To Whitefish Pt (Day 7)

We leave Grand Marais and its drama behind us at 0830, after watching the Inland Seas Schoolship raise its anchor. She had anchored near us the night before, so close that we could hear the orders being “barked.”

I’m so grateful for the first calm seas of the trip — so calm, in fact, that we can use our auto-pilot for the first time on this trip and make yummy breakfast burritos in the galley. Even Boo the Cat is chilled out all day. (When seas are rough, she paces every hour or so.) Unfortunately, the southern breeze also brings biting flies into the cabin, but we’ve been lucky with flying pests so far so it feels like a minor inconvenience. I have time to wash clothes and hang them on the clotheslines across the stern – a task best done under way!

The 50 miles from Grand Marais to Whitefish is a lonely stretch and once you start, you’re committed. Unless your boat has a very shallow draft, there’s nowhere to stop for refuge. As we pass mile after mile of deserted sandy beaches and shallow bluffs, I’m grateful again for the calm seas.

The arrival at Whitefish Point brings us out of our lull, as it’s another marina we’ve never seen before and requires an S-curve entrance. As we enter, the wind picks up. We aim for the last open spot in a rustic marina filled with work boats and fishing boats, and the suddenly-stiff breeze blows us around as we approach the narrow slip. I’m working the lines, and wonder if I’ll ever know for sure which line to work with first – the stern one, the bow one, or the amidship one? How do I balance the boat’s safety (keep it from hitting anything) with my own safety (don’t jump to the dock with line in hand too soon, for fear of falling between the boat and the dock)? I know I’ll get better at this but I’m grateful to a local who runs over to help. Our companion boat ties up to the rickety metal break wall.

Whew. It’s always a relief to be safely secured in port. We made good time today for the mileage; 6.5 hours. (Thanks to calm seas.) It’s nearing 4 p.m. by the time we secure and breathe, and I’m determined to visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum before it closes. Jeff and Gary join me for this reminder of Lake Superior’s perils. The dive boat which is carrying divers to the shipwreck sites is another reminder. This is truly an inland sea, with weather moods of her own. She demands respect!

I want to play with the chess set I brought along, or have another jam session, but we are all too weary for that so it’s an early night at Whitefish Point for Many Moons and Impulse.

Editor’s Note: This post was written for Aug. 5. No Wi-Fi meant tardy posting!

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