Our arrival at Slip F-126 in the St. Ignace Public Marina is not fun – except for meeting a new friend. His name is Phil. He lives in his fishing boat all summer. He arrived with a pole. A long one. Just in time.
Entering new marinas is occasionally easy but usually stressful. This is the 2nd kind. This marina is tight, and it’s busy – 78 slips, and at least 50 boats in them. The wind picks up as we enter and blows us where we don’t want to go. (Jeff is a great boat handler, but conditions can limit even the best.) We couldn’t reach the marina by radio, so nobody is on hand to grab our lines and pull us in before the wind pushes us out.
Nobody, that is, except Phil. Seeing us approach, he fairly bolts down the pier with a contraption in hand — a kind of homemade boat hook which is much stronger and longer than ones sold in marine stores. I try to throw our amidship line to him, but he reaches out instead with that hook and…just pulls us in.
Sometimes a stranger-turned-friend materializes like that, in the midst of need.
Our new companion boat has worse luck. Facing the same winds, he can’t make it into his designated slip and claims the one he ends up in, bumping the neighboring boat in the process.
Hmm. When people talk about how much fun boating is, they don’t mention this part.
We said good-bye this morning to Eric and Gary on Impulse as they continued their own course to the east. It felt odd to part ways. Our 11 days together have been eventful! But we will stay in touch.
Our new boating buddy (Bob) accompanied us out of the St. Mary’s River and back into open seas as we made our way westward across the top of Lake Huron. We were out of the sight of land most of the day, in a light fog that didn’t lift until noon. After passing two helpful lighthouses, landmarks were few. For this first time on this trip, we had to follow the pink line of the course we set on the navigation app (and also the compass heading) in order to keep a straight course. I enjoy that challenge, as long as the seas aren’t too rough.
After our eventful arrival, Jeff and I discuss how we can do better next time. Every incident holds some lessons-learned within. Our safety and security (and possibly our relationship!) may depend on learning them.