Anchoring can be a real drag

We left Petoskey on July 2nd heading for Beaver Island. We will spend the 4th of July at Beaver Island and we are told they have a parade as well.

First let me tell you a little history about Beaver Island. Did you know that Beaver Island once was the only kingdom with a crowned king that has ever existed in the United States? James Jesse Strang was the Mormon king of Beaver Island. You are likely all familiar with Brigham Young who was a Mormon leader who led his people to Salt Lake City, Utah. James Jesse Strang was competing with Brigham Young as the declared leader of the Mormon church. James led his people to Beaver Island. In 1850 James was crowned king at a coronation held by his followers. It turns out that declaring yourself king can draw unwanted attention from the federal government. James was arrested and taken to Detroit to stand trial for treason. However, he was acquitted and returned to Beaver Island and celebrated by his followers. In June of 1856, just 6 years after he was crowned king, the USS Michigan – the same naval warship that took Strang to trial in Detroit – was again docked in the harbor at St. James.

The story goes that Strang was invited to join the captain on the ship for dinner. And as he walked down the dock, two men shot him in the back and the head.

It’s not clear just how involved the U.S. government was in the attack on Strang. But the two assailants and their families were whisked away on the USS Michigan.

They were never charged with a crime. Strang later died of his injuries a few weeks after the attack.

We made it to the kingdom of Beaver Island around 2 pm after leaving Petoskey around 8 am.

We found a spot in the anchorage to drop our anchor and settle in for the evening. Now one of the questions you might ask is, “How do you know where to anchor?” Well, we use various resources, one of which is an app/website called “Active Captain”. Think of this as the trip advisor for the boating world. Others who have stayed in anchorages or marinas leave their reviews and comments about the spot. What they liked, what they didn’t like, what to see, what to do, etc.

Now some of the reviews on Active Captain said that the anchorage at Beaver Island can be weedy and as a result some have experienced poor holding due to the weeds. We picked what we hoped would be a good spot and set our anchor alarm and kept a sharp eye on items on shore to ensure we were not moving. An anchor alarm is another app that we have where you can mark the spot where you dropped your anchor and then set a radius that would depend on how much anchor chain you have used. If your boat moves outside of that defined radius or circle then an alarm will sound so that you can do something if your boat is moving too much. All seemed well into the evening and night.

As we slept we felt and heard the wind pick up around 3 am. I am not sure I slept much after 3 am with all the noise of the rigging banging, the anchor and chain banging and the wind howling. The wind was up to about 20 knots by around 6 am. Mark was actually awake and out of bed around 6 am watching the situation and our anchor alarm. All of a sudden around 7:30 am I hear Mark say, “We need to move now!” “We are dragging anchor!” I got up as quickly as I could and threw on whatever clothes were nearby. Before I even really had my eyes open, I was at the helm maneuvering the boat as Mark was pulling the anchor up. Once we got the anchor off the bottom, it was readily apparent why we were moving with the increased wind and the huge ball of weeds that engulfed our anchor. You literally couldn’t even see the anchor, just a ball of weeds. Our anchor was stuck in the weeds but not stuck to the bottom of the lake as it should be.

It took Mark about 20 minutes to pull off all the weeds from the anchor with a boat hook while I was motoring us around the harbor waiting for this task to be completed. Once we were able to free the anchor from it’s weedy casing, we could set about the task of finding a new spot to drop it in the water again and hopefully have it hold to the bottom in sand or mud rather than weeds.

We dropped the anchor one more time, watched and waited, set the anchor alarm and hoped for the best. The wind was starting to die down and the rest of the day the winds were very quiet and calm. So we stayed exactly where we wanted to. However, we looked at the forecast for the winds for the next couple of days and the winds were only going to pick up both on the 4th and 5th. Wind speeds were looking to be 20 – 30 knots. We called the Beaver Island marina and even though we didn’t have reservations they were able to squeeze us in at the dock so we could have a good night sleep without having to worry about the anchor alarm.

When it was calm we did manage to take the dinghy into the small town here and explore and have some lunch. Here is our dinghy, her name is Nutmeg!

Here is the great little place we had lunch at. Sat on the porch with views of the water/marina.

The anchorage was beautiful and we certainly enjoyed it when it was calm and we weren’t worrying about our anchor. We enjoyed the sunset and sitting on the bow on the evening of July 3rd.

The people in that boat pictured in the sunset, got in their dinghy shortly after we took these photos, so we waved them over to let them know we took some cool shots of their boat with the sunset and we could send the photos to them. As they pull up in their dinghy, flashes of recognition happen with both of us. This is Jordan and Mary Beth. We met them a year ago on Mackinac Island during our stay there and here they are anchored in front of us. Reconnecting, questions and answers ensued which then led to a sunset dinghy ride and concluded with rum aboard Painkiller. Fun night!

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