A return to Beaver Island…

On Saturday morning, with winds calm and seas flat, we prepared to haul anchor and continue our trek to Cheboygan. One last check of marine weather (we picked up Beaver Island’s Chamber of Commerce community wifi at anchor via our wifi booster) and all looked good. Wind was supposed to fill in from the south through the day with a chance of thunderstorms overnight. No problem, we would be in port by late afternoon. I decided to check radar, just in case. This is what I saw:

What????! We checked the forecast again. They were not forecasting thunderstorms until evening, and nothing severe. Radar was obviously disagreeing. However, there were no marine warnings north of the Manitous and radar seemed to show the northern-most area of the “weather” breaking up a bit. Maybe we should take off and get north of the system?

We raised anchor; there was another sailboat departing the marina. As we motored out of the harbor, Ron suggested I check the weather on the VHF. The NOAA weather site via the internet had not changed. One would think the internet would be the most current, right? Wrong. The weather radio loop was warning all mariners, west and south of the Straits, to seek safe harbor immediately. And then we looked behind us at what was approaching from behind the Island:

We turned back. The sailboat that had left ahead of us turned back as well. We anchored just as the first wind gusts hit us. For us, this front looked much more ominous than the weather we experienced, but by the time the weather cleared, it was approaching mid day and we had a long day getting to the Straits or all the way to Cheboygan, so we decided to just enjoy a day at Beaver Island. We went to shore, lifting our dinghy high and dry on the beach (and fortunately tying it to shore), visited McDonough’s grocery store, had lunch at The Shamrock, and viewed a funeral procession that appeared to include most of Beaver Island’s residents. When we returned to our dinghy a couple of hours later, it was floating, banging against the shore’s bank: we’d had a seiche!

  We returned to Thyme Hyssop & Wry for the afternoon, preparing to leave the following morning. The forecast looked good. And then the wind arrived: S 20-25, gusting to 30 knots, kicking up whitecaps on the bay. Within a couple of hours, we discovered our anchor was dragging, so that was an interesting time resetting and putting out a second anchor. We went to bed with the wind still howling and whistling through our rigging. It was after midnight before I finally fell to sleep, hoping beyond hope that I would wake to calm in the morning. To my surprise, we did!


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