Start: Garden Island, middle of the northern part of Lake Michigan, 1234
End: Beaver Island, middle of the northern part of Lake Michigan, 1409
Total Distance: 6.12 nm
Average Speed: 3.84 kts
We have a running conversation about anchoring vs. marina. When we started the trip, I preferred marina over anchorage. You are tied up to a dock, have power and all the creature comforts. But, two and a half months into our trip, anchorages have made a comeback and are neck and neck with marinas. Anchorages are quiet, quiet, quiet. You hear the wind, the waves and the wildlife. There is no one to walk by your boat, nor a dock to rub against. Once you are confident you have set your anchor, you are good to go. We wake if the wind shifts to make sure we are set, but otherwise we get the best sleep and relaxation at anchor. BUT, the great part about marinas on this trip is that they provide the opportunity to explore new places, meet new people, see the things that make that part of the country unique. Someday we will find a happy medium.
Garden island reinforced the case for anchorages; it was one of the quietest places we have spent the night. As we went to sleep, the winds were 10ish knots and they died down and shifted during the night. We awoke at 8am after 10 hours of sleep. Lucky and I went to shore for his morning constitutional and then we sat on the boat and relaxed. It was cloudy and the weather called for NE winds at 10mph with chance of rain throughout the day.
Our chance of rain went to 100% when a thunderstorm rolled through at 1030. We (anielia and Serenity) were heading to Beaver Island Municipal Marina for two days and when the storm broke, we pulled anchor and headed out. It was a short, 6 mile run around Garden Island then up into the Beaver Island bay. One hour(ish). We had looked at the weather radar and saw the storms passing by–no more storms behind the front. We had looked at the forecast. We were ready.
We puttered out of our nice, sheltered anchorage. And as we left the bay, the waves picked up a bit. We turned to the Southeast and when we rounded the protection of the island the waves and wind hit us with a vengeance. The wind, forecasted to be from the NE were from the south east and we saw 20+ knots with gusts even higher. The waves were pissed and looking for boats on which to take out their rage. And we were ripe for the picking. We had our genoa up to make headway when we could but when we turned south, we had to bring it down, our speed dropped to 3 knots and the waves were coming off our beam rolling us along. It felt like we were in a big washing machine. When we turned into the bay, the following seas kept picking up our dinghy (which we were towing), raise it up OVER our stern and then try to throw it like a lawn dart into our stern seat. We couldn’t get to the Beaver Island bay soon enough.
We weren’t the only ones surprised by the weather. The marina was full and getting fuller with boats who were escaping from the Lake Michigan weather. The squall line had stirred up the lake and there was a small craft advisory on the lake until Monday at noon. And boats were lining up to get into shelter. Fortunately we had a reservation and made it to our slip.
Beaver Island has a fascinating history–a quick perusal of wikipedia can give you the thumbnail sketch. It had a no kidding (self proclaimed) king that lived on the island in the 1800s, and who was eventually shot in the back by the residents. Apparently taking someone else’s wife for your own made some people mad! Then the Irish, seeing a void, filled it with immigrants from the home land. Consequently, it calls itself “America’s Emerald Isle” because of the large Irish community on the island; we felt immediately at home. We went to the market for provisions, AJ, Cullen and Owen went to the community center to defeat electronic monsters and we made some spaghetti sauce for tomorrow night. Dinner was at the world famous Shamrocks, the local Irish pub/restaurant. Then finished off the last episode of SHIELD. And to bed.
Where we were attacked by a ninja moose. The layout of our boat is that both sleeping cabins are in the front of the boat separated by a thin wooden wall. Jan and I were talking and AJ took exception. So he ‘snuck’ around the boat to our cabin to tell us personnel to ‘shut it.’ But his sneaking sounded like a moose charging through the forest. So his expectations of surprising us and scaring us were dashed.