The Day We Almost Went to Tawas

We had our last night on A-dock last night. We drank a toast. We took a walk. It was all very wonderful and bittersweet.

I couldn’t sleep last night, because I was so excited about sailing again.

And sail we did, this morning! It wasn’t the beam reach we’d been hoping for, and it wasn’t even a broad reach. We were as close to going upwind as we could be, and we were heeled over, even though we were just flying the working jib (the smaller one, without the main sail). We saw the Appledore (a local tall ship) under full sail, which is very rare; they almost always motor sail. We saw a Coast Guard boat rescuing another Coast Guard boat, which was hilarious. We were definitely going to get to Tawas early. Rob sent me down below to call our parents and let them know our ETA.

My phone didn’t work, for some reason. And that was good, because Rob said, “Oh no!” right as I put it away.

I asked him what was wrong, and he pointed at the spreader. The starboard side spreader was completely disconnected, on the outside.

That was a problem. If the spreader fell out, our mast would most likely bend in half. Yes, bend. in. half. The boat wouldn’t be totaled, but it wouldn’t sail anymore this summer. We would probably be calling Tow Boat, or, more likely, figuring out how to get into port with a horrible crippled, bent mast.

Luckily, the nearest port was Bay Harbor. It’s not Alpena.

Then, our motor quit on the way. We sailed up the river, giving the motor a rest. We restarted it, and let it run until it quit a few times. Doing this, we made it back to our slip.

What was wrong? The motor seemed to have some water in the fuel, which it worked through and ran well. Rob will do more research today and tomorrow, just to be sure.

In order to fix the spreader, we could pull someone up in the Bosun’s chair. We tried this last year, with Rob hoisting me up, and the winch released after 2 feet. We haven’t been very keen on this since then.

Instead, we talked to the shop at the marina. They said that they would work with us if we would work with them. They will do the repair for free, but they’re so booked we’ll have to wait (in a free slip, remember…) until Thursday. That sounds like a great deal (and much better than crashing down on the deck…).

We also need new jib sheets, since both lines are frayed (one completely broke, and the other is close). We have a spare, but we’ll buy another while we’re here.

So, with all the repairs, I realized I needed to get some money from an ATM. I took off on the Moped (with a full face helmet; I’m not interested in meeting Jesus right away…) and headed to WalMart. I would get my money and some adult refreshments.

First, the Moped began wobbling as soon as I turned into the parking lot. Clearly the back tire was flat. I would fix that after I did my shopping.

I got the beverages, but the ATM did not want to give me money. It claimed technical difficulties, all 3 times I tried. I gave up and went outside.

Where two men were eager to be my knights in shining armor. One actually said he was there to buy a bicycle pump, so if I waited, all would be good. They only seemed more eager when I said I had no car, because I was a sailor living at the marina. Hmmm….

There was a gas station next door, so I declined rides back and headed over there. I tried filling the tire with the air compressor, but only black slime came out. I figured the tube was blown, but there was yet another older man who thought he could help. We tried it again, to no avail (really, I know as much as they do about these things, but I’ll humor them…). He watched the moped while I tried the ATM at the bank next door. It said I had exceeded my allotted ATM transactions. Thank you, Walmart. 😦

After declining another offered ride, I limped the moped back to the boat. I did run the engine, slowly, because that was quicker (and safer, IMO) than walking. Rob was there, feeling sorry for me, but impressed that I made it back (um…300?).

I still needed $$. So I climbed on the brand new folding bike. People in Bay City are much more courteous to Moped riders than cyclists. I got run off the road, and the handle bars slid. I was struggling to keep them upright as I made my way to the ATM, with Rob’s card (on the same account). Luckily, it granted me my money that time, and I headed back, carefully on the sidewalk.

Rob opened that wine box for me when I got back.

Otherwise, we’ve not been devastated to be back here. It’s A dock. We’ve shared our homebrew with our sailor friends, and caught up with everyone. It turns out we weren’t the only boat to run aground in Thunder Bay last summer! (Another one made it to Tawas, which wasn’t much better than Alpena). Most people had some sort of adventure to share.

So here we are. It’s not Patience Camp. It’s home. And I can totally hang out here another day before our adventure begins.

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