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

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.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Phil and Carolyn,

    If you plan to stop in Grand Haven, Mi make sure you try Kirby Grill restaurant. Excellent Filet Mignon. Also... If you plan to pull into Saugatauck, try Edya Reds for breakfast.

    Have a nice trip!

    Ron & Marisa