A Kiwi couple's cruising adventures on America's Great Loop and around the coast of New Zealand

Friday, 24 August 2012

You've gotta go to Grand Haven

That's what everyone was telling us, so thought we had better! Before departing Muskegon, I took back the rental car and rode the new bike back the 2 miles from the agent. I later rode it even further to Miejers for a last shop, carrying the purchases in by backpack. A much more sturdy ride than the other bikes...but take a look at the seat in the pic in the last post. It is a seat from hell. After ten minutes of riding your Coccyx (tailbone) feels like it has had someone kicking your backside for days.

Also before departing Carolyn took this pic of a bit of sculpture on the pole next to us at the marina
So off we went to Grandhaven and tied up at the Municipal marina right beside an area with a stage and a whole lot of seating. Obviously a concert venue so, great, more free music. Being a sunday, though, there was very heavy boat traffic through the river and, despite it being a no-wake zone, a few (usually smaller) boats ignored this and we were subject to considerable traffic roll for most of the afternoon. Grand Haven is also known as "Coast Guard City", though and a cutter was kept busy issuing citations to the more disruptive transgressors. I took a walk to the "concert" area and found we were fortunate enough (being a sunday) to be alongside the weekly WOW (worship on the waterfront) show, from 7.30 to 8.45. However, they began practicing around 4.30 and despite their good intentions, some of the singing was quite bad - especially after hearing it the 4th or 5th time. About this time I was beginning to think that "you've gotta go to Grand Haven" was someone's idea of a good joke to play on unsuspecting visitors. The show was quite well patronised and we noticed a large number of people stayed on afterwards. This turned out to be because at 9.30 there was a musical fountain that started up on the other side of the river. Now THAT show was simply stunning, although I missed part of it getting my video camera out to film it. As with most of these things the video doesn't do it justice and it is too long to put on the blog, so you'll just have to go to Grand Haven and see it for yourself. In fact we stayed another night just to see it again and were delighted that it was a different show from the night before.

The second day was much quieter and more pleasant with much less boat traffic, being a monday. We had numerous passers-by stop and talk to us about New Zealand and looping, some who we had met before in other ports, and some who offered us transportation for shopping etc. But by now I was determined we would find our own way about on the new bike and I took yet another 4 mile ride to yet another Meijers and paid the price on return with bruised buttocks. One of the later visitors that turned up was John Niemann, the broker who sold us the boat, travelling down from the ferry at Muskegon to Saugatuck where he was skippering a boat for a client. He had just decided to drop in and see who was there, and there we were.

The following day we took a birthday parcel for our son, Adam, to the post office to send. After much rearranging to get it under the 4lb maximum, I sealed it up only to find that the tape I used added 1/10th of an ounce to the weight and they couldn't ship it until I removed the tape and used lighter box tape (which they provided). 1/10th of an ounce!!!! but the computerised scales just won't let them do it. The wonders of modern technology. Back at the boat I called our CBP Officer to let him know that we had left Muskegon, had arrived in Grand haven over the weekend and were leaving for South Haven. He wasn't there so I left a message with a colleague.

It was a nice trip, the 3 hours or so to South Haven and we tied up at the Municipal marina amongst a group of Loopers, including JET STREAM and NEXT TO ME, who we had encountered before. On other looper was KAREN ANN who were on the last day of their 3 year Loop and would cross their wake in Michigan City the next day. We had cocktails together at the marina meeting room and later walked around the township looking for some place to eat that could take a party of 10, finally coming back to the pub nearest the marina afetr being turned away by several others - including the one FURTHEST from the marina.

I did call my CBP officer in the afternoon and he seemed quite pleased to tell me that I was now out of his jurisdiction in Grand Rapids and in future I need to report to Chicago CBP. That should be fun.

This marina has loan bikes and we took a ride on them the first day we arrived. The are fitted with "Cloud 9" seats and I found that I could ride for hours without the excrutiating pain inflicted by our foldup bike. As an experiment I "borrowed" one of the seats and exchanged it for ours and found it made the bike eminently rideable. So the next day I (painfully) rode it to Walmart, 2 miles away, and tried a number of seats before selecting a Schwinn comfort seat for $21.99 which took me back to the boat painlessly. I since found out that the local bike shop has the Cloud 9 seats for $34.99, but this one is a reasonable substitute. Carolyn also found the full size bike far more user friendly and we will get her one at some stage and learn to cope with the storage issue.

We decided to stay another day and while strolling around town I stopped at an Auto shop for a browse. While I was there I asked if they sold crimping tools that would do #8 wire, which is what I need to finish the mods to the DC system. The only pair he had were his own, which he had just bought,  and he offered to lend them to me. Not knowing when I might be able to do it, I figured I would need to buy them. Turns out they cost $25.43 to replace so he sold me his and ordered a replacement for himself. I took another look at what needs to be done on Stan and have figure that if I take off the exhaust pipe, I should be able to reach the starter motor and disconnect the wire, then pull it through from the front of the engine to reach the charging isolators. Since this proceedure will imobilise the boat until completed, I need to be sure that it can be done before I start and that help is handy if anything goes wrong - so I will leave it until we are somewhere a little more populated.

So here's we we are at the moment, and today we will head down to St Joseph where we understand there is cheap(er) fuel
Bye for now

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Leaving Muskegon

As you can see, we have been here quite some time - mainly waiting for the parts from Amazon, which took much longer to arrive than expected. In the meantime, we had shopped around getting switches, wiring, and terminals from West Marine (where I was able to use their crimping tool for larger cables),  and a couple of Deep Cycle batteries from Sam's Club to replace the staring batteries in the "house" system. We also got a new folding bike for Carolyn:
The first day of work was on the AC system rectifying some of the issues created in Kenosha. Firstly the wiring to the main AC bus bars had to be swapped as the incoming "line 1" actaully went to the line 2 bus and vice versa. I also had to replace several of the wires between the AC panel and the transfer switch with longer ones so that you could access both panels at the same time. The wiring to the voltmeters was changed so that they read the voltage at the bus bars instead of the incoming mains and I rewired the ammeters so that they worked after they had been disconnected in Kenosha. Both meters now read from both the shore and inverter power. Finally, I rectified the wiring so that transfer switch isolates the water heater and charger/converter when it is in "inverter" mode so they don't work from the inverter - just like it was designed to do. This last job epitomised how little the electricians understood how the system should work. For those interested in actualities, here is a pic of the way the water heater "isolator" was wired (the water heater terminal is the one with 3 wires gong to it):
The big red wire goes to the transfer switch. One of the black wires comes from the switch and the other black wire goes to the water heater. As you can see, they are all joined together and are still connected to the live feed from the bus bar through the circuit breaker. This means that the water heater is energised regardless of the position of the transfer switch!

 The next day I attacked the DC part of the system, putting in 2 house isolators and swapping the downstream 12V wiring for the boat to these. As we were still living aboard, it was necessary to keep the existing system intact until all the modifications were completed. One good thing about the installation of the inverter was that they had mounted the battery isolators for it in the main DC panel so I could use the feeds to these to supply the house system, instead of running new cables. This all made the main DC panel very "busy", but I managed to get it all to fit. It looks kind of different from the original, though.
This took us up till Thursday, at which time the parts had still not arrived and the weather had turned mucky with strong winds and thunderstorms. Also the temperature had dropped signifcantly and  we haven't had to use the airconditioning much at all.

All this time we had retained the rental car so we could get about. While we had the car, we thought it best to get stuff that would otherwise be hard to fetch and carry (like bikes and batteries). The marina at Muskegon is right downtown, but downtown Muskegon has no retail shopping, just a couple of reataurants and bars. There is a trolley that takes you on a cicuit for sightseeing ($1.25 or 60c for seniors!) and you can get on and off it all day, but it doesn't go near the shopping areas. The closest of these, and where West Marine is, is around 2 miles away and the nearest supermarket another  half mile from that. There is another area with Walmart, Lowes etc about 5 miles to the east and a large Mall about 6 miles south (where the bike shop was), but you really need transport for them. We have noticed in our travels that Michigan seems to have been very hard hit by the recession and Muskegon is not only no exception, but is the worst we have encountered so far. There are large numbers of empty buildings and shops, even amongst the big retail areas and many unfinished commercial developments. It is really quite sad to see the effect that the economy has had on what was obviously once a thriving, expanding community.

On friday we went to the marina's pumpout dock. It was a little windy and getting alongside was quite tricky. As I monoeuvred from about 20 ft out to do so I noticed a tosspot fisherman on the dock beside us with his line still in the water who suddenly realised that with 40 ft of line out in 12 ft of water a boat drawing 4ft coming past just might have an effect on his fishing. He bagan to reel in but....too late and "you,ve got me", he called out. With no room to move I finished docking while the marina dockhands cut his line. The brainless fisho then told me that I had probably picked up around 25 ft of line with some "pretty heavy weights" on them. He then skulked off and climbed in to his car and went away - real quick! While the marina guys pumped us out, I got out the boat hook and fished around under both props and rudders, but could not feel anything dangling off them. Whe we left the dock to return, there was no clattering of  "pretty heavy weights" smacking against the hull so I figured that 480HP possibly just chopped it off, although I suspect some of it remains wrapped around the shaft. Hopefully it won't get into the cutlass bearing and cause any mischief, but time will tell, I guess.

Friday afternoon the isolators arrived and were duly mounted. They are now ready for wiring, but here we have a problem. It appears that the connection between the alternator on the engines and the battery is via the starter motor connection. This is not a problem on Pete (whom I have nicknamed the Port engine) beacuse the starter motor is readily accessible, but is a real issue on Stan (Starboard engine), as the starter motor is on the other side of the engine with only a small gap between it and the fuel tank. Also I do not have the necessary crimping tool to finish the job, so I will be looking for a skinny, agile electrician with a crimping tool for 8 guage wire, who knows what he is doing, to come and do that wee job for me. And then we are set to go.

Yesterday we decided to stay one more day as the weather was still boisterous and the "Moosefest" was on in the park. More music, but quieter and betterstuff than the Christian Unity lot last week and it finished at 7.20pm as well. In the afternoon  Loopers in JET STREAM, a Carver 466, pulled in to the slip next door and said that they had had a bouncy ride down from Ludington.

However the weather looks good for today so go we probably will.

Till next time

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Crossing Borders

To recap...

To enable us to do the Loop, we needed to get US visae (visas). To get these, we filled out on-line applications including uploading digital pix of ourselves and , after making an on-line appointment, visited the US Consulate in Auckland for an interview. There we were fingerprinted and asked for our intentions (as well as the usual stuff.....had we ever been arrested.....did we do drugs etc), and finally granted 10 year visae. You will see in a previous posting that we were aware that this does not automatically give access to the USA, nor does it determine the length of stay. The Customs website will not, in fact, tell you how long you can stay. This is decided by the officer at the point of entry, and the "usual" periods are 3 months for Visa Waiver Scheme and 6 months for a Visa. However we had heard anecdotal evidence that some of the less busy ports of entry would extend this stay for up to 12 months for good reason (like doing the Great Loop). When you arrive in the USA with a visa, you have to fill out a white I-94 arrival card. The officer at the border stamps the bottom half of it with your arrival date and the latest day that you must leave. You keep this with your passport and surrender it on departure.

Los Angeles is not one of these "less busy" ports and as previously reported we were fingerprinted, photographed and granted 6 months only, which left us 3 weeks short of our scheduled departure date - for which we had already purchased air tickets.

We visited CBP in Milwaukee to get our cruising licence and were fingerprinted, photographed and told the easiest way to get an extension was to travel to Canada for a day and be given another 6 months on our return.........

So there we were in Muskegon, with the rental car, heading for Sarnia, Canada, across the Blue Water Bridge or "Bridge to Canada" from Port Huron USA. We had no idea what the procedure was but presumed we would check out through US Customs at the border before crossing so we could surrender our I-94's and pick up new ones on our return. We were quite surprised when we only passed through a toll booth (and paid the $3 toll) and were suddenly on the bridge and over the river. The Canadian Customs guy listened to our explanation for our reason to visit Canada - we told him exactly why as we felt it best to be totally honest. He was rather disinterested, asked if we were carrying any firearms, stamped our passports and waved us through, wishing us an enjoyable stay (although he looked like he couldn't have cared less). We drove round the waterfront and the town and checked into the Drawbridge Hotel in downtown Sarnia just as a thunderstorm and torrential rain descended on us. That night I had a real bad feeling over the fact that we still had our original I-94's in our passports.

The next day was a nicer day and we cleared Sarnia at 9.00 to do battle with the border. The return trip was a repeat of the crossing (except the toll was $3.25) and we finished up at a familiar looking toll booth on the other side, but talking to a US Customs guy this time. He listened with a little more interest to our tale and finally gave us a yellow form and told us to pull over to the inspection area after calling in and saying a "102" was on its way. We duly pulled up where indicated and a bunch of Customs guys with long mirrors and big guns descended on the car to "inspect" it. We were ushered into the building and up to the counter to tell yet another officer our tale of border crossing rationnale. When we had finished, he gave us his "you won't like this" look and told us that we had been given "bad advice" by his counterpart in Milwaukee, that in order to get a new I-94 and therefore an extension to our stay, we had to undertake a "meaningful departure" from the USA. I replied that, to us, our departure had been pretty meaningful, but he countered that we would have had to go back to NZ for it to be. Sadly, he said, there was nothing he could do as he had no authority to issue new I-94's and it looked like that was going to be it! Having gone to all this trouble, we persisted by asking if there was any way that we could overcome our problem, showed him our air tickets and respectfully requested that he take the matter further. He pondered a while and asked if we were retired, to which we replied that we were not trying to immigrate or overstay then he, almost reluctantly, said he would go and seek advice from his superior. He went into another office and talked to another man for about 5 minutes, at the end of which time they both were shaking their heads and shooting occasional glances our way. When they left the office I thought "this is not going to be good", but they walked to another office and began talking to yet another officer (supervising supervisor??) for another 2-3 minutes. This guy actually nodded several times and when our original officer walked back alone, I thought "we might be in luck here". And, as it turned out, we were. He told us he had now been given the authority to go ahead and he issued us with new I-94's with a date 2 days after our return flight to NZ (in case of delays). This was after taking our photographs and fingerprints yet again.

So we left the border with mission accomplished and a few lessons learned:

Firstly, it can be done as suggested by Milwaukee CBP, but you need to be persistent.
Do not make up any stories about your visit to Canada. If we had said we were just popping across to see friends there would have been no problem doing so, but we would have been left with our original I-94's.
Make sure you take all your documentation with, you such as air tickets. Our "boat card" which has the map of the Great Loop on it was actually quite useful in explaining what we were doing.
Be very polite to the Customs guy when you explain that you don't intend to work in the USA or bludge of any of its welfare systems - and don't argue that you are also paying tax on everything you spend in the USA as that seems to offend them, and they have the power to disappoint you considerably if you offend them.

We are now back in Muskegon....working on the DC system and fixing the inverter stuff-ups. That's for a separate posting.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

Stuck again

We stayed another nght in Manistee tied up to the marina's wall which is alongside their downtown boardwalk and has public access, so we got a lot of passers-by and conversations with people who noticed our hailing port (which is most of them). We did a dinghy ride the next day up to Manistee lake, which is typical of the lakes in the region....some deep parts and some very shallow and full of weed that often is just below the surface.

We departed just before 11am and I intended fuelling up, but there was another boat at the fuel dock, so we decided we should have enough fuel to press on and make Muskegon....a decision I came to regret later. We had decided on Muskegon as it looked like the weather was about to change for the worse and from there we could get a rental car and drive to Canada to fix our passports as well as carry out the modifications to the DC system if we were stuck for several days.

The wind was from the north with waves 2 - 4ft so it was an easy following sea. It was around 60NM to Muskegon so we were looking at a 4 hour trip at the 15kt cruise we were doing. By the time we reached Little Sable Point, both fuel gauges were reading very low so I decided to head for White Lake where we could refuel at the least and stay the night if necessary - although the weather was rapidly closing in behind us. We pulled into the lake and travelled the 2 miles or so to where the marinas were, eminently mindful of the fuel guages which were now stationary on "E". Up the town end of the lake, the water got very skinny and full of weed. The Municipal marina only had one small boat in it and looked like it was suffering from low water levels, so we proceeded to Crosswinds marine services intending to take on 100 gallons of fuel to each tank, as their price was $4.30/gallon (it had been $3.95 at Manistee). With 97 gallons in the port tank, the pump stopped......yes, just like at Millwaukee, they had run out of fuel. So despite the shallow water worries we had no choice but to go to the Municipal marina to put fuel in the empty stbd tank. It turned out that there was plenty of water, but a lot of weed, and the diesel was the same price so I got them to put 97 gallons in the other tank. At 57 gallons the pump stopped!!!!!! No, they hadn't run out but it took another 15 minutes before the young lass looking after us figured out that she had to reset the pump and start again. We finally got underway again at 4.30pm and as we left the dock I could tell all was not right. Normally at idle we make around 4.5 kts...we were doing 3. When I gave the engines a small burst to 6 kts, the boat shuddered and I could tell something was wrapped around the props. We limped clear of the shallow, narrow channel with visions of being hauled out for inspection/repair in this quaint wee place that I had grown to dislike intensely in a short period of time, and gave the engines a short rev in reverse. A large amount of green stuff was washed about in our wake and the vibration stopped. With a sigh of considerable relief we continued on our way to Muskegon. Of course by this time the wind had picked up and the sea was 3 -5 ft with the occasional 6, but still following so quite comfortable.

We reached Muskegon at 6pm and went straight to Hartshorn Municipal marina, but when we called we got an answerphone telling us they closed at 4.30pm. We decided to stay anyway, and there were plenty of empty slips, so we just tied up to one that was suitable and would sort it out in the morning. The marina has no public access at night and is fenced with barbed wire topping so we couldn't get out or, even if we did, we couldn't get back in again. but all the facilities were open. The adjacent park was set up for some kind of happening and just after our arrival the music started and boy WAS IT LOUD!!!! Even when  the rain arrived a couple of hours later it didn't stop them going until around 11pm. It turns out the happening is the Christian Youth "Unity" festival and goes on until sunday 11th August. Fortunately the 453 is a well soundproofed boat and in the aft cabin the noise was nowhere near as bad.

The next day I went to the marina office to check in and found there was no problem with the slip we were on. Transient rate was $57/night so I paid for 2 nights and we decided to keep an eye on the weather for the day to see if we should leave for Holland tomorrow or stay a while and do the chores from Muskegon. As I had done in Manistee, I also reported in to our friendly CBP Officer in Grand Rapids, who sounds somewhat bemused by my doing so but he accepts my reporting in and that's all I ask for. The weather deteriorated further - strong NE winds, rain and temperature dropping to 60F (which is 15C and was actually a bit of a relief from the hot weather we have had so far). That night the Unity folk fired up again and, despite the rain, continued till 11pm - but not quite as loud as the night before (and a bit more tuneful).

Due to the weather looking decidedly dodgey for at least 3 days, we decided to stay and do the Canada and batteries thing, so we rented a car (Hertz again) and checked with the marina about staying on a week. I asked what the weekly rate was and was told $120 so, since I had already paid $114 for two nights, the remaining 5 nights were $6 in total. A great deal. We spent yesterday checking out places to buy batteries, bikes and other bits and got to listen to more loud music before retiring. There is no cable TV here and we have not been able to get broadcast TV either as the USA went digital last year, just like NZ is going in September, and all the TV sets on the boat are analogue. But, at the suggestion of my friendly electrician from Nth Carolina, Don, I bought a digital to analogue converter (freeview box) from Walmart for $50 and we now have one set that has 5 channels - even though 3 of them drop out from time to time.

I'm up early writing this as we intend to leave for Canada this morning to get our passports restamped. Its about a 3 hour drive to the border and we will probably stay somewhere overnight and come back tomorrow. Sadly it means we will miss the last night of the Unity Festival which, I'm sure, will be the loudest night of all.

Here's where we are today:
I have put red dots for the ports we have stayed in.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Unposted posts

This an email I was supposed to post on August 2nd but we had no WiFi and I forgot afterwards. So here is is now followed by a pic that Carolyn took on her iPad as we came into Manistee yesterday.

Today is Philips birthday, so I took the birthday boy out for brunch, here in Sturgeon Bay, very nice, Mels Place, close to the Marina, I was very pleased to see they had pie on the menu, have you got Key Lime Pie? I asked excitedly, no, none left, they bake in the afternoon, but you can get some tomorrow........
Sent from my iPad

As we all know.....tomorow never comes (particularly with key lime pie).

Let the Loop begin

I didn't put our progress map up last posting so here it is now. Of course the crossing to Frankfort and no longer heading North was the end of the beginning and from there on we have actually begun Looping.
As you can see we are in Manistee, which is a cute wee town up a river. Back at Frankfort (which for some crazy reason is pronounced "Frankfurt" here, even though it was named after some guy named Frank who built a Fort....yes....really) the wind had got up and several trawlers went out and came back  reporting "nasty" beam seas. We listened to the weather forecasts and they didn't seem too bad for that day, but were due to get worse the next, so it was either go, or stay at least another two days. GLASS SEA LADY had gone and hadn't come back so we figured if one 453 could do it, so could we. We went to the fuel dock for a pump out and to check out and the folk raised their eyebrows when we told them we were leaving. This further boosted our confidence (yeah right). We headed out through the breakwater where the swells were still running fairly big, turned the corner and had a super (if somewhat wet) one and a half hour trip to Manistee in 2-4ft bow quarter waves at 15 kts!!! I have had significantly worse trips crossing Bream Bay (or to Waiheke Island for that matter), so I don't quite know what the fuss was about.

We tied up to the town wall and the plugged into the shore power to find we only had one side of our 115VAC panel light up. Interestingly, it was line 2 that was alive even though the voltmeter switch was set to line 1....I guess our sparkie friends in Kenosha swapped them over during the inverter installation. At first I thought that they only had 115 volt outlets, and the problem was the side that was alive didn't include the converter/charger, so it would be as if we were on the hook as far as shore power was concerned. However, talking to the marina people resulted in our shifting a bit further along the wall to a power point that wasn't faulty (as the last one was) and we were good to go. GLASS SEA LADY was on a slip the other end of the marina, but  they strolled by and we went to dinner together and later had dessert on their boat..

This posting was really just to let y'all know where we were, so I'll leave you to it till next time.

Sunday, 5 August 2012


Sorry for the delay in a post. A lot has happened in the last week and we have not always been anywhere we can report it. We decided to stay at Egg harbour Marina another night rather than head back to Sturgeon Bay to ready for the Lake Michigan crossing. Of course as soon as I booked in, the wind dropped and it became a beautiful day. However, when I checked in I saw this poster on the noticeboard
Since we had been looking for folding bikes, these seemed ideal. We rang the man and said we would be in Sturgeon Bay the next day and he said he would pick us up from the Marina. So if we had gone there tata day we would never have seen the poster....Karma, eh? We ate at a local reataurant that night and retired early for an early start the next day.

At which time we departed Egg Harbour and had an uneventful trip down (other than avoiding the box nets prevalent around the area) and arrived around 10am to be given the same slip we had been on during our last visit. We called the bike man, he picked us up, we bought the bikes, and took us back to the boat. Later that I took one for a test run to buy a tire pump and rode probably 4 miles, after which time I discovered bones in my ass that I didn't know existed. More bad weather was forecast, so I negotiated a deal with the marina, having been there now for 7 days, and it being my birthday...they gave us a free night.

By the way, Centrepointe is a great place with top class facilities and excellent service. The staff could not have been more helpful, taking us wherever we wanted to go and providing any support we needed. .....and I'm not just saying that because they gave us a free night (although it helped).

The next day we took the new bikes for a tutu and discovered the flaw in the Karma theory. Going over a large bump in the road, the rear axle support on Carolyn's broke off rendering its only further use as spare parts for the other one. A disappointment but the excercise was worth it. We know we need, and would use bikes....we just have to be a little more selective in their capabilities. The weather reports were suggesting that the next day was going to be the best for a crossing for about 3-4 days, so we decided to go for it.

When we departed the Sturgeon canal the next morning, we enountered 3-5 foot waves, not the 2-4 forecast and for the first hour we had to make about 14kts to have a comfortable ride. Halfway across, the opposite happened to the forecast. Instead of increasing to 3-5 ft they decreased to 2-4, and an hour later dropped to less than 2, so it was  very flat by the time we reached Frankfort.

 It had been an interesting crossing - you loose sight of land about 10 miles out and don't see any again until 10 miles from your destination. The strange thing was not seeing any wildlife - no whales or dolphins or penguins, of course, but not even any fish or birds, for that matter. (although about 10 miles out we were buzzed by a strange creature that I swear was a bat!)

We tied up at Frankfort's Municipal marina, which has no Wifi or cable! I called in to Sault Ste Marie CBP and after a little confusion was told that Frankfort came under the jurisdiction of Grand Rapids. I then rang them and, lo and behold, a CBP officer that knew what I was talking about. He took our details (somewhat bemused by our cruising licence number that ended in 00001......"first one they've issued, huh" he said) and told me to give him a call when we moved down the coast until we got past Holland, after which we enter another jurisdiction. After that we were greeted by our next door neighbours Rick and Dianne off TOUCAN, who are Loopers and were invited to cocktails aboard at 5.30 with other Loopers, Tom and Linda (Q's END). It was then that we realised that there had been a change in timezone and it was now an hour later. We had the coktails then went for dinner uptown. The forecast was for that deterioration to arrive the next day so we decided to wait and see about the next days activities.

The next morning TOUCAN was gone, headed for Manistee. By the time we had gone the the supermarket and passed the Farmers market, the wind had picked up so we decided to stay another night. This was also prompted by the local Rotary setting up for thier annual Chicken BBQ right behind the boat.

We also met up with another 453 owner JC (and Debra) from GLASS SEA LADY whic is very similar to our boat. They have owned it for 8 years and JC knows more about his 453 than I think Bert does, and I didn't think that was possible. It was a very useful experience in getting some ideas on how to attack the DC system problem during anchoring out.
Later that afternoon, a wedding party came and had its photo opportunity on the fuel dock beside us.
We partook of the BBQ - $10 a serving and met a lady from Wanganui (yes I spell it the non PC way) and were joined by the folk off GLASS SEA LADY and Debra graced us with a portion of an exquisite blackberry pie she ahd made from locally picked fruit (I just saw her get some more, so I know where they are  now).

Overnight the wind got up and Frankfort suffers from a strong swell that enters the harbour in big west winds. We got a couple of big bumps against the dock so at 4.45 I got up and added some more fenders and dock lines. By daybreak the wind had increased so we decided it was prudent to stay another day - it is supposed to ease off tomorrow. I said earlier there is no Wifi, but you can get it sitting outside the Library, where I am now - hence this posting. We talk a walk to the beach at the entrance to the harbour and were pleased to be tied up when we saw the state of the lake. Back at he boat there was a family of ducks sheltering behind us and a large white swan came scrounging around - and got some bread for it efforts.

Well I'd better get this posted while I can and go and cook dinner. Spaghetti Bolognese tonight.
Catch y'all next time