Portage Lake, MI
Portage Lake was our little refuge from the weather for about 3 days. I really didn’t feel like 3 days however, since the first day we arrived was after our long overnight passage. We were exhausted after pulling an all-nighter. I think all-nighters are more appropriate for when we were college-aged than what our current ages are. I think we hit that stage where you are so tired you don’t know what to do with yourself and almost too tired to fall asleep. All I wanted was some food in my stomach and a pillow under my head. We made some hash browns and eggs. After eating I went straight to sleep for awhile. Mark stayed up for a bit watching the anchor and our anchor alarm to ensure we weren’t moving.
As it turned out, we did drag anchor a bit and Mark was watching and waiting as long as he could to allow me to sleep before we got about the task of pulling up the anchor and resetting it in a better spot. All the reviews on Active Captain tell us that anchoring here is typically full of weeds which don’t usually provide for good holding. Once we pulled up the anchor this was absolutely confirmed by the amount of copious weeds that we pulled up along with the anchor. We motor around the area until we found a spot we liked better and dropped the anchor once again. This time it seemed like it grabbed a hold of the bottom a bit more firmly than last time.
We grilled up some pork chops for dinner and went back to bed. Suffice it to say that the entire day was taken up with eating, sleeping and keeping an eye on the anchor. I am happy to report that the anchor held firm all night with some pretty gusty winds and bouncing around.
The next day, we were a bit more rested and recovered from our night passage and had the energy to set about some tasks that needed attention on the boat. But first we enjoyed coffee and fresh baked scones because you just don’t want to rush into anything. As you might imagine, first on the list was fixing our problem with our navigation nights to ensure they are working properly. Mark first took a look at the bow light that has both a red and green light. Upon inspecting things carefully in the anchor locker in the bow of the boat, Mark found the wires that led to the bow light. He found that the wires were corroded right through at a place where a previous connection had been made. He cleaned up the wires, re-established the connection and solved this problem rather quickly.
Next, he had to check out the situation with our navigational lights at the top of the mast. As you can image the only way to check out the top of the mast is to take the mast down or have someone go up to the top of the mast to inspect it. Since taking down the mast is not an option away from a marina and an expensive proposition, going up the mast is the only other option. Mark went up in the bosun chair, designed for this purpose, and my job was to winch him up there. Winching someone up a 56′ mast by hand is a lot of work and requires a lot of strength, which I don’t really have. So, I had a little help! We have this angle drill aboard that has a bit that fits into the winch and I can motor Mark right up the mast! Don’t know what we would do without this little helper!
Here’s a few photos of Mark up in the bosun chair. We wore headphones so that we could communicate with one another when he was way up top and I was down below.
Mark was able to find the problem. When we had our mast down and before it went back up, Mark reattached the mast head light and had a bit of difficulty with it. It really didn’t seat properly and he wasn’t happy with how it went on. After going up the mast and removing it and re-seating it and aligning it properly, it now seems to work just fine! Another problem solved!
I did some work on the blog and photo organization before we decided to hop in the dinghy and take it across the lake to check out the small village of Onekama which is the only town on Portage Lake. We tied up the dinghy at a small marina on the shore of the village and walked around town. It was a sleepy little village with many closed businesses, perhaps casualties of COVID.
Here are some photos from around town. We stopped and got some ice cream at a little shop and walked across the street to a park and enjoyed the park views and the picnic table.
When we were ready to head back to the boat with the dinghy, the wind and waves had pick up considerably on the small lake and there were white caps. It made for a fun and wet dinghy ride back to the boat! It was pretty hot out at the time and we didn’t mind getting wet!
We made homemade pizza for dinner tonight and it was quite delicious!
And then, of course, we topped off the night with an amazing sunset!
The next morning, we were up around 8 am and first thing we pulled up the anchor to move to a new spot on the north end of the lake. We wanted to move since the winds were predicted to switch out of the north and would make our current anchorage very exposed and not protected from the stronger north winds that we would get today. We were able to get the anchor down without a problem and it seemed to grab a hold right away. Perhaps a lot less weeds over on this side of the lake. No sooner did we get settled on anchor and the front started to come through that we were expecting. It brought with it rain and wind from the north. We made coffee and enjoyed sitting in the cockpit with our enclosure watching the rain.
We spent most of today working on some final details of the enclosure by adding straps and snaps in all the appropriate places so that we can roll up the panels out of the way when they aren’t needed. We did however get in a bit of fun by playing a bit of cribbage.
We both talked about that spending 3 days at anchor was really helpful to de-stress and get in the groove of this sailing journey and leave all the worries about our mast and flurry of activity of getting ready behind and just enjoy being in the moment and enjoy our journey! I will leave you with a few final sunset pics!