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Working our way back home

Boyne City Library, Boyne City

It has been a whirlwind since leaving Canada more than two weeks ago and in recent days have have been catching up with friends, working on the boat and learning more about Ernest Hemingway. We are in the Boyne City Marina expecting to ride out a thunderstorm that seems to have gone south of us.

Oh well, we love Boyne City. Less hectic that Charlevoix but still a great downtown and good restaurants.

The lack of cell phone and internet service has made posting to the blog more difficult even back in Michigan than we would have expected. Even at the marinas we have been in, there is little internet and not enough phone service to use a hotspot.

Still those are minor irritations - this trip has been about the adventure rather than blogging about it every day.

Seems we have surrounded ourselves with very thoughtful people - one being my brother-in-law Mark Heffron who is a top-end professional photographer.

A few years ago we were talking about photographing events and places and he said something like "Take the time to put down the camera and just experience what is going on for it may never happen again. The memory will be better than a single picture."

He was right. Making memories together s what is important.

LOOKING BACK

The Canadian Sault St. Marie recreational lock.

After leaving the North Channel we spent a few more days in Canada and went to Sault St, Marie, Ontario.

The trip up the St. Mary's River from Detour to Sault St. Marie is a beautiful one. The river is wide and deep in the passage but shallow outside of the mark channel. A southerly current makes heading north a little harder than it looks but on relatively calm day the trip in a sailboat like ours is easy, only about 30 miles.

Our main objective was to go through the Soo lock and at least say that we had sailed on Lake Superior.

Cindy, it is not widely known, suffers from "Kheckof's" disease. The main symptom is that she has a list of things going all the time that she wants to "check off" to be able to say she has done. It's not a bucket list but rather a list of things that if we are near someplace she wants to see and do.

Most of the time the list leads to wonderful experiences which was the case in the Soo. She wanted to go to the Bush Plane Museum and to something we had heard about all summer long and that was a Canadian Tire store.

The museum was more fun than I could have imagined as it has bush planes - those small planes that can land on land and water and take off in just a few hundred feet - off all ages and sizes.

While we were there we had the chance to talk to a gentleman who has been working for more than 20 years to build a replica of the first bush plane ever flown. Twenty years, making most of the pieces by hand, day after day working on a plane that the 80-something said he finally hopes to see in teh air this fall during the National Bush Plane holiday in September.

Canadian Tire was a hike from the marina - two miles up hill but and interesting store. As expected it had a huge selection of tires and automotive parts and service but unexpectedly more than a warehouse of everything else from household goods to sports equipment and buy sports equipment we mean hockey equipment. Thousands of pairs of skates on display for every age and level of player and perhaps 5,000 to 10,000 hockey sticks. SO many sticks that they have 1,000 sticks with the regular hockey equipment then thousands more in the "stick" department.

THE SOO LOCK

We knew there were locks on both sides of the international line but didn't know the Canadian Locks were for recreational boats only.

There is no cost to use either lock.

We both seemed to get more than a little fearful as we approached the Canadian Lock for the the first time. thinking it was going to be difficult to maneuver so we arrived at the lock minutes before it opened for the day. We found we were the only boat waiting to go north and the only boat in the lock once it opened.

If you haven't been through a lock, there are lines attached to the wall that each boat simply slips on of its dock lines around around to hold the boat near the wall as the water in the lock is either raised or lowered.

As we were going up stream, the lock was at its lowest when we entered and when the doors were closed, Duncan freaked out and started barking which echoed off the metal walls and scared him even more.

Not sure what we were worried about as the lock master gave clear and perfect instructions and going up was easy.

Our plan was to motor up to Lake Superior and then pull pour sails and sail for an hour or so just to check that off the list but there was no wind so we motored up to Whitefish Bay and see Iroquois Point Lighthouse.

The day had been overcast and cloudy when we left the Soo but by the time we got to Whitefish Bay the clouds had moved out and the blue sky was spectacular perfect for taking pictures of the lighthouse from the water.

We stopped and anchored near the lighthouse so we could take a number of photos and then Duncan decided he needed to go ashore which posed a problem for us as the lighthouse is on the Michigan side and we hadn't checked in to customs yet.

Taking the risk of entering the country illegally, Jeff put Duncan in the dinghy and rowed ashore with his camera so he could take additional photos. He was glad he did as the lighthouse was one of the most spectacular lighthouses we have ever seen.

The lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. It marks the southern coast of Lake Superior and what is called the “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” as so many ship wrecks have happened near Whitefish Bay including the last major shipwreck on the Great Lakes, the Edmond Fitzgerald.

The automated lighthouse is now the home of the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum.

As we had not checked into US customs at this point I was only able to get a few picture of the lighthouse but hope to return soon.

The trip back through the lock was too easy and we had a professional photographer take pictures of the boat as it entered and left which we hope get sent to us soon.

We checked into US customs as we passed Sault St. Marie, Michigan by phone with the new customs ap. You still have to call and talk to an agent to confirm your identity but the agent spent more time asking Cindy about our trip than customs- related questions.

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