02 Hessel, MI to Copper Harbor, MI

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Hessel and De Tour were fun because of bakeries we knew about. Got great homemade bread, pasties and other goodies.

Our real treat has been anchoring out. It’s been fun finding a sheltered, secluded spot, setting anchor and watching the sunset.

One special place was Lime Island. It’s right on the St. Mary’s River, right next to the freighter channel. They went by about 100 yards from where we were tied up to the island. In the early days of steamers, it was a refueling point since the freighters didn’t have to leave the channel. Still some old houses and equipment around and Michigan is restoring the buildings. We talked with the caretakers for over an hour when we arrived. Learned all about the island, the history and the politics of the DNR.

Going through the locks was a special thrill. For years we had watched, now we were doing. It was easier than we thought. Went in, they threw us a line, we left the boat in forward and with the line at the stern, we were held along the wall. It was a real thrill seeing the water go up and then to begin to see over the top of the lock. When the gates opened, we knew we were on Lake Superior.

Got a quick introduction to what Lake Superior can be like. Went to Whitefish Point to see the Shipwreck Museum, the one with the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald. The next day we were fogged in and had to stay an extra day. When we got up the next morning, the day was marginal, but we knew if we didn’t go, we’d be there for two more days.

Had a terrific sail heading for Grand Marais. Wind was up, seas were from behind and we had an exciting ride-up to the point of seeing the thunderstorm going across in front of us. We dropped sails, turned on the motor and headed back the way we had come in an attempt to stay out of it. Watched it’s progress on radar and when we could see that we wouldn’t out run it, we picked what looked like a hole in the storm and headed in. Had lightening all around us. One strike hit the water very close. We saw the flash, and heard the thunder at the same time. Then came the rain. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen rain that heavy. Rained so hard that it beat down the waves. Once all that ended, we had heavy fog. Used the GPS and radar to find the harbor entrance at Grand Marais. The thunderstorm that hit us was part of the front that went through Detroit and caused all the problems.

The next morning, we got a real Lake Superior welcome. The wind was at 30 knots, temperature was 45 degrees, and we had heavy fog and rain. Needless to say, we stayed another day.

Going to Munising was fun because of the Pictured Rocks. We went in close and got our own private tour. Really liked the area where the waterfall from the Chapel River fell directly into the lake. Once we got into Munising found they were having what was supposed to be the best fireworks show in the UP. It was. We anchored out, had fellow sailors who we had met in Grand Marais raft off and watched the show while our friends Pat and Ken on Infinity cooked and served pizza. It was a great night.

Stayed a couple of days in Munising to do chores and go see the 3 waterfalls that were within walking distance. Then we pushed off. As we started for Marquette, we realized we’d lost a lot of time so we headed out across the lake to Big Bay (where some of Anatomy of A Murder was filmed. Ate dinner at the bar where the murder took place and where some scenes were filmed. Then it was another push to a nice anchorage at Lac La Belle.

Now we’re at Copper Harbor getting ready to cross to Isle Royale. Provisions are interesting. What was listed as grocery stores, has turned out to be mini markets. We’re making do. Ruth is very creative at menus so we regroup and put on food for our trip to Isle Royale and then back on the north shore of Superior.

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