We're home. The sail back from New Buffalo was fast and furious. We awakened at 6 a.m. to the sound of dogs barking....Mark's choice for the iPhone alarm. Without coffee or our daily dose of Michigan blueberries, we checked the weather forecast, then unhooked the electric and warmed up the engine. Leaving Ellen Fiedler's slip (B105) was easy. Reverse, glide. Reverse, glide. However, when I put the engine into forward, I couldn't turn the wheel. Or thought I couldn't. I'd checked it before departure. Does it jam? Do I jam? I need to check this out when other boats aren't in the vicinity. Mark yelled, "Starboard." That damn "Starboard"! Eventually the wheel responded, and we moved past the four boats on our port side without incident.
We left the channel and were on the high seas by 7 a.m. We put up the sail and jib. The winds were brisk. Our heading was 270. The winds increased. The sun came up. Photo op! The winds increased. We reefed the jib. Then we reefed the main. Although we had less sail out, our speed didn't decrease. Speakeasy was racing along at 6.8 to 7 knots. As fast as she could go! At first I was nervous. What if the winds increased? Thankfully until the home stretch, they stayed at about 20.
The final hour was breathtaking. Literally. The Chicago shoreline was within reach as the winds picked up. Mark said we'd take in the foresail. At my starboard post, I waited for him to give the command, "Release." But he didn't. Of course, if I'd looked in his direction I would have seen that he was trying to bring in the jib. When I finally did release, the foresail went every which way. We finally brought the boat back to order but it was harrowing with the sail out of control.
Now we were "So close and yet so far."
I aimed for the cut with the Chicago Light on our starboard side. I turned on the engine for better maneuverability. We went through the cut. I took a deep breath. Once inside the outer wall, I headed into the wind to take the mainsail down. For some reason, it wouldn't come down. Mark had to go up to the mast to ease it down. With gusts of up to 30, that unnerved me. However, he managed with ease and grace!
I motored around the second sea wall. Now came the challenge of finding our mooring. We'd left it more than one month ago. And it was new to us: North Juliet 14. I no longer remembered exactly where it was and certainly couldn't visualize any of the surrounding boats. Suddenly I remembered that we'd put a pale blue trash can with a hot pink protective noodle on the mooring can. In the distance, I saw it. The colors had faded but the adhesive J 14 were visible. We headed straight for it. Mark reached out and grabbed the mast buoy.
We were home! The heat was sweltering and the noise of Lallapalluza was overwhelming. I needed to get off the boat and find shade and quiet. Quickly we stashed the perishable food (including a five pound box of blueberries) in our backpacks, grabbed the laptop and one bag of dirty clothes and called the tender. At the Lakeshore Drive crossing, I spotted an empty taxi who sped us back to our loft. We raced for the shower, dropping backbacks and sweat-soaked clothes en route. After a luxurious shower in our own shower, we drank huge glasses of cool water and stretched out for a snooze. Grateful, oh, so grateful for air conditioning. Later I retrieved the Sunday New York Times and Mark ventured out for milk.
We whipped up bowtie pasta with arugula, feta cheese and Michigan tomaotoes. We drank Fonthill Sea Air Verdelho 2006 wine. We stretched out again to read the paper and slept.
Now it's Monday morning. Mark's already at work and I'm vowing to write every day.
Richard Reynolds was on Speakeasy last week in White Lake along with my brother and friends TJ and Jodie. When Richard, whom I've known for decades, stated, "Living the Dream," he caught me off-guard. I'd never actually verbalized what we're doing. But it's true. We are living the dream. Doing what we love to do and loving each other.
For now Harbor to Harbor adventures are over. Next summer we will explore the Channel Islands. In the meantime, let's see if I can turn this blog into a booklet or a playlet or at least an outlet for my need to be creative and productive when I'm not on the water. When I'm on the water, all other needs fade away.