Ben, Dana, and RJ blog about cruising and trailer-boating with a baby (now toddler) aboard our Four Winns 268 Vista, Seapickle II. Explore our Trip Logs for more on our adventures boating Lake Michigan (Michigan, Indiana, Illinois & Wisconsin coasts), the North Channel of Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, inland lakes, and more! Thanks for joining us.
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.
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!
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.
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!