Lessons En Route to Manitou

It happened last year as well.

We got too confident. We thought we were defeating something. We believed we were invincible.

This year, it happened in Grand Traverse. It was calm everyday. The weather forecast was always great, so we mostly ignored it.

The wind was supposed to pick up at 1:00 yesterday. South Manitou was 2 hours away. We could do it. But we had time. So we took it.

That was our error. The wind was not as predicted, so we were motoring. Which worked fine, until we passed North Manitou Shoal Light. I looked at the Depth Sounder Gauge, and it said “O.00” and was blinking. I yelled for Rob to turn around, to get us out of that, when the engine began to fail. We draw 4 feet, so we obviously weren’t really in shallows. But we were experiencing an electrical failure. And the wind was picking up; we were experiencing 7-8 foot waves as well.

This was NOT the time to break down.

I did my best to keep us on course (270, 270, 270…) as Rob tried to fix the engine. This time, the alternator wasn’t charging. It had shown no signs of failure, prior to this. He eventually switched it to our second battery (we just changed to a 2-battery system and have had a lot of problems since then), attached the solar panel to the battery, and it restarted. We spent a long number of hours plowing through the crazy waves, to get to Manitou Harbor.

We dropped anchor. And then another. And another. In the end, we had our plow and our good danforth off the bow, and our less-than-good danforth off the stern. I checked NOAA’s forecast, and the winds were supposed to reach 30 knots overnight. We set up watches.

In the end, we went to bed (around 1:00 a.m.). It was holding. When we woke up, around 9:00, the small craft advisory was long over, and things were calming down. It was going to be a rough day, at least in the beginning, but it would calm down. Tomorrow would be even worse, so, if we wanted to make it to Beanie’s therapy appointment (and continue to have enough food), we needed to leave right away.

Our destination was Betsie Lake, in Frankfort. At first, we had a lot of rogue swells, from the day before. But, as predicted, they diminished, and we had 1-2 foot waves. The wind decreased. It would have been a perfect sailing day, but our jib halyard tangled around the mast. This is an easy fix in port, but it the waves, it was nearly impossible. So we motored here, to our anchorage in Betsie Lake, and we really like it here.

I’ll tell you more about Frankfort later, as we are going to stay here awhile. But here are some pictures from our adventure:

As I kept watch, I looked for “Ivanhoe” to appear out of the window, to starboard…

When we pivoted, I saw this sign from port…

And, in between, we saw this boat off of our stern.

It was foggy when we began, but eventually we were able to see the Sleeping Bear Lakeshore.

Point Betsie Light

Frankfort North Maker Light.

Tomorrow, I’ll share some of our adventures in Frankfort, then I will have a post ready to go while we visit Beanie’s teacher and therapists. Then, we will get back to our adventuring!

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