Many Moons at “Home”


Where is “home?” Where your heart is, they say.

For boats doing The Great Loop, it’s the home port. For Mainship Many Moons, that’s Huron Bay, a narrow 12-mile-long bay (some call it a fjord) on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Many Moons has been at anchor here for over a month after completing her 6,000+-mile journey through 19 states. (More stats of that voyage to come.) She’s anchored out just off a camp by the same name…300 feet of waterfront near the head of Huron Bay. It was an impassable tangle when I bought the parcel 4.5 years ago. It’s beautiful now. And Mainship Many Moons looks right at home at Camp Many Moons.

I returned to camp a few days ago after making the 1,000-mile drive from Arlington, Va. I needed nature on land again after all those months of nature on water.

This camp was the first partnership between Jeff and me, and The Great Loop was the second. I provided the capital and he provided the know-how, equipment and manpower to turn it from wilderness into “a park.” (I got my hands plenty dirty too, which is part of the fun.) There’s no building here yet, just a few campers and a cute “outhouse” with a compost toilet inside, a glorious waterfront path with hammock and a sturdy wooden dock.

There’s also a well, a septic system and an open spot ready for a dwelling. The dwelling was put off for The Great Loop. (Trade-offs. Part of life, right?)

There’s something poetic about the boat called Many Moons returning to the camp called Many Moons. As many of you know, I wasn’t eager to make the boat my home for up to a year in order to do The Great Loop. I had other adventures and priorities in mind. I left the boat twice. But I came back. And, after a month of rest and reflection, I realize I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The Great Loop was indeed a great adventure…in many ways, not just physical ones.

Sometimes the value of a thing isn’t evident until it’s done, and maybe long after that.

Fact is, I missed being on the boat so much that I spent my first night at Camp Many Moons in the boat, off-shore, rather than in the comfy bed on shore. I missed the sound of water lapping and the sense of being removed from things.

But I’ve also missed building fires and wandering the shoreline and walking into the water whenever I feel like it. And watching those cute ducklings skitter under the dock! And letting Boo the Boating Cat explore the land. (I took her into the water to see if she remembered how to swim after her unintentional immersion in New Jersey months ago, when she fell off the boat. She did. No drama.) I’ve spent hours pulling weeds and even pulled out my (little) chainsaw to cut down a (small) tree, proving to myself that “earth-Mary” still exists after becoming “boat-Mary” for eight months.

Jeff and Boo and I are all glad to be “home” here at Camp Many Moons. But we were also “at home” on Mainship Many Moons. I admit it wasn’t always comfortable for me, but it was “home” anyway. I guess “home” is what you make it…and if your heart isn’t always there, maybe you can just wait awhile until it is. Or, leave for awhile until you find it again and then come back. Whatever works.

Photos of Mainship Many Moons anchored at Camp Many Moons, below.

PS: Read about the creation of Camp Many Moons by choosing “The Camp” from the blog menu. The first post is dated Dec. 2017. More posts from camp to come.

Many Moons at anchor just off Camp Many Moons. The end of the dock is visible on left. Jeff made this dock a few years ago.
I’m still amazed that this 40-year-old boat completed The Great Loop. Applause to Mainship Many Moons! And of course to Skipper Jeff, who kept her going all those miles. Maintenance matters–for boats as well as humans!
The logo on the stern of Mainship Many Moons is only visible when the dinghy is gone. (I used it to paddle out to the boat.)
I’ve rowed this little dinghy in many states, and today I took it out “at home” — my 2nd home, anyway — under interesting clouds on Huron Bay.
It was a gray day, up until sunset, when the sun peaked out just long enough to leave this brief partial rainbow on the eastern shore of Huron Bay.
Camp Many Moons is 300 feet of waterfront near the head of Huron Bay. We take pains to cut dead trees down so the brown leaves don’t mar the view. (I cut one of those down myself just yesterday…a small one. Jeff handles the large ones, and we’ll be taking down one of those in a few days. It always amazes me how he lands them just where he wants to.)

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