A new port, a new day

Arriving Waukegan IL Friday August 27, 2021 11:00am for an afternoon full of business calls!

Saturday August 28, 2021

Waukegan is the Potawatomie word for “fort” or “trading post”. Formerly it was known as Little Fort, IL. In 1949, the residents renamed their growing city to this more respectable and interesting name!

It is the county seat for Lake County IL, and is the 5th largest city on this western shore of Lake Michigan.

This marina is huge, clean, and run by F3. They do not have discounts for Loopers [yet] like other F3 run marinas do!? (What’s up with that?!) But GM Joe Seidelmann did give Shelly a golf cart shuttle ride back to the dock last night after an impressive hospitality BBQ nearby to the marina. The vent with live music, free BBQ food, and a couple of complementary cocktails were timed perfectly for our OUR stay at this great marina. Thank You Joe!!! (Shelly uses a cane, so he spared her the long walk back to the marina.) At least 100 people showed up to this hospitality event.

I am NOT a fan of Dockwa, which they use here at Waukegan. But on balance, this marina definitely get a thumbs up from us.

“Waukegan Harbor Marina is perfectly situated to cut the distance in half from the premium “must-stay” Reefpoint Marina in Racine to Chicago.”

If it were up to me, I would bundle “packages” for transients who are traversing Lake Michigan’s western side. Make it easy to make both of these F3-managed marinas a “no-brainer” for every cruiser’s itinerary!

Racine Docktails

Reefpoint Marina has a great sailor’s lounge which provided A/C for this group’s last marina in Wisconsin before hitting Illinois and the river system south.

Carey & Nancy Cook of Tug Lee Loo

Hal & Wendy Gilpin of Patriot

Marilyn & Jim Antonacci of Spinning Dreams III

Vanessa & Barry Ellis of Dawg Haus III

Patty McRery & Gene Rutkowski of Galene

Shelly & Ray Sirois of Shellerina

Once again I left a dock tails session with several pages of my notebook filled with ink articulating cruising tips for the upcoming Illinois River to the Mississippi River.

What? Cruising back on Lake Erie?!?!

(Lots in this post: Maine trip, Dole-Anderson wedding, Shellerina’s Rock, Hurricane Henri, family and friends, and more!)

We went from Buffalo NY to Dunkirk NY back on June 20. So why is our Navionics showing our current position way back there between those ports … plus, Navionics shows us heading EAST?!?!

The SPEED over ground of 499.4 knots might be a good hint!

This was our Navionics position taken from from American Airlines flight #1540 Thursday.

We flew back to PWM and drove back to Harrison Maine for a long weekend and a wedding celebration for Britta and Jake!

Above, Maid of Honor, Sarah Klein, did a great job with her toast!

Below, mother of the bride, Tammy Anderson was a great hostess for this happy day!

Host and father of the bride, Ernie Anderson, with Stacey Worster of Worster’s Marine Center.

Sarah, Maid of Honor, with mother, Linda Klein at the reception.

Special thanks to my brother Russ Sirois for taking the two half days or more to deliver us a car for the weekend!

Thanks also to our hostess for the 3 nights! Linda Klein of http://www.hillsidecabins.us

Linda also brought me out to the famous Shellerina’s Rock for a swim, which is where we tied up countless times years ago.

FMI:

https://shellerina.com/2019/08/11/meantime-back-in-maine/

A nice Sunday Brunch at Sea Squall restaurant fit the schedule before flying back to Chicago ORD.

Jeanne, Marty, and Lindsay Patrizi drove up from NH; locals Steve Sirois and Nicole Albert joined us and Kim Sirois shuttled husband Russ from Edgecomb so he could take our Prius back to into storage again!

A great family gathering squeezed into our long weekend.

From the plane, as we approached Chicago ORD, we could see our boat in Racine WI!

Once we finally arrived back at Reefpoint Marina in Racine, we found beautiful weather, all systems normal. Like any trip, it felt good to be back onboard our home!

No signs of Hurricane Henri here! Plus, Desiree, Nick, Bobby, and others back on Long Island report the storm was a non-damaging one for all of them!

Cheapest Diesel found on the dock this year!

Reefpoint Marina. Racine.

This is the best price we’ve paid for diesel fuel this year! (Even edging out Ess-Kay Yards).

This F3 managed, mega-marina in Racine WI also has a very generous dockage discount for Loopers! Need assistance? Ask Carrie Neubacker, the general manager! “She is great,” as we were told by other Loopers even weeks before getting here. We found this to be true! She IS helpful, hospitable especially to Loopers, and on top of her game.

The large dock “field” includes two shower and rest room facilities out amidst the dock network.

https://reefpointmarina.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ReefPointMarina-Slip-Map.pdf

They are investing lots to improve the WiFi network this year too.

Bonus!

We did our 200-hour engine oil change yesterday. Carrie informed me that this marina will dispose of our waste oil on-premises at no charge! You can’t beat that. Her staff brought back our containers and everything.

Our boat loved it’s two week stay at Reefpoint Marina.

Arcturus and Jupiter rule the night sky tonight.

Arcturus is like, the fourth brightest star one can see from Earth. It is a “red giant” and it is by far the brightest star in the north sky. Just follow / extend the curve of the Big Dipper’s handle till you see this hugely bright star!

On the other side Jupiter rules, with Saturn still close to it’s right. I can’t wait to be in more rural anchorages in the months ahead to see even more.

Get your looks of Arcturus now, because in about a million years it will become a “white dwarf” and no longer be visible with the naked eye from Earth. Plus, it is 37.5 light-years from us… so when we look at it tonight we are seeing it as it appeared 37.5 years ago.

Wide Open Throttle for a few minutes en route to Racine.

They say it is healthy for the turbo charger to run at full throttle on occasion.

See us accelerate to 1700 RPM, about 10.1 Knots in this video, above.

Then,

Back down to normal… The chart plotter says our ETA to the next turn into Racine is 12:45. About a 5-hour passage today… 3-1/2 hours to go!.

The big arrow points to the port of Milwaukee, whose skyline dominates our view of Lake Michigan’s west shore from here.

The other area highlighted on the chart plotter pic is a big construction area on our starboard beam. Three tugs, cranes, lots happening there… even on a Saturday! There is no port there, so now I am curious what is going on.

Sheboygan will be tough to beat!

I predict that one of the most memorable ports for us on this first loop circuit for us will be Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

(L-r) Tim, Shelly, June, Sue, Ray, and Rick in Sheybogan WI Aug 12, 2021.

I have done lookups on the Great Lakes Cruising Club, the Waterway Guide, and searched the archives of the AGLCA Forums trying to find a port with locals like Sue and Rick of Fire Escape. They, in combination with a hot tub, swimming pool, great clean facilities and staff, a town with lots to see, have all made this port a predicted favorite for us! A port we shall never forget.

Thanks also to June and Tim of Subject to Change. They invited us aboard their 49′ DeFever for docktails… the boys loved the engine room tour! Then Sue and Rick shuttled us over to the nearest Mexican cantina for dinner!

Sheboygan: Pool! Hot tub! And other great surprises.

How’s this for a marina’s amenities?!

Shelly likes!

A seriously nice marina-resort.

Zoom in to see if you can find Shellerina ! Below is a video version if you prefer.

As you can hear the wind in the video, this was a good day to stay in-port! Sheboygan was a really great place to be holed up!

Double breakwater – well protected from the “Big Lake”

Sue and Rick Rosenweld, Loopers here in their home port, showed us around town and the countryside. Then we went to dinner at Majerle’s Black River Grill. I cannot believe we forgot to have our server co-owner Tracy, take a “team photo!” They were the best! Thanks!

This 6-point buck and his bevy of 5 does were feeding outside the restaurant’s picture window. Unfortunately, venison was not on the menu.

Kewaunee – (Native American) meaning “Where are you?!”

Well, we stayed in-port at Kewaunee for a third night. Winds were not bad, But T-Boomers forecast + 3 foot seas on the Big Lake, for a 7-hour passage would simply be too uncomfortable for us.

This community reveres its Native American heritage, and it’s name comes from the common call that was made in the common FOGGED IN port by persons out fishing, “Where are you?!” Or “Kewaunee?!”

One of the things that Shelly will never forget about these three days was she had lost her diamond engagement ring. It really made her just sick! She kept asking, “Where can it be?!” AKA “Where are you?!”

Well! After we were underway this morning, she actually FOUND the diamond ring. So this Native American port will long be remembered for the heart wrenching time of going without.

It was otherwise a great stop. Augie, and his marina staff was great. He gave us a lift to the local grocery store, which is too far to walk to. If he can, he’ll do the same for you. The showers, bathrooms, laundry, and lounge were all clean. The marina well protected.

This port also has a “free wall” with shore power and fresh water. But we opted for the protection of the municipal marina. There is a second marina in-port as well.

A tour of a large Army Corps of Engineers TUG BOAT is available in town.

We walked to the nearby Waterfront Bar & Grill, had some wings and one of the best pepperoni pizzas we’ve had “out” in a long time. (We may be pizza snobs, and usually make our own!)

The bill was remarkably light, as it is customary in these parts to not charge for cocktails if it is your birthday!

Kewaunee definitely outperformed the expectations that people gave us before we got here.

We’d come again!

Birthday Blog!

Sea state not good enough for us again today. So the hot tub and swimming pool awaiting us at the Sheboygan Birthday Marina will have to wait.

All the models and apps say, “Stay put!” (3 foot waves on the nose to the next port.)

Ray will have to come up with something else to bedazzle his Admiral today! A couple of salons within walking distance may help!

Stay tuned!

Let’s talk FOOD!

It seems like we have been lucky with some of our “going out to eat” choices this past week.

Tuesday’s meal with Paal and Betsy at the restaurant onsite at Shipyard Island Marina was great. They have managed to keep the same chef for years; the place does not “look” like much, but our first meal in Wisconsin was memorable and delicious. Reservations are recommended even for early seating, as lots of people from this island show up to eat here! (Yes, even on a Tuesday night!)

Nightingale’s ‘supper club’ in Sturgeon Bay is not walking distance from the marinas. But here’s the number to the taxi driver in that town: 920-818-1124, who can shuttle you to Nightingales and back.

Tip: the Smoked Whitefish Cakes with a Roasted Red Pepper Remoulade was the best!

Now let’s talk about Wisconsin Cheese!

Here in Kewaunee, we finally found an authentic Wisconsin cheese shop.

Walking distance from the municipal marina, and from this port’s Free Wall, (with shore power and water), we found our first Wisconsin cheese shop.

Wakker Cheese locally makes their own Netherlands inspired Gouda cheeses… in small batches. Each different variety they sell is aged differently and clearly labelled (young, 12-18 months, or 24+ months). Some are flavored with the favorite herbs you might like. We went for chipotle and then two differently aged plain Goudas. Some are smoked. Today they had about three dozen varieties to pick from.

Who knew you can make so many different varieties of Gouda cheese?!

Head’s up: They didn’t “serve” us per se (which was a disappointment). But after you pick out your selection of craft cheeses, they do have tables where you can sit to enjoy. (Bring your own knife OR better yet, (seriously) … bring it all back to your boat where you can taste with your favorite wine.)

By the way, on the subject of food, there is a new “fancy” restaurant in town, as described by the marina staff. It is right across the street from Wakker Cheese, and is called Ballering. Should the sea state force us to stay a third night here, we may have a report for you on Ballering too! (3 foot seas out of the South, according to Windy and PredictWind.)

Sister Bay to Sturgeon Bay, then on to Kewaunee…

Here was our 2-day float plan:

We left early in the morning from Sister Bay, but the bay was a bit bumpy. The forecast called for the sea state to settle down as the day progressed. It was simply too uncomfortable, so by 9:00 am we tucked in and anchored in Fish Creek. (We knew we had Fish Creek OR Egg Harbor as ‘pressure relief valves’ if needed.)

Looper Gene Rutkowski, came out in his RIB (inflatable) to introduce himself, offer his local advice, and just meet US! He also has a Mainship 390.

Gene Rutkowski and Ray weeks later in Racine.

He knew we were loopers because of our burgee. I was on a business call, but we exchanged “boat cards” and I called him when I freed up. We stayed on-hook in Fish Creek for four hours until all my business was done, then we finished the planned passage to Sturgeon Bay. Green Bay had indeed calmed down as predicted.

Three large cargo ships were in-port; we came up along close to them, mostly because we had no choice!

Looking at the chart, I was thinking how impossible it must be for these huge vessels to pass through the narrow channel south and east of Sturgeon Bay, which is this waterway between Green Bay side and the “Big Lake” as it is called by the locals here.

We had a fantastic meal at Nightingale’s, a “supper club” as they are called here. Reportedly there are “sports bars” and “supper clubs” as explained to me. Shelly and I ordered three appetizers, then split the house special steak. Shelly may post something more about this great place and the food we had there!

The next morning, as we were preparing to push off for Kewaunee, a stepping stone to Sheboygan, the huge Arthur Anderson cargo ship was passing by our marina! It was all completely under its own power, (no tugs assisting), and it was heading towards that extremely narrow channel on the chart (where we were also going!)

Well, as you can see, she fit!

All the boats, including Arthur Anderson were going only 4.5 knots in this narrow man-made canal. So we did the same, though we really wanted to catch up for the pics!

As the cargo ship finally cleared the canal a huge plume of black smoke came up from her stack. Clearly, the captain had ordered the engineers to get a move on!

The mouth of this waterway was very picturesque, even for an overcast hazy day.

We made Kewaunee a few hours later. Things started off very rolly, but as we got out and turned south with the swell, the “Big Lake” was kind to us, and we hope for more good cruising days like this one. We have less than two weeks to make it to the ORD area for our 8/19 plane ride to Maine for Britta & Jake’s wedding on the 21st.

How to save $7,500 or more!

When Shellerina got to Cleveland about a month ago, we met up with other Mainship 390 owners, as reported here, https://shellerina.com/2021/07/02/rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame/

I learned that we were probably “pushing too much water,” going too fast = wasting fuel. Comparing notes with other types of trawlers aligned with this.

So, we decided to do an experiment: slow down to 1400 RPM and see how much we would save.

We took on fuel there, so we thought it would be the perfect time to experiment between two fuel stops.

Unfortunately, within days we were bucking the currents of the Detroit and St Clair Rivers between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. This would significantly skew our results. So we fueled up again in East Tapas, and decided to start over again.

Here are the results to compare after 17 days of cruising at 1400 RPM:

That is a HUGE difference… almost 50% savings each mile.

At $3.70 per gallon, a delta of 0.86 nmpg (savings) comes to $325 for those 17 days.

For the whole 6000 mile Loop, the savings for the year will extend out to be somewhere around $7,500 or more.

(The fuel use reported here includes some small amount of generator use while at anchor.)

A port in which we would have liked to stay longer: Sister Bay, WI

We lucked out to get a slip in Sister Bay for one night. (Lots of the marinas in these parts are fully booked). We arrived by 9:00a.m CT as I had a lot of calls today.

Sister Bay is a busy little tourist village with lots of Scandinavian flavor. One of its famous restaurants, due to great food is a Al Johnson’s, but in addition to that, it has a grass roof which we got to see while out re-provisioning. It was unhealthily hot today but it otherwise is common for them to let their small herd of goats graze on this roof!

This town features a shuttle that runs up and down the streets from 5:00pm to 2:00am. As they like to cater to the folks that like to “go out.” We didn’t take advantage of that as we had an early start to our day, and planned for another early start tomorrow.

An interesting boat seen in Sister Bay Marina.

Https://www.seapiper.com

.

Well seasoned ‘Olympic’ Gold on display here on Washington Island, Wisconsin!

A friendly local chap named Paal helped us with lines as we pulled into our slip here at Shipyard Island Marina on Washington Island WI. He told me about his 2017-2018 Gold Burgee and all that went into it. Next thing you know we invited each other and our admirals to dinner at the onsite restaurant… (Yes, the restaurant onsite that the cruising guides and reviewers rave about.)

Soon after this dockside meeting, Paal re-raised his well-seasoned Olympic Gold Burgee on his bow, as shown here aboard Elenor.

We met and introduced our Admirals right on time. Dinner was great, as it usually is with Loopers. Yes, a local Wisconsin cheese appetizer/favorite started things off. Itinerary notes and war stories were the main course along with some really good food.

After dinner, we recruited locals Linda and Phil to take our “team photo” in front of our boats. They were on their way to this favorite dinner spot.

Gold Loopers, Betsy and Paal Hansen joined Ray and Shelly Sirois in front of Elenor and Shellerina … after dinner tonight.

Betsy also demonstrated a homemade “thingamajig” that Paal made up from an old piece of sanitary hose and line. “This is what you’ll need for the southbound river system locks to secure to floating bollards,” she explained.

The boys then talked about sourcing an old used piece of sanitary tubing on eBay. The girls didn’t go for that idea and insisted that I, “Buy it new!” Go figure!

Rocky anchorage! Ya think?

Well, with the clear northern Lake Michigan water, and glass-like surface this morning, I was able to get these two pics of our bottom conditions for last night!

Amazing. This is in 10 feet of water!

OK so here’s a theoretical question for you. On a rock bottom like this which would you prefer? A 200 pound mooring block, or about the same weight anchor + chain laying on it!?

Bottom line is, it was enough in light airs, in the lee of the island for our boat, and we are grateful, and perhaps a little lucky.

Summer Island

We are anchored in Summer Cove, Summer Island. Rocky bottom, but we appear to be holding. We have a second anchor ready to deploy if need be.

With 70F crystal clear water, I had to go snorkeling! It was great!

I checked the anchor to see if I could find out HOW the heck it was holding. The very tip was in 1 inch of rock material. But otherwise, I have no idea how it held all afternoon! (I wish I had a GoPro underwater camera to show you what I mean.)

The boat has not moved off of the waypoint set hours ago.

Next time through, I’ll pass by this anchorage. I’d certainly not recommend it at all for a refuge from rough weather. But for this night of light airs, (5-8mph) we’ll be fine.

Honestly, I think simply having several hundred pounds of chain and anchor, is all that was needed to hold us… even though it is on top of nothing but rock.

Today’s passage:

About six hours underway. 32 nm.

Before leaving Manistique, we fueled up and pumped out. We’ll have some statistics soon!

A formation of 3 of these helicopters flew by here today. We suspect Biden, VP Harris, or Obama was being transferred someplace.

I could tell they were not expecting to see a 39 foot vessel anchored in this quiet, remote place as they veered off to the north sharply as soon as they saw us. (I guess they don’t have AIS!)

Docktails in Manistique MI…

Here, captured in a sunset drenched photo, Dustin, Tanner, Jill, Mike, Shelly, Patty, and Ray (l-r) gathered for docktails tonight at Manistique’s marina picnic area. A passer by took the pic. Our vessels, Rhythm, Parrot Bay, and Shellerina were tied up nearby. Past loopers Jill and Dustin of Green Heart Adventures are land-yachting for now. But from a distance, they recognized a docktail session in-process and they had to come join us!!! Come to find, they had met Mike and Patty from years ago at this same port when ALL were looping afloat.

John and Gina of Alysana and Phil and Lisa of Director were in-port, but a 5:00a.m. (CT) start time 18 hours earlier this day meant they had to ‘hit the hay’ early. At least we got to meet and exchange cards before they turned in for the night!

With regards to the “docktails crew”, it was a good thing Shelly brought a notepad and pen! …as these Loopers had all been to places WE were heading in the next two weeks. We benefited greatly from tonight’s gathering of experience.

Manistique MI

Nice colors as we make the turn into Manistique!

It was a cold night though!

58 F We had to snuggle to keep warm!

The picture below shows the protected harbor of Manistique. Interestingly, you can see the contrast of the crystal clear waters of northern Lake Michigan with the muddier river-fed waters coming into this harbor from the north.

Crosshairs mark the marina location. Thankfully, it comes before the low fixed span of US Rte 2 also shown here.

Dredging operations resumed Tuesday after a long weekend break. So most any pleasure boat can confidently use this place.

International Shapes: Circle-Diamond-Circle = RAM, Restricted Ability to Maneuver. Offloading barges into dump trucks.