Start: Northport MI Anchorage 0517
End: Washington Island Anchorage (Detroit Island), 1636 central (1736 Eastern)
Total Distance: 71.7 nm ***(new high for our trip)
Time: 12:19 ***(new high for our trip)
Average Speed: 5.82 kts
I had a flashback to my Army days this morning. Specifically Army training and how you start with your tasks done under benign condition to make sure you know how to execute the thing you want done. Then you change the conditions to make it more challenging and to more closely reflect the conditions of combat. Once you have mastered it in the day, then do it at night. Do it when you are tired and at night. Do it when you are tired, at night, down a member of your team. You get the idea.
This flashback occurred at 0415 this morning when the alarm went off and we began our prep to leave in the dark. And down one team member–AJ was still in bed and it would have to get really bad before we interrupt his sleep. Our goal is to cross Lake Michigan to the Wisconsin side–a 70 mile trip. The conditions look pretty good. Wind 5-10 mph from the north in the morning shifting to the south as we get closer to Wisconsin. Waves forecasted 1-2 feet and diminishing throughout the day. Sunny. We want to get underway early to maximize the day so 0415 is wakeup with the hopes of being underway between 0445 and 0500. Normally it takes us 30 minutes to get ready to go.
I get Lucky up and into the dinghy and we have a slow ride into the dinghy dock. Because it is dark. And I don’t want to hit rocks in our dinghy in the dark. He takes FOREVER to go to the bathroom–obviously he knows we are on a schedule. Then back to the boat and we have to raise the dinghy, get coffee, bring up the anchor and then head out. We missed our scheduled departure; we were puttering out by 0515, but not bad for our first night move. It is still way dark, so nav lights are on and we are the only thing moving in our part of the bay. All my instruments are set for daylight operations so I spend 10 minutes figuring out how to turn everything down for night operations. And it is peaceful. We can see the navigation marker we are moving to blinking in the distance; we have deep water and we are alone. We get to watch the sun rise as we make our turn to the north and then to the west for the long trip across the bay.
I’ll fast forward through the details–suffice it to say it was a boring (which means GREAT!) day on the water. Small waves at the beginning, then flat water for the rest of the trip. We lost internet connectivity at 1030, and it was marked by a wailing from the front port cabin (AJ). The wind provided some assistance until 1300 and then we pulled in the sail for the remainder of the trip. At 1310, we caught our first glimpse of Wisconsin, though we still had a long way to go. We saw exactly five boats before we got to Washington Island. Two freighters, two boats heading to Michigan and one to Wisconsin. At 1345 we lost all wind and travelled on flat water.
And for the record, at 1550 Central Day light time we entered Porte des Morts, the Door of Death, or Death’s Door. The strait linking Green Bay with Lake Michigan. And the area that gives Door County its name. Wikipedia has a good article on the strait and where its name is derived (back from native American days); the strait is also (in)famous for the number of ships wrecked in the area. It is known as the area that has the most shipwreck in fresh water in the world. Fortunately for us, it was calm and we made it through unscathed.
We went up the channel into Detroit Harbor on the South West side of Washington Island. Follow the arm of the Door County peninsula up and Washington Island is the big island at the top. We passed the ferry docks, took a right and anchored in a nice little bay with one other trawler and a bunch of speedboats enjoying the day. Once anchor was set, we took the dinghy over to the ferry docks and found a dock we could use to walk the dog. Then dinner and bed. Our plan was to leave the next morning and begin our journey south.
What we do on long travel day
This will be our longest travel day to date, but not too much longer than some of our legs. 8-12 hours is quite a long day and if the weather is good (and there isn’t much excitement caused by waves, wind, weather, etc), we have to find way to occupy our time.
Our activities today:
Drive the boat: Andy the autopilot with assistance from Jim
Monitor AIS and horizon to look for boats that may run into us: Jim
Sleep: AJ, Lucky and Sid (and Jim for a short nappy)
School work: Jan and AJ Cleaning all the *&^($# bugs that appeared on our boat in the middle of the night: Jan and Jim
Boat maintenance (today was trimming sealant off of fittings and storing lines/ropes, unwrapping main halyard from topping lift): Jim and Jan
Reading: All of us (minus the furry passengers).
Listening to podcasts: Jim
Putting up/taking down sails: Jan
Lunch: Jan makes turkey salad for AJ, ham wrap for me and turkey wrap for herself. Followed by many chips. And, because we got up early, we get a diet coke.
Chase flies: Jan and Lucky
Video games: AJ
Constant check of battery charging levels and sun’s position on solar panels: Jim
What it looks like: