Ever have that feeling you’re meant to not leave?


Two weeks ago, with my sister set with our youngest sister in GR through the middle of the week and then her next-door neighbor standing by to drive her to chemo and  doctor appointments, Ron and I took off for the west end of the North Channel. Initially, our plan had been to take one of our cars to De Tour, so that I had easy access home should that be needed. But two days before we had planned to stage the car, we hit a deer (or rather, the deer kind of hit us). We spent the next few days with our insurance company and a body shop nearby. The good news is that damage was limited to the hood, grill, headlights and fender; mechanically the car is fine. We arranged to have it repaired, but now we had no vehicle staged at De Tour.

I reluctantly kept with our plan to spend a couple of days at Harbor Island (one of our favorite anchorages anywhere), then head to Hilton Beach to check into Canada and spend a week or so in the area around St. Joseph Island. Ron assured me if needed, we would rush home to Duncan Bay. Winds were a zephyr and the water calm as we left Duncan Bay early that Monday morning. However, as we got to the east side of Bois Blanc Island and began making the rhumb line to Detour Passage Light, the wind built to 15 knots from the E (forecast was for SE 5-10) and the leftover waves coming from the ESE began building with the occasional whitecap breaking on our starboard bow. It was uncomfortable, our speed was being knocked down 1-2 knots. Did we really want to slog on like this all day? Our GPS showed that our ETA was still 5 hours to the Light. We discussed our options and decided to change course, to Government Bay in the Les Cheneaux Islands (2 hours away), where we should have a decent cell phone signal and data coverage, and I could stay in touch with my family.

We made the right decision. Winds continued to build that day and the next. But we were comfortable anchored off Government Island and when the winds shifted to the west, then northwest, we moved to the northern end of the bay where we also remained comfortable. Five days later, with a favorable forecast, we headed back to our slip at Duncan Bay Boat Club so that I could get home to my sister early the next week. While I was away, with complications mounting, she had at least one trip, sometimes two, per day to the hospital or clinic 8 weekdays in a row. And then, within minutes of tying in our slip, the body shop phoned to say Gretta (my Jetta) was ready. Perfect timing! I had my car back!

I went home, planning to take my sister to her chemo treatment last week. Because her platelets have been so low, she has not been able to have chemo since her hospital stay last month. Arriving home I learned that there was another change to her schedule: she was still scheduled for her doctor’s appointment, then chemo at noon, but now (due to another test that day) a new doctor on her care team had concluded that her chemo port needed to be replaced (and repositioned) and so she was scheduled for minor surgery early that next morning. To make a long story short, we spent that whole day at the hospital. She didn’t make her oncologist appointment and she didn’t have chemo. She does, however, have a new chemo port and perhaps this will help eliminate the upper body swelling she has been experiencing the past five weeks.

I had taken Amy home and was getting her settled for the night when I received a text from Ron. We were once again having “issues” with our engine, though the fouled fuel filter we discovered after the slog home likely was the culprit. Ron had a diesel guy come look at our engine who made a couple of suggestions Ron hadn’t heard before. As he was bleeding the engine after installing an anti-siphon valve and replacing our secondary fuel filter, the bolt to the injector pump broke off as he tightened it. Seriously? Our engine will not run. He’s ordered a new part (it’s the most expensive bolt I’ve seen) that we hope is the correct part. If it is, and if all goes well, we MAY still be able to make the Great Lakes Cruising Club Wilderness Rally at Harbor Island next weekend. If not, well maybe we are meant to stay right where we are.

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