Thursday, November 13, 2014

Off the Grid in Batchawana Bay

So, I don't know what MarineTraffic.com is saying about where we were, but judging from the pile of emails and texts that came in as soon as we made it back into American waters, it may have been wrong.

About five days ago we were coming up to the Sault Ste Marie locks, but the weather was bad so we dropped anchor in the Mackinaw straight between upper and lower Michigan for about a day. We raced through the locks hoping to beat the weather, and a few disgruntled crewmen say we could have if the captain hadn't hesitated, but didn't. I don't know why we couldn't anchor in American waters, I heard people say that the better anchorages had already been taken, but I don't really know how that works, but in any case we ended up in Batchawana Bay, a beautiful and calm natural harbor wholly enclosed by Canadian territory.

The area was absolutely breathtaking the morning I woke up and saw it, blanketed with a fresh coat of snow that peeked between the wintry tree-sticks that covered the majestic low mountains. I thought to myself that I absolutely have to get a good picture of the scenery, maybe a panorama of the entire bay, but would have to put it off until lunch time because there were engine things occuring. Needless to say, the storm blew in by lunch time, and while it didn't shake the ship in our nice little harbor, it did render everything 1000 feet from the ship completely invisible. The storm rose and fell, but I never saw land again in scenic Batchawana Bay.

After sitting there for two days, we took the north route along the Canadian shoreline to avoid more weather. In the meantime our orders got changed from a Silver Bay-Cleveland run to a Duluth-Indiana Harbor one. After four days without any sort of cell phone signal, parts of the crew were starting to get positively mutinous, threatening perhaps not murder, but at least a bit of whining.

The happy ending is that nobody died and we eventually got cell phone service back.

The other ending is that this phase of the blog is rapidly coming to a close. My 90th day is November 17th (yes, I have counted multiple times to be sure I didn't screw up), so I can get off on the 18th or any time after that. Indiana Harbor is basically Gary, Indiana, which is basically Chicago. The current plan is finally at a point where it isn't likely to change, so we get to Duluth tonight and load tomorrow morning (14th), then it is a day to the locks under good weather (15th) and a day and a half to Chicago (late on the 16th). If the weather stays bad and we go slow or anchor at all, then I will probably be getting off in Chicago, which is always fun. If the weather is perfect the whole way there, then I will still get off eventually.

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