The final leg of our journey

At this point of our trip the MnM has been out and about almost a month, and as such we started getting the feeling it was time to start the return leg of our journey.  Furthermore, the other boats we were traveling with – Mystery Lady, Lil R&R and Fixation – all had a need to get back to the home port as work or other commitments awaited them.  So we left Meldrum bay on Wednesday August 15th, to start the bounce down the eastern side of the lower peninsula of Michigan.  This gave us a couple of days of weather window in the event we ran into some uncomfortable seas along the way.

Southern Leg of Trip (1 of 4)

The ride from Meldrum Bay to Presque Isle was once again remarkable; we have literally had a month of excellent seas on all the lakes, and we took a leisurely ride down the Mississauga Strait en-route to Presque Isle, about a two-hour run for us.

Southern Leg of Trip (2 of 4)

As we arrived in Presque Isle, we saw a lot of activity out in the lake, helicopters flying overhead and lots of boat activity.  Come to find out, the military was conducting some practice out there, and furthermore, we also found out they had emptied the fuel dock of gasoline, which all of the other boats we were traveling with needed.  So, we ended up tying up to our slips with plans for them to get fuel tomorrow afher they restocked.

Had a great dinner at the restaurant in the marina facilities and spent the evening playing “Man Against Humanity” card game.  Man – our friends really get into the gutter fast!  It was a lot of laughs.

The following day we set off to go to East Tawas – a number of people wanted to go there as they had not been there in a long time.  Another good ride.  About ten miles from our destination Steve sendt out a call regarding potential weather coming into the area, so we made a last-minute decision to alter course and head for Port Austin on the tip of the thumb.  Not a big impact, only adding a couple of NM to the overall ride down Saginaw Bay.  Had dinner at the Sportsman’s Inn, then walked a bit around town and had a brief Meeting on the dock (no, actually cocktail hour 🙂 ).  Steve knows this town really well.  It was fun to hear about his adventures around here!

Southern Leg of Trip (3 of 4)

The next morning we had breakfast in town and then headed out for the next leg, from Port Austin to Lexington.  About halfway there we got into a bit of a chop out of the south, I’m guessing three footers, that smacked us around a bit, but not really too bad given how fortunate we have been for the past month.  Lexington was very overcast and quiet.  We did some R&R on the boats, then went into town for dinner.

The next morning we had flat seas all the way from Lexington to AHC.  Everyone took their time, and reminisced about the wonderful trip each had, with thoughts of a return trip in the near future.

Southern Leg of Trip (4 of 4)

Well, that’s it.  Another trip under our belt. Once again we had a great time, and especially liked connecting with our friends for the second half of the trip.  MnM performed admirably once again with nary an issue.  We are very fortunate to have had such a great journey, and to also have such wonderful friends to travel with.

Till next time!!

MnM

Meldrum Bay

Meldrum Bay (3 of 7)So after a beautiful night ant the Benjamins, we woke once again to beautiful skies.  In preparation of our departure Melodie planned to scurry off and do some exploring… I knew what she was up to, so I accompanied her to make sure that the rock choices weren’t so abundant that the boat would not get up on plane!!  After that, we loaded up the dinghy’s and prepared for our run westward on the North Channel towards Meldrum Bay.

The ride was once again beautiful, flat seas, and the biggest waves coming from our own boat wakes.  Prior to departing the Benjies I had contacted John the harbormaster at Meldrum Bay to make arrangements for dockage as well as reservations at the only restaurant in town – The Meldrum Bay Inn.  When we arrived at Meldrum Bay, those needing fuel replenished and we were provided one dock for the entire group.  It worked out great and everyone had a great place to tie up.

 

The cocktail hour began, and just before 5:30 we headed up to the restaurant, which was an absolute delight!  Outside on the front patio having some of the best cuisine we have had on the trip.  A great place to go!!

Meldrum Bay (6 of 7)After dinner we all went up to the boaters lounge – a new facility that was not here the last time we visited.  The building had a great upstairs lounge area with WiFi, and outdoor deck as well as an indoor seating area.  Downstairs were the showers and restrooms, laundry are and a game room.  We had a great time closing out the night there, catching up on our trip and our friends and family back home.

 

Day 2

The next day was spent doing another dinghy run, circumnavigating Meldrum Bay absorbing  the scenery as we went.  We found a great little beach there and the group proceeded to prepare a yummy cookout of coney dogs complete with chili, onions and all the fixins!!  We spent the rest of the time having a skipping stone competition, some with great success, some not so much!!  What a great way to spend the afternoon.

 

While on the beach Rod decided to take a walk in the woods, and next thing we know we hear a womans voice, and Rod comes out of the woods with a forest elf!!  Come to find out, this person was camping on her own out in the woods, and wanted to know what time it was!?!?!  Anyhow, I’m sure you can imagine what stories we came up with from that event!!

Then it was back to the boats, escaping from Rod’s new found friend for an evening of chit-chat on the dock, before calling it a night.

TTYL.

MnM

 

A day in the Benjamins

 

Benjamins (1 of 1)

Our first night in the Benjamins had a wind coming out of the west.  Just enough to allow small waves to find all of our boats on the bow, allowing for the fairly loud cacophony of water bumping up against the boats in our V-Berth.  As such, a lot of the evening was spent awake or in a bit of an interim sleep.  We woke to a nice rainfall however which made the morning very relaxing, and once that once past, the skies turned gloriously clear for our next day of activities.  Once everyone was up and had their coffee, it was time for a major dinghy ride around the Benjamins to see the scenery and equally important, to see how creative people get when finding anchorages.

Everyone had a GREAT time, finding all kinds of pathways in the Benjamins, as well as numerous hideaway’s on Fox island.  I had a great time fine tuning the prop on my dinghy, running it over a shoal on plane, which resulted in a finely tuned performance prop with a very well-defined shear on the edge of the prop blades!!  As of this morning the replacement prop is on order……

So after a couple of outings on the Dinghy’s, we all settled in for some great sunset photos and plans to wake up the next morning to see the Perseid Meteor Shower at 3:00 AM.

Benjamins - Sunset (1 of 1)

We had rather ambitious plans to get up and dinghy over to the shore, walk over to a big rock outcropping we had found, and lie there looking up into the night skies.

Benjamins - View from the stern (1 of 1)

Then it happened:

Just before sunset there was the strange sound of music in the air – is it?  It is!! the music of Pirates of the Carribean!!, and…. oh my gosh! Fixation was being overtaken by the Georgian Bay Pirates!  (Rod, Sheryl, Steve, Jean, Mike, Melodie and Ken and Melissa though not there had provided the plan and eye patches to the rest of us). After a brief scuffle and boat rocking the Fixation was in control of the pirates, and the pirate flag was raised on the VHF radio mast.  Bounty demanded by the pirates?  Shortees of rum!!  The Fixation crew (Mary and Ken) offered it up pretty quickly, and the boat was subsequently returned to its rightful owners shortly thereafter.  They were given mementos of their foils by the pirates (a pirate flag and a book about the Georgian Bay Pirates).  Pretty nice eh!!

The Meteor Shower

3:00 AM came, and yes, we were all up again, raring to go!  Well, we then realized that the thought of taking a dinghy excursion to the rocks to see the meteor shower may not be such a grand idea after all, especially when we realized how damp the rocks would be as we attempted to run around on them;  that the bows of the boats made great places to lie down and look up (with pillows even!), and comfy seat cushions and chairs on the rear of the boats –  close to the warmth of the cabins – made a whole lot more sense.   Dinghy ride aborted! Instead, we looked to the skies from our boats, and after seeing a half-dozen or so, which, in combination with all of the visible stars made for an amazing show, we all gradually went back to bed.  On this night the waters were literally dead calm, and made for wonderful sleeping.

So tomorrow we’re off to Meldrum Bay, about 2 hours further west as we begin our loop back towards Michigan.  We plan to spend a couple of nights there, then off to Presque Isle Michigan we will go.

ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!

MnM

The Benjamin Islands

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Saturday morning we bid farewell to Ken and Melissa onboard the Dealership, as they needed to head back to reality back at home.  We had a wonderful time with them, and as they left, we wiped away our tears, waved our Orange Crush cans and sang aloha-eh to them as they drifted away (OK maybe not… scene from Joe vs the Volcano).  After that we knew the party at Little Current was over and we left a bit later, after everyone had taken care of any refuels or pump outs that were needed.  We decided to take the scenic route to the islands, up the Wabuno Channel, and around and over to the Benjies.

Once we arrived, I tried to get us snaked into our favorite little anchorage on the south side of South Benjamin near the Sow and Pigs, but to no avail.  So, we started snooping around, including checking out Croaker Island locations that Rod and Sheryl had anchored in before.  Even they were pretty full, so on we went continuing our search  for empty spots in the parking lot.  We finally decided to check the bay between North and South Benjamin (where most people go).  It just so happened that we found a great spot there near North Benjamin, and decided – THIS IS IT!!  The rodeo began, anchors flying in all directions, people ducking, the boat crews deploying fenders and bringing our group of four boats together. Was such a scene that we were able to scare several boats out of the harbor.

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Once anchored, we all marveled at the scenery that surrounded us.  It was the first moment of silence since we met up with the group.  It was a bit scary, but it didn’t last too long as Steve plopped his dinghy in the water and we all got back to normal.  Once all dinghy’s were launched, we took a quick exploratory ride around our immediate surroundings to decide our explorations for the next day.  So tonight we will enjoy the tranquility of the North Channel, and the great friends we are with.

The Benjamin’s are truly one of several gems in the North Channel, and the surroundings provide places to explore that could span days.  It had been several years since we were here and pictures truly do not do this area justice.

We plan to be here two days before moving on.

More to come!

MnM

 

Little Current

After spending a wonderful two nights in Covered Portage Cove, we decided to head off to Little Current to replenish, with whatever people needed (A shower, Fuel, Pump-out, provisions, laundry, libations – did someone say libations?).  Landsdowne Channel was flat, and the ride north of Heywood Island persisted with a completely flat ride all the way to Little Current.

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Photo courtesy of Fixation

Once there, we were able to secure dockage along the wall of Little Current, right in the middle of town.  When the MnM crew was last at Little Current, all that was available in town was the breakwall, and if a space wasn’t available you needed to get real friendly with other boaters in hopes of rafting off – if they would let you.  Otherwise you might get a slip at Spider Bay marina.  Since that last visit Little Current has made significant improvements to support boaters (and pirates like us), with a series of terrific docks and facilities.

Little Current Swing Bridge (1 of 1)

Anyhow, we all got settled in, and part of the group took over the dock we were on by setting up a cocktail lounge – yes, more drinking –  that prevented passing by all other boaters (just kidding).  Spent a great afternoon on the dock, playing back their experiences anchoring out and making plans for the coming days in the Benjamin’s.  That was followed with… guess what… dinner and more libations (I travel with a thirsty bunch!) at the “Anchor Inn” restaurant in town.

Once we left the restaurant, we did discover that there was a pirate within the group, who somehow forgot about the insignia beer glass that was temporarily placed in his pants pocket.  Hmm.. pretty big pockets.  Was it a short term memory lapse or is he a scalawag… now I’m wondering about the company I’m keeping (Funny sidebar – I went up to our waitress and asked her if they sold the glasses.  She said “we used to, but people just took them so we stopped selling them?!?!).  Hmm, what alternative is one left with?

So, tonight we rest and ready ourselves for the next long journey, less than 20 NM to our next plunder – the Benjamin Islands!!

MnM

Covered Portage Cove

Covered Portage Cove is about 1.5 NM from Killarney, so we got up and took a leisurely cruise to see what opportunities we had to find an anchorage. Once we entered the cove, we did some initial exploration and were able to secure an anchorage alongside a 150′ granite cliff in about 12 feet of water. Once MnM was secured, the other boats (Mystery Lady, Lil R&R, The Dealership and Fixation) tied alongside and we secured the group for two days on the hook.

What a GREAT place!! The water here is clear and warm, and within minutes the dinghy’s were launched and the exploration began. For several in the group, this is the first anchor-out for them. My suspicion is that it is a location they will think about for years to come as it’s really special.

The evening was absolutely pristine, not a sound and not a ripple in the bay. The following day was met with a lot of exploring as well as a climb to the top of the cliff to see the view, and our anchorage. Everyone is having a great time, and already starting to think a subsequent trip up this way may be in order!

So, tomorrow we will likely be heading over to Little Current to replenish and get ready for our next outing into the wilderness!

MnM

Tobermory to Killarney

We headed out of Tobermory around mid-morning on Monday to cloudy skies but reasonable seas.  As we headed to Killarney, we decided to take a close cruise past Flowerpot Island to view the little and big flowerpot rock formations.Flowerpot Island Rock Formations (1 of 1)  We assumed things were going well when we got a call from Ken on Fixation that his dinghy had slipped off of his davits.  After numerous attempts to correct issues in 3 foot rollers, he decided it was time for help.  Fortunately Ken on the Dealership was close by and lent assistance as the other boats (MnM, Little R&R and Mystery Lady), slowly proceeded north towards Killarney.  the Ken-squared dynamic duo was finally successful in getting the dinghy loaded and secure, and we then all proceeded north to our Killarney destination.

While the two hour trip turned into three, it was a great ride as the seas settled out as we approached Killarney. All had a great ride and enjoyed a day of cloud cover.

Killarney Light (1 of 1)

Upon arrival into Killarney, we contacted the Sportsman Inn, and were able to secure overnight dockage.  Browsed around town, and had a great dinner at the lodge while a nice downpour occurred outside.  Hopefully the rain has an impact on the forest fires that have been in the region.

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Tomorrow we will be heading somewhere in the Landsdowne channel for an anchorage for the next two nights.

MnM