Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sew Friendly in Munising!

Pardon the shameless pun, I couldn’t help myself…

We left Marquette to continue east along the southern shore of Lake Superior, to our next cozy harbor in Munising, MI.


Franklin napped in the cockpit on the way to Munising.

We’ve been hanging out at Bayshore Marina, where we’ve been working on some fix-up projects.  Shane has been working on re-sealing the top of one of our water tanks, which had a leaky seal at the top.  I’ve been working on some sail repairs.


This is what the inside of the tank looks like, without the lid on.



Pfaff 130, hand crank manufactured by Zeus Machines.


Hand stitching in the Bayshore Park Pavilion.

During our time in Munising, we’ve again been amazed by the community of mariners.  When Shane needed to bring some lumber and laminate back to the boat (for fender boards and for new water tank lid), a local boater, Randy, was right there to drive him.  Harbor Master, Dawn Smith, generously came and let us know we could use the restroom building for working on the tank lid, so long as we cleaned up any mess (broom & dust pan were provided).

The next day, when I was in the park pavilion working on sail repairs, I realized I didn’t have the right size machine needle to do the sail repair, so I sat down to do it by hand.  It wasn’t but a few minutes when Dawn came to the rescue, again.  Soon she was on the phone with another local sailor, Chuck, who had a packet of the size 100 needles I needed.  Chuck and the needles arrived within a few minutes, and he even graciously stayed around and helped me sort out the thread tension and manage the bulk of the sail while I sewed!


Today’s Heroes: Chuck and Dawn (Randy not pictured, unfortunately)

We’re really having a great time here in Munising, and we just can’t say enough about the friendly community.  Thanks everyone for pitching in to help us with our “fixing” jobs!  We understand why so many boaters say yah to da UP!

I love UP

After getting his Michigan fishing license, it only took a couple of days for Shane to start reeling in dinner!  This little yellow perch was caught  at the Portage River/Southern Entrance Harbor of Refuge, the evening before leaving for Marquette.  He was a tasty (although a bit chewy) little addition to our dinner.  Franklin was really fascinated!


Making Friends in Marquette

After our return trip to Houghton, we headed back to the southern entrance of the Keweenaw Waterway, where rested for a night before heading to Marquette.


View of the Southern Entrance, from our boat, early morning.


Would you believe it if I told you that our passage to Marquette was cold?  We left about 5:30 AM, and arrived in Marquette about 2:00 PM.  A cold front and stormy/rainy weather rolled in just as we did.  The temp dropped below freezing (again) and at this point it is becoming hard to believe it is JUNE!


Mary entertaining the crew with some penny whistling en route from Portage River to Marquette.


Marquette Breakwater/Lighthouse


The Ore Dock – Out of service, but still iconic. Downtown Marquette, MI.

The best part about our brief stay in Marquette was that we got to meet Adam, Molly and Izzy!  Adam had contacted us through the blog, after he noticed that Marquette might be on our route.  Since they’re considering cruising themselves at some point, they reached out to us to get together while we were in their hometown of Marquette.  Franklin and Izzy became fast friends.  After Franklin sang her a few of his best tunes (“Hush Little Baby”, “I’m a Little Teapot”, and so on) she joined him in a festival of baby singing and hugging.  It was so fun to meet them!  We only regret that we didn’t have cake to offer – - Franklin kept trying to get me to bake a cake quick while they were there (he’s a better host than I am, I’m afraid).  We enjoyed the visit very much, and to any degree that we provided them any sort of information or inspiration for future sailing plans, we’re honored.  In any case, it was fun to have visitors in Marquette.


(L-R) Little Izzy (7 months), Molly, Franklin, Adam

Hospitable Houghton County (Thank You!)

Hello again, blog readers!  Since our last post, we’ve made it quite a ways through Michigan.  We have found Michigan to be beautiful, and Michiganders to be really great, helpful and hospitable people.


Monday, May 27, 2013 – We made it Houghton/Hancock (Twin Cities), Michigan.  We tied up at a lovely Houghton City Dock, right in downtown Houghton, which was free.  The weather was relatively warm, and the crew was relaxed and happy.  A fellow sailor, who Shane had met through an online sailing forum, came to visit us for dinner on the boat.  Bill brought a book of pictures from his own voyages on his previous vessel, Siskawit.  We were inspired by the amazing photos, and happy to have his company.  Bill was also so kind as to take Shane to get a Michigan fishing license.  Thanks, Bill!  It was great to meet you, and we hope your next big sailing adventure is just around the corner.


Sea Change tied up at the Houghton City Dock.


Tuesday, May 29 - We left Houghton and arrived at the Southern Entrance to the Keewenaw Waterway.  Our intention was just to stay for a day or two and then leave for Marquette.  Those of  you who follow cruisers have undoubtedly heard the cliche that cruising is “fixing your boat in exotic places”.  Low and behold, late Tuesday night Shane heard the bilge pump start up a couple of times.  Listening carefully, he heard the dreaded sound of water trickling into the boat.  Of course, I heard Shane taking things apart, so I got up to help.  What we discovered was that our stuffing box was leaking at a pretty good rate.

stuffing box diagram

Not enough to sink the boat overnight (see above “bilge pump” for more information on that).  Still, it was concerning and needed to be addressed.  We consulted our trusty Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual (which, by the way has already come in handy several times on this trip).  We read the directions on how to fix it, and we were comforted to  come to the conclusion that that this was a simple, routine problem that could be fixed without hauling the boat out of the water, which would be expensive and time consuming.  However, because of the possibility of making a mistake and making the leak worse – or wrecking the hose, which would be a big, haul out potentially sinking the boat problem- we decided to go back to town in the morning and repair the stuffing box under the guidance of an experienced professional.

Wednesday, May 30 – We turned around and headed back to Houghton/Hancock, which was about 14 miles back to the west.  On the way, I called the Houghton County Marina, where I was lucky enough to reach the harbormaster, Scott Perkins.  Scott was beyond helpful, ensuring us that this was a simple fix, which he had done thousands of times.  He offered to help us out, and when we got back to Houghton, he met us at the dock with his tools.  One of my personal goals for this voyage is to increase my confidence and experience with the mechanical maintenance of the boat – so I asked the guys if I could be the one who fixed it, under Scott’s guidance. He kindly talked me through it, step by step.  He also gave us all sorts of tips about the places we’ll be travelling through, and route considerations.  While we were working with Scott, we also learned that he is a singer/songwriter.  Before we left town, we picked up two of his CDs, Ships & Giggles, and Tiller Dreams.  They’re full of fun, folksy, sailing songs.  Thanks, Scott, so much for your time and assistance.  We’ll remember your kindness as we sail along Dreaming of the Islands…


Mrs. Goodwrench, at your service!


With my stuffing box mentor, Scott.


Thank you to Houghton County Marina, and the people of Michigan, for the great service!