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For several years now I have had the luck of sailing in the Northern Part of lake Michigan and Traverse Bay area with my friends and their families As the current Commodore of the Catalina 25/250 and Capri 25 International Association I asked Jake to write about this years experience of sailing to little Traverse Bay and Beaver Island. It is not often that we hear our children's point of view of what they experience during a week to ten days of sailing on annual trips in small boats, but then again do we ever ask? I hope you will enjoy Jake Bergdall's log of his most recent summer cruise to Little Traverse Bay, Charlevoix, and Beaver Island. Please let your children read this most informative log so that they to will be encouraged to experience and write about the joys of sailing.
– Bill Meinert


Jake Begdall's Log: July 26, - August 2, 2008

"I can't wait to go back next year", I exclaimed to my parents. I decided that I like sailing a lot more than going to amusement park. The four boats on this years summer cruise were Zydeco, Evenstar, Y-Knot, and Long Wind (the boat I was crewing on). My brother is eight and my sister who is twelve came along on this trip also. The Traverse Bay Cruise last year was so much fun that I was counting the days for this year's trip. We pulled our boats three hundred and twenty-five miles from North East Indiana up to Lake Charlevoix to put in and sail Northern Michigan.

Day 1
We (Long Wind, Zydeco and Evenstar) put in at Irish Marina, Lake Charlevoix Michigan. We/made quick work of assembling our boats. On our first day out sailing, the wind was blowing a good fifteen knots. Our boats were screaming downwind at about five to six knots, pretty darn fast for Catalina twenty-fives, the seas weren't that bad on Lake Charlevoix, Michigan. I was sailing on Zydeco with my parents. The sail over from Charlevoix to Horton's Bay took about forty minutes and we anchored out. Unfortunately, the wind was pushing us too much to tie up. The wind was wailing all night long, and I went to sleep knowing that we would have to beat into the wind the whole way back.

Day 2
When I awoke to the crisp morning air, it felt like just another day in paradise. I couldn't wait to go sail all the way back. If I would've known about beating into the wind for the next four hours I'd thought that one over just a wee bit longer. I switched boats from Zydeco to Long Wind via Bill's Walker Bay eight. I hoisted the sail and unfurled the jib. Ahhh! The good life. Then we started going to weather, and I felt my adrenalin pumping through my veins with such intensity. I loved the sound of adventure. Once the adrenal in wore off I felt a smidgen queasy. I ate some hard salami and drank a Vernor's. The strong wind was pushing about sixteen to seventeen knots. We were flying around five to six knots. The boat was heeling over a good twenty-five to thirty degrees. Evenstar limped behind us with four broken mainsail slugs. By the time we sailed back to Charlevoix we were all beat. We couldn't access the docks at Irish Marina: so we anchored our on the beach by the marina and relaxed after an exhausting day. We grilled hotdogs on our boats. The cool water was exhilarating and really cooled me down. There's nothing like standing in the water and eating a hotdog. We picked up our fourth boat, Y-Knot, a 25 Watkins Glen from our boat club, its name is perfect for any occasion, Y-Knot. Already 1 was wishing the vacation would never end. I stared intently at the beautiful sunset of purples, oranges, and pinks. My whole eight-hour road trip of riding in a crammed in a Ford 250 pulling our boat here was worth the twenty minutes of the sky's allure. 1 scarcely had time to pull out a sleeping bag before I laid my head to rest, praying for wind, waves, peace, and mostly no power boaters.

Day 3
Three of my wishes were granted. We pulled up our sand-laden anchors and cast off for Harbor Springs. Our group timed the Round Lake Bridge opening perfectly. Then our boats motored into the Charlevoix channel with all the nasty crosscut waves. Today I was sailing on Long Wind and when we got out of the channell was a little hesitant about going up to raise the mainsail in four-foot waves. But if I've pulled down a sail in a storm with six-foot waves last year when we crossed from Charlevoix to North Port, I knew I could raise a sail this time. On Long Wind we had our mainsail up first out of our four-boat group. We sailed off into the great unknown of Lake Michigan headed for Little Traverse Bay and Harbor Springs. I had a Love/hate relationship about being on a lake the size of Florida. I felt so relaxed being in the middle of nowhere. I was a little scared of not being able to control where we were, bur at least I knew where we were going to end up. 1 got over the not knowing factor and was the most laid-back I'd ever been in my life. Amazingly we sailed on ONE tact into Harbor Springs at three to four knots with a steady ten-knot wind. It was a perfect sail to a perfect location. We cruised to Harbor Springs on one tack; most sailors would appreciate that kind of wind. We docked at the marina there. This was probably one of the few places that had more sailboats than powerboats. We went to a restaurant called Turkey's Cafe and Pizzeria. You have to walked in and order and walk our to the outdoor area. Their pizza was excellent. Turkey's is the place to eat in Harbor Springs. Then we walked over to Y-Knot for late evening group dinner prepared by Cindy the skippers wife. I had no clue what I was eating, but food tasted fantastic! Grub is better on the water. The community band was playing out by the docks. I lazily walked back to Long Wind where I sleep every night because five people on a boat is always crowed, Bill had plenty of room left over for me to join him and his sister Brenda. I was lulled to sleep by band ensembles. My brain was filled with peaceful thoughts.

Day 4
"I was awakened from my peaceful sleep. It was six o'clock, time to go. Take your showers and meet me by the gas pump by six-fifty sharp," said Bill Meinert. I chased my sleeping bag into the case and fumbled through my stuff to find a towel. I sprinted to the bathroom with my body in a daze. I came back to the boat and glanced at time; only six-twenty a.m. I couldn't believe my weary eyes. I had time to spare, so I sat down read my Clive Cussler book. By the time I was finished it was six-forty-five. Time to head out; we left Harbor Springs just to see to the fog roll in. The lake was the flattest I had ever seen it. We motored a good twenty-nine miles to Beaver Island. There was a lighthouse at the edge of the bay. We docked at their brand new docks, did a little exploring, and later ate at Stony Acre Grill. The food was filling, and they will drive you there and back. (My mom thought we could walk there. Let me tell you, it's more than half a mile! The drive back to the marina was much needed.) Like the song goes "Cheeseburger in Paradise." We all went to sleep with a hearty meal under our belts and relaxed feel.

Day 5
I arose out of my sleeping bag to stare at the appealing day that was to come. I went over to my parent's boat and ate a bowl of Cookie Crisp, another day at Beaver Island. While I got ready for the day, Mom hit the marina laundry room, one washer, one dryer and a roll of quarters. I hung out on Zydeco listening to my IPOD for a while. Some of the group went to the community center to check e-mail while Dad, Mom and I walked down to the Marine Museum, which is a must see. There are life rafts, a crab boat, canoes, and a lot of local marine historical information. We walked to the Toy Museum, and they had toys galore; toys were even hung from the ceiling. Nearby was the fish market. Fresh and smoked whitefish and trout were available for the catch of the day. We walked away with a healthy sized smoked whitefish. It was a great appetizer served with wasabi sauce and saltine crackers. (Talk about exciting your senses!) I recommend you go early because local restaurants get their "Catch of the Day" at that same fish market.

Day 6
I unraveled myself from my sleeping cocoon. We hiked down to have breakfast at Dalwhinnie's, right next to the grocery store. I dined on fresh, delectable donuts. Today the group rented a van. Our family of 5 took it touring first. We went on a nature trail surrounded by hues of green, walked on a footbridge over a swamp, and found ourselves in the end at a secluded beach. As we continued our tour of the island, we found several secluded beaches, and even a 40 foot lighthouse with a great lake and island view. There's an actual beaver lodge in an inland pond. When you're winding your way through the backwoods of Beaver Island, don't be surprised if your dirt roads turn to sand. After 2 long hours of touring, we pulled our dust-ridden van up to the marina for the next group of adventureseekers to take the wheel. We walked across the street to a pub, the Shamrock. They have larger than mouth sized cheeseburgers. Once my food was served, I didn't mess around. My dad's still-telling stories about asking me if I had accidentally dropped my burger when he had only taken a bite from his. He even looked under the table. After a satisfying meal, I was ready for a nap, but some of the group wanted to find the high spot on the island and watch the sunset. I watched my eyelids.

Day 7
We pulled out of the marina around 9 a.m. after checking the Weather Channel and motored/ sailed to Garden Island. It is one of the larger islands close to Beaver Island. It was the island recommended by the volunteer working at the Marina Museum to visit. We anchored out in the bay with a stern tie-up to V-Knot and Long Wind. It didn't take long to jump into the crystal clear water and refresh. A storm popped up, so we all headed to the boat till it passed. When the storm passed, Bill set up his Walker Bay with a sail, and we had great time sailing it around. Jon, my 9 year old brother, took it out for a two hour sail and couldn't get it turned around, so I swam out and helped him navigate it back to the boat. John, the owner of Y-Knot, pumped up his Zodiac, attached a small motor, and we zipped over to land. While exploring, we found a boiler, an old wooden well and a slip-scoop; looked like they were trying to make roads on the island. John said that the island was once logged. In the evening, we were joined by a Freedom 30, Catalina 34, and a McGregor 26. Bill Meinert remarked, "Garden Island is like the Bahamas, except 20 degrees cooler." Snorkeling was awesome as I discovered abandoned anchors. I went to bed that night enjoying the remoteness of my surroundings.

Day 8
Breakfast cereal eaten, we pulled up our anchors and headed back to where it all began; Lake Charlevoix and the public boat ramp near Irish Marine. Along the way, we had an infestation of gnats. They were so thick and the air was so still that I felt like a human windshield. We made it back to Charlevoix in four hours and just in time for the bridge opening into Round Lake. We set the anchors close to the beach, and played water football until we were ready to eat at The Villager, a popular restaurant that serves superb whitefish. It was hard to believe that this was our final night on the boat.

Day 9
Thunder and dark skies was not the way I wanted to wake up. Lightning was in the distant sky, and my dad was in a rush to beat the storm and pull our boat out of the water. I leaped into the water and ripped out Zydeco and Long Wind's anchors. It didn't take long to pump out one last time, get the trucks, and pull out the boats. Disassembling them takes a while. Dad makes certain that every line and halyard is tied down. There's a science to tying everything down so when you go to set up your boat again, it goes upp without everything getting all tangled. On the 320 mile trip home, I thought about all the great memories I made, and the adventure awaiting me next year.

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