Calm start; strong finish. Bay Harbor to Northport
|Date:||Sunday, July 8, 2001|
|Winds:||Building from SW to 15-20|
|Waves:||Initially calm, less than 1-foot on lake|
|Location:||Lying Bay Harbor Marina|
0800 Breakfast at dock. Heavy dew on boats. Farnsworth's leave early to start return to Ohio.
We enjoy a quiet morning surrounded by the luxury harbor condominiums of the Bay Harbor development.
Photo Credit: JWH
All of the canvas seen here (about $7,000 worth) was made by Wm. J. Mills & Co., the original supplier to Boston Whaler. The three rear cockpit covers are laid on the dock to dry in the sun.
Photo Credit: JWH
Sunday Morning begins quietly. Sometime during the night or very early morning the 105-foot Broward motor yacht has departed the dock. She slipped away without waking us. Our other neighbor, a very powerful looking 60-foot Sport Fisherman, fires up a pair of huge diesel engines. The modern motors produce hardly a wisp of smoke as they warm up. Soon we have the end of the dock to ourselves, and we enjoy an extra cup of morning coffee. Our companions the Farnsworth's aboard BACKLASH leave early; they have the longest drive home to Ohio and want to get on the road as soon as they can. We wave fairwell as they motor out.
1015 Depart for Northport Lake calm. High speed run to Charlevoix. 4600 RPM and 29 MPH. 1100 WHALE LURE and T/T WHALE LURE wait for us at Green Buoy off Fisherman's Island. Run to Northport. Wind and waves building from S and SW.
The Lake is still dead calm as we finally leave around 10:15 A.M., heading through the narrow cut that has linked Lake Michigan to this one-time stone quarry, a connection that flooded the quarry and turned it from an eyesore to a enormously profitable real estate development.
Flat water on Lake Michigan finally gave us a chance for a run at fast cruising speed. For our boat this means about 30-MPH as seen here. This view also shows the fine canvas enclosure we received as a gift from many website participants. Again, our thanks!
Photo Credit: LHG
The run down the coast to Charlevoix is made at a fast cruise, at least at our fast cruise, which is about 30 MPH with our canvas up and the boat heavy with gear and fuel. After loping along with us for many miles, the two other Whalers surge ahead, able to go nearly twice as fast as we. A few miles later, we rendezvous just south of Charlevoix, where the waves are picking up as they roll in unencumbered from the SW.
Off for Northport we go, LHG and LCG following a GPS-guided track, while we amble along on our compass heading and keep up wind a bit, the result of our old sailing day. As sailors, we always like to stay upwind so we don't have to tack to reach our destination should we get set to leward by the wave. Following that tendency, we keep more to the north of the others. I also want to see more of the coastline of the Leelanau Peninsula, which we follow down the shore to Northport from Lighthouse Point.
1200 Big waves build in open lake. We have to get off plane for some of them. Coasting down lee side of the peninsula. Waves still coming up the bay from the south. Northport Bay whitecaps and choppy.
After getting knocked around a bit about half way across, we eventually reach some shelter in the lee of the peninsula, and turn southward toward Northport. But the breeze is blowing up Grand Traverse Bay from the south, so even here we face more headseas. Even turning west around Northport Point and into Northport Bay, we find more whitecaps. The Farnsworth's probably had an easier trip a couple of hours ago; the breeze had not built up like it has now at noon.
1230 Arrive Northport In marina we are in warm, hot land weather again. Haul boats. (Fee $1)
The Goltz's beat us to the marina ramp by about five minutes, and by the time we go fetch our trailer from the yard their boats are out of the water and their gear is being unloaded into their cars. It takes several tries to get our boat onto our bunk trailer just right. It'll be sitting on the trailer for several weeks, now, so I want it perfectly centered and the weight distributed properly. Finally, we are out of the water. We lower the canvas for better protection on the highway, and remove our gear from the boat so we won't being doing it at midnight tonight, at home, tired, and in the dark. Soon, we too are ready for the highway.
1330 Farewells to our companions. It has been a wonderful cruise! 1345 Boat on trailer, ready to go. Lunch break in parking lot. 1430 On the road for home!
It has been a great mini-cruise. Take out a couple low pressure systems and poor night's sleep and it would have been perfection! We have thoroughly broken-in our new sleep-aboard mini-cruiser, and we're ready for our next cruising adventure, scheduled just a few weeks ahead.
This concludes the six-day narrative.
You can also read a much longer narrative of our next cruise, a nine-day trip through Georgian Bay, a terrific adventure and very well photographed (with almost sixty images).
Copyright © 2001 by James W. Hebert. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited!
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Author: James W. Hebert
This article first appeared September, 2001.