(Written Wednesday 3 August 2016)

IMG_1218.JPGSo my jubilation at both dogs going pee and poop on the boat was both very short lived and misplaced. Since that initial performance, neither dog has repeated the process. Each has plaited her legs and held on to everything. Seven hours today was getting towards the limit though.

Since my last blog, we have navigated the St Clair River, poked our noses into Port Huron but there appeared to be “no room at the inn” so to speak. So we went across the river to Sarnia and spent the night there.

We launched the paddle boards and Paul again rigged up the dogs’ swim ladder/platform so that they could come and ‘save us’ when we were drowning.

From Sarnia back across the border to Port Sanilac where the dogs just had a blast. And I have to say, reporting our return to the US was the briefest and easiest I have ever experienced. Two questions: From where? And who onboard? Oh that it was always that simple.

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Rotten wood for breakfast

Given the forecast for later in the week, our goal is to be up at or passed Rogers City by Friday, in time to shelter from the stronger winds. So yesterday and today we had to do two long days of cruising. Both dogs were brilliant. Good walk before we left and then they basically slept all day while we were cruising. They were quite nuts when we reached land and tied up though; a small price to pay.

Yesterday, we left Port Sanilac around 7am after watching a beautiful sunrise. Our destination was plotted as Port Austin, on the southern tip of Saginaw Bay. However, the conditions were so good and the dogs seemed to be doing so well that we decided to extend our trip to across Saginaw Bay to East Tawas.

Now we have been to East Tawas a few times and although it is satisfactory, it is not one of our favourite harbours. It is quite often very noisy and from where we usually dock, to get ashore, we have to run the gauntlet of several boats’ crews blocking the main dock and there is often at least one really aggressive dog. Makes going ashore a not-so-pleasant venture. But I digress.

Halfway across and I am studying the chart, I asked the question, “Why have we never been to Oscoda?” “I don’t know,” says Paul. Looking at the chart in more detail, it doesn’t look, in a normal year, that it would have enough water for us and in high water years, there is a low bridge under which we probably wouldn’t fit unless we took down our mast. Question answered – too much to do and too much uncertainty.

Cut a long story short: after three course changes between East Tawas and Oscoda, and trying to find a telephone number that worked for any marina in Oscoda, we eventually decided to chance it and kept going up the coast to Oscoda. By going there yesterday, it saved us 2 hours of extra cruising today.

Turns out that the marina we ended up at, Haglunds, isn’t really equipped to cope with ‘bigger’ boats. He freely admitted that his usual customer has a small fishing boat, 16-26ft. Forty-two feet was a challenge for him. But we tied up (and I use that word loosely, literally and metaphorically) alongside his wall, bow line and mid line tied to a wobbly ladder that didn’t appear to be really attached to anything. And the stern line was wrapped around a dinghy cleat which Ron attached while we waited.

You may think this sounds really sketchy and I suppose it was but the well in which we were docked was completely sheltered so we weren’t going anywhere anyway. I would recommend that if anyone else goes in, they make sure they have a couple of big ball fenders with them.

IMG_1234.JPGWe managed to hook up to the 15amp electric so we could boil the kettle – it’s the small things that count. But no other facilities. And SR23 passes about 50yds away from where we were.

So now all the things that Oscoda has going for it. There was plenty of water (water levels are high) and the marina is before the bridge. We didn’t get a chance to explore the town, but everyone we met was extremely friendly and patient with the dogs. There is a wonderful public beach just a stone’s throw away from where we were docked and the dogs loved that. It was sand all the way out; not stones. And the water was clean and clear and relatively warm. SR23 quieted down around 10pm and Haglunds store closed around 9pm so the whole place was really quiet.

Ron Haglund couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. He seemed quite excited to have us dock and was continuously apologizing for the lack of facilities; “it’s in the plan”. I rather think though generally he isn’t really a boater nor too bothered about his marina but he does have a great store – if you are a fisherman, boater or hunter. He has, what appears to be, every type of lure, line, rod, net etc for the fisherman; general replacement equipment including spark plugs (for our outboard engine) etc for the boating fisherman; and then guns. Rifles, shotguns, hand guns old and new, bows, arrows ….. I didn’t look too extensively but Paul spent quite a while in there and came out looking quite wistful.

I would definitely recommend Oscoda to other boaters and Haglunds for a tie-up.

Today started with a sunrise swim, for Ebba and paddle for Bella and me. Then off we went. Basically north, 8.8kt; wind basically behind us, 8.8kt ie no wind on the boat and FLIES! Ugh.

IMG_1259.JPGNo change of destination today; we made it to Presque Isle Marina right on time (7 hrs). Love this place. It, too, has a great beach but also to the east of the east pier, there is a shallow area, a little stony but sandals work, which is great for the dogs.

Have to check the weather forecast for tomorrow but I think Roger City is in our future. Need to restock provisions and then from there … who knows? Actually not telling in case the wind hears.

IMG_1263.JPGHave a great evening. Thank you for taking the time to read.

Joanna

T2CrossFit.com

I am going to start a photo album on Facebook. Here is the link: Boating With Dogs 2016

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