Thursday, July 7, 2011

Somewhere in Time: Pentwater and then back to the beginning.

July 7th and we've just passed Little Point Sable with its warm red bricks and peaked top. The lighthouse I know better than any other. The lighthouse that's on all my luggage tags. On the charts, it's called Little Sable Light, but we natives call it "the Point" or Little Point Sable. I am breathing deeply and feeling replenished after a tough crossing on July 1st. Today we're cruising from White Lake up to Pentwater. We called ahead and hope the Municipal Marina is saving us a slip. Cousin Bill Kiefer checked in to the Pines Motel outside Pentwater and will join us for dinner as will Bob. We saw Bob yesterday at White Lake and had a wonderful meal at Michilinda. Along with a bottle of Kendall Jackson chardonnay, Bob had the pasta, Mark had grilled walleye, and I had lemon-pepper scallops. Fresh asparagus, but tiny portions. My guess is that the restaurant hadn't anticipated the many diners who turned up. In fact the terrace was full. The huge dining room was almost empty. Who'd want to eat indoors when the temp is 70 and the sky is blue. The sun was sinking, but two hours from sunset when we headed over to Stony Lake to take a look at the cottage Bob is renting for the summer. We plan to have the Rankin Reunion there the weekend after Labor Day and wanted to check out sleeping arrangements. Bob, of course, has the kingsize bed. I mentioned his relinquishing it for three days and was not surprised that he said, "I considered it." The second bedroom has twin bunks and the third bedroom has full size bunk beds. There's a chair in the living room that makes into a single bed and a couch on the front porch. So sleeping for 9 but not in a convenient configuration for the six of us, plus Bob in the kingsize. I checked out the stove which looks quite new but neglected to look inside the oven. Enough about looking ahead. Let's look back.

The crossing was close to a disaster for three reasons:

1. Speakeasy wasn't ready.

2. I wasn't ready.

3. The crew wasn't ready.

Here comes the elaboration.

1. Speakeasy needed a bimini. Sterling took forever to measure and was hindered by bad weather. The bimini was finally installed 5 days before our departure. We also needed to adjust reefing number one and fix the outhaul. Odge was even less efficient. In fact, he was drilling holes in the boom 2 hours before our departure with small shards of metal landing everywhere. Inside the boat the bilge tank was uncovered and nothing was shipshape. It was a mess. The night before, we had attended the Cruiser's Captain meeting while a horrendous storm raged. When we returned to take Speakeasy back to her mooring ball, we saw that the hatch and two portholes had not been closed. The cabin was drenched.

2. I wasn't ready. Packing for me is always a disaster scene. I try to take everything I could possibly need but not ONE thing more! Which means there are piles at home and lists. This year I bought large plastic bags from The Container Store. Into one, I packed Mark's summer seersucker suit, blue shirt and tie and my red dress and gold sandals. We plan to have dinner at The Grant Hotel where dressing is de rigeur. So these five items sealed up, I rolled over the vacuum cleaner and sucked out the excess air depleting the bag by 70 per cent. Remember that word; depleted. We'll come back to it later. I put all the clothes I will not need the July 4th weekend into another bag: 3 pair pants, 1 shorts, 1 swim suits, 2 shirts, 5 teeshirts, 2 bras, panties, Sucked out excess air. Flat as a pancake.

The clothes I anticpated needing the first four days, I put in my blue soft-sided suitcase along with shoes and cosmetics. Done. I wanted to take everything to Speakeasy Thursday; however, neither elevator in our building was working. I didn't mind climbing up ten flights but didn't want to climb back down laden with luggage.

It's not just clothes, shoes and cosmetics, of course. It's also food and drink. Since we don't own a car, we'd been taking staples (nuts, granola bars, instant oatmeal) to the boat one backpack at a time; but we are going to be five on board. One crew member volunteered to bring water, gingerale and snacks. Another brought wine and bagels. We planned smoked salmon and bagels for our first breakfast in South Haven. That never happened. See below.

3. The crew wasn't ready. I take the blame for most of it. Our crew had sailed on Speakeasy, but I hadn't pointed out some obvious necessities: how to use the head, where the light in the head was, how to start/stop the engine, how to use the VHF, fire extinguishers, MOB. I had not been strict about luggage: one soft sided bag + bedding. Period.

As we arrived Friday 6 p.m. Odge ad Mark were on the deck. We had to dump our gear in no organized fashion.Then we had dinner at the club and departed at 10 p.m. We had planned to sail in tandem with Whisper as Dorothy and her crew had never made an overnight crossing. But as we left the dock at Columbia, I neglected to call them. I was already feeling depleted.

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