Bayfield to Kincardine

So on Wednesday morning the Mystery Lady (Steve and Jean) departed to head back to our home port in Algonac.  MnM, and Lil R&R, decided to head up to Kincardine, Ontario.  Sheryl and Rod had never been there before, and wanted to go to a new port.

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Bayfield to Kincardine is about 40 nautical miles, and we had absolutely flat waters as we headed out of Bayfield.

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As we proceed north, the water got flatter and the temperature continued to rise :-).   Being faster than us, Lil R&R passed us and disappeared ahead of us.  A little while later, they called us on VHF to let us know they had decided to shut down before heading onto Kincardine to take advantage of the water.  What a great idea!!

So off in the distance we saw a dot, and as we got closer Rod called me on the VHF to let us know it was them and not a faction of the Georgian Bay Pirates (or were they??  Hmm.  ). Anyhow we trusted them, and brought MnM up close to them where we too shut down and proceeded to enjoy Lake Huron at its best.

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We let the two boats drift close, and immediately jumped into water that had to be 80 degrees at the surface, and in the 70’s a little deeper (don’t worry, someone was always on one of the boats). Once Melodie convinced Sheryl that her “Little Blue Whale” that is always watching her was friendly, Sheryl joined Melodie on a float to drift around in the water.  What a blast!!

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So, our short jaunt of about 2 hours turned into about a four hour journey, in which we reveled in just how wonderful the fresh water of the Great Lakes is.  We then proceeded to head into Kincardine approaching 5:00 PM, and proceeded to continue our socializing over some libations and world famous hotdogs (of which Rod and Sheryl ate eight.  In what combination I’ll never know!! LOL).  What a perfect day.

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Bayfield Ontario

OK, OK.  I’ll admit it.  I am woefully behind in posting our travels over the past week. We’re actually sitting now in Tobermory, but I’m going to write this post about our trip from Sarnia to Bayfield.

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Day 1 (Sunday)

On Sunday morning in Sarnia, we woke to beautiful skies and calm waters.  Knowing that we had a great cruise ahead, we bid farewell to our friends Ken and Melissa, who had to head back home.  The rest of us (Lil R&R, Fixation, Mystery Lady, and Her Poison) proceeded out into Lake Huron on the 2 – 2 1/2 hour ride to Bayfield.  The ride was glorious –  calm seas, beautiful skies, so we made great headway to Bayfield, arriving around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Dockage was on the starboard side of the river – the Bayfield Municipal docks, which is either good or bad (depending on your perspective) as it provides much faster access to the shopping districts than the Northern Lights Marina on the other side of the river.

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So, several of the ladies proceeded immediately to the town, to ensure they didn’t miss out on any Sunday specials while the rest of us proceeded to set up camp for the next 3 days.  While all this was going on, the boys on Her Poison (Clay and Colton) took the MnM dinghy for an exploratory of the area

After everyone returned from town (mostly empty handed – Yeah!), we all gathered And had a group dinner on the docks, anticipating the big moment – Fireworks on the beach!! Bayfield was so excited to have us there they arranged fireworks?!!?  WOW!! (Might it have been a Canadian holiday??  Hmm……)

The fireworks were a blast, with the city doing some amazing things we’d never seen before, such as fireworks from the water and others shot out of a nozzle – looking like the water show at Bellagio in Las Vegas.

Day 2 (Monday)

On Monday morning we woke to another beautiful day.  The group was so happy about the fireworks arranged for us that several of us decided to arrange a personal 6 mile parade and strolled through the city and the local region!! No one seemed to know about it however, so we pretty much walked unnoticed.

After our personal parade, Mel and I decided to take the dinghy out for a little ride on the lake.  The wreck south of the entrance that used to be above water is now about 2 feet below the water due to the high water levels we are experiencing.  We continued to cruise down the shoreline for about another mile, and found a very nice beach area where we stopped and floated around for a bit.  I turned the dinghy around to head back, and started losing power after which the motor stalled out.  What the heck!  After fiddling with it for a bit, I was able to get it restarted, but eventually it gave up and stalled at the entrance to the harbor.  I then decided to row us back to out boat (Mel thought it was a romantic gesture – I’ll let you decide).

So once back, I proceeded to try to get it restarted, doing several things to the motor, thinking it was bad fuel or something, since the motor would try to run, but would not idle.  After fiddling for an hour or so, I decided it was “time to stop and think about it”.  Thinking involved pulling a couple lawn chairs under a shade tree with Mel, and our friends Ken and Mary,  and indulging on Mary’s delightful margaritas.  My strategy was to return to the dinghy motor with some new ideas as soon as it was in the shade of a tree.

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Well.  The shade came and I was full of ideas – as were all of my bud’s that were on the trip.  We ripped into the engine, taking the carburetor off, and disassembling it.  Matt from Her Poison removed the idle speed jet from the fuel bowl, cleaned it using a mascara brush of Jess’s (don’t tell her).  We reassembled it and – BAM – it started and ran perfectly!! Way to Go Matt!!  Well.  That called for more celebration, and once again we barbecued, and then went down to the beach to have a bonfire – including marshmallows and Smore’s.  What a great night!!

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Day 3 (Tuesday)

We woke to partially overcast skies on Tuesday after getting a nice downpour overnight.

Both Fixation and Her Poison had to leave this morning; Fixation due to some personal obligations back at home, Her Poison as they wanted to check out Grand Bend (another Canadian harbor south of Bayfield) before heading back home.  We all bid them farewell and safe travels as they left Bayfield.  Afterwards, Sheryl and I decided to do a quick walk, only to get stuck under a tree for a while while it rained again.  After that, we waked a bit more, then returned to the dock.

Earlier that morning Steve, Jean, Rod and Sheryl had made a trip to the hardware store to find a replacement heating element for Steve’s water heater.  He proceeded to install it, only to find that something else was going on with the Mystery Lady that was preventing Hot Water from happening.  That resulted in Rod and I trying to troubleshoot what was going on to no avail.  We all decided that it was better to leave it alone as Steve was contemplating heading home the next day anyway and could address it there.  Good news – He was able to find the problem once back at our home port, so all is good.

After that, I wanted to check out the reliability of the dinghy motor and Mel and I took the dinghy for a ride up the river for part of the afternoon.  All ran well, so we are in good order once again.

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The remaining groups of six (Steve, Jean, Rod, Sheryl, Mike and Melodie) then went into town and had a great dinner at the Black Dog restaurant on their patio then had a nice walk back to the marina.

We have checked the marine forecast and have decided that we will head to our next destination on Wednesday instead of Thursday.   Wednesday is forecasted to have flat seas, while Thursday will be kicking it up a bit.

Stay tuned! – More to come!!

 

Sarnia Bay, Ontario – The Start of our 2019 journey

Hi everyone!

So we started MnM 2019 by leaving Algonac on a beautiful and warm morning, heading up to Sarnia Ontario to spend a weekend with the FNBA (Friday Night Boaters Association). MnM is joined by Lil R&R, Mystery Lady, Fixation, The Dealership & Her Poison.

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Sarnia Bay Marina is a great entryway into Canada. It has very nice facilities, a salt water pool, a restaurant, and free shuttle around town as needed.

While in Sarnia we immediately took advantage of the facilities, taking over a dock (though shared with some geese who could have taken a holiday of their own), and enjoying a beautiful sunny day

On Saturday we made our way to that salt water pool, while others took advantage of a water park they have here, honing their wakeboard skills. At the end of the day we had a group dining experience at Salvatore’s Trattoria E Ristorante.

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Being completely stuffed after a family style Italian meal, Melodie, Sheryl and I decided to walk back to the marina, about 2.5 miles from the restaurant.

 

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Our plan at this point is to proceed up the Canadian coast along the Bruce Peninsula, going to Bayfield, Kincardine, possibly Tobermory and beyond.

We’ll keep you posted as we proceed.

TTYL – MnM 🙂

The final leg of our 2018 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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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 in 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

 

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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.

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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.

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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