Boating with our Besties

Saturday August 17, 2013

wheel of Hulaballo

If there were two people I could not be more excited to see on our trip back home, it would be our friends Jackie and Ron.  They’re a couple that we met last summer through our blog, and even though we only had a chance to hang out about four times before Matt and I left for our big adventure, we became fast friends and I now even consider them among my best friends.  As fellow boaters and soon to be cruisers themselves, they’re always excited to hear what we’ve been up to, and always there to lend an ear when I want to vent about any cruising or boat related problems.  When we had our accident in St. Augustine, they were the shoulder that I leaned on to cheer me up with constant funny and sarcastic remarks that always lifted my spirits, and even sent friends on secret spy missions to leave a bottle of rum at our doorstep while we were stuck on the hard.  Little surprises like these made the fact that due to our accident and we would no longer be able to make it to the Bahamas at the time they booked their plane tickets to visit us, a very hard pill to swallow.  These two have been such amazing friends to us that there was no way I was going to let an opportunity to see them, or their new cruising boat, slip by.

Having invited myself and Matt out to visit them and their boat as soon as our tickets to Michigan were booked, I didn’t even give them the chance to turn us down, although I doubt they would have.  What I did do though, was force them back a few days early from their two week cruise around Lake Michigan in which they wanted to make sure that all systems on their boat were in working order, and just to get a taste of the cruising life before they simply leave it all without ever thinking twice.  Like we did.  After having made a drive half way across the state earlier in the day to have lunch with my brother (I was going to get that visit in one way or another, damn it!) we made the drive out to our old familiar stomping grounds of Muskegon, even stopping at our old familiar West Marine on the way out just so we could get them a boat warming gift.  Wandering under the fluorescent lights we wondered ‘What would be most useful to a new cruiser?’ and decided that a fuel filter would be appropriate since lord knows how many times ours has come in handy since leaving the country.

There was one more stop on the way at the party store for libations.  Hard as I looked for Blue Moon or Land Shark in cans, some of Jackie’s favorites, they only had bottles and since I didn’t know what their glass policy on board was, so I went with Bud Light instead.  Completely similar to Blue Moon, right?  Parking our car at the marina and stepping out I that strange feeling where you know you’ve been gone from a place for a long time, yet you feel you were also just there.  It almost felt like we never left and that we’d still find Serendipity sitting out at her mooring.  Except, now that same mooring belongs to Jackie and Ron.  And as if their ears were burning as I though that, their dinghy came turning the corner into the channel.  Doing my best to sprint in flip flops and a dress, I quickly made my way around to the landing where Jackie jumped out and we gave each other a big bear hug that I’m pretty sure the guys thought they’d have to pry us apart from.

Torresen's Marina

Feels like we just left this yesterday.


After loading our bag, beer, and new gift into the dinghy, we were off to see Hullabaloo for the first time.  I was so excited when we got there that I absently left all our belongings up on deck as I scrambled below to take a tour.  It’s a beautiful and roomy boat and I think they’re going to love cruising it it.  I love my Serendipity, but I might have even been just a little bit jealous of their spacious layout.  No time for sitting around admiring cabinets and cushions though!  First orders first, we all (ok, maybe just me and Ron) grabbed cold beers out of the fridge, and then it was time to get the boat moving.  Too late in the day to actually go for a sail, unless we wanted to come back in the dark, we were only moving ourselves across the lake to anchor in front of the State Park and the dunes for the night.   It’s a calm and quiet spot which always produces great sunsets, and I can’t say that I haven’t missed being near the dunes of Michigan.  Ron ran up front to detach us from the mooring, and I fell into place behind the wheel, not even asking before I started to captain their boat.

drinks on Hullabaloo


The evening was warm and the sun was still casting a few golden rays over the water, so we spent the last few hours of daylight lounging in the cockpit and catching up on what everyone has been up to.  Which surprisingly, was not much about us this time.  Since I talk to both of them on basically a daily basis when I have Internet, telling them about every passage, project, or even dinner out Matt and I have, it was us that needed to know what they were up to and how their trip around Lake Michigan had gone.  I’d already gotten a few tidbits here and there from what Jackie posted on their blog, but it was a nice change for once to be regaled in our friend’s cruising adventures instead of the other way around.

As interested as we were in their stories and as excited as we were to see them, we were still incredibly weary from all we’d done since we left Guatemala, and unfortunately, that sleepy feeling was setting in way too early.  Matt decided to cure this with a jump in the lake.  I….was not so brave.  You can’t just take someone from 82 degree water and plop them in 72 degree water, it’s not natural!

Matt diving in Muskegon Lake

 I did the next best thing instead and suggested that we eat.  Because we all know that food is the cure to waking someone up.  Wait, what?  You mean it’s the opposite?  It makes you even more sleepy?  Well s%*t!  Oh well, the burger and corn were damn good, and worth any extra drowsiness they may have caused. Even the dog can back me up on that one.

Lexie eating corn


After dinner was finished and Jackie would not let me touch the dishes, even though I told her it’s how the dinner club works: you cook, we clean; I was sent back into the cockpit to keep enjoying myself with a fresh beer in my hand.  I couldn’t force myself to sit still at the moment though, so I floated around the deck with my camera, catching the last bits of baby pink and blue in the sky.  The sunsets here are just as beautiful and serene as I remember them.  I swear, there is something truly special about Michigan in the summer.

Ron and Jackie

 Our wonderful hosts.  Aren’t those just the cutest faces you’ve ever seen?

sunset on Muskegon Lake 1

sunset on Muskegon Lake 2

sunset on Muskegon Lake 3

 Just as I had used up almost all remaining space on my memory card and made my way back to the cockpit, Ron decided it was his turn for a swim that night.  Once again, I was still to scared to jump into what would now seem like frigid waters.  I guess two beers wasn’t enough courage or motivation to make me just go for it.  Looking at the blackening waters I told myself, tomorrow.  When we’re in the clear and even more frigid waters of Lake Michigan.

Lexie watches Ron

Lexie watches Ron swim in front of the dunes.


Since it was now getting dark and there were just a few too many bugs to make sitting in the cockpit enjoyable, we moved our party down below where we broke out a game they kept on board called Farkle.  And at the time, trying to figure out the rules to this game were just as hard as trying to say the name out loud without breaking into grade school worthy snickers.  I’ll just blame it on the bottle of Shiraz that had just been opened.  Round the table we went, rolling our dice and trying trying not to Farkle.  I swear that after every person played I was leaning over the scorecard trying to add up how they got to their points since even after a dozen explanations I could not catch on to anything more than a 1 is worth 100 points, and a 5 is worth 50.  I just played along as best I could until a winner was declared.  All of us stayed up a little bit longer and had Ron show off his guitar skills that he’s been picking up over the past year.  Kind of a reminder that I need to get my butt into gear and learn to play before my guitar turns into firewood at the hands of Matt.

Ron playing guitar

 Having got about six hours of sleep since we unknowingly stayed up past 2, we all woke up this morning with groggy grunts as we stumbled up the stairs and into the dewy cockpit for some fresh air and sunlight.  Strong coffee was quickly made, and we sat around talking about what we wanted to do with the next few hours as Ron busied himself below making sausage and fresh blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

sunglasses on Hullabaloo

blueberry pancakes

 Even Lexie got her own pancake in the shape of a bone.  Too cute!


After figuring out that Matt and I still had about four hours on our hands before we needed to head back to town for yet more plans we have with friends, we figured there was enough time to still squeeze in a sail on the big lake for a few hours.  Upping the anchor we made a beeline for the channel and felt the wind kick up from nothing, to a stiff breeze as we passed the USS Silverside and the lighthouse that neither Matt or I expected to see for at least 4 years after we said good-bye to it last August.  Even though that breeze which was so strong it had me running to put on my fleece even though I was just sweating moments before, it was gone as quickly as it had come, leaving us with dead calm waters and no breath of air as soon as we’d exited the channel into Lake Michigan.  I knew I wanted a leisurely sail instead of the bouncy passages we’ve been subjected to, but I was hoping for at least some wind.  We hadn’t been planning on going far, but now it was looking like we weren’t going anywhere.

windless day on Lake Michigan

Jackie & Ron on Hullabaloo

 Bobbing around going nowhere for a good 10-15 minutes, I had finally decided to go below and change into my suit and at least catch some sun when just enough air hit us to get us going. True to my wish, the universe held up it’s end and gave me everything I had been asking for ever since I started planning this day over a month ago.  A beautiful sunny day.  Check.   A calm and leisurely sail on Lake Michigan.  Check.   Surrounded by friends that I had been counting down the days to see again ever since I left them last year.  Big Check.

chillin on Hullabaloo

relaxing on Hullabaloo

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