Meet the Parents

Friday July 30, 2010

Although my parents had both been born and raised in West Michigan, they have been doing a lot of traveling the past few years for my dad’s work.  Back in 2005 they were moved to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam where he was in charge of a new factory his company just built.  It was on a visit to see them in 2007 that Matt and I had fallen in love with world traveling and a different way of living that probably led up to our decision to take this trip.  Later that year my dad finished work with that company and was moved to North Carolina for a new job.  Then after a few months and a bad economy that branch was closed and he was moved through the same company to their current location of Mesa, AZ.  Even though Matt and I try to see my parents wherever they may be living at least once a year it’s always a treat when my parents come back to Michigan for one week in the summer.  We were able to take them sailing on the Hunter in ’08 and ’09 and were very excited for them to see the new boat we graduated up to.  Their first night in town last week we told them of our plans to take a few years off work and sail up and down the coast.  That’s not normally a conversation saved for the phone and I’d been waiting months to see them in person and tell them of our news.  (Which when you’re my age starts with ‘We have some big news to tell you……but it’s not a baby….)  I wasn’t sure how they’d react to us just up and leaving our lives, but the reply was “Well you’re still young, do it while you can”.  That was a very big releif for me.

Since my parents were crashing at my place while they were in town we all piled into their rental car and made our way to Muskegon while my brother Joe was supposed to meet us out there in his own car.  Upon arriving at the marina and finding he was nowhere near us yet we made our way out to the boat to lounge in class instead of in a parking lot.  I got busy stocking the fridge and cupboard with the food and drinks my mom brought as she must have thought we’d be out for a whole weekend instead of a few hours.  Always be prepared, she says.  We also picked up Subway for lunch but held off on enjoying those until my brother could join us.  This was not easy for me, I was ready to eat!!

 

 

 

While we were out there we could see all the young kids that were getting sailing lessons on lasers out in the lake.  Matt liked to tell me about them since he sees them practicing almost every Friday while he’s working on the boat.  They ranged in age from what looked like four to twelve, usually two or three of them placed in each dinghy.  While we were settling into the cockpit with cold beers in our hands we watched a few of the older cockier kids that would race inbetween the boats in the mooring field, coming within just a few inches of the hulls and then shifting their weight to turn away.  It was pretty amusing to watch until one boy decided we needed a show and wanted to use our boat like an orange cone in a slolem course.  He’d set a course straight for our bow and then lean back at the last second narrowly missing us by inches and then turn himself around and steer right back at us again.  If he wasn’t called away by his instuctor I probably would have given him two more minutes before yelling at him to get off my front yard.  Kids these days……  : )

 

 

 

 

 

After an hour Joe still hadn’t shown up so we took turns blowing up his cell phone.   He finally answered for Matt and stated that he’d been driving around for awhile but must have gotten lost because he was not getting any closer to water.  The phone was passed to me to give proper directions to the marina.  Only problem was that even with being given street names by Joe of his current location I had no idea where he was.  In all our years coming out here I’d only paid attention to the names of the streets we traveled on, and even some of those were a little shoddy.  My directions to friends were normally along the lines of ‘take the expressway til it ends, follow it to this street and take a left, keep on that street until you’re at the marina’.  Guessing at places he might be I gave him the best directions I could and told him I’d hope to see him in a little bit.  Turns out it wasn’t good enough because he had to call back 15 minutes later, but at least this time we were prepared with an address for him to plug into his GPS.

An hour and a half after the four of us initially arrived Matt was running out in the dinghy to get Joe and I was preparing the boat to leave as soon as they got back.  My parents only had three hours before they needed to start heading back for dinner plans, but we really wanted to get out to the big lake since we’d mostly stayed on Muskegon Lake in previous years with them.  When the boys got back we dropped the lines and headed out.  We were hoping for a little bit of wind this year as the last time I had my family out the water was almost glass and it was hard to let them get the feel of what sailing was actually about.  What had started out as a sunny and hot day was slowly becoming more and more overcast and I was reaching for my fleece yet again.  Winds on the big lake weren’t too strong, but enough to get both the sails up and a little speed under us.  It wasn’t a lot but I think it was perfect for my mom who isn’t into thrilling high paced rides.  For awhile we sat around talking and catching up since it’s usually only a one time a year event that we can get the five of us together at one time.

When initially planning this outing  we had promised Joe swimming so we put the sails down and let ourselves glide to a stop.  By this time there was no sign of the sun anymore and it felt like the temperature had taken a ten degree dip since we’d left.  This was not going to be enough to stop us and we all jumped in to the refreshing chill of the water which I swear has gotten colder in just five days.  The waves weren’t very big at 1-2 feet, but it did remind us ‘kids’ of being in the wave pool of Michigan’s Adventure when we were younger.  There weren’t any tubes to rent for $5, but after being submerged in the water I was realizing it was much better being under it than the cool breeze above.  The guys took turns diving and flipping of the side of the boat while I was treading water and trying to stay warm.  By the time my lips started turning blue it was time to head back and get my parents home.

As we cruised back in to call it a day I wondered why the beautiful Michigan summers I’d grown up with were eluding us this year.  I always had such great memories with my parents and my brother at the lakeshore in the summer of laying in the hot sand with the sun blazing and a fresh breeze coming off the water.  I wanted to be able to give them the same great time at the lake they had given me.  Either way though were were all just happy to spend time together and I was happy to share with them a little bit of the lifestyle Matt and I would be living in a year.  Maybe I can get them out to see us for some ocean cruising?  Hmmm…….we’ll see.

 

Think it’s big enough to spend 2 years on?

My wonderful parents

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Red, White, and Green

Sunday July 25, 2010

In order to be back to Muskegon (and then back to Grand Rapids) at a decent time we had to be pushing off by no later than 9 am.  We were hoping for only a 12 hour sail back this time, but even at that we’d still be losing an hour and getting to Muskegon sometime around 10 pm.  It probably would have taken more than an earthquake for me to wake up on my own since apparently Mindy had gotten up very early and was ‘crashing around the cabin, slamming cupboards and banging plates and glasses’.  I heard none of this.  Matt thought I was joking when I said I didn’t wake up until he went to shake me awake.  Yeah, I’d say the previous night is probably one of the most tired times I’d ever been in my life.  Not even bothering to put on real clothes I threw a fleece over my pajamas and went to the office to check out.  Matt got the boat ready for departure by filling up diesel and filling up the water tanks.  Hey, might as well enjoy as many perks of the marina as we can.  It didn’t take us nearly as long to get ready to leave as I thought it would.  But since we were just going to be spending a whole day on the boat with only each other it was just quick showers and then back to the boat.  Plus any cleaning up/packing could be done en route.  We were right on schedule for our departure and after gracefully pulling out of our slip we watched Milwaukee disappear behind us as we headed out to sunny skies and blue water.

 

Hello person in the mega yacht, can I be your friend?

Going for the ‘just rolled out of bed’ look

Skyline, Art Museum, and all the beautiful trees!!

The water just leaving Milwaukee was a beautiful emerald green color and any debris from the morning before had vanished.  The wind was quite gusty around 20 knots, so we raised the main and unfurled the jib trying to get as much speed as we could in case winds ran out later in the day.  The waves were about 3-4 ft which slowed progress down just a little bit, but we were still managing 4-5 knots.  Much better than the 3 which initially carried us over.  The first few hours we all hung around in the cockpit pretty quiet, still trying to fully wake up.  Since I had been trying to get myself into healthy eating all spring and summer I’d been depriving myself of one of my favorite things, pop.  (Or soda for you southerners) Just for this trip I’d purchased an eight pack of 24 oz Pepsi and one of Mt Dew, my absolute favorites.  It didn’t take me long to break open a Mt Dew and start getting my sugar buzz on.  Then one of the most depressing things ever happened.  I was about 1/4 through it when it just didn’t seem appealing anymore.  I actually started craving…..water.  What was wrong with me?

Since we didn’t get to do as much partying on the boat as we originally thought, there were still almost 2 full cases of beer and about 10 of the Daily’s premixed cocktails sitting around the boat.  Ken decided that now was as good a time as any to start drinking and the beer began to flow.  Pretty soon we all had a cocktail in our hands as we lounged around.  Since one of the big draws for Mindy to join us on the trip was a promise of at least one full day to lay in the sun while in transit she decided it was high time for us to change into our bikinis and get a little tanning done.  Too bad the temps weren’t in the high 80’s that day because with the winds still blowing hard on us it felt like it was barely 70 degrees out.  Drinks were definitely going to be needed to keep my focus off all the goosebumps on my body.  I’m a bit of a pussy when it comes to bearing skin in cool weather.  For some reason I can run from bar to bar in the middle of December with a tank top and no jacket, but ask me to go away from the protection of the dodger when the winds are over 10 knots and I want to bundle up.  Just one of life great mysteries I guess.

As Matt and I had to work at the drinks in our hands, usually completing only about two per hour and then taking a break from it, Ken was determined to get a little tipsy on this trip at one point and continued to drink beer after beer while sitting in the warm sun.  We tried to convince him and Mindy that sunscreen would be a good idea since the sun reflects right off the water and can burn you pretty badly even if you don’t feel it baking into you because of the wind.  I had it just a few weeks ago that I didn’t reapply mine in the afternoon and thought becuase the sun was getting lower in the sky I’d be safe from sunburn.  Sure enough when I got home that night my legs were putting off heat like a furnace and I had bright red legs the next day.  However, Ken and Mindy did not want to heed our warnings.  Since Minday was used to laying out in the sun almost daily and already had a nice tan going the effects were minimal on her.  Ken on the other hand was not so lucky.  It was late afternoon when he lifted his shirt sleeves and there was a distinct line of red skin and white skin.  Checking his legs under his green board shorts was the same exact thing.  It was almost like someone took a ruler to his skin, drew a straight line and colored half of it red.  Although I felt terrible for the poor guy I could not stop laughing.  Maybe next time we’ll force our guests to put sunscreen on weather they want it or not!

Our whole afternoon was pretty lazy.  We had chillie cheese dogs for dinner…a meal much better for smooth seas.  By preparing/eating them at one at a time we were able to keep the mess minimal.  As far as other boats on the lake that day, there was NOTHING!  Once we were 10 miles out from Milwaukee, we only saw one large tanker.  By the time we began to creep up on Muskegon it was after 10:00 and there were a few fishers out making their way in.  While keeping a close eye out for boats infront or on the side of us…it didn’t really occur to look directly behind us.  I don’t know if it was ESP, but as soon as this thought came into my head I turned around to see the Lake Express Ferry charging at us at 30 knots.  It was a bit off to our rear starboard, but within 30 seconds it was whizzing by to where we could see the faces of people having a smoke out on deck.  We weren’t in any kind of danger, it was just a little shocking to see something so large come up on you so quick.

When we finally attached ourselves back to the mooring it was quarter to 11.  Everyone but me had to be to work early the next morning so Ken and Mindy were completely packed and ready to go when we pulled in.  Matt ran them back to shore while I put away the last few items and made the boat tidy again.  Then I brought our luggage onto the deck and began to load up when Matt came back to get me.  I was pulling out my phone to check the battery when it began to ring.  I answered, and the following conversation went something like this. “Is this Jessica on the phone?”    “Yes….”   “This is the Milwaukee Coast Guard, we’ve been trying to reach you on channel 16 for the past hour, have you not had your radio on?”    “We turned it off when we got back, that was probably right around an hour ago”  (We actually turned it off once we were in sight of land again)    “We received a call from a Crystal Kimble, do you know her?”     “Yeah, she’s my mother-in-law”    “She stated that you were supposed to call her by 9:00 to let her know you’d returned safely, and if she didn’t hear anything that we needed to send out a search for you”     Yes, that’s right.  My mother-in-law had sent out a Coast Guard search for us.  Trying to relay what was happening on the call with Matt who was standing right next to me.  Getting frustrated he goes, “What?  No!  That was for the sail over!!  She was supposed to call the Coast Guard if she didn’t hear from us by 9 am yesterday!  I told her I wasn’t going to call her on the sail back tonight.”   I gave this information to the very nice and understanding man that had spent the last hour trying to reach us.  I did feel a little better when I found out no boats or helicopters had been sent out after us.  They had tried to hail us on the VHF and call Matt’s cell phone (which was dead) and then finally called my cell phone.  I apologized profusely that they had to go through any trouble for us but he stated he was just happy to hear we were ok and wished us a good night.  Would have been interesting to wake up the next morning and see myself on the news as ‘missing at sea’ though.

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Clang, Clang, Clang Went the Trolly

Saturday July 24, 2010

I awoke at 2 am to start my watch and let Matt go below to get some sleep.  Stepping into the cockpit I noticed the sky had clouded over and I could no longer see the stars or the moon.  Matt and Ken, who were lounging in the cockpit, mentioned there had been lightning flashing on and off in the distance.  They also sheepishly mentioned that for the past hour their eyes were beginning to drift shut and they were glad to have a freshly rested pair of eyes come up.  Both boys (for some protective or  chauvinistic reason, I don’t know) decided to stay up with me a little longer, but after 15 minutes Ken was below deck crawling under layers of sheets and blankets next to Mindy, leaving Matt and I to watch the storm come in by ourselves.  Although the lightning was still off in the distance the rain started in on us.  It was light at first but soon settled into a downpour.  Luckily the wind was close enough to the bow, and with the dodger and bimini up we stayed mostly dry.  30 minutes later we continued to watch the rain pour, and while I tried to judge wave size during flashes of lightning (only about 2-3 ft), Matt’s eyes were slowly drooping closed and he decided to go below after making sure 5 times  that I was ok by myself in the rain and 25 knot winds.

As soon as he went below I took his spot in front of the companionway because unbeknownst to me rain had been sliding down my sport-a-seat and soaking my bum.  I sat in this position for a few hours, craning my neck every 5-10 minutes to look out the plastic shield of the dodger to see if there were any other boats as crazy as us out in the middle of Lake Michigan in this storm.  For a couple of hours there was nothing, and I continued to sit in what was now the only dry spot in the cockpit listening to a mix CD from the 90’s and was now on it’s third cycle through.  It then dawned on me that only looking through the dodger may not be the best way to spot another ship in these stormy and cloudy conditions, and decided I should stick my head around the side for a better view.  Getting pelted by rain and winds that had now jumped up to 35 knots (Matt had reefed the sail before I came on watch) I looked to starboard and saw two white lights.  They were so far away that I could barely see them and every few seconds it would seem as if they’d disappear and come back into view.  For a second I thought I might be hallucinating, but after three more checks they were steady lights although I was still not quite sure of their direction.  They didn’t look to be getting any closer so I wasn’t worried about any kind of collision.  45 minutes after my first boat sighting I noticed another light off the port side.  This one looked closer than the others, but being my first night sail I had no idea how to judge distance by the size of the mast light.  Once I spotted two more lights off port I became nervous  and ran down in the cabin to wake Matt.  Shaking him into a half-awake haze I whispered, ‘There’s other boats out there, what should I do?’.  Matt was a little confused and asked what I meant, and I replied, ‘Should I try not to hit them?’ and he answered ‘Yes, try not to hit them’, and rolled back over to go to sleep.  True story, I actually asked a question that dumb.  Climbing back into the cockpit I kept a careful eye on the first boat, the one closest to me, and made a slight alteration to my course.  Within 20 minutes I watched the light get brighter and turn from green to red.  I had just passed in front of their bow and probably only by a few hundred feet.  Taking in a 360 degree view and looking at the five boat lights within just a few miles of me I had to wonder who these crazy people were and why they were also in the middle of Lake Michigan during a storm.  Was it always this busy out here?

After passing through the worst part of the storm with winds averaging over 30 knots and topping out at 38, with thunder so loud I have no idea how it didn’t wake anyone in the cabin, the rain subsided to a drizzle and the sky turned from black to a very dark gray as dawn came upon us.  Checking the GPS in the cockpit it appeared as if we had only made it 2/3 of the way even though we had been on the water for over 10 hours.  My shift was supposed to end at 6 am with Matt relieving me, but once I did the math and figured that the four hours I’d be on watch would be the only sleep he’d get all night I thought I’d let him sleep in a little more.  Since we weren’t as close to our destination as we expected to be at that point there was no need for him to be up at that time, and I’d still be able to get a good two hours of sleep even if he didn’t come up until 8:00.  I remained in the cockpit watching the sky grow lighter although there was no sign that the sun was going to shine that morning.  Through the light fog I could make out other boats on the water, sailboats, all heading north.  Then it finally hit me.  This was the weekend of the Chicago to Mac race, and the boats I’ve been seeing on the lake all night were racers.  It was pretty cool crossing paths with them and I wish the sky were more clear so I could see just how many there were out there.  And if you happen to be in that race and saw a boat headed west that looked like they had no clue what they were doing, ….. sorry!!

A little after 7:00, when the 90’s mix CD was probably on it’s 8th cycle through now, Matt had woken up and joined me in the cockpit.  He said we were still 3-4 hours out from Milwaukee and I should go below and get some more rest before we arrived.  I stripped out of my soaking wet clothes and took his place on the starboard settee.  Just as I was drifting off Ken and Mindy decided it was time to get up.  Normally I can sleep through anything, but for some reason on this morning I could not sleep through their noises.  I was now wide awake as well and was going to have to make it through the day on only three hours of sleep.  While counting down the last agonizing hours until we made it into port we tried to waste time by making breakfast, popping in a movie (that we paid attention to for only 20 minutes), and hung out on deck with Matt waiting for land to come into sight.  Eventually the skyline came out of the cloudy haze.  I gave a call to the dockmaster at Milwaukee Yacht Club who directed me toward a slip for when we arrived.  Getting into shallow waters we could see all kinds of debris in the water from the past two nights of storms.  The water looked muddy and was full of tree branches and even a few logs bobbing around.  Maybe Becky had reason to worry after all.  Getting ready to pull into our assigned slip it was all hands on deck as Matt was popping his docking cherry and we didn’t know how it would go.  Everything went smoothly and soon we were secured and ready to get on dry land.  It was a 16 hour trip and all of us wanted to get moving right away.  Since we gained an hour on the way over, the office had just opened up when I went to register.  Mindy and I found where the amenities were and quickly packed shower bags to get ready for the day.

 

 

 

An hour later the four of us were ready to go and walked out of the marina as the sun began to break out of the clouds.  From what I could see so far, Milwaukee looked like a beautiful place.  Just outside the marina was a park with lush green grass, walking and biking paths, all lined with trees.  Just across the main road the skyscrapers started and you were downtown.  We walked down the roads with no real plan in mind except to find lunch.  We had wandered into a street fair with vendors everywhere.  Wanting to find an air conditioned spot as temps were already reaching the mid 80’s we found a Mexican cafe where I had a black bean, spinach, and goat cheese tostada that I really need to find out how to make on my own because it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten!  Back on the street we tried to find our way to the trolley that could bring us into the heart of downtown without us having to walk five or six miles round trip.  Coming out one of the backstreets to the main road the trolley follows we saw it pass us by just a block before the next stop.  We tried to run to catch up with it but were no match.  We’d have to wait 20 minutes for it to make it’s next round.  The sun was scorching, there was no wind, and no shade.  What felt like an hour later, just as we were about to give up and hail a cab it came around the corner again and we boarded on.  It was completely packed and there was standing room only.  Our destination was a casino on the far side of town since Mindy has the ability to turn $10 into $80 on the slot machines and we were hoping she’d win drinking money for the night.  We rode out to a stop that was closest to the casino, still about a mile and a half from it, and planned on walking the rest.  It didn’t take us long at all to get lost and we were constantly huddling over Matt’s phone trying to find the best route.  After realizing we’d have to cross a highway to get there we admitted defeat and called a cab to take us the short drive there.

 

 

 

Once inside we all made our way to the slot machines. Mindy plopped right down at the quarter slots while Matt and I went in search of the nickle slots.  I have no luck in gambling and for me it was just going to be a game of how long I could get $2 to last me.  Turns out it’s not very long and soon we were aimlessly wandering the floor trying to waste the next 30 minutes until we were all meeting up again.  By this time I was starting to hit a wall.  The lack of sleep from the night before was really starting to get to me and I was beginning to feel physically ill.  When we met up with Ken and Mindy (without our expected drinking money for the night) I was more than ready to go back to the boat for a nap.  When we stepped outside to hail a cab we saw a shuttle bus for the casino parked out front.  The guys edged Mindy and I toward it to see where it was going and if we could get a ride.  Climbing the steps with sweet smiles on our faces and batting our eyes we asked the driver who the bus was for and where it was heading.  Although it was empty at the time he informed us it was for ‘preferred guests’ and it took them wherever they wanted.  When we found out he wasn’t scheduled to drive anyone around for awhile we asked if he could run us back to the marina.  He happily agreed, but I think he was a little disappointed when we told him we’d be right back with our husbands.  Ten minutes later we had door to door service and wandered back to our slip where I promptly passed out, completely dead to the world.

 

 

 

What felt like a minute and a half later Matt was waking me and telling me that if we ever wanted to go out that night I’d need to get up and start getting ready.  Part of me just wanted to skip our night out and sleep until the next morning but I forced myself to pack a few belongings and head to the ladies room to freshen up.  Turns out I was the only one who had needed a nap and everyone else had spent the past hour and a half lounging around the boat and dock.  After getting ready we all headed out on foot to find an Irish restaurant I discovered online that was only just over a mile from the marina.  I had printed out directions on mapquest before we left and we began following the streets listed, going completely out of our way and walking up a very steep hill … only to be dropped out at the pedestrian bridge we had used that very morning which only took us five minutes to get to.  Apparently mapquest also gives pedestrian routes and I did not know this.  Might take awhile to live that one down.  Back on the same street from that morning, the festival was going strong and the crowds were becoming very thick.  Near the end of the street a drag show performance was going on and it looked as if the whole city of Milwaukee showed up to watch it.  We also stopped for a few minutes, but the hunger in our stomachs was becoming too strong for all of us and we kept moving.

Turning off onto a side street the buildings became more of the abandoned warehouse variety and we began to wonder if we were in the right place.  Continuing on we did end up at the Irish Pub, Brocach, a renovated brick building nestled between a few dilapidated buildings.  The decor was very nice and we were seated upstairs next to an outdoor patio area.  And after seeing the door swing open a few times displaying hanging lights and planed trees hiding the surrounding buildings we began to wish we were out there instead.  We all ordered a round of beers and realized that nobody had been drunk yet this weekend.  Going light on cocktails the night before for pure safety reasons and not having extra lounging time around the boat today for pre-dinner cocktails.  We made a promise to get good and sloshed that night since what good was a trip across Lake Michigan if you couldn’t fully enjoy it?  At the end of dinner Matt was content with his shepherd’s pie (the whole reason we went there), but had only managed one beer with his dinner.  In fact, Matt, Mindy and I were all tied for one and Ken was leading the board at just two.  We vowed to get crazier at the bars that night and hit the streets again without a clue of where to go.

 

 

 

Running into a group of 20 something’s on the street we asked where the best bars within walking distance were.  Immediately we got a response of a street that was about 7 blocks away and filled with bars.  We were given a specific bar name of Taylor’s and were told to just ask for that along the way if we got lost (which of course we did).  All of us were tired from the walk by the time we got there and were having a hard time trying to get into party mode.  Even worse, our friendly tour guides had directed us to the ‘trendy/upscale’ bar area of town while we were only decked out in jeans and flip flops.  Underdressed was a bit of an understatement.  Instead of trying to find another area of town that suited us better we just sat at a table outside and ordered a round of beers.  It was barely 9:00 at night, peak bar hours hadn’t even started yet, and we were ready to pass out in our chairs.  It was a little disappointing that we had sailed all the way across one of the Great Lakes just so we could party at new bars and now we were too tired to do so.  Finishing our one beer apiece we paid our bill and started the journey back to the marina.

Walking along the waters edge I thought how said it was that we didn’t have more time to spend here.  There were so many amazing things we wanted to see, the art museum, spend time shopping downtown, and most importantly take a brewery tour.  We had barely tapped the surface, and even if we had a week to spend there we wouldn’t have run out of things to do.  I’m really hoping we can squeeze in another trip next year before we leave to head south.  Getting closer to the marina, a fireworks display broke out over the water.  We had no idea what it was for since it wasn’t a holiday but enjoyed them all the same as we walked along.  They were still exploding into the night sky by the time we reached the boat.  Leaving Ken and Mindy behind (by their choice) Matt and I sat on the deck and gazed up at the greens, reds, and purples illuminating everything around us.  It may have been a short trip.  We may have cut out about 60% of what we wanted to do.  But it was still completely worth it.

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Milwaukee or Bust

Friday July 23, 2010

This morning at 6 am was supposed to be our departure across the lake to Milwaukee, but when the alarm went off at 4 am to check the forecast all plans were put on hold.  The radar was showing severe storms all day and we had to make the decision if we thought it would still be a safe passage across.  Comparing it to the storm we suffered through the night before consisting of gale force winds, severe lighting, sheets of rain, and tornado warnings, we decided it was safer to put the trip off til our backup date two weeks later and went back to bed.

Slowly coming to again around 8 am we opened the hatches expecting to see dark ominous clouds and winds blowing branches off trees.  What we found instead was a slightly hazy sky and a calm over the water.  Not ideal conditions for sailing since there was no wind, but definitely safe enough for a 69 mile trip across Lake Michigan.  I was quite disappointed  to say the least.  In my head I tried to do quick calculations to see if the trip was still possible if we left within an hour but it would have put us in Mikwaukee after dark, and since we had never docked a boat before we decided that would not be an ideal first attempt.  Plus we had already told our friends Ken and Mindy who were going to take the trip with us that it was cancelled and we didn’t know if they would be able to pick up and leave again at that minute.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon were spent hanging around the boat, Matt just excited to be on the boat, and me moping around because we had literally been planning the trip since December.  While sitting in the cockpit soaking up the sun that had decided to come out and taunt me, Mindy and I texted back and forth how it would have been a perfect ride over and wishing we would have gone.  Around 3:00 she sent me a text that read ‘We should just go now n let the guys sail during the night while we sleep! Lol! Just kidding!’.  But actually it was quite perfect.  If we left around 7 that evening and it took us the 12 hours we were expecting to get over, it would put us there just after sunrise.  And since we’d be sleeping on the way over we’d still be refreshed and ready to explore the next day.  After some phone calls and grumbling on Mindy’s part (she’d just cancelled the babysitter, now she’d have to get them back) we made plans for Ken and Mindy to meet us at the boat at five, grab a quick bite to eat, and set sail at seven.

Following an interesting dinghy ride back to the boat once we picked them up in which the entire floor was covered with luggage, coolers and sleeping bags, and Ken slowly sinking the bow, we loaded Serendipity up with our new guests and their belongings.  Dinner was quickly prepared and eaten and we were ready to be on our way.  With one problem.  Not only would the engine not fire up, it wouldn’t even turn over.  Matt spent the next 20 minutes huddled up next to the engine sweating, and cursing under his breath I’m sure, to find that a tube had come unattached.  With a snap (or a twist) back on the engine was roaring and we were underway.  With the mainsail raised, motor still running, and the autopoilot set at 265 degrees we set out for our first big adventure.

 

 

 

Sitting on the deck with fresh cocktails and beers in our hands, we let our legs dangle over the edge and catch the waves with our toes.  Watching the sky turn from blue to pink we gazed at clouds that looked like greyhounds and space saucers, blissfully unaware of the uncomfortable journey we had ahead of us through the night.

 

Look, it’s a greyhound!!

The calm before the storm

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