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Apostle Islands 2000 - Our First Big Adventure

by Cary Johnson and Heath Johnson

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Tuesday, May 30th, 2000

by Heath

It rained quite a bit Monday night and in the morning it was still sprinkling. By the time we got organized and started getting ready to go it was clearing up. We made blueberry pancakes for breakfast in the bakepacker and they turned out pretty well. Still a little bit doughy but generally pretty good. Then we pumped out some water which had accumulated in the bilge on the port side. We figured it must have been leaking from the water container. I went ashore to explore a little bit and saw more dear tracks in the sand, along with some nice bear tracks.

We raised anchor at about 11:00 and started sailing in heavy overcast. During the whole day we only saw three other sailboats at quite a distance from us. One was under sail and two were motoring. We sailed northwest towards raspberry bay. The weather would go from being dead calm to gusty in minutes and then back to calm again. We ended up furling and reefing the mainsail several times during the day as the wind alternately built up and died down. Jiffy reefing sure would have been nice today.

Sailing today was pretty cold. The sky was dark all around and the wind coming out of the north was shifty and gusty and frosty. As we turned past Raspberry Bay and Raspberry Island I went below to make some hot soup to warm us up. This got interrupted as again we needed to reef the mainsail because the wind was blowing fairly hard and the lake in front of us looked pretty rough. We saw the "Island Princess" a ferry coming through the islands heading south and also three fishing boats. Other than those boats, we pretty much had the lake to ourselves.

Listening to the weather for the evening forecast and trying to determine the location of our next anchorage, they were predicting northeasterly winds. We were looking for an anchorage that would give us some protection. The best bet for the direction we were traveling was Bear Island, in a small cove on the south shore. By the time we anchored the wind was light and variable and we set two anchors off the bow - one keeping us near shore and the other keeping us from getting a little too near.

After making sure that the anchors were holding we fired up the grill ad started making chicken fajitas. We were hoping the smell would bring some bear out to great us but none showed up. The land at this part of bear island is fairly steep and heavily covered with trees with no visible trails. The shore is pretty rocky with small rocks but the bay has a nice sandy bottom. It's reassuring to be able to see down to the anchors and verify that they are set well.

After dinner I went in to shore by dinghy to explore and Dad stayed on the boat in contact by radio hand-held. The vegetation is so thick here that that all you can do is walk along the rocky beach. I peered down to the next bay east of us and it looked like it had a pretty nice beach. Coming back to the boat the wind was almost nonexistent and the lake was extremely smooth and calm. At about 8:00 the sky started clearing in the West and by sunset the wind had died to nothing and the sky was almost perfectly clear with only a few lingering clouds in the east. We took advantage of this nice weather to sit out in the cockpit, relax a bit, and to download pictures from the digital camera into the laptop. It was so peaceful watching the sun set. This is the first sunset we've seen on the trip.

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