I Will Get That Whale on Flickr.
Sailing, like this picture is purely an expression of personal freedom and individuality.
When you’re on a sailboat I don’t care where you are or where you’re headed…
you can’t escape the feeling that you could let the wind and the power of the universe carry you anywhere.
Going to the Charts on Flickr.
The Admiral and I had a two hour conversation about the cloud formations we were looking at…
about ‘bent light illusions’ and the way that the waves on the horizon looked a lot rougher than what we suspected them to be.
It was one of those ‘intellectually deep’ conversations that you have after you’ve had a few and have nothing better to do than sit around and look at shit.
We’d observed that there’s this thing that happens over Lake Michigan when the weather cools in the fall and it lasts until spring…
a ridge of clouds that stays pretty stationary and runs north and south over the lake.
While looking at it we noticed two plumes of smoke on the horizon and we figured one was the steel mills in Gary and the other… two ‘hands’ to the left of it on the horizon was the Michigan City cooling tower.
That plume remained constant while the other… the one we suspected was the steel mills would billow mightily every ten minutes or so and release a lot more steam or smoke.
We took bearings on both plumes from looking at the compass sideways and got 140’ and 100’ from our position and then went about talking about another distinct and also stationary group of clouds that hovered between the Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum… they were puffy clouds… cumulus and you could tell that their origins were thermal.
We both wondered why the sky would present itself this way and I figured that there had to be a reason and that looking at the charts might tell us.
The second group of clouds were over the Hyde Park Shoals where the water gets shallow towards the south end of the lake.
The winds were coming out of the north so warm surface water was getting blown down there.
It was pretty amazing to see how the weather was affected by this lake and even more so how the thermal updrafts over the steel mill stacks pushed so much air up to altitude that it created condensation clouds above them and actually altered the weather there on their own.
Our bearing to the steel mills was dead on at 140’ and we were two degrees off on the bearing to the Michigan City cooling tower.
We had a couple more and listened to the small craft advisory on the radio calling for 8 to 13 foot waves out there and decided to sit tight on the buoy and party all day.
It was cool and you could tell that fall was here on the lake.
When I was simply too relaxed to even sit up anymore I layed down in the cockpit and looked up at the clouds to the west.
They were high and whispy.
I knew what it meant.
As you go up… every thousand feet the air cools 5.5’… it’s called the ‘adiabatic lapse rate’ and since it was just over fifty on the surface where we rolled gently drinking it wasn’t hard to confirm that the temperature at about six thousand feet above our heads was below freezing.
We were looking at snow blowing over Chicago.
Soon we’ll have to leave the water and button Infinity up for the winter.
We toasted our vessel and the sturdiness and safety which she’d performed with this summer on the waters of Lake Michigan and talked of heading down the Erie Canal and out to sea where we’d turn right and follow the warm weather south.
More than anything I’ll miss getting away from it all on Infinity and I’ll miss the gentle rocking that put me to sleep at night like a baby in it’s mother’s arms.
She’s been more than a good ship.
Infinity is my medicine.
I Am Not the Goose Whisperer on Flickr.
For the second time in my life I’ve been made to rescue a Canadian Goose at great peril to myself.
Geese are badass and this guy did not seem to want to be saved.
I think he’s been attacked by a coyote…
it’s missing a leg and quite a few flight feathers from one wing.
I’m gonna feed it some good food and give it a rest for a few days and see if I can let him go back in the lake.
If he keeps from biting my face maybe I’ll take him sailing and let him sit on my shoulder.
Captain Jesse and The Motor That Wouldn’t on Flickr.
I was all set to take another run down the Chicago River and help a friend get their sailboat out to Lake Michigan.
It was a ‘pickup crew’ and I didn’t know anyone but I figured what the heck.
I wanted to enjoy the ride down the river and see all the bridges go up because when I did it I was really nervous and hadn’t ever been at the helm of a sailboat.
I had no idea what I was doing.
I had an engine problem too…
I almost ‘became one’ with a really large drawbridge and the next time the drawbridge wouldn’t open for us because of some mechanical problem.
The third time was a charm but I was still way freakin’ nervous.
My friends motor never got running…
probably a gunked up carb and that was the last bridge run that the city does so she’ll either have to go mast down or come up with another plan.
I saw some tears there and I told her that I’d been through it.
Sometimes life on the water can be heartbreaking.
Mayre ~ Monroe Harbor Tender Pilot on Flickr.
Every time we wanna go sailing on Infinity we get to take a ride there and back on one of these tender boats they use at Monroe Harbor.
Very often it’s Mayre that’s givin’ us a ride.
She’s a very capable Captain and she’s always givin’ us the good scoop on what’s goin’ on in the harbor and with the weather.
She doesn’t like how I get on and off of Infinity and she’s always tellin’ me that…
‘Step on your boat after you come across the safety lines and then step on the tender’ she says to me every time.
I just step over the safety lines and right onto the tender because my legs are long enough to do that.
‘I got ‘boat yoga’ I always tell her.’
Headed Back to the City of Oz on Flickr.
I think we did about thirty miles yesterday on Infinity.
With some sweet breeze outta the southwest we made about nine miles out onto the lake on a 60 degree course towards Holland Michigan.
We turned back when the skies grew dark and the thunder booms were rollin’ across the lake.
We dodged a couple of storms and when we got back to port the skies were looking good again so we turned around and went right back out.
I’m loving Infinity more and more each time we get her out there.
The friend’s boat I was gonna take down the river ran into some engine problems and it was a no go so we were up and out early on Infinity.
If we had more beer I think we’d have done it but it woudda been a ten to twelve hour run and with only a twelve pack in the cooler it was too much of a gamble but it felt good to be sailing in that direction looking at the charts and thinkin’ ‘let’s go.’
Next week I’d like to do forty miles and just keep bumpin’ up the distance until crossing Lake Michigan will be ‘just another day sailing.’
The knot-meter kicked it halfway out and that sucked because it was always a good reference to see how good the sails were trimmed.
It’s in a thru-hull fitting so next weekend I gotta go swimming and see what’s goin’ on below the waterline there.
The water’s comin up to 70 degrees so it’ll be a refreshing little swim.
We’ve been sailing everywhere with just the jib sail so we could get to know it and understand it but it’s caused a little imbalance with the good winds and I ran outta rudder in some congested waters and I didn’t like that.
Next week maybe we’ll try and sail with just the main and see how that feels before putting them both up.
I wish I had time to take sailing lessons but I’ve just been too busy sailing.
I hope all of you had a blast this weekend!
Fog and Storms on Flickr.
The weather off the coast of Chicago seems more like the weather you’d find in San Francisco in the springtime.
It’s been wet and foggy with thunderstorms in abundance.
They say it’s the wettest June in 21 years.
I don’t have radar on Infinity and since Chicago is the ‘Drunk Boating Capitol’ of the United States we don’t untie when it’s foggy out there.
I’m going stir crazy for some sail action and I gotta get it this weekend.
I’d be ok with rain and rough seas if the fog would just leave.
The weekend looks to promise that but I’ve made a commitment to help a boater with less experience than I take the river trip down the Chicago River from the Canal Street Boatyard to Burnham Harbor.
It’ll be cool to make the run on someone else’s boat.
I was overloaded with nervousness when I did it for the first time and I figure I’ll enjoy it a little this time…
see what another boat’s like.
It’s a little bigger and I won’t be the Captain so I just gotta help here and there and I can kick it and watch everything go by.
I hope you got some great plans for the weekend and you get a chance to kick it with your favorite snugglebum and the ones that you love.
It’s Friday and I’m feelin’ the love!