Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Grand Haven is a Great Place to be Tied up in"

"Grand Haven is a Great Place to be Tied up in" is the slogan for the Municipal Harbor and true in our case! We had hoped to sail to Pentwater today which was an overly ambitious goal. By 4 a.m. the winds are outrageous outside the boat. We're moored in a slip one mile inland from Lake Michigan. I peek my head up through the companionway and a gust of wind hits me with full force. It takes my breath away. Usually the winds are lighter in the morning, but not today.

We need to figure out how to proceed. In the meantime, I make coffee. I use a little Coleman stainless steel percolator. I pour water from a one gallon jug into the pot up to the six cup line. Actually there is no six cup line. The lines indicate 3, 5, and 7, but we've learned that six is just right! I put 7 spoonfuls of pre-ground Folgers coffee into the little basket. Put on its top. Then I put on the coffee-pot top. Then I climb up the four steps through the companionway to the cockpit. With the wind blowing loudly, I go to the stern of the boat and open a lazarette. A cylindrical tank of Liquid Propane is stored there. Everyone calls it LP. It scares me because I'm always thinking it might explode. I turn the knob. The gauge doesn't decrease which is a good sign.  Then I go back down the companionway to the Navigation Station to turn the switch to LP which allows the LP to flow to the little stove. So far so good. Then I push in the middle knob on the stove front and turn it to the left. Then I push in the knob on the far left. Click. Click. Click. Finally the flame flares up! I take my right finger off the middle button too soon. The flame dies. I start over. The third time I succeed because I remember not to depress the left hand button until I count ten. (One does a lot of counting on boats!) The flame has taken. Now I turn it lower. Then I hover because once the water pushes its way up through the funnel and through the basket and hits the little glass protuberance on the top of the pot, I need to let it "perk" for 5 minutes. I'm never sure when this will happen and don't want to be doing some other task which distracts me from the task at hand which is making coffee. I set the stop watch on my iPhone to 3 minutes. I reckon it has taken me two minutes to locate the iPhone. 

While the coffee is merrily perking away, I open the top of the refrigerator and dig out a plastic bag filled with Michigan Blueberries. Then I take the spinner dish out of the salad spinner, pour in the blueberries and turn on the tap to rinse these plump delightful berries. I'm not sure how clean this water is as it's been pumped into the boat through the deck from a rubber hose by me at a pumpout/fuel dock/ fresh water dock in Lake Macatawa. Which is why I use only bottled water for the coffee. But wait, that water is boiling so maybe I should be cleaning the blueberries with bottled water and using tap water for the coffee. The iPhone timer goes off. I turn off the coffee. I turn off the tap water.

I pour two mugs of coffee and take them up to the cockpit where Mark has been hanging rags out to dry. It's only 7:15. We sit and enjoy the coffee although the wind is doing its best to beat us down. Once I've had a couple of sips, I retreat down the companionway. The blueberries have drained nicely in the salad spinner. I pour them into two plastic bowls and pass them up along with real cream. Real Michigan blueberries deserve real cream.

We are curious to see how strong the wind is at the lake's edge and walk to Lake Michigan along the board walk. On the way, we come to a "cage" twenty feet by twenty feet. It's a fish cleaning station. Inside four men are cleaning huge salmon. Each man stands at a stainless steel counter which slants down to a center hole into which they toss the head, the tail, the guts. Suddenly this fish garbage disposal is activated as an entire fish slides down and is sucked into the disposal. Its head and tail convulate  like it's gone crazy. One man shouts, "Stop. What are you doing?" The other fisherman don't say a word. They just continue filleting their fish. 

We pass the bleachers where people sit to watch the Musical Fountains after sundown. Now at 8:30 a.m. the Salvation Army Bank has taken the stage. A Sarah Brown sitting in the bleachers gives me a beatific smile. Mark and I join her and the congregation of 40 or so believers. I think of my Aunt Iva and her son John who is a Major in the Salvation Army. I push a couple of dollars in the donation pail. Then we stand and walk towards the Lake.

The waves are gigantic. A red flag announces danger.  Swim at your own risk.  No one is in the water.  Triathalon runners tell us the swimming portion of their event has been cancelled.  We are relieved.

We take a trolley ride, listen to a rock band and wander up and down the main street looking at 200 vintage cars.  Old Fords, Chevrolets.  a fancy LaSalle,  a sexy yellow Thunderbird.  I spend as much time observing the passersby as I do looking at the cars.  We are in Michigan -- cars reign!

We visit the Tri-Cities (Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrisburg) Transportation Museum in the old  train depot. I like the photo of Grandma Whipple on her little ferry boat. 

We have another ice cream one.  French silk.  Not as good as Sherman's in South Haven.
Then we head back to Speakeasy and grill some brats.  Salad with  home-grown lettuce and tomatoes.  More of the berry pie.  Red wine.  The sun set is wonderful.  We do not mind being "tied up in Grand Haven."

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