Friday, October 9, 2015

Ultra - MItt "Roger" Roger

Rogers City is located on Lake Huron and is home to two salmon fishing tournaments; the world's largest open pit limestone quarry and now the current location of Manitou who is drying out, warming up and getting some shut eye.

The Port of Calcite, is located within the city limits and is one of the largest shipping ports on the Great Lakes. It's heads up paddle sailing as freighters sports fisherman and the occasional dumbass careen the waterways. (stories to be told)

Deals to be made and places to rest to be had; Manitou got this little gem for pennies on the season rates at the marina; no, look farther back in the picture, the shed my man the shed.
So the weather started to build and a brisk breeze was starting to kick up 5' waves, so Manitou pulled into Roger's Marina.  So it's dry out some gear gets some rest and wait it out.
Stay Salty,
The Capt'n

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ultra Mitt - a bridge too far

Manitou makes a hard left turn as he comes up upon the tip of the mitt; visions of zbars dipped in peanut butter are no more, it's all about the Mackinaw Bridge.  It's quite a sight to behold as you make your way through the strait. 

The bridge was designed by the great engineer David B. Steinman and opened on November 1, 1957. The structure took 48 months to complete with over 3, 500 workers and $99,800,000 dollars. Also know as the "Big Mac" or the "Mighty Mac", the bridge stretches 8,614 feet making it the fourth longest suspension bridge in the world. With a total span of approximately 5 miles, the Mackinac Bridge connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan uniting the communities of Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, Michigan. The main bridge cables are made from 42,000 miles of wire and the towers stand 554 feet above the water and 210 feet below to the bedrock. The engineering of the Mackinac Bridge was designed to accommodate the high winds, temperature changes and constant changes of weight. In severe conditions the deck at center span could move up to 35 feet. Under more subtle conditions, the deck could move slowly in one direction based on the force and direction of the winds. 

Factoid: * 1951 Chevrolet Styleine Deluxe owned by Albert Carter was the first car to cross the Mackinac Bridge.

Like the war movie "A Bridge Too Far" epic in scope of production and star power, we turn our sights on marquee of Hollywood and contract negotiations with  Michigan Out of Doors Television; as we speak Gabe Van Wormer is making his way to meet up with Manitou and get some footage for an up-coming show. 

Till then, stay salty my friends!!

The Capt'n

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ultra - Mitt (disregard for authority)

Disregard previous post of the elusive Charity Island in Lake Huron and the opportunity to count migrant birds; Manitou with complete disregard for his filed sail plan lost control of his compass and headed north; way north above Thunder Bay.  Huge crossings today... epic in all regards.

So in all seriousness I spoke with Manitou late afternoon on Tuesday; he shared that the conditions were favorable and looked good for a long haul steam up the coast; if weather reports stay true the wind will clock around to southeast which will push him though the Mackinaw Straights.

To be honest I am not sure he has stopped as of this posting; my thought is his SPOT gave out after 24 hours and he did not reset it. Though his last location did look like he closing in on some shoreline.

This is a move right out of the Kruger Canoe Handbook.

Stay Salty my friends,

The Capt'n

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ultra-Mitt (giving me the thumb)

 Manitou made good time heading into 10 to 15 knot of headwinds; Mostly 1' - 2' waves with the occasional (what the "F") 5' taking you by surprise -34 miles, not too shabby my man. 

The plan is to push off early and make it to the jumping off point to Charity Island and make it across Saginaw Bay. With the wind out of the west the pond should be cooperative and the wind waves manageable.  We'll have to see how it unfolds.

Native Americans named the Charity Islands. They believed these islands were placed there by their Gitchi Manitou to provide safe shelter for all, Indians and French voyageurs alike. However, the islands weren't known as the Charity Islands until after 1845. Maps before 1800 show the islands unnamed. "According to a 1839 map, Big Charity Island was referred to as Shawangunk, while Little Charity Island was known as Ile de Traverse."

All tattered and worn an old sign weathered tells the tale of how harsh conditions can get on the great lakes.
Tell me this little nook isn't inviting after a long day of paddling; a place you want to be if the weather starts to turn sour.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ultra-Mitt ~ the launch

Interesting situation; I lost the ability to access the account for a second there; luckily I used my superior techno skills and logged into the correct account; stay calm in these harrowing situations.  

Manitou was planning a big push, but cool north winds had a different plan for tonight's activities; at about 930pm Manitou stated he would eat sleep and head out early; here's a little launch video from yesterday's act 2 scene 7

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Ultra-Mitt - back to the big pond we go

 The game is a foot! Our hero of this story is back on the water after encountering all sorts of mis-adventures only told around a raging Smith campfire. (what happens on shore leave stays on shore leave)  Things are looking better as the water makes calm.

 Poised for big adventure, our intrepid warrior of wind and water poses for one last parting shot before departing north along the Michigan shoreline.  Information is sketchy, but I would imagine another big push 20 - 36 hours.

Softened by time, the inland sea of Huron looks peaceful, almost inviting; forget not, this is the Midwest in October and anything can happen, especially on big bodies of water.

Stay salty my friends, and give nod to the weather Gods for a smooth safe journey.

The Capt'n

Ultra Mitt - light ship of the Huron

The poor Coasties that got this duty - worse than French Frigate Shoals
Lightships were like floating lighthouses anchored in areas where it was too deep, expensive or impractical to construct a lighthouse. Lightships displayed a light at the top of a mast and in areas of fog also sounded a fog signal and radio beacon. The fog signals used over the years consisted of bells, whistles, trumpets, sirens and horns. Fog horns were powered by steam in the early days and later by air compressors. The HURON Lightship sounded her fog signal in a 3 second blast every 30 seconds and was known locally as "Old B.O." because of the familiar sound her horn made. (that would drive a sane man mad being stationed on there)

She was stationed at various shoals on Lake Michigan until 1935 when she was transferred to Corsica Shoals in Lake Huron, approximately 6 miles north of the Blue Water Bridge and 3 miles east of the Michigan shoreline. For the next 36 years she guided mariners into the narrow dredged channel of lower Lake Huron leading to the St. Clair River. In the past, large lighted horn buoys and offshore towers (Texas Towers) replaced some lightships. When retired from active service in 1970, she was the last lightship on the Great Lakes. Acquired by the City of Port Huron by mandate of area residents, the ship was enshrined at Pine Grove Park in 1972 as a tribute to her vigilance and in fond memory of a by-gone era. In 1989 the HURON Lightship was designated a National Historic Landmark. She is the only lightship on the Great Lakes to be so honored.LIGHTSHIP 103 (WAL 526) built in 1920 at a contract price of $147,428 by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corp., Morris Heights, NY (No Hull Number assigned). Keel laid June 5, 1918 and launched May 1, 1920 as a) LIGHTSHIP 103 for the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Commissioned December 22, 1920. 86'6"loa, 69'5"lbp x 24'x 11'9"; 340 tons displacement in fresh water. Powered by an 185 ihp compound steam engine and two coal-fired Scotch boilers. Her hull originally was painted red with the lettering "RELIEF" on her sides. Her equipment included a 10 inch steam whistle for a fog horn and one acetylene lantern with a 300mm lens for a signal light. Lightships are officially designated by their number, however they bear the name of their current station, or duty, on their sides. LIGHTSHIP 103 completed her sea trials December 4, 1920 and was delivered to the 12th District Headquarters at Milwaukee, WI on June 9, 1921 to begin her Great Lakes career. She was assigned RELIEF from 1921 to 1923 primarily on Lake Michigan and to Michigan's GRAYS REEF from 1924 to 1926. Her signal light was electrified in 1927. In 1927 and 1928 she was RELIEF again and in 1929 at GRAYS REEF. Later in 1929 she was RELIEF until 1933. In 1933 her fog signal was changed to a 17" Leslie typhon steam diaphragm horn. Next she was assigned to the NORTH MANITOU Shoal station in 1934-35 and for the remainder of 1935 as RELIEF. Lightship 103 replaced the previous Corsica Shoal stationed lightship at the Lake Huron cut beginning in 1936, a station that had been established since 1897. Her hull was painted black with the white lettering "HURON" on both sides of her hull since she was assigned the black buoy side of the entrance to the Lake Huron Cut. The Lighthouse Service merged with the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. From 1945 onward she was the only lightship in service with a black hull. Typically LIGHTSHIP 103 remained on station from early April to late December. She usually wintered at the Coast Guard Station at the foot of Mt. Elliot in Detroit. In 1949 LIGHTSHIP 103 was extensively rebuilt at a cost of $168,000 and converted to diesel power with two six cylinder GM 6-71 engines at the DeFoe Shipbuilding Co., West Bay City, MI. A short funnel was installed during her engine conversion. Rated speed: 9 knots (10.4 mph). Her updated equipment included a radio-beacon, radar, a two-tone diaphone fog horn, plus a standby horn, which sounded a three second blast every 30 seconds synchronized with the radio-beacon for distance finding. Her crew consisted normally of six to seven men, of a total of eleven, with tours of duty 18 days on and six days off. In November, 1952 the lightship at Gros Cap Reef in Whitefish Bay was withdrawn from service leaving LIGHTSHIP 103 as the last lightship on the Great Lakes. LIGHTSHIP 103 was withdrawn from service on August 20, 1970 as the oldest lightship in the Coast Guard. Five days later she was decommissioned and laid up in the Black River at Port Huron, MI. On June 5, 1971 the lightship was acquired by the City of Port Huron. On August 29, 1972 the lightship was placed in an earth embankment at the city's Pine Grove Park along the St. Clair River and was opened to visitors on July 13, 1974. Over the years the vessel was vandalized and neglected until a group of volunteers from the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society began restoration work. On August 2, 1990 the lightship was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. LIGHTSHIP 103 had been almost completely restored and was opened to the public for tours and remains so at this time.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ultra-Mitt (the waiting game)

Worse then flight delays out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport, we wait for the weather to freshen up and give us safe passage; in the mean time, Here's a tidbit I found interesting;

Lake Huron, named for the Wyandot Indians, or Hurons, who lived there, is the second largest Great Lake by surface area (23,000 sq miles) and has the longest shoreline (3,827 miles), taking into account its many islands.

The Great Lakes have over 30,000 islands, the largest island of any body of fresh water is Manitoulin in Lake Huron; it's one bad ass island, 1068 sq miles of pristine shoreline begging to be explored. 

The name of the island is the English version, via French, of the old Odawa name "Manidoowaaling", which means "cave of the spirit", named for an underwater cave where a powerful spirit dwells.  (yeah I know it's in Canadian waters) Manitoulin Island contains a number of lakes of its own. In order of size, its three most prominent lakes are Lake Manitou, Lake Kagawong and Lake Mindemoya.  I think it only fitting that ManitouCruuiser put this gem on his list of places to paddle.

"Anything with Manitou in it has to be good" - unknown salty dog

Stay salty my adventurous friends,

Kap aka the Capt'n

Friday, October 2, 2015

Ultra - Mitt Great Lakes Storm "Freshwater Fury"

With Hurricane Joaquin raging south east of our location I thought we would explore the biggest storm cell to hit the Great Lakes:

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, historically referred to as the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury," or the "White Hurricane," was a blizzard with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Great Lakes Basin in the Midwestern United States and the Canadian province of Ontario from November 7 through November 10, 1913. The storm was most powerful on November 9, battering and overturning ships on four of the five Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. Deceptive lulls in the storm and the slow pace of weather reports contributed to the storm's destructiveness.

The deadliest and most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, the Great Lakes Storm killed more than 250 people, destroyed 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial loss in vessels alone was nearly US $5 million (or about $119,310,000 in today's dollars). This included about $1 million at current value in lost cargo totaling about 68,300 tons, such as coal, iron ore, and grain.

The storm, an extratropical cyclone, originated as the convergence of two major storm fronts, fueled by the lakes' relatively warm waters—a seasonal process called a "November gale". It produced 90 mph (145 km/h) wind gusts, waves over 35 feet (11 m) high, and whiteout snowsqualls. Analysis of the storm and its impact on humans, engineering structures, and the landscape led to better forecasting and faster responses to storm warnings, stronger construction (especially of marine vessels), and improved preparedness.

Ultra-Mitt - bye bye New China

On the road again we say good bye to the sweet digs of New China, new friends of the Tribe and the hospitality of the Regatta Bar.
 Lunch stop at Hungry Howie's proves interesting: Manitou in a state of famine walks into the hair salon by mistake ends up getting a perm and highlights. He's talking Gluten free - with a bacon doo.
 500 feet felt like 500 miles as uneven road, pebbles and traffic were very trying today.  New venue with a surf report pending. the woods will be nice to block the breeze which is still whipping pretty good. 
A walk to the beach shows breaking waves and surf like conditions. Makes the painstaking walk worth it, but non-the-less reaffirms we wait it out till conditions improve.