Sunday, August 28, 2016


     We spent this past Sunday, 21August, holed up in East Tawas, Mi. The weather on Sunday morning, and the forecast were only slightly better than Saturday. The rain did stop in the morning. And we walked to church, East Tawas Church of The Nazarene. They were a short walk, seven blocks from the Marina, and overlooking the bay. We came out and the wind blew mightily until mid afternoon. By then we had paid the State of Michigan for another night's dockage. This is the 4th different Michigan run harbor we have stayed in. They have all provided excellent service. We went to lunch in town, and ate at the White Tail Café. A reuben for Barb and coneys (Michigan parlance for hot dogs) for me. And we walked around town and bought a few things. And looked at a lot more. Newman St is nice, and geared to the summer tourist. In the afternoon, we went to Marian's Ice Cream Shop and got a cone. They tout having been in business "since 1945" with hand made waffle cones. I will say it was the best waffle cone I have ever eaten.


      We got up and got started early Monday morning. And it was cool, 50F. I started out in jeans and a windbreaker. And then we had to wait for the fuel dock, as there was only one employee until 9. There were two boats there, and a third one pulled in before we could get there. So we got fuel, took on some water in the tank, and were off towards Alpena. It was a good trip until the last hour. We got to Alpena, about 60 miles, a little after 3. The wind was kicking up pretty good (20kt?) as we entered the harbor. The "Sav-A-Lot" grocery store was across the road from the marina, and a 1/2 block walk. We re-stocked on the items depleted: sandwich meat, milk, cereal, meat, bread, vegetables, and some chips. We went back to the boat, cooked dinner, and then pulled our wagon of dirty clothes to the laundromat, which was across the parking lot from the grocery store. I did not walk the two blocks to check out the ice cream shop, hard as that sounds to believe. Though this was a regular, and large laundromat, and we used multiple machines, it was still late when we got back to SummerTime. Alpena is the home of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. There are a lot of wrecks out in the bay, and along the isthmus going to Presque Isle. We did not visit the facility, but saw the buoys for the divers to moor to. They have a special symbol on the chart for the dive buoys, which was new to me.
      We got up early on Tuesday, and got moving before the dock boy arrived. This is a joint run marina. The state has it in their "Harbors" program, it is owned by the city/village, and they contract a marine service company to run it. The facilities were average, and much better than Grand Bends, On. Barb stated only one bulb was working in the women's rest/shower room. The winds were reported at 10mph from the South and SW, depending on the station/buoy. They helped to push us along towards Presque Isle, where we planned to anchor for the night. We got to Presque Isle a little before 1, and decided to continue on.


      We moved the last turn in the GPS towards Calcite, just before Rogers City, where there was a bay that looked good for anchoring. We got there a little after 2, and dropped the hook. We drifted the first time, so we pulled the anchor, moved, and put the hook out again. This time it set, as we changed the procedure slightly to set it. The water was extremely clear. You could see the bottom in 18' deep water. There was white sand, and dark spots that came up as clay on the anchor. The winds shifted, and I was beginning to question the decision to anchor in a 3 sided bay with Rogers City so close. But tieing up to a dock every night gets to be expensive. The ratio for anchoring/ tieing is  as we have been doing is the reverse of what I budgeted when I planned the trip. About an hour before sunset, the winds died and everything became peaceful, and less nerve racking. Barbara sat on the flybridge and watched the sunset. It was a nice peaceful night at anchor, what you anchor out for.
       I woke early and started to look at my phone for the weather. I got Barbara up, and told her if we got going, we might make Cheboyagan by mid day. Which would put us less than half a day from Mackinaw. The winds had shifted to the south again, and picked up speed before we could weigh anchor. They pushed us mightily, and sometimes we hit over ten knots of speed as we surfed don the face of waves w. That was good as the engine speed was set to where we normally would be getting 8.8 kt. But getting to Cheboygan was not to be. The clouds started to form, and 2/3 the way through our long leg, we got sprinkles. and it was cool. I started to look at the alternate harbor of "Hammond Bay, a Harbor of Refuge". And that is what it became this day. We both saw the same lightning flash over the land, and we immediately re-plotted our course towards Hammond Bay. Today we were going to use Michigan's Harbor of Refuge. We got into the harbor a little after 10:30. It is raining pretty good as we tie up. The harbor master came out to help us dock, even though it was raining mightily at times. I think that he was bored. There is only a sailboat in the harbor besides us. We check in, and decide to stay here, as the weather does not look good for the rest of the day. But we have traveled 3 days straight now.

It was a good decision to stay in Hammond Bay. It rained more on Wednesday, sometimes the showers were hard. And as we found out when we started moving on Thursday, Cheboygan, where we were headed on Wednesday, was two more hours up the lake. It was still cool and cloudy when we left Hammond Bay Thursday morning headed to Mackinaw City. We have a reservation for the night at the Straits State Marina. As we leave the harbor, I realize we have a stowaway. There is a large green insect of some type on the Burgee mast. I think it may be a large green grass hopper, or a praying mantis, but from my position on the fly bridge, can not confirm that. We motor along at about 1900rpm, or 8kt, as there is no hurry to get there, check in is after 1pm. We passed Cheboygan Harbor on the way north. Just past Cheboygan we start to see the two primary structures for the Mackinac Bridge. A distance of about 12 miles, so you can get an idea of the size of this bridge spanning 5miles across the strait. And we meet a tug pulling a barge, the first commercial boat we have been near in 3 days.


As we get closer, the bridge starts to dominate the horizon. And as we pass Mackinac Island, you can see the famous hotel up against the side of the hill. It dominates the island view. And there are ferry boats constantly crossing both ways between Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island. We will have to be careful when we get into the traffic area. We contact the Straits State Marina about 12:45 and ask to go to the fuel dock. We have been 4 days without fueling, and our water tank is getting low also. We take on 114 gallons of fuel, the most I have ever put in the 190gal tank. And our friend is still on the burgee mast. He is a praying mantis, and moves off as we pull around to our slip.

Barbara helped him over to the dock so he could get to the land. I gave a tour of the boat to a dock neighbor who wanted to look at a trawler style boat. We secure the boat and head into Mackinaw City to find lunch/dinner, or "linner" as Barb and Ab refer to it. We have a nice dinner, ribs for me and skewered shrimp for Barb, at the "Keyhole Bar and Grill." There are keys and key chains of all kinds serving as décor in this place. I think that it has been here a while, as some of the keys are the old fashioned hotel ones on the hard plastic fobs shaped as an elongated diamond. The food is as good as we were told it would be. We spend the rest of the afternoon walking around town and shopping. We had to buy some Mackinac Island Fudge. And we did, along with a few other souvenirs.There are reportedly 35 stores selling candy out of 60(?) stores in the downtown areas. We got back to the boat a little after 7, we had been gone 4-1/2hrs. The afternoon turned out sunny, a cap to a nice day.
        We woke up Friday morning, listened to the weather while eating cereal for breakfast (Barb would pay for this later), and decided it was the best window we were going to have for several days to head to the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. We were underway the earliest yet at about 8:10am. We are getting better at this. The weather report was for winds out of the west at 8-10mph with waves "less than 2ft." By the time we had gone the two miles to pass under the bridge, we were seeing seas of 3ft. Not too much for us or SummerTime, so we kept moving. Another trawler passed under the bridge right in front of us.


We have a long haul, about 20mi to get to the point where we can turn south along Lake Michigan's eastern shore to see the other coast of Michigan. About half way to our turning point, the winds pick up and the seas increase. They are now running 3-5'. NOAA has not changed their weather report, nor has the data from the buoys changed. I think that they need to re-calibrate the telemetry on their buoys. We get to the point where Lake Michigan is running north-south, and make our turn to follow the coast. We glide by an abandoned light house on a shoal of about 20' depth. There are several light houses out here in N Lake Michigan marking shoals.


I do not think that having to man one of these many years ago would have been a pleasant job. Nor bringing supplies to one like this before helicopters. We have a long run down the west shore of Michigan. It seems to get a little calmer, and as Barbara goes to make sandwiches for lunch, the winds and waves increase. She says the milk she had with her cereal has been churned into butter. She only brings one sandwich up to the flybridge. But we are headed south, which is the next milestone for us. We will get to Petoskey, Mi. on Little Traverse Bay about 2:30. We are also crossing some deep water. At over 270ft, it is deeper than any I have operated a boat in, including out in the Atlantic growing up.


The depth is not as impressive as the drop off. And then, Michigan is quiet hilly along in here. We are passing by sandy beaches with really nice houses above them.

It gets rougher as we get near Petoskey, and make the turn down Little Traverse Bay. It is a lovely little town at the end of the bay, with a beautiful clock down by the water. We are going to take a day of rest here as the rains are forecast again for Saturday.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016


We arrived in Port Huron at the River Street Marina late Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning we got up and went to church. The First United Methodist Church steeple was visible from our dock space, and only about 200yd away. But first we had to walk to the Seventh St. bridge before we could cross the Black River, and walk NW again to the church. This is one of the nicest marinas we have visited as far as facilities and staff treatment of guests. Only Delaware City in Delaware had a more accommodating staff. We did not use their shower facilities, so we can not speak to them.  Barbara used the free washer and dryer in the back of the Marina office. I walked the 5 blocks to the  main business district and got us subs for lunch. Downtown is kind of dead this day, as there is a major power boat race taking place on the St Clair River.  I worked on updates, mostly AT&T as the air card was denied access again. We were originally going to leave on Monday morning, but the weather forecast for Monday night and Tuesday is not good. We elect to stay two more days.  Heavy rains and thunderstorms are forecast. On Monday morning, Barbara got the marina staff to drive her to the grocery store so she could re-stock. A regular Kroger's only about 1.5 miles from the marina. They returned and picked her up when she called. And drove her with bags to the boat on one of their carts. I worked on trying to tie the upper GPS/chartplotter to the radio for emergency location. It did not work. Both items are supposed to be NEMA 0183 ready/compatible, but they do not speak the same 183. The GPS puts out voltage on its wires, but the radio does not see/understand them. We also experimented with getting the dinghy on and off of the davits. We learned some things, but still can not do it with the motor on the dinghy. The rain started late Monday as forecast. And got heavy during the night. It was nice to wake without having puddles inside like when we first took delivery  of the boat. Brands put new windshield gaskets in over the winter, and that appears to have been the last leak source fixed. Tuesday morning was still raining, and I worked to get the Sterling Alternator to Battery monitor working. I had success in this operation. And Bruce who lives on a boat at the marina, and works there part time, loaned me his digital tachometer. I was able to calibrate the lower tach, which was off since installing the new alternator. And I got a 12v receptacle installed next to the helm. Above the fan I mounted a small fan on the chase for wires and controls to the upper helm. We will have a defroster the next time we have to operate the lower helm in a storm. Wednesday was nice. The weather forecast looked good. We walked the few blocks to downtown to get some hardware items, and look for a full, or Canadian chart of Lake Huron. We got back to the boat, had lunch, and motored to the fuel dock in preparation for departing. Barbara had called Grand Bend, Ontario, and made a docking reservation for 6:30 pm arrival. We got fuel, 87 gal, the first since leaving Port Clinton. And they provided a free pump-out of the holding tank. And we had to wait to depart, as we were  past the bridge opening time. We went out the seventh street bridge at 3pm, headed for Grand Bend, Ontario. We passed under the Bluewater bridge, and headed NE up Lake Huron towards Kettle Point. And listened intently to weather radio as there was a squall line headed across Lake St. Clair to the south of us. And there were dark cloud to the west of us. About 1-1/2hr out, the sprinkles started. We could see breaks in the clouds, and stayed on the flybridge. Too long, as we got soaked before we finally gave up and went below to run the boat. The mounted defroster fan came in good. Barbara did not have to hold it in her hand like on the St Clair River just 5 days earlier. The third time in 11 days we have had to move to the lower helm to navigate due to rain. We are not good at picking the weather.  At one point, I turned Sometime 180deg, and faced the heaviest part of the storm. That was only for about 5 minutes, then the rain started to clear. We turned around, and headed onwards to Grand Bend. Off Kettle Point, where we had to clear outside a reef, before making a heading change, God put a rainbow beyond the Kettle Point Reef for us to steer to while the rain continued lightly. It was a good thing, as either my water bottle falling off the window ledge, or me leaning down to pick it up, it the battery switch and turned off the GPS. The lower compass is not trustworthy. I raced to the flybridge to navigate, as the rain had stopped. The GPS up there was not working either, nor the radio. But the compass is good on the flybridge, and I use it and the rainbow while I try to analyze what caused both GPS to go black at once. Then I remembered a trip we made with Friends on a Saturday in June. Sue, sitting in the lower helm seat, swinging her feet, got the battery switch. I hustle back down the ladder, and sure enough, the one battery switch is off. I flip it to on, and instantly GPS and radios.  Barbara called Grand Bend Municipal Marina to tell them we would be about an hour late arriving. They told her they would be gone, to tie to the N wall after checking in with Customs at the fuel dock phone. We arrived about 7:30, cleared in with Canadian Customs via the fuel dock phone, and found our dock. We settled in for the evening.
SummerTime at dock in Grand Bend


Thursday morning, we made the decision not to continue to Kincardine, Ontario as we had planned. I wanted to go, but it was two days up and back for a visit. We might miss the weather window to cross Lake Huron to Michigan's East Shore. So Thursday, we toured on foot the main reason most people come to Grand Bend: the beach. A large, sandy beach with beautiful public access.
Access to Beach on Lake Huron

MAIN ST to Grand Bend Beach

We enjoyed out day of touring this resort town on Lake Huron. In the evening, we returned to the Sweet Shoppe on Main Street for an ice cream. We sat outside on the street and ate them.
       Friday morning, we got up, and got going by 8:15, early for us. We passed by the fuel docks, and handed them the key to the shower rooms. Some of the least impressive shower rooms we have seen. No place to hang towels, or sit and dress in them. We were off to cross Lake Huron. We headed south the 15mi to Kettle Point to cross. Barbara has told me she did not want to be out of site of land. Crossing from Kettle Point to Port Sanilac, Mi was going to be 26 miles. I was pretty confident we could keep land in site on a crossing of this length. I was not so confident if we had crossed from Grand Bend directly to Port Sanilac. That was a mid 40s mileage, and seeing more than 20 miles even on a clear day is a challenge. We got to Port Sanilac a little before 1pm, and turned north towards Harbor Beach. There was a weather forecast for TS in the evening. I was praying we could get to Harbor Beach, MI before them. We got to Harbor Beach about 4, and the wind was starting to pick up out of the south. And the sky was getting dark. We anchored inside the harbor to spend the night. I slept good, but Barbara was not so comfortable. We never got the rain, but it did get very dark, north and south of us, and the wind gust were very noticeable. We had finally chose correctly in a weather window.


We awoke Saturday morning to calm, and a partially cloudy sky. We were on our way by 8:25, as we knew weather was coming. We wanted to get across Saginaw Bay before the weather arrived. We got stonewalled here in August of 2015 by mother nature. Saginaw Bay has a reputation for being rough when other areas are not. We only had a 5 hr run planned, and crossing Saginaw was in those plans. We got to Austin Point Reef light, a little over half way in the total distance. We had 22 miles to go to get to Tawas bay, our goal. As we turned past the reef light to start the final leg, the winds picked up. And the weather forecast were going downhill.


At the 11mi mark of the 22 to get across the bay, I told Barbara we were at the point where we almost had to continue to Tawas Bay. And today, in the growing haze from atmospheric moisture, I could not see that 11miles. At about 10 miles, I started to see the shore outline. We called and made a request for a slip at the Tawas State Dock. The forecast for wind gusts in excess of 30kt made us decide it was best not to anchor for this night. We arrived at the State Dock at 2pm, a 5-1/2 hr run to cover the 53 nautical mi. The regulars near our dock were friendly, and helped the dock boy to get us tied. We got checked in with customs, went to the fuel dock to register, and at 4pm the sprinkles started. And the rains got heavier, and the winds got to howling. During one of the breaks in the rain, I went  out and repositioned a fender as SummerTime was bumping the dock occasionally.

It was our good weather decision for the week to take a dock instead of anchoring. And we made a major milestone, as we had crossed Saginaw Bay. We were now as far north as we had been in the boat. And we are only about 190mi. from the Straits of Mackinaw, where we will travel west for about 20 miles before heading south.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


WEEK 2  

We were up early on Monday morning the 8th to start our journey to Detroit Boat Basin to get our alternator repaired. We got there a little after 9am. We cleared in with US Customs. We met Dan Miller, the service manager, and we went over our alternator problems. I asked him about getting a heavy duty type alternator, such as a Balmar, as I did not wish to have any more converted car alternators with the potential to fail. I also gave Dan the installation instructions I had for a "Sterling Power AB12130 Alternator to Battery Charger" which was on board but not connected.  Dan stated he would start checking. On Tuesday morning, Dan reviewed what he got from Balmar. They wanted to sell a larger alternator, and a serpentine belt system to run it. About $2k worth. Dan gave me the contact at Balmar. I called them, and talked with a different person, as the Balmar rep Dan had talked with was out. It appeared to be an attempt to sell more parts. I looked for local Balmar suppliers, and came up empty handed for one on the shelf. I reached out to TransAtlantic Diesel, a Perkins rep, who I knew sold Balmar kits for the Perkins. By 3pm on Tuesday, I had a 100A Balmar with overnight shipping for less than half of Balmar's quote, but without the serpentine drive belt kit. On Wednesday, DBB surprised us by sending their marine tech over to install the Balmar alternator.
Balmar Alternator Installed on The Perkins

We had earlier been told that the electrical tech was on vacation, and getting the other mechanic would probably be late in the week as he was the only tech on duty this week. Mark was quick and accurate, but despite his efforts, the alternator did not function. A call to TAD was not a lot of help, other than their rep suggested a ground problem. It was the end of the day, and we agreed for a call back. Mark showed back up late morning on Thursday. He had other scheduled customers to take care of. The volt readings were all over the place, and he went to get a better instrument. It turned out the ground being used for the alternator was intermittent, and tied to the flybridge. A place where other electrical problems had been. New grounds, and the alternator was putting out a good charging current. Mark left after making some cables for me to complete the Sterling installation. I had sent the Sterling rep questions and photos of the Balmar Installation manual. No call back or answer to my Emails. I tried on Friday to complete the Sterling installation without input from the factory rep following the installation manual. The unit did not work, nor did the alternator. I undid the connections between the alternator and the Sterling unit, and the alternator went back to charging. We settled with Detroit Boat Basin, and thanked Dan for his help, and complemented him on Mark's determination.
        On Saturday morning, we prepped to leave DBB. As we were getting the holding tank pumped out, the showers came. We waited a few minutes for the shower to end, checked the weather radar on the gas dock's computer, and left for Port Huron, Mi where we had a docking appointment at Port Huron's River Street Marina. We had a 52 mile run to make and the GPS said we would get there about 6:15pm. We passed by a sailboat race taking place on Lake St Clair. They were getting good wind and moving at a good pace.
Sailboat Race taking place on Lake St Clair, despite scattered showers

As we were leaving the lake into the St Clair River a freighter was gaining on us. And there was a tug pushing a barge coming down the river. It looked like we all three were going to converge at the 100yd wide river channel at the same time. The tug passed, and then the freighter caught and passed us.
Freighter that Passed Us

 Later the second string of rain showers caught us on the river. We were about 2hr from Port Huron. The rain was hard enough that I operated SummerTime from the lower helm versus the flybridge for only the third time. The rain cleared, and we picked our pace back up so that we arrived at Port Huron's River Street Marina at 6:30pm. The staff is very good, and after we got everything settled with the boat, they drove us to a nice little Italian restaurant, Pompeiis. It was a good evening, that capped off a less than good week.
         We are sitting in Port Huron making our plans for next week. We are watching the weather for a window to cross and cruise the SE shore of Lake Huron and Canada.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


     Shortly after noon on Saturday the 6th of August, we arrived at Crystal Bay on the Detroit River across from Amherstburg, Ontario. We were about
Anchor Bay on a Saturday afternoon

the 8th boat in this protected bay area. It was full of water grass (weeds), to the point at one place on the way in the Perkins diesel started to labor. We had to find a more clear channel to get in. By dinner time (6ish) there were over thirty boats in this little area. When dark came, it was down to 17. The noisy boats had left with the arrival of darkness.  It was a pleasant night, quiet, no rolling, and only the sounds of nature. Sunday morning was just as nice. Just enough wind to keep the insect life down. We were anchored with the windows and hatches open, keeping it pleasant enough that we did not need to run the genset to power the AC. Sunday morning was different. I ran the generator long enough to power a stove and cook breakfast. Sausage, eggs, and homemade biscuits with jelly and honey. We also got some charging done to the Perkins starting and house batteries. I did not go to a church for the first time in months. Instead, I worked on a plumbing leak, and prayed  for forgiveness for not observing "The Sabbath". We had been loosing water; two people were going through about 20gal/day without taking showers on the boat. When looking for the alternator problem, I discovered water raining under the floor of the lower helm. Upon closer examination, I found a nylon fitting used to change the cold water pipe direction at the bulkhead was leaking. It had a pinhole in it, making a fine spray. It took most of the day to get to, remove, and replace this one ell. I had fixed some leaks two weeks prior at the hot water heater, and thought at the time I got the leaks all fixed. I also while wedged in this tight space under the salon floor, between the Perkins and the house batteries, straightened up  some of the electrical wiring and hoses that had come loose or been added carelessly over the years.
       I was pretty sweaty (read smelly) after being cramped in the bilge most of the day. I took a swim in the Detroit River (Crystal Bay actually) off of the swim platform to cool down. The river was actually pleasant temperature wise. But the weeds were there under the surface, and you would occasionally brush or feel one while swimming. After the swim was dinner, followed by a lovely sunset. I do not think photos could do the rose colors and setting sun playing off the clouds justice. But a photo is attached anyway.
Sunset over Anchor Bay

On Monday morning, we awoke early to head to Detroit for an alternator repair/replacement. One of the marinas/service facilities I had called on the past Friday had returned my call on Saturday. I scheduled us to be at Detroit Boat Basin for repair on Monday, 8Aug, at 9am. That is another post.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The JOURNEY Resumes

Approaching MBI

We have finally resumed our journey of the Great Loop on 3 August. It was 1600 when we got the boat ready to leave. It was late, but Barbara and I agreed that it was best to get started. We got into the river at 4:20 after removing our permanent dock lines and power cords. We cleared the Portage River Bridge at 16:32. We motored to the Middle Bass Island State Park Marina, arriving at 17:57. We tied up at our assigned slip given to us when we called and made reservations upon arrival. The staff was gone home, but the facility is still nice. Ohio has a nice Marina here.
Middle Bass Island State Marina, Ohio

We got up on Thursday morning and walked to the MBI village. A town hall, post office, and general store. We mailed some bills at the PO, a room on the back of a house, and had lunch at the general store. The "Italian" sub was great, and Barbara scarfed her Reuben down. We departed at 12:30 headed to Canada.
       The ride across Lake Erie on 4August was nice. The wind was just strong enough to make some ripples and keep it cool on the fly bridge. We passed Pelee Island by, as Barb reading the guide, pointed out it was mostly an agricultural island, producing great wines. We arrived in Leamington, Ontario at about 16:15. Very pretty marina. Lots of flowers hanging in baskets at the offices, and in the adjacent park. The staff was quite helpful in getting us registered, and pointing us in the direction to check in with Canada Customs. The phone wait was longer than the actual approval process.
Leamington Municipal Marina, Ontario, Ca

Monday, August 8, 2016

2016 Season Start

      SummerTime went back into the water and the slip at E-19 on May 17th. Took boat for a ride on 27 May and got 15.4 knots out of the bottom cleaning we did.  On 4 June we took an island hopping and dinner trip with old friends from past projects. We got back at dark in what became a heavy rain.  We docked in the dark for the first time. On 11June, I took some of the men from church fishing. Weather was not the best. A number of fish were caught by my standards, but as we caught no Walleye, the rest considered the trip a bust. Drifting with the anchor just touching to slow speed, we  snagged an abandoned fishing buoy marker and its block anchors. We did not realize this until we got in the river at the bridge and a couple of boaters pointed and stated we were dragging "our anchor" . It did not make sense as I could see the anchor in the bow roller.  We also put the "Trick Davits" back on with the distance shortened between arms. Barb and I could easily pull the dinghy on now. We went to PIB with my sister and her husband on 19June when they came to visit. We got the mooring ball on the first attempt. No more trips in June.
      Our house sold, and we vacated and moved aboard on 7 July. We had a lot of boxes we thought we needed on board, and it was congested. We spent the 8th resting after packing and moving. The 9th we tried to re-organize and stow all the items we had brought on from the house. We discovered we had things intended for storage, and things intended for the boat had not made it. Our goal was to be away from the port the week of 11 July, but it became apparent we were not going to make this. In the interim we did projects on SummerTime. We built in a settee/ sleeper on the port side. It gave us more storage space underneath. And it let us open the engine hatches while the settee is in position which the futon we had the first year would not let us do. In the second week I built the base for an hi-lo table, and mounted an oak table top I bought as a surplus item from Great Lakes Skipper. It works much better than the TV trays Barbara and I had been using. We can both sit at the settee and eat on  the table. The last week of July we upholstered the settee with a beach motif material that blended very well with the Mainship's tan/brown checkerboard curtains.
      On 2 August we finally got rid of the last land item (car trailer) keeping us from departing. On the 3rd, we cleaned out and organized the lazarette. We got out the 80# of play sand used for ballast in the aft port bilge that was put there by the previous owner for what reason we do not know. We said our good-byes on the afternoon of the 3rd to the  Brands Staff who have been so good to SummerTime and us since Sep2013. It was later than planned, but we were on our way.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


SummerTime went back into the water late for the 2015 season. It was May 29th. The touch up paint and varnish on the exterior woodwork looked nice in sunlight. Boat was only run across the Portage River to the summer slip from the winter storage building. In June we completed the installation of the "Trick Davits" on the swim platform. We also put the dinghy in and ran the Merc for the first time since summer 2014. The video advertising for "Trick Davits" made it easy to slide a dinghy up on the trick davit, but we had to take the engine off to load the dinghy. And both of us struggled to get the dinghy on. We took a day trip to MBI State Marina Park and stayed one night. It was raining on our return trip. We swung by PIB as the brig "Niagara" was there on its summer journey. We also added a filter into our cold water at the galley sink. It is a US Filter that does 99.99% on cyst and other things your worry about. We only put the glass dispenser faucet on this filter. In July we completed a freezer installation in the galley. We put it in the dead space in the forward corner of the galley counter where there was a second opening for "?". We also took a day trip to Kelley's Island, but it was a busy weekend, and there were no slips to be had, even for lunch. In August we again took a vacation to the north, and up the Detroit and St Clair Rivers. We stayed in Milliken State Park Marina in Detroit again. We passed through the green algae bloom in Lake Erie on our way. In our wake it looked like the liquid with light foam that you get when you mix lime jello. We got to Port Huron State Marina, and made our way to Harbor Beach. Learned not to plot nav courses on the Garmin in large scale as we drove into a shallow rock garden about 10 miles south of Harbor Beach. Good thing that Lake Huron has very clear water. We found a nav buoy about 2 miles off shore after we turned out of the underwater rock garden. We were headed to Tawas City above Saginaw Bay, but Harbor Beach was as far as we got. The weather deteriorated to high winds with afternoon TS. We turned around the next day and came back to Port Huron. We apparently just missed a bad TS while coming back down Lake Huron. We made the journey on Friday straight from Port Huron to PC. Lake Erie was smooth again which aided good speed. We did two more day trips, and our last project for the summer included completing sensors for level on the water and holding tanks. We started this project before the vacation to Lake Huron, but the Holding tank sensor only worked to 1/4 at first. A call to Tank Sensor gave us a cure. I crawled into the lazarette with the router, and cut reliefs of 1/16th inch in the tank where the sensors mounted. Everything worked great after this. We never tried the dinghy davits after our experience in June. We figured it was too hard to get  the dinghy on, but we could launch it if we had to. The boat went into its winter storage on 31 October.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

2014 Season Synopsis

"SummerTime" was put back into the Portage River waters by Brands' Marina in early May. We wanted to, and had to go in early as we were on the second row from the big entry doors. Brands had done the few things we asked over the winter, and we did some items on board ourselves. More importantly, Tibbels Fish Camp was a "USA Fuel" franchisee, and cleaned our diesel tank in mid June. There were some really big chunks of asphaltine waiting to plug a fuel line once more . The bottom of the tank was actually bright aluminum instead of black when they finished. We  did more one day trips over the summer. Our big vacation trip was over to the Detroit River, and up the river. WG Milliken State Park/Harbor in downtown Detroit was a pleasant surprise. Very new, clean, and in site of the tall downtown buildings. We crossed Lake St Clair, and got as far up the St. Clair River as Algonac City. We spent a night on the hook at Metro Beaches State Park. On the way back down the Detroit River, we were boarded by the USCG. They passed, did a quick three point turn in the river (sure sign they wanted to check something), and came back up to SummerTime's stern. I offered to stop, but they said "No", they would board while moving. Three of them came aboard, and the little patrol boat with two others followed at a safe distance. Barbara was surprised, and played host. I avoided traffic, including a large lake freighter going upstream. They completed their mission, gave us a "Pass" receipt, and left, all without stopping.
We did more day trips and miscellaneous small chores over the summer. The big surprise came on a September Sunday afternoon while stopping by to check on SummerTime. The bilge was full of water, and the two pumps were barely keeping up to the depth. I contacted Brands early on Monday morning, and they put a pump aboard, and lifted SummerTime out of the water. The "Garplug" in the keel had come out (inwards). Most of the lower threads were corroded away from years in salt water. They got a new one installed, and SummerTime was back in the water in a few days. SummerTime was put back in dry storage for the winter in early November.