Sunday, January 22, 2012

Introducing Lil' Pickle

We were searching for a dinghy to use on our up coming North Channel trip this summer, but couldn't find one small enough to stow. Our boat just doesn't have the room to comfortably stow a dinghy, gas can, and outboard motor so we needed something we could paddle easily, be rugged, and be able to inflate/deflate quickly. We decided on a Sea Eagle 420 Explorer inflatable kayak and, as luck would have it, found one posted locally on Craigslist at 1/3 the price of new!  It inflates in less than 10 minutes, fits in a custom carrying bag, and has a 900 lb capacity!

Dana picking her spot and practicing her paddling technique 
Unloaded and inflated in just a few minutes!
It may be January and the water only 35 degrees, but we couldn't wait til spring to sea-trial our new inflatable kayak. We stopped at two lakes prior to the marina to test our new toy only to find they were frozen! The marina has a switching current that keeps it from freezing a little later than other bodies of water.
While paddling around our marina we saw our friends from D dock Ron and Kelly, as well as Greg from B dock! This really came as no surprise to us considering we often take walks throughout the winter at the marina. I guess we do whatever we can to fight off this depressing time in a boater's life called winter.
The kayak tracks straight, paddles with ease, and feels unbelievably stable. We look forward to many hours of enjoyment from our Lil' Pickle.

Sea Eagle Inflatables

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Planning Our Next Big Adventure

We are hoping 2012 will bring us another great summer and our next big adventure. We have decided to broaden our cruising destinations with the addition of a trailer for our boat! Although Lake Michigan still has a lot of places we have yet to explore there is a place that has peaked our interest for some time....The North Channel of Lake Huron! At first I was a little apprehensive about this trip because of the complete lack of civilization, detailed/current maps, and of course all those rocks to smack the prop on, but the more images and information we found on this destination the more intrigued we became by it's natural beauty and isolation from the outside world. The North Channel is considered by many to be some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world!

For Christmas we received a copy of what many consider The North Channel's cruising bible, Well-Favored Passage, from Ben's parents Bill and Kathy! We had met the author Ralph Folsom at the Strictly Sail show in 2011, but didn't purchase his book then simply because we didn't think we would ever make it that far north. Ben's dad held onto Ralph's contact info and surprised us with a personalized copy of the new 37th anniversary edition of this legendary cruising guide! We are looking forward to meeting the Ralph and Pixie at their cruising the north Channel seminar at Chicago's Strictly Sail Show next weekend!

 A copy of Well-Favored Passage signed by Ralph Folsom and Pixie Haughwout.
 Planning a big trip like this is a lot of fun especially in the middle of winter!

We plan to stay at anchor the majority of the time, only going to a marina when needed to restock provisions and recharge the batteries. This is completely opposite of the type of boating we have done in the past were we would spent every night tied safely to the dock in a marina. Changes will also have to be made in the way we use our boat, and especially the way we cook. Instead of using our electric cook top and fired up our electric Mr Coffee pot in the morning we will be switching to using propane to cook everything in order to conserve our battery bank. We may also need to replace some of our halogen lights over to more energy efficient led bulbs.

The possibility of seeing the Northern Lights in person along with the chance to see a bear in it's natural habitat has us so excited. We plan to add a new photo gallery to this blog to help share all the pictures we plan to take on this trip. Of course we will keep you posted as details about this trip unfold!

Well-Favored Passage
Lakeland Boating Lake Huron Cruising Guide
A great blog with a lot of North Channel info

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hey we recognize that picture!!

We were pleasantly surprised recently when we were contacted by Christy Baughs from Lakeland Boating magazine in regards to a picture we had posted on this blog. She informed us they were looking for a picture to put in their Calender of Events section for the upcoming boat shows and loved the picture we had posted of our friends Bill and Mina. 

 See the original post here

 Shortly after the January 2012 issue came out we received an extra copy of Lakeland Boating with a personalized note from Christy thanking us for use of the photo! It is a real honor for us that someone from Lakeland boating found our blog. Can you believe we are actually listed as a contributor in the front of the magazine! We didn't tell Bill and Mina about the picture until we went to their house for dinner, so we placed this years boat show tickets inside the magazine and handed it to them. The look on their faces was priceless when they noticed their picture. Thank you Christy!