(Written Thursday, 11 and Friday, 12 August 2016)

IMG_1316Can’t remember where I left off with my Boating With Dogs’ blog and as of right now, we are on our way down the St Mary’s River just leaving Lake George and have no signal so I can’t check. So apologies if I repeat myself a little.

We thought we were going to have to spend an extra night at Rogers City because the weather forecast didn’t look too promising. However, as I walked the dogs along the beach in the morning, conditions didn’t look too bad so I text Paul to see if he wanted to push on to Cheboygan. By the time he answered, I was at the furthest point away, “Yes, let’s go, the sooner the better”. So what I had anticipated being leisurely walk turned into a hurry-up-dogs-we-have-to-leave almost run. It turned out that there was a swell more or less on the nose so Paul kept the revs down and I sat down below with the dogs while they lay in their bed baskets feeling sorry for themselves. They were very good. They kept down their breakfasts. Phew. I hate cleaning up barf.

We spent one night in Cheboygan MI and the dogs loved it again. Seems as though so long as there is access to water they are happy. There is a lovely beach right next to the marina and a pier to the lighthouse all of which was just perfect for them. And the marina staff were wonderful too. The dogs were allowed in the office and were given a treat to boot. I think they should have been on a leash but no-one said anything. The dogs behaved themselves and we cleaned up after them.

IMG_1354Cheboygan to Mackinaw City was quiet in contrast to the day before; just windy but the waves were less than 1ft as we made our way up the Mackinaw Straits to Straits State Marina (from a boater’s point of view, Mackinaw City’s best kept secret). The biggest swells we encountered came from the Mackinac Island ferries.

Another boat came into the marina not long after us and tied up which was fine. But then he put on his music … for everyone in the marina and onshore to listen too. I wouldn’t have minded too much if it had been pleasant music but it was awful. Eventually it got too much so I went and asked the marina staff if they would ask him to turn it down. They did speak with him and the next thing we knew, he was gone. He obviously didn’t like the fact that we didn’t all want to listen to his choice of music. I felt bad for the marina because they now have a disgruntled customer but that feeling didn’t last very long. Our afternoon and evening there were much more relaxed than they would have been. Oh, and quieter.

From Mackinaw City we made our way into Les Cheneaux . A beautiful cruising ground again. We called in at Hessel for lunch, well coffee and fudge, and then carried on to an anchorage, Government Bay. There were several other boats in the bay, a couple with dogs so the dogs ended up barking/talking to each other. Quite funny really.

Left there to make our way to the DeTour Passage and up into the North Channel. The wind had been blowing from the SE mainly but during the previous night it blew from the West making for a interesting and sickening wave motion for our trip along the coast (imagine washing machine effect). The dogs looked at us as if to say, “Are you kidding us?”

It was pretty bad. Good job Paul doesn’t get seasick. I took the dogs down into our cabin where normally movement is kept to a minimum but not on this occasion. I put on a ‘seasick’ prevention patch which usually kicks in after about half an hour. But I was too late. I felt nauseous almost immediately after we set off and ended up sleeping for most of the journey across to Drummond Island. Relief came in the calmer waters of DeTour Passage up to Harbor Island.

IMG_1388Harbor Island has a horseshoe shaped anchorage inside the island with a narrow entrance so it is totally sheltered unless it is blowing from the south, which fortunately it wasn’t.

I took the dogs ashore and we went for an explore on the island. Firstly, the dogs disappeared around a little headland and I heard a small scream. Then a woman came back around followed by the dogs. They had just scared her; she was reading a warning notice about bears and saw movement out of the corner of her eye.

I know how she felt because I had had a similar experience back at Government Bay. I was walking the dogs in the forest and saw movement behind to my left. I thought it was Bella because what I saw was black. I called the dogs expecting to find Bella come at me from that direction. But no, she came from in front with Ebba. Hmmm… what had I just seen? I didn’t wait to find out. We retraced our steps and beat a hasty retreat to the dinghy.

Back to Harbor Island. Required clothing for serious island exploring – long boots and a hat. Long boots to protect your lower legs from scratches and stinging plants and hat to prevent tree twigs getting caught in your hair.

Back on the boat, Ebba decided to try to catch dragonflies. She would stand on the swim platform, watch for them to dance by and then launch herself at them. Don’t think she ever caught on but you have to give her 100/100 for perserverance.

IMG_1437Wednesday, we ended up at Sault St Marie MI. Not a very dog friendly place. The marina was OK, clean and quiet. We had to do a 3 mile hike to get to a place where the dogs could run free. And we got to paddle in Lake Superior. Thursday, made our way back to Bruce Mines Marina. Had to check in with Canadian Customs and the officer asked me if we were tied up at the government dock. “I don’t know, we are tied up at the only dock there is.” Fortunately the Harbor Master was there and I asked him. No, the dock is owned by Bruce Mines. I told the Customs officer and this seemed to satisfy him.

Bruce Mines Marina and community – again not really a dog-friendly place. There were notices all over re dogs being kept on a leash. The shoreline is very reedy and we managed to find access to it for the dogs. I set off for the grocery store, Paul had left a few minutes before me to take Ebba and Bella to this little bit of shoreline and as I walked down the road, first I saw 3 geese come flying (literally) out of the reeds, closely followed by a very angry duck and then a brown and a black head bounding through the water, ears flying. They were happy.

This morning before we left, I was walking the dogs off-leash but saw someone coming along the road I had to take and she had her dog on a leash. I called Ebba and Bella and shackled them. As we passed each other, the lady comments, “You have 2 very well trained dogs. (Thank you) Are you just visiting? (Yes) Oh, OK then.” I think I was about to get a mouthful of abuse for not having the dogs on their leashes before. Oh well. We left.

And now we are in Milford Haven, southeast corner of St Joseph’s Island, still in Canadian waters. We had a quick trip ashore for the dogs to run and do their necessary. As we were wandering through the trees and undergrowth, low and behold in amongst the pine and fir trees, there were two apple trees. Just two. And the apples looked like Golden Delicious. Unfortunately they were not yet ripe or there wouldn’t have been any left. It was just a bit bizarre.

Now the dogs want to swim but the water is 67F. I think I’ll take them ashore again.

Thanks for reading.

Joanna

PS: We did go swimming and then because of tomorrow’s forecast, we actually moved on down to DeTour Village Marina.

Yacht: San Graal

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