Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stuck in Saugatuck

We didn't get to know our slip neighbors in Grand Haven until we were
about to cast off. Two motor cruiser were sailing together from
Peoria. They intended to go to Beaver Island (as had we) but poor
weather left them stuck in Manistee for 4 days.

Once we were out of our slip and past the brass band rehearsal and
dancing water display, we made good time to Saugateck--mostly motor
sailing. Our intention was to drop anchor just inside the channel and
dinghy up the Kalamazoo to the bustling tourist center.

We turned into the anchorage a couple of boat lengths from the channel
buoy and were stuck in 3.5 feet of water--at least that's what our
depth meter read. I suspect the depth was about 4.3 since our depth is
4.4. We wiggled out of the muck and backed into the channel. There was
nothing to do but head up river.

Beth radioed various marinas, but a fishing tournement had taken all
the slips. Our only chance was if Tower Marina could loan us a slip
used by a yearly customer who was away. After some confusion about
whether we were a sail or motor cruiser and more delay, we got slip 7
at Tower. By now we were in Saugatuck and Lake Kalamazoo.

We began looking for the Marina, which was on the south side of the
river in Douglas. In front of the Marina was a confusing set of
markers--no wake, green, and red. A large paddlewheel boat was coming
at us. We veered toward the Marina into the no wake zone, avoiding a
class of kids sailing dinghies. Where was slip 7 anyway? Oops! We were
stuck again. This time the meter read 3.3.

We shook the boat and tried to back out, but we were too far in the
shallows. I hailed a couple I had seen earlier in a dinghy similar to
ours. They were happy to take the anchor out so we could kedge our way
out, but we manage to only turn the boat around and get a few yards. I
should have let all the line out.

Meanwhile, Beth called Tower Marina. They agreed to tow us to the
channel. Soon two great guys were hauling up our anchor and towing us
across yards of muck to the channel, which was just 15 feet deep. We
were no longer stuck in Saugatuck.

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