Sailing around Door County

The lighthouse entering Lake Michigan from Sturgeon Bay.

The abandoned lighthouse of Pilot Island.

The Washington Island ferries passing each other.

The Washington Island car ferry close up.

A sailboat race we saw on our way back home.

Just another beautiful day on the water.

Here are some of my favorite photos that I promised from our last sailing trip…

Vacation frustration

We came back early from our sailing trip. I’m finally starting to get over the frustration and disappointment of our latest adventure.

I guess it started before we even left. Little things. Arabella’s car had a driver’s side window that went off track and was stuck all the way down. That happened the night before we got 4 inches of rain and we found out about it after it had been raining for most of the day. We had a pool pump that kept flipping the breaker. Dan switched out the breaker. After that the pool pump worked but the boiler kept erroring out. My husband was concerned there could be a gas leak. So we called the heating/cooling guys out before we left. I threw on my clothes from the night before but I was scrambling because I wanted to wash them before we left. So after I thought I was done talking to them I put my robe back on and threw my clothes in the wash. I frantically threw enough clothes for a week in my suitcase as the heating guys told me there wasn’t a gas leak while I was standing around in my robe. Why didn’t they tell my husband this?

Meanwhile, he was on the phone with the group of sailors we were planning on crossing Lake Michigan with. We decided to delay the trip by one day due to weather. I was rushing as fast as I could only to halt in my tracks finding out the rest of the day I no longer had any plans. I felt angry and frustrated. But, hey, at least we didn’t have a gas leak.

The weather was balmy hot. It was unpredictable, volatile, and unsettling. We watched the news late that night and the news forecast called for a chance of severe weather all the next day. We didn’t know if we would even be able to make it to Sturgeon Bay, the meeting place for all the sailors before departing for the cruise the following day. We went to bed feeling anxious. We would have to try to leave early again the next morning but we had a lot to do before leaving. Meanwhile my daughter Arabella told me she went to the doctor because she had a UTI.

The next morning Angel wasn’t feeling good either, a head cold or tonsillitis possibly. We left as early as we could though and made it to Sturgeon Bay in our sailboat with an hour to spare before the severe weather hit. I was a nervous wreck. There were tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings all over the place. I was more worried about the kids at home than I was about being on a boat. Angel said the tornado sirens were going off and the skies were as dark as night during the day. To make matters worse, Arabella started throwing up and went to the ER thinking maybe she had a kidney infection. We also had a business emergency where an accident happened and a piece of equipment got broken.

But the plan still was to cross Lake Michigan the next morning between 5 and 6 AM. The trip across was going to take somewhere around 12 hours and we would be out of cell coverage a big portion of it. It was a horrible night but we were still dedicated to making the trip because Angel was taking care of things at home. Nothing seemed life threatening. The ER did a lot of tests that didn’t find anything wrong and that Arabella should just keep taking her antibiotics as prescribed. We couldn’t tap out easily because we had 3 passengers on our boat. Some of them had to take vacation days for this trip. Plus we were excited to go because none of us has crossed the big lake before.

I had a restless night’s sleep only to be awakened at 4:50 AM by a knock on our boat. There was a problem. The weather radio predicted 8ft waves the last portion of our trip. We decided not to cross that day and head up to Washington Island, then cross the following day. We sailed up Door County lake side and the waters were rough even close to shore.

When we got to the marina I received a call from my daughter saying that Arabella had to go back to the ER. She was really sick and throwing up. I was furious. Everyone was relaxing and having a few drinks so I decided to take a walk. I was angry with God. Why can’t we just get away for a few days and have respite from the stress? I was plotting how to get back home. Maybe I could hitch a ride with someone leaving the island on the car ferry. Then Paul and the rest of the crew could go on as planned without me. Later that evening the group got together for supper and planned the following day. It was there I got the text that Arabella tested positive for COVID. Again, I was angry. She finally got tested for COVID the third day she went in. They gave her an X-ray, CT scan, pelvic exam, STD tests, strep test, blood work, urine test BEFORE they thought to test her for COVID. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with those people??

So here my daughter is at home really sick with COVID even though she is 18 and fully vaccinated. They scheduled an antibody infusion for the next day. If that didn’t work she was going to have to be hospitalized. I was a wreck. We told the passengers on our boat and the people we were travelling with. Everyone was understanding even though there was a chance that through us they could be exposed. Some offered rides home if needed. The weather for the following day didn’t look great to cross the lake so everyone tapped out and we decided to start heading back towards home.

I slept horribly the whole night. I tossed and turned. I woke up cold and shivering. Was everyone cold that night? Or was I getting sick? Was that just a tickle in my throat? A sniffle in my nose? What if we had to sail rough waters sick? I had nightmares all night that I had COVID but awoke the next morning tired but feeling alright. We spent the next night in a marina. The following day we anchored out at an island. Although the shore was rocky and hard to walk on, we wanted to spend the night because it was simply beautiful. Maybe we could still save this trip after all. The infusion worked wonderfully and Arabella was feeling a lot better. Then we started worrying about going home and getting exposed since neither Paul nor I have had COVID yet.

We were looking forward to spending the night anchored out at the island but Paul said it was no good. It was going to be too windy so we headed back to our marina. Meanwhile, Paul and I were arguing. It was too stressful. I never wanted to go sailing again. I thought we were going to cross the big lake. I thought things would be good at home for a few days. I thought work would be okay without us. Boy was I wrong! I was so disappointed. I think we all were. Then when we were almost back to our home port we came across a smoking power boat. We thought they were on fire. We quickly grabbed whatever fire extinguisher we could find but I guess they were okay. One of their engines blew out. It was rather terrifying though to think we might have to do a water rescue. Or maybe the boat would blow up.

Then we came home to face COVID. I really hope this next week goes a lot better!

Sail

In July, we had the opportunity to spend the weekend on our friends new sailboat. We haven’t been friends with Tim and Cara very long, but we have a lot in common with them. So I felt like it was time to give them names.

Tim and Cara were at our house the evening that my son wanted to siphon gas. Tim was the one that told me that my son would probably blow up if he smoked after siphoning gas. Maybe Tim was talking from a similar experience? Lol. He has some pretty crazy stories.

I hate to say this but I have very high expectations for friends. Maybe that explains why I have only a handful of close friends.

I basically have only two simple requirements for a really close friend. 1. They need to be intellectuals and be willing to share deep conversations (sometimes about spirituality). 2. They need to be wild, crazy, active, adventurous, and fun. Kind of like me. Do you see the problem here?? How many wild, crazy intellectuals do you know??

Tim and Cara are a lot like us. They have similar hobbies, personalities, and are in their 40’s like us. Cara was the person that wanted to follow my blog and I told her that I don’t share my personal experiences with friends. I am a terrible person, emotionally closed off and all. Maybe someday I will get over my trust issues. Again, you see the crap I write about..

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We sailed the bay of Lake Michigan off of Door County in Wisconsin.

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We sailed by bluffs.

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I got some pretty nice pictures with my phone.

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There was only one problem. It was a cold weekend in July with a chilly breeze that made for great sailing and cold swimming. They all laughed at my expression jumping in.

There was another problem too…kind of humorous, kind of not. My husband Paul is a friendly guy. He talked to the old guy on the dock about the fish he caught. What’s biting, what are they biting on…all that fisherman kind of talk.

Awhile later, a little girl walked by carrying a fishing pole with her parents behind her. Paul tried to strike up a similar conversation with the little girl about fishing. But her parents told her to keep on walking and not look at him.

I had to laugh. Next month Paul will be 50. I told him that he is now old enough to be considered a creepy old man. I told him that parents probably won’t be friendly if he talks to their kids again until he has tons of grandchildren in tow.

Anyway, we had a great time with our new friends and are looking forward to going on a sailing vacation with them to the British Virgin Islands this winter.

The ice shove

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As you may have guessed, running and writing are two of my favorite hobbies.

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I also love photography and traveling. Unfortunately, I can’t do the last two hobbies as often as the first two. I could take pictures of everyday mundane life and selfies galore. But that bores me. So why wouldn’t it bore you??

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I didn’t have to travel far to get a few pictures of the ice shove on the bay of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. Even local friends asked where I was off to this time…Alaska? Antarctica?? No, just my beautiful home state.

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You really should consider booking a visit. Summer is the best time. But as you can see, winter is beautiful here too. Today the wind chills are only in the single digits below zero. So it is warming up out there!

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The ice shove is 20 feet high. This is the biggest ice shove I’ve seen in my lifetime. It took some really nasty weather conditions to make this. Thankfully the beauty that resulted lasted longer than the storm. Kind of like real life sometimes…

Day 3: Our journey to Washington Island

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We had another late start this morning. George was having electrical problems and issues with his inboard motor. Capt. Tom was able to solve his electrical issues, but fixing the motor would involve taking it out. That wasn’t going to happen, so George tried to sail as much as possible on this trip so he wouldn’t have to use his motor.

It wasn’t long after we left the marina that I got a message about a problem at work. After all, it was early Monday morning. I felt frustrated. I wanted to be able to get away!

But is that really what I wanted?

I hardly slept the night before due to worrying about my teenagers at home. I felt a lack of control being away.

It would take many hours to get back by sailboat. Once we got to Washington Island, it would take a long time to get home by car. You need to take a ferry to get to and from the island. If there is bad weather, sometimes the ferries don’t run.

It can be a difficult passage by boat through Death’s Door. It is the point where the waters of Lake Michigan and the bay collide. There are 3 marinas on the island. This trip we are going around Death’s Door and not through it.

Washington Island is very secluded which is both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

On our way, we passed a schooner full of tourists.

Wisconsin is a truly strikingly beautiful home state. There is nowhere else I would rather spend my summers.

I was in paradise and found myself to be feeling completely miserable. Is this all there is for me?? Worry?? I couldn’t seem to let go of the worry about my kids or the stress of work. More than anything I really wanted to enjoy this time away.

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Near the end of our journey for the day, we stopped at Schoolhouse Beach. The water was 150 feet deep near this rock formation. Once we rounded the corner, we sailed into the cove to get to the beach. I’ve heard that there is only one other beach in the whole world that has the same geological rock formation, in Iceland.

We rafted up in 20 feet of water near the beach with 3 other sailboats. It was a hot day and it felt good to jump into the icy water. There wasn’t any sand on the beach, just smooth white rocks the size of the palm of my hand. The water was clear and it was amazing to see the rock bottom.

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I took a picture of the beach from the boat. I didn’t want to take my camera or my phone to shore on the dinghy. This picture does not do it justice.

Most of us jumped into the water from our sailboats. We had an incredibly hard time climbing the rocks to get to shore and kept falling into each other. It was easier to crawl or slide to a place to sit. Some of the rocks had paint splattered on them but I am not sure why. The rocks were comfortably warm against my skin.

We spent an hour at the beach until the rumble of distant thunder prodded us to get back on course.

Opening the Door..

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This past weekend, I visited the beautiful Door County located in the thumb of Wisconsin. I even broke some of my rules…

Namely, I was spontaneous. My mom asked me to spend the weekend with her and two of her siblings and their spouses. Less than a weeks notice is spontaneous for me. I did have other plans, like going through my endless pictures to delete them from my server that I almost crashed and cleaning the house for Thanksgiving. But I did blog earlier about needing to put my relationships above cleaning, so I packed my bags and went.

We had a great time away…we played the game Loaded Questions. Great game! We stayed at a large house right on Lake Michigan. The picture above was taken from the front yard. One of the questions asked during the game was what everyone would do on a whim. Most answers involved travel or jumping nude into the lake. Well, except for my mom who answered that she would have a cup of coffee. Hhmm, sad! I don’t take after her… Ha ha ha.

I was tempted to jump into the lake. They had a hot tub near the lake and when I got overheated I was tempted to jump right in. It looked so inviting, despite the cold and all of the empty beaches.

Saturday morning we awoke to the first snow flurries of the season. It was cold and windy. It was so windy at home that trees fell down on power lines and cars. We braved the cold to head out to the winery that morning (where I broke one of my rules). Aunt Jan said that it was too early to drink wine, but she changed her mind. Aunt Jan is usually the one in charge, so we followed her lead. At 10:45 AM, we were sampling wine. Hey, it’s noon somewhere, right?

I ended up buying 5 lbs of pitted tart cherries to make my homemade Thanksgiving pies and a bottle of Summer Breeze wine. They bottle it under the name White Christmas in the winter, but I couldn’t resist the picture of the sailboat on the summer label.

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The above picture is why we don’t go sailing on Lake Michigan or the bay in the winter. It can be pretty vicious, which is why all of the sailors took their boats out of the water last month. No one wants to be on the water under these conditions. Just think of what happened to the Edmund Fitzgerald on Lake Superior in the gales of November. Great! Now I am humming the Gordon Lightfoot song!

As I was inching my way along the dock to take this picture, an older gentleman screamed out to me “No further!” People have drowned when waves like this have crashed into the dock knocking them over into and under the water. But I didn’t even get close.

We had a great time in Door County and in case you were wondering, I was able to get my house cleaned too!