Well, the foul weather promised for the overnight hours did not come to fruition. However, what we were left with was just as displeasing. We both arose at around 7am and were determined to get going towards our next destination. But, as Mother Nature would have it; we were forced to stay put.
The fog of the morning was incredibly thick. So thick that it clung to the shrouds of the boat like pea soup. This stunted our departure not once, but three times. Finally, at close to 11am, the fog parted just enough to afford us roughly 1/4 mile visibility. Seeing our window of opportunity, we sprang into action to ready the boat.
Listening to the weather forecast over the VHF did not install within us much confidence. So, in being the fervent planners that we are, we had discussed our exit strategy if the weather on Lake Huron proved to be too strong for passage.
As we proceeded along the marked route on the chart plotter that indicated the safest passage through through the bay outlet, the winds and waves built just as steadily as our progress. Almost about to clear the bay and make our break east, the waves had built to close to 1.5 meters (~5 ft). Standing up to the waves crashing against our bow; I indicated to my dad that he should hold on; as I had spotted a wave of significance about to break on our bow. The bow pitched up as we absorbed the swell and slammed down with such force that it shook even the tautest of rigging. Not willing to make the turn east and then take these 5-6ft waves on our beam for the nest 20 miles, we made the decision to turn around and head back for the bay and it’s protected waters.
It is always disappointing to not make forward progress; as both my dad and I are destination driven individuals. But, we both agree that it is better not to risk personal and material damage in the sake of progress. So, we reluctantly limped back into Beaver Stone Bay in search of a suitable anchorage for the rest of the day and night.
Our initial anchorage was just inside of the bay inlet. It provided ample protection from the waves and seemed to be of great interest to the local fisherman; as there were a few boats that were mulling about in this little cove. We anchored, made lunch, and read our books all while observing the success of the fisherman. Two boats came and went without much luck. But the third, containing two fisherman (presumable father and son) came toting fly fishing poles, found success almost instantly. All told, they were able to real in two very decent sized (1.25 to 1.5ft long) Northern Pike. Not too bad for only a few minutes work!
While taking in the entertainment, my dad thought it fitting to partake and try his hand with the success. But, just as he was making his way forward with rod in hand, a somewhat official looking boat came speeding our way with what looked like an intent to speak to us. My dad seeing this, casually sauntered aft keeping his pole low not to raise suspicion if it were an official; as we have been fishing without license (pshaw!). False alarm though. It was merely another local fisherman in a blaze orange shirt coming to pass along his knowledge of a good anchorage not too far from where we were that would provide better protection.
Again, with the overnight forecast in mind, we took up the anchor (and this gentleman’s advice) and motored our way towards the next anchorage. Cutting across the mouth of the bay again, the wind was still at force (gusts to 30 knots) and the waves equally unpleasant. But, shortly after crossing and in the lee of an island, the action ceased and all was well. My dad eyed a tall rock cliff in the distance and declared that we would drop our anchor there for the night. Well protected from the winds under the shadow of the rock face.
Once settled in, I began to read my third book of the day (finished Wanderer by Sterling Hayden, started and finished Anthem by Ayn Rand, and started Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne… now 90% complete as I write this). My dad, on the other hand, was resolute in his pursuit of catching us a big Northern Pike for dinner. No luck though. So, we ate salad for dinner! No matter, it was a beautiful day inside of the bay that afforded us the ability to rest, relax, and catch some sun.
We shall see what unfolds tomorrow; as we again may be confined to the protected waters of the bay as the forecasters predict doubly nasty weather containing a mix of high winds, thunderstorms, and waves at 2 meters (~6.5ft).