To Munising (Day 2)


Second day under way and it already feels like a week! We ask each other what day it is. (Our “calendar” is now the weather forecast.) We try to establish an on-board exercise regimen – planks and exercise bands for me, push-ups for Jeff – to keep our upper-body strength. I learn to keep food and drink coming while underway, though it’s simple fare. I take my turns at the helm too, though the following seas – with whitecaps — require steering through every swell and I’m not yet comfortable with it. I over-steer and the boat yaws first one way and then the other. It’s a single-screw boat and pretty tricky to steer at times. I’m glad to have experience with a water ski boat (which is also single-screw), though it doesn’t seem to be helping me much right now. I’m also glad I’ve done a lot of boating already. I can’t imagine brand-new boaters doing this, although some do.

Today’s sail is about 40 miles – shorter than Day 1 – but still takes us 7 hrs. A trawler moves 7-8 mph and the wind and water conditions can slow us even more. Port #2 is Munising in the heart of Hiawatha National Forest. (Such a musical name! It’s a joy to reacquaint myself with my birth area, this time by water.) This is the gateway to Pictured Rocks, the nation’s first national lakeshore and very busy in summer. I call the marina to ensure they have slips for a sailboat and trawler. They do. We relay this to Impulse by radio. The cost for a slip is $1.75/ft. For our boat, that means $60/night. I swallow my frugal instincts. We’ll anchor out another day. Tonight, we need some comforts!

After weaving through islands and channels for a few hours, we arrive at the marina in a brisk north wind that blows us around. We have headsets on board to use during anchor or docking operations, but forgot to recharge them, so Jeff can’t hear me warn him. (He’s inside the cabin, on the helm. I’m outside, waiting to toss lines.) It’s our first arrival in a busy marina in this boat and a little stressful! We bump where we don’t mean to bump. An expletive or two is murmured. With an assist from the dock manager, we’re tied up in short order. Later, we do a “debrief,” which my Navy training insists upon. 😉 Remember to check the flag for wind direction, charge the headsets, etc. We know these things, but it’s hard to remember everything when you’re just getting started. It will become habitual in time. We feel better about our small mishap when a much fancier boat gets blown around and does damage to the dock and to another boat. Everyone comes to watch. The boat’s skipper is grim when he jumps off to make amends, murmuring something about a malfunctioning joystick. I hear judgments mumbled by onlookers. I remind myself it could happen to anyone. To us.

Jeff visits the other nearby boaters and finds two more “Loopers.” He’s been telling me for years that The Great Loop is quite a thing among boaters. Clearly! We are still far from The Loop itself, but it’s already a routine topic of conversation. The burgee (small flag) on our bow identifies us as “one of them.” I can’t help but notice that this is primarily a male culture, as motor boating in general tends to be. If you hang around a marina, you’ll normally see a man driving (and making the decisions) and a woman handling lines (and making food). Of course this is a generalization. Will I be an exception?

Both Impulse and Many Moons have bikes on board and we use them to explore the town and make an excursion to Munising Falls. Before that, though – ice cream! (Thus, the bike ride.) Jeff and I enjoy a leisurely hot shower on board, since we’re hooked up to electricity. Eric and Gary, on Impulse, use the marina’s hot showers which are included in the slip fee. I’m finding that light eating is important on this adventure, so we have a simple dinner of fresh veggies and nuts.

After our umpteenth check of the day for weather forecasts, we realize we’ll stay here another night so indulge in a late-night jam session in the salon of Many Moons – Gary on guitar and me on harmonica. It’s my first jam session ever. I don’t know music, but I can “hear notes.” It’s a blast!

I tuck into the V-berth (sleeping area in the bow of the boat) with Boo purring at my side. It’s a comfort to have her on board, and she’s adjusted very quickly. I resolve to be as adaptable as she is, and fall asleep at 1 a.m. grateful to find my own wake-up time tomorrow.

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