We had a heck of a time getting into Charlevoix. It was only a 16 mile sail but learned quickly that gybing is much more difficult with a larger sail area. The wind was straight behind and allowed for us to speed downwind from Petoskey. We made it with plenty of time to make the semi hourly bridge lift but turning across the wind too quickly almost swiped our entire aft rail of gear. Our wishbone boom is massive and very heavy. It gave us a scare and in the end we only lost a fishing pole (sorry Mike).
Our troubles didn’t stop there as we’ve never had to wait for a bridge lift. The channel was a bit rocky and made it to the outside of the bridge around 5:20pm. We had already taken our time as much as we could and ended up having to tie off to the side. Not an easy task (yet) and caused us more jitters as I jumped off the boat to tie us off appropriately. We had already been in idle but stopping is not as easy with a windy channel. Plus Tipsy is quite heavy and managing the boat on my own was difficult. I put all my strength into tying our middle dock line to the rail (no cleats) and Tharon tossed the stern dock line to quickly tie off the back. As we were finishing the tie off, we quickly came up with a plan to untie at 5:30pm once we sounded the horn and heard the reply. We sounded one long and one short to alert the bridge attendant that we had intentions to cross into Round Lake. As the bridge lit up and sounded, we frantically untied the lines and quickly panicked as we had troubles untying them and getting away from the side. The bridge lifted and we were still not away from the side. Dingus was hitting the channel wall and luckily the fenders were saving us from any scrapes. Using the boat hooks, I finally gave us a poke to get us towards the middle of the channel. We both sighed with relief and gracefully waved to some bystanders who probably had no idea of our alarming experience.
Agh. It never felt so good to anchor in the safety of Round Lake. We learned a lot from the mishaps but it was also discouraging as we replayed the moments in our mind.
Although we had some mishaps, we got our spirits up with a walk in the warm sun around the scenic Charlevoix Marina. We made our way to Bridge Street Tap Room for a well-deserved dinner where we were treated to a local artist playing guitar and singing classic rock songs. We also got to check out Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company and tried ALL the beers. Although our spirits were up at this point, we soon found out our dinghy engine decided to stop working from our janky gybe and ended up having to row back to the boat approximately a quarter mile away. I took on the task of rowing since Tharon takes care of the strenuous job of pulling up the anchor each time we unhook. On our way back we were much looser from the beers and took ease in the hectic day. I rowed while he took a call from our good friend Phil. Per usual, they poked fun on my behalf and Tharon sat back leisurely to enjoy the scenery of me rowing back to our floating home.
The following day was filled with rain. We thought we could wait to take the dogs to shore but they did not enjoy that idea. Since Tharon was working and Dingus was out of commission, I kayaked over to the public docks with two Chihuahuas on my lap in the pouring rain. Walking them around, I laughed to myself thinking about how funny I must look but paid no attention to the thought and continued on our way. It was actually a peaceful walk which soon resulted in a very wet ride back as the dogs were now soaked and shaking their wet bodies all over me. I fed the animals, made us breakfast, and retreated to a warm cup of tea before laying down in the warmth of the cabin.
The rain did let up around 2pm and gave us a window of opportunity to kayak back to shore for a change of scenery. We worked from Johan’s Café of Charlevoix and enjoyed freshly baked bagels and warm espresso concoctions. This bakery was AMAZING and soon found out that they have other locations within Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Boyne, and Walloon Lake. Libby, the girl behind the counter was on her own and took care of dozens of guests as we watched from afar. She allowed us to stay after the café had closed to soak up more Wi-Fi and found out it was only her third day! It was not only impressive to see her skillfully take care of the many guests coming in but to have it only be her third day was shocking! Everything we enjoyed on the menu was delicious and Libby warmed us with her personable hospitality.
From there we stopped in a couple stores and decided to press on to save money and work more hours. It was almost 4pm and had to work longer due to the turbulence in the previous day’s events. In quick agreeance we decided to head back to the Brewery and finish work there. Today was their one year anniversary and they’d be playing Trivia later. It was a good four hours away but decided we’d take it slow on drinking their delicious beers, continue to work, and celebrate with them on their accomplishment. We worked well in the quiet company of only a couple patrons but as the time went on, more and more people were joining for the festivities. Finishing up my responsibilities, it was time to let the dogs out again. It would be a lengthy task but still knew it’d be more manageable now than after trivia. It was 6:30pm and the timeline went like this: Kayak to Sailboat–>Load dogs in Kayak–>Kayak back to Harbor–>Unload dogs–>Walk dogs–>Load Dogs in Kayak–>Kayak to Sailboat–>Unload dogs–>Kayak to Harbor. In the end, I made it to Trivia with 10 minutes before the 8pm start. We stayed for all of trivia and called ourselves the Tipsy Gypsies. We did quite well but in the end came in 4th place and received no prizes. Still a fun night but only ended with another kayak ride back to the boat.
We started our day much earlier the next morning. We had a laundry list of things to get done before our first deckhand would arrive later that afternoon. While Tharon worked, I took care of cleaning, walking dogs, grocery shopping, and organizing the plan. After Tharon’s conference call, we made our way back to the boat to get our “cars” brought back to safe keeping. In no time at all, we were hoisting the chain, leaving our safe anchorage and topping off diesel before our 180 nautical mile trek to Muskegon. We met Abbey and Steve at Stafford’s Weathervane Restaurant for a delicious lunch and great conversation. Steve would not be joining but invited us to stop in Whitehall to enjoy some Mead on our way through. We made a point to add to our relaxed itinerary and said our goodbyes. This would be the start to our exciting overnight passages for the next couple days. We were ready.
Leaving Charlevoix made us sad. It’s always difficult to leave places we enjoy and to say goodbye to the people we’ve met along the way. We’re missing our friends, our cars, our couch but know we’re getting stronger each day to keep living this dream of sailing and traveling more affordable. It became such a relief to have Abbey join us. She is the familiar face we needed and look forward to her rendition of this four day sailing experience from Charlevoix to Muskegon.
Cheers & thanks for reading!