We arrived a day or two ahead of schedule and looking at weather knew we may be staying a day or two longer than planned. No complaints from anyone since we were visiting close friends! Our friends the Burnetts, who visited us 4 times during the loop, spend a lot of time in Manistique as Kathy’s parents have a house there. Tom and Eileen welcome us to their home every summer and we love spending time there. The kids have endless time on the beach exploring, building, swimming, and just good old fashioned playing with their friends.
We were excited to be arriving earlier in the day Wednesday since we had a shorter day on the water. We pulled past the lighthouse just after 3 pm and the girls were jumping to get to the beach! We can see the house from the water and Kathy could see us so she jumped in the car and zipped over to the marina to get us. As we were pulling into a channel and marina we’ve been to twice before, we hit bottom so hard the starboard engine shut down. What. On. EARTH???? Ben used the thrusters to spin us off of the sandbar we hit. We pulled over to deeper water and anchored quickly. Upon calling the marina frantically, I found that the person working didn’t know anything about boats. NOTHING. I was pretty nerve wracked on the phone asking what could be in the channel, if he knew current depths, etc. I told him we hit a prop so hard it shut our engine down. He said he’d call his boss and see if he had information. Meanwhile, Kathy is standing next to him on the dock. He asked her WHAT A PROP WAS???? Are you kidding me? She told him it’s what makes the boat move. Seriously! Can’t make this stuff up. He quickly called me back (as she was texting me everything she overheard on the phone conversation with the boss). He reported that the deep water was on the left….on the side with the marina wall….well, that was on our right. So, which is it? Ben was thinking fast and told me to call fellow Loopers Jill and Dustin Denkins. She and Dustin are from Manistique and left on their deep draft sailboat last September from the marina. Meanwhile, after I had mentioned to the marina employee that we have a 5′ draft he turned to Kathy and asked what that was. Boy oh boy. Jill called back immediately with information from Dustin. By then Ben was midway through craning the dinghy into the water. He jumped in the dinghy and scouted out a route with enough depth. It matched exactly what Dustin told him to do. The spot where we grounded was around 4 feet. In the channel. With NO marker. Ben found 8′ water and marked a clear path on our Garmin computer we use in the dinghy. He returned to the boat with Kathy in the dinghy. She hopped on the boat with him. I hopped in the dinghy with instructions to follow that purple line exactly and lead him in. Yikes. I am not good at driving any boat whatsoever, but that was the best driving I’ve done yet! So, after a lot of drama and lost beach time we made it to the wall with no more excitement and got tied up. By this time Jill had also made it to the marina and was there to help tie up lines and say hello. We have such amazing friends!
A few deep breaths later, Kathy took Maddy, Claudia and Sabina back to the house in her car. Ben and I took Livia and Molly in the dinghy and off we went to try to relax.
As promised, after our gorgeous three days on Lake Michigan, Thursday started with a bang. Rain, winds, crazy waves. It thankfully didn’t rain all day. It was very windy but the kids got in some boogie boarding and were able to play in the sand when it wasn’t raining.
We were able to play at the park and take a walk on the boardwalk. And we were with the best of friends so a little rain wasn’t a big deal. And nothing a big bonfire wouldn’t fix!
Ben and Jack spent the day working at the boat. Ben talked with the guy at City Hall who is in charge of the harbor. The old harbor master retired. He is a wonderful man who we have worked with before. There is no one in charge of the marina now. It turns out they KNEW the channel had a big sand bar there. Ben said of course they knew. I was outraged! He said the channel was dredged last year but that area has contaminated sand so they couldn’t remove it. No idea what contaminated sand is. Ben suggested maybe they put in a marker?? Just an idea??? Nick from City Hall agreed they could maybe mark it. Ben told him what color it should be so as not to confuse boaters. Yikes all around. Anyway, for now Ben has posted a review about the hazard on Active Captain.
Always an adventure!