Port Washington, WI and set sail. We headed north on Lake Michigan to Sheboygan, WI. Its a short distance, 28 miles, but necessary to shake the cobwebs off us and the boat. SEASONS ran great and Dorothy and I slowly got our sea legs back.

So it seems fitting that we were stopped by the US Coast Guard half way to Sheboygan. They will stop boats and perform a vessel inspection for safety equipment and proper registration. The US Coast Guard is the only enforcement agency that can stop and board without cause. By law you cannot refuse them. We welcomed the inspection conducted by 2 very nice young members. They look for lifejackets, flares, fire extinguishers, boat registration and other safety items. 1 item I am glad they check for is overboard discharge of black water (toilet water). This helps to insure boaters are not polluting our fresh water resources.

The rest of the trip was uneventful. All systems on SEASONS worked great. It sure feels good to be traveling again. Now we just need the weather to cooperate.

Launch Day – Hooray

After a long winters / Covid nap SEASONS has reappeared on the boating scene. We put our Grand Banks trawler into storage on July 2, 2020 at Great Lakes Marine in Port Washington, WI. Dorothy and I had aborted our second Great Loop trip due to the Pandemic restrictions. So after 11 months of boat projects she is floating again in Port Washington Marina.

Some of the major projects completed;

  • Complete varnishing of handrails and caprails
  • Varnishing the transom
  • New bottom antifouling paint
  • Complete replumbing of the fresh water system
  • Deck seams recaulked
  • Dorothy made equipment covers and fender hangers
  • Varnished upper helm wheel
  • Swim platform cleaned and resealed
  • Topsides buffed and waxed
  • Numerus small upgrades and maintenance items

The big item I really wanted to accomplish the past winter was the varnishing. I took the rails all the down to bare wood, teak bleached them, sanded, and started building layers of varnish. Multiple steps involed sanding between each coat. I built up 12 coats of varnish over about 250 man hours. The finished result looks like you poured honey or liquid glass over the wood.

Before, Teak is fully stripped and sanded
After, 12 coats of varnish

The storage Barn is about 3 miles from the water and they move the boats with a truck and transport trailer. Its a fun trip from Great Lakes Marine to the boat launch at Port Washington Marina. The trip down the road can be a little intimating for the boat owner watching your floating home go flying around corners, but Mike knows what he’s doing.

We will dock the trawler in Port Washington, WI for the next couple of weeks. We have to finish a couple of projects and provision for our future adventures.

Stay tuned for our travel plans

Respect the Gulf, Part II

After we arrived in Marco Island and collected ourselves. We put the boat back together and set our sights on moving up the west coast of Florida.

Dorothy had been looking ahead for weather windows to do the big crossing from the upper west coast of Florida to the panhandle. This is a long open water trip out of the sight of land for many hours including traveling overnight.

There was going to be a period of high pressure across the upper gulf in about 3 days. The wind and waves were predicted to be light for a period of 48 hours or more. This was great news because you may have to wait for days to get a good crossing window.  However, we had to get moving up the west coast to be in position to cross the Gulf.  Unfortunately this meant missing visits with our friends along the way.  We traveled 120 miles in 2 long days to Sarasota, Fl and grabbed a mooring ball for the night. The weather window was looking good starting the next day.

We decided to cross from Sarasota, FL to Apalachicola, FL in one shot. The route was 240 miles and would take 24 to 26 hours. We prepped the boat, checked all the safety equipment and filed a float plan with the boys. At first light we were wide awake and ready to go.

Sunrise over Sarasota, a great start to the day


Less than 200 miles to go.


This time as predicted the entire crossing was perfect. Light winds and calm seas the entire way.

We are half way across the route.


The boat ran great and we hardly touched the autohelm. We saw dolphins, sea turtles, and two large squadrons of Manta Rays.  We actually split one of the squadrons with the boat.  Awesome. When Manta Rays swim and feed together they travel in a SQUADRON.

A pre-sunset show

Dinner underway, Dorothy made a ham and scalloped potatoes in the oven. Delish.


Sunset on the gulf.



The stars at night were awesome with out light pollution. The next morning we anchored off the city of Apalachicola, FL and just enjoyed the rest of the day on the hook.

Sunrise as we approach land.


Celebrating our safe passage after we anchored. Apalachicola in the background.