Return to WhimSea's Home Port. Dylan - August 30-September 8, 2014 -- Apostle Islands Adventure

Post details: August 30-September 8, 2014 -- Apostle Islands Adventure


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August 30-September 8, 2014 -- Apostle Islands Adventure

Posted by Karen A. Brown

We planned a grand adventure, a week and a half bumming around the Apostle Islands. We had no planned visits or routes, but hoped to spend a bunch of time at dock's this visit to give Dylan and the dog free access to the beach (which they both absolutely love!).

Friday, August 29
While we had planned to head up the night before, we still had cookies to make and packing to do. Given the weather wasn't going to cooperate anyway, we headed up on Friday instead. The goal was to load the boat for the weekend and ready our departure on Saturday morning. There were lots of people around the marina and it was nice to visit with so many of them. We were able to get everything stowed away, ready for the next day's departure.

Saturday, August 30
Saturday dawned a bit foggy and with no wind (no surpise). Many of the fishermen were up and out of the marina early to take advantage of the good fishing usually found with flat calm, and the fact that the fish were starting to come our way. The boys rowed WhimC (our dinghy) around, we all got aboard and headed to the fuel dock for the final fuel up and pump out.

We crossed to Wisconsin and the day brightened as we made it across. By the time we reached Eagle Island it was still flat calm, but now a bright sunny day. We entered the Apostle's using the south passage by Sand and headed to Raspberry Island. We had hoped to spend the night at the dock there if it was available.

Lucky for us, it was open. This is a picture of the boys at the top of the stairs from the dock to the Raspberry Island lighthouse. Though the lighthouse was closed and the keeper no where in sight, it was still a beautiful afternoon. We hung around the grounds for a little bit, giving Bug a chance to stretch his legs (and Dylan) and even got in a game of croquet. For those of you who haven't been to the lighthouse, they keep a croquet game set up with balls and mallets for visitors to play. It's pretty cool.

Sunday, August 31
Sunday dawned clear and sunny, with the promise of a bit of wind and a storm coming later in the day. The plan for the day was to get into the rhythm of the sea and spend the day either on the boat or on a sandy shore. With the planned wind being SW to SE becoming S in the evening, we headed to York Island, leaving the dock by 9:00, before the lighthouse opened so others could enjoy it. Labor Day weekend is the end of the season for the Apostle's and a lot of people use this as an opportunity to see the lighthouse one last time.

We anchored at York and spent the day hanging out, playing with Dylan and watching a variety of kayaker's paddle up the island. There certainly were a lot of people out and about. There was also a bit of wind, though we were moderately protected in the harbor, the wind did periodically come too much East of SE and a chop developed in the protected anchorage as well. We heard later from our friend Joey that Sunday would prove to be a busy day for them. (he does boat rescue and salvage on Black Warrior).

Unfortunately the wind really started to come out of the Northeast more frequently than not. We were getting uncomfortable. A final listen to the weather prediction confirmed that we should probably move. This was after dinner and we were heading towards dusk, but we've anchored in the dark before and we weren't worried about moving.

Just as Troy got the hook up, the storm hit and we were both completely soaked in a matter of minutes. Troy changed his jeans into his rain pants and put on his float coat. It's a good thing that it is summer and the rain was warm. Dylan and Bug, staying out the rain, enjoyed a movie below while we headed over to Rocky Island. It was an interesting trip, seeing the islands in between the strikes of lightening. We seemed to be the only vessel underway that evening.

We arrived at Rocky Island and saw that the north side of the dock was empty and decided to try and make for the dock. We headed in and I went forward to step off with the dock line. Unfortunately, it didn't quite work that way. The dock was slippery as was the deck of the boat. The dock at Rocky is also a 'Michigan style dock', meaning it has poles that run up four feet every few feet, which we don't often encounter. Regardless of the reason, I ended up in the water, between the dock and WhimSea. Troy saw me go in. In his concern for me, he evaluated his ability to make the dock himself, bring the boat in and keep WhimSea away so I could swim to shore. He stepped onto the dock with the stern line, but he also was unable to stay on the dock and he ended up in the water.

So now, both Troy and I are in the water... the boat is underway (though in reverse and dead slow) on a lee shore, in a storm, in the dark. The boy and the dog are still below, watching a movie. But they are the ONLY ONES ON THE BOAT!

I swam to shore while Troy grabbed the stern line that he brought in the water with him and made his way to the swim platform. He made his way to the platform, the diesel exhaust spitting water in his face and paused a moment to get his breath. Of course the swim ladder wasn't down and now he had to figure out how to get back aboard. Three times he made the attempt to re-board the boat. Failure was not an option. Dylan and Bug were aboard, alone (and unaware of the drama that was unfolding) below. He later told me that he had to talk himself into climbing up each rung of the swim later to get aboard. Finally he made it back aboard and turned WhimSea out to sea before the water became too thin.

In the meantime, I swam to shore, throwing off the coat that was dragging me down. I was minus one shoe and a hat, but I had somehow managed to keep my glasses on and walked down the dock in a step, slap fashion towards the end of the dock. There was a boat on the south side of the dock and those folks aboard had come to the dock in the meantime. All of them had donned headlamps that they were pointing in Troy's direction. He had turned the boat about and was about to make his second attempt to dock when he asked them where his wife was. They were all confused.

'Man Overboard' Troy yelled. And mayhem ensued as those on the dock realized someone was in the water. I was walking up the dock at this time, but with the noise of the diesel, the dark and the storm, people couldn't see me until I was among them. Troy still couldn't see me, given that the other boaters were blinding him with their headlights. He had come around for another attempt at docking and the boaters took the bowline from WhimSea to help out. Unfortunately, they did not cleat her off, but stood there, holding the line. Troy threw the mid-ships line their way, tossing into the general darkness and bright lights that were presented to him (being blinded by their headlights). We all heard the splash as the mid-ships line hit the water instead of the intended recipient. At the sound of the splash, the person holding the bow line threw it back aboard and shouted that Troy try again. Troy put the boat into reverse with the intention of making an attempt, but the stern line he had brought to the water with him when we went in the water was quickly sucked into the prop.

Thunk. The engine died. And the boat was without propulsion, on a lee shore, without me.

Instinctively, Troy pulled out the jib to windward and on a starboard tack headed out to drop the hook. This allowed him run forward and drop the anchor as close to the dock as possible. After she was secure, he rolled up the sail and began hailing the boat on the dock. Eventually, they turned on their radio and I was able to talk with Troy and Dylan. Assuring them that I was fine and that we would get together again in the morning. I would spend the night on the stranger's boat. They would stay out on the hook. Hopefully we would remove the line from the prop in the morning.

Monday, September 1 (Labor Day)
The morning took forever to come. I had spent the night on a stranger's boat. On the dock, wondering if my boys were ok and periodically checking to make sure that WhimSea hadn't dragged her anchor in the night. It was rainy and overcast that morning when everyone started to stir and the strangers I had imposed myself on offered to drop me off at WhimSea on their way to Madeline Island. I really appreciated their hospitality and was grateful that they would drop me off, so together Troy and I could resolve the prop issue while she was under anchor. They dropped me off and were on their way to Madeline. Unfortunately, the boat didn't even have a name, so I can't thank the boat personally, for their help.

Troy and I talked through what to do about the line in the prop. We couldn't even get the engine in neutral to charge the batteries. We either had to resolve it, or plan to end our vacation right then and sail back to Knife River.

In an effort to make sure that both ends of the dock line weren't in the water, Troy put a rolling hitch on the dock line that had wrapped around the prop and cut the line. There was a loud thunk, the cut end shot two feet, as the tension on the line was released with the cutting and it unwrapped from the prop. With the tension released we were able to unwrap the dock line from the prop. We could now put the engine into neutral.

With the engine in neutral, the engine fired right up. While there was a slight wobble, she didn't seem too much worse for wear from her adventure. We motored about for a little while and then headed for the dock. Both boys were anxious by this time to make dry land. After we tied up they ran gleefully down the dock and played in the sand and the water at the shore. Troy even recovered my lost shoe that had ended up down the shore.

We would spend the rest of the day relaxing, playing in the sand and the water and enjoying a wonderful dinner at shore. Troy made us a bonfire and we even had smores (Dylan for the first time) before heading to bed. Tired, and grateful to be together.

Tuesday, September 2
Tuesday morning would find us on Rocky Island dock for the day. The boys really enjoyed their quick and easy access to the beach and to water. We had a hard time keeping them out of the water, as a matter of fact.

Tuesday evening would find us cooking dinner under a cloudy sky dropping rain. Troy braved the weather to make us pork chops, sweet potatoes and pea pods on the grill. We were out of ice, so we cracked into one our our mini-kegs and enjoyed some Nut Brown Ale with dinner.

Wednesday, September 3
Wednesday morning and we decided we had to head for Bayfield. We were out of ice and could use more milk as well. We left the dock, with some reservation (dock space can be hard to find sometimes) and headed in to the marina at Bayfield. We headed into and secured ourselves at the end of D dock behind Always Sunday. A beautfiul powerboat which happened to have aboard someone who had worked at Knife River a time or two splashing down boats! Imagine, running into someone we knew at Bayfield.

Imagine our surprise when we looked the marina over and saw our friends from Pemion at the City Dock! Knowing we would be at the dock for the night, we sent a note to our friend Joey and invited him over for a drink. Lucky for us he was free and we spent the night catching up on friends and hearing of his adventures on Black Warrior first hand.

Thursday, September 4
Thursday dawned with a storm. We were heeling at the dock and the winds were buffeting every boat in the marina. We considered our options for the day. We could slip the dock lines and head out to an island. Or we could stay in town for another day. We had gathered our provisions (milk and broccoli) and could pick up ice before leaving, but first we listened to the forecast. They called for 30 knot gusts that evening switching 180 degrees in the night. There was no place in the islands that offered the kind of protection we would need from 180 degrees, unless we stayed put.

So, we stayed put and explored town a bit, heading to Maggies for lunch about mid-day. Afterward we explored the local marine museum and headed to the City dock to see if Pemion was aboard. We were anxious to hear of their adventures to date and to learn where they were headed. Jim and Linda had been talking about their adventure south for some time and we wondered if they were finally off on their epic adventure.

After hitting the marina, we made our way to the city dock where Dylan expressed, once again, his desire to get aboard the 'big ships' at the dock. Of course he meant the ferry that was bringing folks back and forth to Madeline. We stalled Dylan for a bit and knocked on Pemion, and were happy to find Jim and Linda on board.

It turned out that they were on their way to the big adventure, heading towards Chicago, their eventually trip down river and out to Belize next spring. What an amazing stroke of luck that we were able to see them on the way, else we wouldn't have had a chance to say goodbye!

In the interim, we did bring Dylan on his trip on the big ship (the ferry to Madeline and back) so we had an opportunity to enjoy a new type of ship on the lake. We invited Jim and Linda back to WhimSea for a drink and learned of their adventures so far. Enjoyed a drink and wished them well on their adventure. Their blog is planned to be at when they have it up and running.

In the meantime, we learned of a coast guard call made to by a former marina made for a medi-vac. The Annie B Stone needed someone removed who was experiencing pains and Nelson was bringing the boat to Bayfield to join their friend. He would dock right behind us, in the spot emptied by Always Sunday.

Friday, September 5
Friday would find us leaving Bayfield behind and heading back out to the dock at Rocky Island. We had enough of the hustle and bustle of marina life and looked forward to the quiet found in the islands. We had a great sail out and docked, once again, at Rocky. We were surprised by the number of boats out, given that it was the weekend after Labor Day, but it was a beautiful night to be out and about.

Saturday, September 6
Saturday morning dawned bright and clear with Dylan and Bug itching to get back in the water. We would have a hard time getting them out again before leaving the islands. While this picture doesn't convey the temperture, there were times when both would stand before us, shivering with the cold, asking to get back in the water. True water babies, both of them are!

Saturday evening would find us cooking dinner ashore again, complete with a bonfire and smores. We would share with our dock mates, but the nights were quiet and filled with stars and the moon, which had just reached full. More perfect days on the lake could not be planned.

Sunday, September 7
Sunday would be another day of relaxing at the beach, looking for sticks to throw and playing in the water. I have not felt so disconnected. No cell signal meant no internet, no facebook, no email and it was wonderful. Time slowed down and life was truly enjoyed. The moon reached out to us that evening and gave off such a wonderful light. What a perfect end to a truly fine vacation.

Monday, September 8
Monday would find us heading home to building seas and a rolling boat. Dylan did not fare well on the trip, being sick sea with the roll, but recovered quickly after we returned to the marina. While we were all sad to see the end to the vacation, it was clearly time to head home.

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