03 Copper Harbor, MI to Ganley Harbour, Ontario

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We’ve decided to stay a second day at Woodbine Harbor. It’s what we sailors call a snail shell harbor. It twists back in so that no matter what the weather is on the lake, the waves and wind don’t get back to where we are. Right now we are listening to the CD, and watching the sun drift down into the trees. The air is still and the reflections in the water are great. Off to the north, we can hear the rumblings of a thunderstorm and see the top of the thunderhead. We’re the only boat here tonight so we have a private show put on by Mother Nature.

We were going to move today into a small town to do the laundry. Instead, we used the dinghy washer. It works like this. Remove the dink floorboards. That makes the bottom of the dink very flexible. Dump in 5 buckets of water and one measure of detergent. Dump in all the dirty clothes, sheets, towels and climb in after them. Use hands and feet to agitate. Rinse everything in the lake. Dump rinsed clothes in a bucket to make it easy to get back up on the boat and spread over lifelines, boom, deck and any other surface to dry. We got a big kick out of doing it, and the clothes came out great. I figure we could have a fall back occupation doing cruisers laundry in our dink. We could charge by the bucket full. The best part was that we got a second night in a wonderful anchorage.

We are now experts in navigating in the fog. When we left Isle Royale visibility was maybe a quarter mile. It quickly dropped to 500 feet once we were out on the lake and never improved. I’d put a route in on the GPS. Using that, radar, the depth sounder and charts we navigated over to Canada and in between the islands without ever visually seeing them. On the radar, we could confirm that we were a quarter mile out, and could use the radar to look for other boats. Took us a while to get comfortable traveling this way, but it works. Up here, if you didn’t have the option, you’d spend days fogged in at port.

Our second major navigation in fog had a splendid ending. Again we had visibility of only 500 feet and were using the GPS and radar to find our way. As we came into the Nipigon Straits, the fog lifted to reveal high bluffs and major cliffs coming almost straight up out of the lake. We are impressed with the beauty of the north shore and its ruggedness. Not many people up here. Except for the towns, and they are very far apart, there’s nothing on the shores. Just trees, bluffs, craggy cliffs and wildlife. It’s very spectacular.

While we were on Isle Royale, we saw 4 moose. One encounter was delightful. I was rowing the dink up a creek. As we rounded a bend, I looked over my shoulder and about 100 yards ahead were some weeds and a log. I figured we wouldn’t have a chance at seeing a moose until we were past the log and went back to rowing. Shortly after Ruth Exclaimed: “The log! It’s moving! It’s a moose! We watched in delight as 50 yards away a cow moose raised her head, looked around and ducked back under to continue dinner. We moved a litter closer and drifted into the weeds to watch and videotape. Ever 30 seconds the moose would come up for air. We could hear her breathing each time she came up. Once or twice she appeared to look us over before she ducked down again. We watched for 10 minutes, and then quietly left, leaving the moose undisturbed enjoying her munchies.

Some dinners now come from the propane grill now mounted on the rear rail. It’s a new addition ordered while on the road. It’s easy to get stuff, even when in the boonies and small town people sure are helpful. When I called the Munising marina to ask if I could have something delivered for pick up, I got the City Hall instead. The City Hall was answering the marina phone because they did not have enough marina business to afford a full time person on the dock. When I told the lady what I was up to, she said I should have the shipment sent to the Munising City Hall. I made arrangements for a second day shipment and let the lady, Sue know when we would be in to pick up the package. The weather turned lousy, and I called Sue again. She laughed, said that she had already figured we would be held up by the weather, and had moved our package to the fire hall because someone would be there all the time. As it turned out, we picked up our new grill on the Fourth of July. How’s that for nice service from a small town.

Isle Royale and the north shore of Lake Superior are just delightful. We continually feel like each day and each anchorage is better than the previous day. We are again feeling the frustration of time. If we had our way, we’d spend part of August up here. However, the adventures ahead, and having to get to the Erie Canal some time in September keep us moving.

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