August 1, 1999 N 45 55.9 W 81 45.0


Haywood Island, North Channel, Ontario, Canada A lot has happened since we
last sent out these ramblings and as I write this I really don't know just
when I will be able to send it. We are heading for a small town on
Manitoulin Island called Little Current and are hoping to find a phone line
there. We are in a very remote area of Canada called the North Channel. It
is a prime cruising ground full of remote islands and the most beautiful
scenery. Our cell phone hasn't worked in over a week; there aren't any cell
towers up here so communication with family and friends has ended for a
while. We figure that we have at least another week before things begin to
work again.

So let's catch up on what has happened since Toledo. The refrigeration guy
did show up and he recharged the system and it hasn't shut off since,
literally. So now we have to really watch the battery level. Just a little
something to worry about. (I have found that I am a constant worrier about
these things) So we said good bye to Toledo and began our trek to Detroit.
Actually we went to the north end of Lake St. Claire just above Detroit and
anchored in Metro Park. It was a long day of motoring as we left at 0700
and didn't anchor until about 1730 we made over 75 miles that day. Of course
the wind was on our nose, the water was shallow and the current swift
against us, but this was offset by the hazy foggiest visibility. All in all
a good cruise. It was interesting going through the Detroit River with its
industrial surroundings. We found a Motown radio station to listen to and
really did enjoy the trip. As we neared Lake St. Claire our ever present
traveling companions aboard La Ti Da scooted on ahead to scout the anchorage
and to contact friends in Detroit. WHAT FRIENDS THEY WERE! These folks
were likely the funniest people we have ever met. For the next three days
we laughed from morning to night as we partied at private pools, toured the
Spirit of Ford museum, celebrated a birthday, did laundry and shopping and
went for Greek food in GreekTown. They opened their home and lives to us and
were the most delightful people. We will always remember the kindness' of
Dottie and Betty, of Detroit. We also met a woman named Diane who let us tie
up our dinghy in her back yard while at anchor in Metro Park, who was even
funnier than Dottie and Betty. We returned late one night and realized we
hadn't left our anchor lights on and it was very dark, but it worked out, we
found the boats on good order. The next day when I mentioned this to Diane,
her comment was, " Even F*ckin' Motel 6 leaves a light on, and you
knuckleheads think you can cruise around America." What a riot. Leaving our
newly made friends was a sad occasion, we had our drinks and good-byes on
the flybridge before dinghying them ashore. Early Monday morning we left
for another long day underway. We had only about 42 miles to go but going up
through the St. Claire River with it strong currents was slow going. We
made one stop in Port Huron for fuel, and paid a steep price for it, before
moving across the river to Sarnia, Ontario and Canada one again. We checked
in with Canadian Customs via telephone. Our slip for the night was at the
Ontario Provincial Police dock and in front of us was a huge ore boat tied
empty to the wall and it's bow loomed over our little boats. Again La Ti Da
and Vera Segunda were tied side by side. We had dinner and drinks and made
travel plans for the next day. Tuesday morning as we left the calm harbor
we turned into the full force of the final three miles of the St. Claire
River and a current that took our speed down to three knots. Slowly we
'climbed' into Lake Huron and open water once again. We cruised through a
clear day and four-foot gentle sea. Late afternoon brought us into
Goderich, Ontario, an industrial port that is the home of the world's
largest salt mine. We docked at the town dock and walked around the area
taking in the sights. Later in the day Cindy and I walked into the center
of town which was some distance from the boats and up a very steep and
rigged hill, but the view of the harbor was well worth the climb. The Town
Square of Goderich was a snapshot of any small town, complete with a line at
the movie theatre, but we couldn't find ice cream, much to everyone's
disappointment.

The next day brought us to Port Elgin, where carol's cousins, Tom and Lorna
live. Another family visit was in order and did we ever have a good time
Tom gave us a tour of the farm and his latest endeavor, pigs. He has set up
a pig barn operation, which has decreased his popularity in town, but we
suspect this is temporary. Tom and Lorna set a big supper for the four of
us and we all swapped stories into the night, finishing the evening with
beers at a local pub. The next day we were given the truck to do chores
which was a real treat. We picked up motor oil and post cards and all the
cruising essentials. Lunch was back at the farm and then off for an auto
tour of the site of their next pig barn and neighboring towns. Being the
cheap buggers that we have become, we pulled away from the dock late that
afternoon and dropped anchor at Chantry Island, three miles north, saving us
the dockage fee for the night and getting Tom away from the dock for the
first time this year. They came for coffee the next morning aboard their
boat "The Back 40" and tied along side. More sad good-byes and we turned
north once again and into a gathering fog. The day was spent watching radar
and fighting a large sea, but it was on the nose so it wasn't too
uncomfortable. We found shelter 30 miles north at an island called Lyal. We
crept to the shore through the fog to anchor in nine feet of beautifully
clear water. We explored the shore of the island to find the shore to be
solid rock cut into bizarre patterns by the action of Lake Huron. The radio
forecast bad weather for the following day so we decided to just move the
boats over to Stokes Bay just two mile off, but offering better shelter.
Carol and I went on a hike into town - one store, a bait shop and a
restaurant. We did find ice, which is always in demand. Late that afternoon
we were hit by a dramatic storm. We watched its approach as we were walking
back to the dock where we had left our dinghy. By the time we had the
dinghy secured the first drops began to fall. Within ten minutes from the
first rain drop the wind picked up to almost 35 to 40 knots and completely
boxed the compass. Both La Ti Da and Vera II swung full circle and La Ti Da
began to drag her anchor and head toward shore. All ended well as Cindy and
Robin dropped their hook again in deep water. The next morning we mad our
way to the entrance of Georgian Bay and the town of Tobermorey, which has
quite a reputation as the place to be on Georgian Bay. We could not find an
anchorage and people were waiting in lines to tie up at any available dock
space which as far as we could tell was non existent. We elected to find
another place at one of the many nearby islands. We motored out past an
island called Flowerpot and say the natural rock formations that gave it its
name. The wind and waves had created what appeared to be flowerpots for
giants. We photographed and videotapes as we cruised past this natural
phenomena. We found an anchorage that was a total distance of three miles
from Tobermorey, and had it to our selves. We dinghies swan and dived on a
sunken ship and didn't see another sole. It is amazing how secluded we were
when so many people were crazed to get into the marinas just a few short
miles away. The night was perfect, and we watched raccoon's fish along the
shore.

In the morning we headed due north to Killarney, where we thought we would
pick up fuel. Six hours after we left our secluded little anchorage we
found ourselves in an even larger traffic jam as the whole world was in
Killarney looking for fuel and lodging and dockage and repairs. We did make
a quick stop at the local grocery store. Cindy and I shopped for groceries,
Carol ran to the liquor store and Robin shot off to the Post Office. Within
a short while we had gotten rid of our trash and replenished our cabinets
and lockers with the necessities of life. We found another quiet cove just
another three or four miles away. We stayed here for three days. On our
first full day at anchor in a while we did our routine maintenance. Fresh
oil and filters to make the engine happy and a scrub down below the
waterline to make the hull happy. We did however make the mistake of taking
LouAnn, La Ti Da's cat, ashore in the dinghy. She ran off into the woods.
LouAnn has been living aboard for eight years and always comes back. She
did make an appearance that evening around 9 PM but that was the last we saw
of her and she was frightened away by the dinghy when Cindy tried to
retrieve her. The next day was filled with anxiety as we searched the woods
for LouAnn to no avail. That evening we all toasted LouAnn and wished her
well in her new life. LouAnn, cat of the north.

However, at about nine PM that second evening, there was LouAnn sitting on a
rock saying, "Hey, come get the cat!" Everyone was so happy that she was
home safely. The following day we did go back to Killarney and get in line
for fuel before continuing. We chugged in and around the islands and
cruised to a well known (Some say the Jewel of the North) place called "the
Pool". The pool is at the end of a nine-mile fiord. The entrance to the
pool is a two-mile stretch not much more than 150 feet wide with tree lined
rock walls. The scenery here is reminiscent of Maine and the ladies say it
is like the Pacific Northwest. Very rugged and scenic. The pool is a small
natural basin not more than a quarter mile long by even less wide. We stern
tied the boats to the shore and anchored the bows out, as we had done at our
last anchorage. We spent a great evening there at the pool and began a
cribbage tournament, which is still ongoing. From the Pool we went to
Harwood Island where I started this letter this morning. We spent two
nights there. Our first night (or early morning) brought a storm of fierce
wind and sideways rain. Vera's anchor dragged and we came down on La TI Da
only to dislodge her anchor as well. Luckily I had been up and had the
engine running. As the boats touched, we pushed off from one another and
motored to deep water maintaining our bows into the wind. Carol took the
helm and I manned the foredeck. We found another spot, the depth sounder
said we had eleven feet of water and through the lightning we could see that
we were clear of the other boats in the anchorage. La Ti Da cruised around
behind us for a while before setting her anchor again. The storm lasted
just over an hour and as dawn began to lighten the day we could see a
powerboat on the rocks not too far off. Cindy and I took the dinghy over to
offer assistance. We got them off the rocks by resetting their anchor and
using the dinghy after rocking them free. (My body weight finally comes in
handy). Yesterday was all rain. We have landed today in a town called
Little Current and have paid for dockage. It is the Hawberry Festival!
(Whatever a Hawberry is) But today we watched a parade, had sausages at the
firehouse and heard a choir singing on the waterfront. Tonight we get
fireworks! And we are going to get to do laundry and shopping again. These
are the real pleasures of cruising.

We are now at the point of no return. When we travel west from here we are
committed to our journey around the country. I mention this because we had
been considering changing our plans to shorten the trip, returning via the
Trent-Severn Waterway. However, we have elected to continue and hope to be
in Illinois by mid August.

Friday, August 6th Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island As you may have guessed we
did not get the opportunity to send this off in Little Current, as it turned
out, that Monday was a 'Civic Day" which meant that all businesses were
closed and we couldn't find a place open to connect to a phone line. The
fireworks were great and the also had a parade of boats , all lit up and
cruising right past us while we were sitting on the flybridge watching the
show. On Monday morning we got our laundry done, it was just about the only
place in town that was open. Later we cruised to Haywood Island and
anchored. We experienced a fantastic storm in the early morning hours,
around 5 Am Tuesday which caused us to drag our anchor I had been up for a
while and we were experiencing high winds and lightning with rain coming in
sideways. I had the engine running when we broke our hold on Mother Earth.
We immediately dragged back onto La Ti Da who was close at hand, although we
barely touched I felt the embarrassment of having dragged onto a fellow
traveler. We re-anchored by the light of the lightning, and fought the wind
the whole time. After about an hour it began to let up and we could see
another boat which had washed up on the rocks. The owner was trying to rock
it loose so Cindy and I took off in the dinghy to see if we could assist.
After a while, through rocking and setting their anchor off the beam and
tugging with the dinghy we got it free from the grip of the shore and safely
into deep water. Another day on the water. Tuesday morning we set off to
Croker Island and found a beautiful island of smooth red granite and pine.
We hiked and found blueberries and bayberries and grasshoppers and we
watched a muskrat swimming. This was a good spot and we all swam as well.
Wednesday we spent the night behind Hotham island hiding from more wing and
thunderstorms. We had chosen our spot well and safely watched the storms
pass and enjoyed the rainbows that they left in their wake. We had cribbage
games and had a jigsaw puzzle competition. Last night we spent in a very
small and safe harbor called Cleary Bay in Dewdney Island. The entrance to
the bay was not much wider than Vera II, maybe by 10 feet at the most. The
bottom was rocky and only a few inches deeper than our keel. We crept in
with Carol on a bow watch and me at the flybridge helm. We followed a couple
of other cruiser through the channel. They had come out to meet us in their
dinghy and lead the way in. We did run aground momentarily once inside, and
onto a sandy bottom. No harm done. We anchored fore and aft and sat
through another storm last night. Today we crossed the North Channel to
arrive here at Meldrum Bay and we are safely tied to the dock. The crossing
was exciting, we had a 4 and 5 foot chop the entire way, for over three
hours, which made the crossing see long.

But it is now "Happy Hour" so I must sign off and do my duty.

Bridges Passed Under/Through 292

Locks 43

Miles Traveled 1619

Average speed 7.1 mph

7 States 2 Countries

68 Days


Wednesday, August 18, 1999 Milwaukee, Wisconsin

When you last heard from the traveling Huffs, we were headed off for Happy
Hour. We hiked into "town" and had local beers on the porch of the hotel,
overlooking Meldrum Bay. That evening we had the pleasure of being
entertained by a cruising minister who played the bagpipes as the sun set.
We met a couple of folks on a sailboat who have been cruising for quite some
time. Carol got on with them quite well and ended up with a good batch of
locally picked blueberries and we also purchased baked goods from a
gentleman who brings baked things down to the docks for sale. We "showered"
by jumping off the back of the boat into crystal clear water once again.
That evening we all watched videos of our progress, from the time of meeting
La Ti Da to the present, and made copies for family. The video ran almost
three hours. The next morning we had plans to motor in company with La Ti
Da to a place called Harbor Island just north of the town of Drummond. This
is where we would re-enter the USA! We all started our engines at eight and
as we motored out of the bay La Ti Da found some one to chat with, they
always chat. They didn't catch up with us for an hour. The weather was
supposed to take a turn for the worse, which is why we chose Harbor Island.
It was a horseshoe shaped Island that has a reputation for being a good spot
to hide from the weather. We anchored in about 8 feet of water and had a
good mud bottom, which provided excellent holding. Well, good holding for
us.Late into the night after the lightning began to light up the sky, I was
awake and watching the storm and I could hear voices. La Ti Da began to drag
and I could see her maneuvering around the anchorage trying to find another
spot. I hailed her and offered assistance. I launched the dinghy, attached
the motor, and helped them set out a second anchor. By the time we secured
everything and had them anchored safely almost all the other boats in the
harbor had their running lights on and were maneuvering. It was a busy
night, but Vera Segunda stayed put, her anchor buried deeply in the mud.

We stayed another day at anchor to let the weather pass and catch up on
things. Monday the 9th took us to a town called DeTour (Michigan) where we
took on fuel and water, off loaded trash, checked in with U.S. Customs and
bought a great coffee mug which I have adopted as my own. Then off to
Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw, and they will get testy if you say
wrong) where we tied up at the marina for the rolliest stay to date. The
ferries going to and from Mackinac Island keep the waves rolling in and kept
Vera Segunda leaping about until very late into the evening. We did a foot
tour of the town, had drinks over looking the water and did some
provisioning; we even got an Internet hookup (which is where I sent the last
note form). All in all it was a very interesting place. The houses were
gingerbread and colonial and all were very well kept. The only form of
transportation was horse carriages and bicycles. There are no cars on the
island. We saw everything being delivered by carriage and wagon. One wagon
that passed must have had a lot of stops to make as it was carrying parcels,
lumber luggage and even a couple of Fed Ex packages. You just never know
what you will find next when you travel.

Morning brought more clouds and a slight chop, but it was coming onto our
nose and Vera is a nice heavy boat so the ride was soft and comfortable. We
passed under the spectacular Mackinaw Bridge, (5 miles long!) cruised west
for several hours and turned south through the reef that extends westward
from the tip of Michigan. A few hours later we arrived in St. James Harbor,
Beaver Island, Michigan. This island is in the 'middle' of Lake Michigan,
and again we were listening intently to the weather. We anchored in sand
this time and just off the docks, near to shore for protection. We dinghied
to the beach and found a grocery store right in front of us. On the way we
had chatted with some folks from Texas who are doing the loop. They spend
most of their time cruising the south, but did the loop this year. They
said that they are looking forward to getting back into the Tenn-Tom
Waterway, they have cruised there so much they feel as though it is home.

Carol and Robin walked the Main Street and Cindy and took the groceries back
to the boats and then dinghied to the other side of the bay to pick up the
walkers. That evening the cribbage tournament which had been going on for
quite some time came to an end ad the Carol and Cindy team declared victory.
10 games to 4 ... seems close to me.

From Beaver Island we had our longest day, 80 miles, crossing Lake Michigan
and motoring into Wisconsin and Central Daylight Time. Now it gets dark
very early, around 8:30, which means it gets light earlier as well, ugh! Our
first stop in Wisconsin was Washington Island. La Ti Da needed to stop here
as they are trying to sell their boat so they don't have to truck it back to
the West Coast. There is a Sea Sport dealer on the island so we motored
over across a very shallow bat to the dealer ship. As we were motoring with
our depth alarms going off, trying to find deeper water in the channel and
approaching the dock, my cell phone rings and I hear "Hi, Big Ed, whatcha
doin?" It was my friend Jeffery, I had to chuckle, as this is the first
time the phone has ringed in quite some time and we were very busy! I
excused myself from Jeff and asked him to call back later, a quieter moment
perhaps. We did talk later and it was good to chat with Jeff, as we haven't
had the chance in a while. I listened to his bluegrass album later that
evening. The dealer called a few people and told the girls he would be in
touch, using our cell phone as a contact point. We left his dock and
anchored out in the same shallow bay we had just crossed, and again with an
approaching storm. But the weather passed and we spent a quiet night
aboard.

From Washington Island we traveled down inside Green Bay to Sturgeon Bay
(the town) which has a canal cutting through the peninsula. We spent a
couple of days here waiting for weather as well. We stayed at the Sturgeon
Bay Yacht Club, which serves a great Scottish beer. We also visited a Grand
Banks Dealership and ate at Perry's Cherry Diner famous for its malts and
burgers. We had malts and burgers (Elvis's favorite meal). Mmmmmmmm! We
also met a lot of nice folks at the yacht club and others who were also
traveling.

The next stop was Manitowoc, where we paid for dockage (seems to be the way
in Wisc) and did our laundry at the worst laundry yet... the dryers didn't
dry! I chatted with another Grand Banks owner who got a 42 just a year ago,
great boat! We also met an owner of a Nordic Tug, another of our favorite
boats, who invited us aboard for a while to chat. We got home late for a
late supper.

Hiding from another storm and pulling into Port Washington we were greeted
with "We don't want your kind here!" Some guy shouted from the dock. We
couldn't imagine the rudeness of some people. However, no sooner than we
had tied Vera Segunda up securely, the guy who shouted came over to
apologize.. It seems as though they have friends with a Grand Banks as well
and it was a case of mistaken identity. They turned out to be great folks
and we have made friend once again with nice people. The next evening we
had drinks and snacks aboard 'Kokopelli', their sailboat. Our first
Wisconsin Cheese and smoked meats. What a fun evening. We made plans to
meet them in Milwaukee the next day, as this was their home port and they
were heading back as well.

Yesterday brought us here to Milwaukee. As we left the harbor Carol
videotaped La Ti Da shooting past at 20 knots and Kokopelli hoisting their
sails. We all had plans to meet in the afternoon and tour the city. We tied
alongside La TI Da at the Milwaukee Yacht Club, who had scooted ahead as we
all pulled out of Port Washington. No one was aboard which we thought was
strange; they had always been there to greet us. We checked in and the
folks at the yacht club said that they had been talking about going to the
museum or something. We thought it was strange but... so we went off to the
museum, which was fantastic with a very diverse collection. We had called
Bob and Carol on Kokopelli and made plans to meet later. When we returned
from the museum there was still no sign of our friends on La Ti Da, stranger
still. They knew of the plans we had made for the group and had even joked
about how we would all fit in the car. We had a great evening with our
newly made friends from Milwaukee. We had drinks on the river walk and a
fantastic Mexican dinner, not to mention a wonderful driving tour of this
fine city. We returned to the yacht club around nine to find La TI Da gone.
They had retied Vera Segunda to the dock and left the briefest of notes
saying they were moving on and that maybe we will see them in the rivers. We
can only speculate at their decision to move and to their manner of leaving.
It has saddened Carol and I and we really don't know what to make of it all.

We can only hope that everything is all right in
their world. So it is on a sad note that these words arrive today, but
tomorrow is another day and the sun will be out again.


Bridges Passed Under/Through 295

Locks 43

Miles Traveled 1977

Average speed
7 mph

8 States 2 Countries

80 Days

"Seafaring might be compared with a drug habit which obliges one to suffer
at intervals in order to experience peaks of elation."
W. A. Robinson