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Buckda posted 04-30-2007 06:17 PM ET (US)   Profile for Buckda   Send Email to Buckda  

Four months, 28 days and about 16 hours.

That’s how long it had been since my hull kissed the sweetness of water. Since the engines sang in harmony, and since the wind swept across the bow and the spray curtsied in a shimmer and shower thrown from the smirk of my Boston Whaler.

It’s been a long, dry winter and the hull has been undergoing some surgical procedures for functionality, navigation and aesthetics. A little nip here, tuck there. She’s an old girl, and if you look closely, showing her age, although she hides it well.

The drought came to an end on Sunday. With strong SW winds carrying the warmth up from the Gulf of Mexico, temperatures soared 20-some degrees above normal in SW Michigan and while the boat still has some bandages from her procedures (she’s not quite fully recovered – a little work yet to be done), the call of the water was too strong to resist.

Oh, I tried to resist. I’ve got a bit more work to do, and really, only one weekend to do it between now and a trip planned for Memorial Day Weekend….

…but for now, those projects would have to wait. I put a bit of tape over the holes in the bow were the new teak pulpit will be mounted. I removed the dry fitted sections of the in-progress forward deck and I took out all the gear except for safety and required items (PFD, etc) and headed to a local inland lake to have some fun.

This is relatively early in the season – the docks at the ramp weren’t even installed, so I backed the trailer in the water and lowered the motors.

With a grin to the guy next to me who was having a bit of trouble firing up his Mercruiser, “first time starting her this year,” he said. “Me too.” I responded, and turned the key for the port motor. She fired instantaneously with a puff of white smoke that quickly dissipated. I smiled more broadly and turned the key for the starboard motor. Boom. She fired right away. I backed the boat off the trailer and nudged her ashore while I ran to park the rig.

Hopping back aboard, I turned on the new GPS plotter. I had tested her in the driveway of the barn and she only found 3 satellites. My old Garmin had a lock on 12 birds, so I was concerned something was wrong. Soon, the new unit was reading signals from 15 birds, matching the smaller unit that is now serving as a depthfinder and back-up plotter.

Once I had those dialed in, I idled into the small lake and enjoyed the smell and sound of water lapping the hull and the diamond sparkle of sunlight on water. God it’s been too long. What a long, long winter. “the better to enjoy moments like this” came from the back of my head. I know that, but it doesn’t make the long cold winter any easier.

Time to put the hammer down. Whee!

There, on that sun drenched afternoon, the rain of rejuvenation, exhilaration and sheer joy of boating came thundering down. I smiled.

Summer’s back.

PeteB88 posted 05-01-2007 02:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Nice Buckalew - real nice - I can see that grin when you fired up the motors. What kind of GPS (combo?) unit did you get? Do you have plans for the old one?
Buckda posted 05-01-2007 02:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Pete -

The new unit is a Garmin 2210C. The old 168Sounder was moved to the left side of the console next to the compass and will do sonar duty along with displaying depth and speed. The 2210 will do primary navigation duty. The 168Sounder is blue-chart enabled, so I'll use it as a backup for navigation as necessary.

The 168Sounder has an integrated antenna, the 2210 is using a GPS17 external antenna which is mounted atop the arch. I do not have a sonar transducer attached to this unit at this time. This unit is connected to the ICOM VHF for DSC position polling, which I'll figure out how to use this year.

The "new" nav station (console) is looking pretty impressive now.

More importantly, the season has begun. The boat has been splashed and summer is here. It could snow tomorrow and it wouldn't change that fact. The drought is over. Boating's back.

I couldn't be happier.


PeteB88 posted 05-01-2007 04:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Excellent - man did we have a great trip south to FL in April. Met Judge and stayed with Carrera - got me some stories bro! I was trying to make the Tarpon Springs thing but got derailed. When you headin' N? We've had the Whaler out four or five times and what a blast - Meeting up w/ Huron Bob soon.

Dave - call that Tom Skilling and get the weather patterns straightened out will ya, please!


Buckda posted 05-01-2007 06:27 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Tom's been so busy keeping tabs on his brother down in Texas (Enron debacle) to bring us much warmth! I'll have a word with him through my TV screen over the next few days. He's been working overtime to bring a fourth weekend in a row of warmth this weekend. Knock on Teak - he might just do it.


Buckda posted 05-01-2007 06:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
(aside) - for those who aren't familiar with the famous Chicago weatherman extraordinaire - Tom Skilling is one of the most trusted and accurate weathermen in Chicago TV. He works for "Superstation" WGN - Channel 9. In short - he is a rainmaker.

He is also related to that other Skilling down in Houston...

In any event, that was quite a fun double entendre Pete.


MarthaB posted 05-02-2007 09:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for MarthaB  Send Email to MarthaB     
Last weekend, the upper part of the St. Mary's River was full of ice that has been coming down from Whitefish Bay. A long winter!!
Made a trip to Soo Ontario last weekend. The air temp was middle 50's on Friday and upper 60's on Saturday. Actually warmer there than it was in Suttons Bay.

Buckda posted 05-02-2007 08:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Martha -

Wow - full of ice, eh? The lake is around 43 down here, and the inland lake was right at 54 on my Sonar temp guage. I'll be up that way for Memorial Day weekend. Exact plans are still in the air based on another party and his family's plans...but perhaps I could side-trip over to Sutton's Bay....


an86carrera posted 05-02-2007 09:12 PM ET (US)     Profile for an86carrera  Send Email to an86carrera     
43 eh? Seriously, when do you swim? What temp? Spent all day Saturday standing in the water here ~80, not to rub it in but I don't actually swim until 85-86 here.

I'll hope for warmth for you all.


Buckda posted 05-02-2007 09:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for Buckda  Send Email to Buckda     
Len -

Depends on how hot the Air temperature is.

If it's really hot out, a dip in 63 degree Lake Superior surface water is pretty refreshing.

Southern Lake Michigan climbs to the mid-upper 70s in the height of summer - so no problems swimming in that.

I generally am willing to swim if the air is above 80 and the water is above 70....but those guidelines are flexible based on outside air temperature.


MarthaB posted 05-04-2007 08:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for MarthaB  Send Email to MarthaB     

Keep us posted as to coming this way Memorial Day weekend. We probably won't have the dock or shore station put out yet, but we can splash BW1 in about 20 minutes.


Two weeks ago in northwestern Michigan there was a skim of ice on the water. In order to put the dock and shore station out say the middle of June, waders are required.
I agree with Dave, water temp has to be +70. Even then there will be segments that are colder. It depends on the wind direction, speed of the wind and if we have had a lot of sunny days. If the water has rolled over(brought up the cold water from the bottom of Lake Michigan)then it will be colder. We live on Grand Traverse Bay, where the water can be warmer that out on the "big lake."
Having lived here all my life, there have been summers where the water does not warm up to 60. Back in the middle 80's it was cold and rainy. Sailing wasn't fun then. But in 86 we had record high lake levels. Now we are near record low's. We live here because of the fresh water.

Come for a visit, we will take you to some great places in northwest Michigan.


Plotman posted 05-04-2007 09:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for Plotman  Send Email to Plotman     
Amen that "it all depends".

Last summer I spend several afternoons - hours at a time - sitting in a chair chest deep in Lake Superior enjoying a cold brew and watching the kids play. Most years that would result in death.

Last summer my hot tub thermometer recorded temps in the upper 70s for at least a month (in a shallow bay, over sand). Plenty of other years, we are lucky to get into the low 60s.

high sierra posted 05-04-2007 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
In my mind's eye, I could see and feel your experience. Very descriptive. You should write for one of the outdoor magazines. high sierra
high sierra posted 05-04-2007 11:47 AM ET (US)     Profile for high sierra  Send Email to high sierra     
The above was directed to Dave. high sierra
Yiddil posted 05-04-2007 03:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Yiddil  Send Email to Yiddil     
Dave, Nice narrative....It's the best feeling after a long dry spell.........

After deciding I would keep my set up just the way it is for right now, I splashed Das BOat a few weeks ago, she fired right up (even though not an ETEC) and I brought her
up the creek slowly to her new dock and lift. After adjusting the lift a bit(new dock and lift are higher than old dock)we decided to crank DAs Boat up and headed out onto the Potomac River ......Yes, hat feeling seems to hit us al after a long lyof(winter)...The smell o salt wate and the fresh air, the win in your face, the smiles fro ear to ear....we you know the rest:)

Its one of the best feelings I know....nd I sure glad o be alive to feel that again:)DITTO DAVE!

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