Great Loop Blog - Day 6/7/8
We worked on the YouTube Channel most of the day. That evening we went to dinner in Port Huron at Pompeii's Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant where we feasted on cheesy garlic bread, salad, and pasta Carbonara with Italian ham, bacon, and mushrooms accompanied by a wonderful bottle of white Riesling. It was delightful, and the service was also awesome. Highly recommended. Walking to the restaurant, and taking two hours for a leisurely romantic dinner is one of the joys of the cruising lifestyle.
Although we were completely stuffed, we had not had enough gastronomic pleasure yet so we decided to stop for ice cream on the way home. As it turned out the ice cream cones were positively enormous but we somehow managed to eat them. High on a food overdose and a sugar blast we giggled our way back to the boat, singing and laughing.
Peanut Butter Moose Tracks and Butter Pecan with Salty Caramel in a waffle cone.
We departed Riverside Marina at 8:12 AM to catch the 8th street bridge on opening. The Bridge opened right on time, putting us in the narrow gap between the 8th street bridge and Military bridge for a 15 minute wait with the wind blowing us straight down the river. About 8 tense minutes later - that felt like twenty - the Military Bridge operator kindly opened the bridge a bit early.
We made our way out into the St. Clair River. One of my favorite boats, the original KK 42 was headed up the river and we gave them a big wave.
Next challenge was the Blue Water Bridge. Under this bridge all of the water from Lake Superior, Michigan, and Huron pours through a narrow gap, creating a four knot current. Our approach was complicated by two large freighters transiting in opposite directions. This is a crazy patch of water. Approximately 1/4 mile from the bridge there are eight to ten foot ocean like swells, big rollers that you take at 3 knots as the current increases. Closer to the bridge the current is so strong the water is completely flat despite a 10 to 15 knot breeze.
The freighter's come up the port side of the river, and then swing clear across to the starboard side to pass under the bridge, and then swing to port again to enter the Lake Huron northbound shipping channel. This adds to the excitement!
Finally we were in Lake Huron. Our thrill at finally being able to make 6 1/2 knots across open water lasted for an hour. We set a course due north, about a mile and a half offshore.
The forecasters had called for diminishing winds, and waves of 1-2 feet. About 5 nautical miles north of the bridge, the Coast Guard issued a small craft advisory for 20 to 25 knot winds, with waves 5 to 7 feet. We pressed on, enjoying the conditions as we were taking them directly on the bow. At one point poor Yorksie was lifted off her feet about six inches into the air when we came down a wave crest, the look on her face caused us to laugh hysterically. Sadly we did not capture this on video.
When Darina came back from moving the lines and fenders from the port side to the starboard side prior to our entering Sanilac Harbor she later told me that she had never felt more alive and free than she did working on the deck in five foot seas.
Idling through the fairway to our assigned slip, the oil pressure dropped to 30 pounds and the low oil pressure alarm came on. The valve cover was leaking even more than before. Made several phone calls, and found a mechanic who understood the problem. Ordered yet another Gasket from American Diesel, and extended our stay in Port Sanilac through Friday.
Port Sanilac has a well protected harbor protected by a man made breakwall.
Our home for three days:
Port Sanilac is a wonderful small town that has everything a cruiser needs within easy walking distance of the marina. We walked the town, shopped, and did laundry. There is a nice recreation of an old town and a beautifully restored Victorian home a few blocks from downtown.
On Wednesday morning woke up at 2 AM to work and the internet was impossibly slow. Thus began the two day saga of the "Unlimited" data plan. Unlimited in a data plan means unlimited to what you can do on a phone, .vs. what you really need which is the internet tethered or hot spotted to your Mac or PC. An "Unlimited" AT&T "Elite" plan includes 40 GB of hotspot, or tethered data. AT&T claimed that I used 8GB a day from the start of the billing period, so they throttled me to a "reduced" speed of 128K. This speed is, of course, completely useless for anything including web browsing.
Two hours on the phone with Indian tech support. Their "solution" was - big surprise - that I pay more. As I have an iPhone 13 Pro with a dual SIM, I purchased a second phone number that has an additional 40 gb for a total of 80 gb per month. Needless to day their own tech support people didn't really know how to make this work, so I got incomplete instructions. The highlight was when I was told to reboot my phone and let them know if it worked. I explained that if I rebooted the phone I would lose the call to tech support and they were stumped. They promised to call me back after the reboot and never did.
The next day dawned with yet another hour and half on the phone with tech support. At one time I was offered the option of having them ship me any number of cheap Samsung Galaxy phones, each with two data plans, at $60/Month per phone, to get "Unlimited" hotspot data.
I started working from a virtual machine inside the company data center fabric...
On Wednesday night after the big rain the forward cabin - which I had completely rebuilt from scratch - leaked water all over the bed.
On Friday morning the guys from Port Sanilac marina came over and very carefully and meticulously installed the new gasket. These guys were fantastic, and only charged us $95! We'll be headed to Harbor Beach later today.
Despite all this fun and excitement our spirits remain high and we can't wait to see what fun challenges await us next.