Day 4 – Playing Tourist

Day 4 –

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Shcboygan, Wisconsin to Milwaukee, Wisconsin

(see accompanying Photo Blog for Day 4)

Pulling up anchor was a dirty job this morning. Bill and Terry attended the anchor chain with buckets full of water, washing off the mud before it came on deck into the anchor locker. The advantage to mud is that the anchor is less likely to drag, but it makes messy work first thing in the morning when you pull it in.

We have gotten a smooth routine down for the morning: I rise at 06:00 hours to make hot water for coffee, tea and Ovaltine then begin breakfast. Afterwards one of the guys has galley clean up and the rest of us prepare to pull up anchor and set sail. Things have gone very effortlessly, except for some huffing and puffing after raising the fore and the main sails.

The water was still choppy with whitecaps, indicating blowing winds. Coming out of the north were a couple of flocks of birds, flying in an almost v-shaped formation. When they got closer, we realized they were not geese as we had first suspected, but were cormorants. More and more kept appearing out of the blue northern horizon. Soon there were about three hundred cormorants headed south. I’m looking forward to seeing other migratory birds head south with us.

The stove just did not want to stay lit and continued to smoke up the galley. I like filling hungry bellies with hot meals; it makes being out on deck for four hours a lot more comfortable, but too much diesel fumes can also cause nasty headaches and reek havoc on sinuses. It also makes clothes smell like a refinery. The tipping point was when my eyes started burning and watering so much that I could hardly see. So even though it was cold out I decided to turn the stove off completely and made sandwiches for lunch.

Sometimes being on watch can be “boring” by some standards, as in there’s not much more to do than drive the boat. The farther down south the Wisconsin shoreline we get, the more buildings we see. Terry and I have started the game of “What do you think that big thing is?” North of Two Rivers we saw two different structures that were visible from 10 or more miles away. First they looked like small rectangles dotting the horizon, but the closer we got the more we realized how massive they really were. Having previously lived in Wisconsin I knew what they were, so I let Terry guess first. Then I informed him that they were nuclear power plants. When Mike and Bill came up to take over the watch, Mike wasn’t sure what they were, but Bill immediately knew even though we were still a few miles away.

Wisconsin is known as the dairy state and home of Cheese Heads, even though years ago California took over the record of producing more cheese per year than Wisconsin. Well cheese and dairy mean there’s cows and cows live on dairy farms. The wind was still blowing out of the west and we knew each time we passed a farm located on the edge of the lake without even looking for it. That reminds me of a joke about a guy who always knew which way the wind blew by the smell of the air – dairy farm  to one side, oil refinery to another, cookie factory to the third…

Milwaukee was only about 50 miles south of Sheboygan, which meant we’d be pulling in at a reasonable hour. Milwaukee meant comfort – having dinner off the boat, playing tourist and a full shore head. We had not stepped off the boat since Thursday, four days earlier. We pulled into her outer harbor and then worked our way against the two knot reversing current to get into the inner harbor next to the Discovery World museum. We tied up at the south dock courtesy of the Wisconsin’s flagship S/V Denis Sullivan, which was docked just around the corner. We tied up about 3:00 PM and made being tourists our first priority as the Discovery World museum closed at four o’clock. There were performers from Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam show doing juggling acts in the lobby. We were headed for the Challenge of Milwaukee exhibit — an almost full scale replica of a schooner from 1852 that was built into the museum. Kids were having a blast climbing in on and around the ship. I asked a little girls who was at the wheel, which way she was steering. She pointed in the direction she could see as she stood in front of the wheel. She didn’t know she was looking backwards at the stern.of the stern. I told her the bow on the other end was the front of the boat and showed her that she could “see” what she was doing if she stood next to the wheel rather than in front of it.

“Do you know what this ‘box’ area is called?” referring to the place where the steering mechanism was.

“No,” she replied.

“It’s call the dog house.”

“That’s not a dog house!”

Next was the world-class Reiman Aquarium. It may not be as big as the Shedd or Monterey Aquariums but the Discovery World museum has a wonderful display of various freshwater fish that are found in the Great Lakes. They also have some salt water inhabitants, including sea horses and a petting pool of both salt and fresh water creatures. But the part that I loved the most was the tunnel. Imagine a tunnel made of crystal-clear acrylic, several inches thick. On either side is a huge tank with salt water fish. As you walk through the tank the fish swim back and forth above you. Sometimes the fish look as if they are swimming in the air above your head! It’s mind-blowing. After walking through the entire aquarium, I had to go back to the tunnel and have my senses fooled with again.

There were other neat things to see at the aquarium, like the HIVE, a 3-D virtual space exhibit, but our next stop was a tour of the Denis Sullivan. Hugh used to drive the Sullivan and was able to secure dockage and hot showers for us along with a tour of the 137 foot Great Lakes Schooner. Being a Sunday and late Fall, it was a day off for the crew; the captain and first mate were off doing things elsewhere so Hugh acted as our tour guide. It was neat for me to finally see where some of the stories Hugh tells took place. She’s much larger than Appledore V and gave us a good perspective on how easy Appledore V is to raise sail on with just the Captain and a crew of four.

I think though the best part of the tour was hearing from the crew about the shore head that was in their crew lounge. Lounge meant hot water, hot water meant shower! One by one we shed the grunge we had accumulated since Thursday. Fortunately it has been cold weather rather than hot, so even though it had only been four days, we weren’t stinky to speak of. I have always loved hot showers, the longer the better. Quite often I do my best thinking in the shower. As much as I wanted to linger under the shower head, I knew that one of the other guys wanted to get acquainted with some soap suds.

I enjoyed my shower very much, except that when I grabbed my towel to dry off I realized that it smelled of diesel smoke, from the stove pipe backdrafting. Oh well, that will have to wait until we can find a laundromat, some where, some time.

Mike called a good friend who happened to live in the area and was able to score a ticket to the theater show; so he was busy for the evening. The rest of us went off to find some dinner. After walking for about a half-hour we found a wonderful restaurant, The Water Buffalo, that wasn’t too pretentious in the Third Ward and had a delightful dinner. Walking back to the boat, it felt good to stretch our legs and walk off a bit of dinner. Even though it was about nine o’clock, casting off at the crack of dawn would come early. It was time to turn in.

About juliemckaycovert

I am a therapist, teacher, photographer and published author. I am a lover of life and nature. My husband, Hugh, and I live off the grid on a remote 40 acre island, Shelter Island, just off of Drummond Island in the far eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This blog is about my life, a life I thought I'd never be able to live. This blog is about dreams and ideals being manifested. It is about daily events with a backwoods twist. It is about the simple pleasures and wonders being brought forth. I invite you to be inspired and even, as some friends have, live vicariously through my words.
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2 Responses to Day 4 – Playing Tourist

  1. Roger Michalski says:

    Keep Bill working. He loves to work. Buy the way Bill I’,m surprised you haven’t called me for more advice. Must of found someone else huh! hahaha! Be safe everyone. Winds really blowing here. Lot of trees down and a few power outages. River over the sidewalk at the imagination station at home here. God Bless, Roger
    How many knots have you learned to tie?

  2. Lynn Brostrom(Harrington) says:

    I am Mikes sister and I am enjoying your blog. Tell my baby brother to have ball. Which I know he is in his element. Wish y’all a great voyage.

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