Monday, September 7, 2009

September 5: Port Sanilac to Grosse Ile. 110 miles

Let me begin by making it clear--we did not plan to travel 110 miles in one day! Our plan was to get a slip at St. Clair to spend the night and come home on Sunday....

We started out with a nice breakfast in Port Sanilac. When we got out on the water we found it very calm again, no sailing today! As we neared Port Huron we saw more and more boats on the water--remember, we had some days when we did not see another boat all day!

When we got to the bottom of Lake Huron, going into the St. Clair River, Bill took the helm. This is a very turbulent area, and Erika and I are nowhere near the experienced sailor that Bill is... We could see about a hundred sailboats off in the distance near the Michigan shoreline. Bill said this is an annual race co-sponsored by sailing clubs in Port Huron and Sarnia. It is a local race on Saturday and a race to Port Sanilac on Sunday. They were moving at a snail's pace in the light air--I sure hope there is some wind for them tomorrow!

All of a sudden we were surrounded by powerboats when we got into the river--they were everywhere. It was like a culture shock after being out there all alone all week... We passed many upbound freighters along the way, and I called St. Clair harbor only to find out that they could not accomodate us... I called Algonac too: no room. We pulled into the St. Clair harbor for fuel, and made it in and out in a half hour, which is perfect since the Pine River bridge opens every half hour when needed... We passed by our old stomping grounds at Marine City-- Erika took some photos as we passed by our old church and the lighthouse while I went below and got a glass of wine... not a lot of good memories of the time in my life when we lived there.

Bill decided then that we would go for home. It was a very long day! We watched the sun set and the moon rise over Lake St. Clair on our way across. Once it got dark (as we were entering the Detroit River from Lake St. Clair) he took over and drove the rest of the way home. The Detroit skyline was impressive from our vantage point in the river, and he had the three of us on deck calling out approaching boat traffic and unlit buoys.

We got a lucky break as we were nearing Wyandotte--one of the Detroit riverboats (Diamond Belle) passed us and we followed her into the smaller channel along the Wyandotte shore. Bill called the Grosse Ile toll bridge operator on the radio, the bridge opened for us, and soon we were home. Almost midnight when we arrived. It was an awfully long day, and another motoring day--no sailing in this calm air.

It was a perfect sailing vacation except for the fact that we did not do much sailing! Now it's back to real life, laundry, grasscutting, boat cleaning... take the truck in for service, get ready to go to West Virginia Saturday.... I found this big guy in the back yard when I went out to cut the grass.
I cut the front yard first, and when came around the house to the back, he was in the yard again, with 3 does and a fawn....

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