Thursday, September 28, 2006

Valley of the Waves

Sunday, October 1, 2006, Monday October 2, 1960

We were on the water 8 hours Sunday and I have now seen enough freighters to last me a lifetime. Talking with the tow operators has been fun; they all sound a little gruff, a little southern and quite charming. It's amazing how close we have been to some of them. So far the largest tow we have encountered has been with 15 freighters (3 wide and 5 long).

We docked at Joliet, Illinois at their Bicentenial Park; there are no marinas in Joliet. We needed to re-stock groceries and as Mike headed for the bikes and backpacks I assured him I could take care of the groceries while he tended to some maintenance issues concerning him. I left the park, grabbed a cab and bought groceries. We had some concerns about vagrants sleeping close by on park benches but everything worked out OK.

We decided to have a leisurely breakfast this morning and Mike wanted to tighten up a loose belt on the engine. Unfortunately we had a problem with the alternator bracket again and Mike had to bike to a welder and have it repaired. I walked over to Harrads Casino so he could tinker in peace.

We were only on the water 3 hours today afer Mike completed the repairs and stopped at Harborside Marina for the night and a much needed shower. It was awful...the water reeked of sulfur, the restaurant was closed on Mondays and no laundromat.

We have now been through three locks and experienced a rough time in one of them. They were 3 feet, 34 feet and 37 feet. The 34 ft. lock was the most challenging as it was very windy and we had difficulty holding the ropes to keep the boat positioned.

We made the best of it and cooked a great dinner after a few manhattans. The evening was warm windy and we enjoyed a parade of freighters from dockside and a scarry lightening dislay.

Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006

Two hours on the water today into the Calumet River, under three drawbridges and a mast down at Skyway Yacht Works.

What a positive experience; six people, and a smooth mast down where Mike was always in control of our mast. $4.50 per mast foot was the charge and well worth every penny. We were tired and the owners let us tie up free of charge for the night. As if that wasn't enough they provided wonderful chicken gumbo for our supper. We would highly recommend their facility

Friday, Sept. 29, 2006
We are headed south of Chicago to Calumet Bay and Hammond Marina and finally off the Lake from Hell as Mike refers to Lake Michigan. Thirty two miles in five hours; we expected much worse time wise but it was bitter cold. We encountered some very disgruntled seasonal slip boaters at Hammond Marina as tomorrow is the last day the marina is open for at least a year while the present gambling casino is replaced with a new one. Most of these displaced boaters are on waiting lists at other marinas as slips in the area are at a premium. Mike did some prep work on our keel stepped mast in preparation for the de-mast tomorrow.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

5:45 AM Wednesday morning we left the farm for St. Joseph Michigan to return the Enterprise rental and get on with our plan to get off of these dam lakes. We would highly recommend the West Basin Marina in Benton Harbor/St. Joseph's Michigan. The harbormaster was knowledgeable and accommodating and the marina offers the usual ammenities including a laundromat. One stores nearby to re-stock; I ended up using the powdered milk I brought along "just in case".

I was a little taken aback when Mike presented me with a bright yellow foul weather suit (pants, jacket and hat) last Christmas but delighted to don it at 6:30 am today as we headed out in bone-chilling weather. Rain, wind, hail, 6 to 8 foot waves, dark skies (except for the lightening) escorted us to the Michigan City Marina at the southeast end of Lake Michigan. Just one more excursion on the lake and we'll be near the Calumet river. We missed our de-mast date at Hammond Marina and are hopeful to schedule one in the next couple of days.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Our Guardian Angel

Mike calls my brother Vince our Guardian Angel. Vince keeps us up to date on the marine weather and he and Mike sail or not to sail is always the question...and they usually agree. Vince and his wife Peggy and sister-in-law Leslie sail the lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario in their 1987 29' Alberg which was built in Bloomfield, Ontario. They built a dock across from their home in Youngstown, New York.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lake Michigan

Sunday, September 10, 2006
Mike did a great job navigating the Straights of Mackinac which like all narrow passes can be a navigational challenge. We headed down Lake Michigan 60 miles to Charlevoix and 10 hours and a drawbridge later we docked at the Charlevoix City Marina. Mike folded our bimini to draw some heat from the sun during the day.…he’s a dreamer; it was a cold all 10 hours. No one from the city marina ever returned our calls to their phone numbers, current and off season although they claim to be available 8AM to 8PM through Sept. 30.
45º 19' 17" N
85º 15' 58" W
Monitor Channel 9

Monday, September 11, 2006 and Tuesday September 12
Left Charlevoix early and waited until 6:30 AM draw bridge let us pass. Horrible day weather wise but we made good time. Silent passage peeked at 10.1 mph according to our GPS, a first for her. Pelted by cold wind and rain for 75 miles we were cold and weary. Arrived at 5:45 at Frankfort Municipal marina anxious for a warm shower. They forgot to mention a planned 6 hour electrical outage for the whole area so we found alternative ways of warming up. We were both tired and decided to spend a day in Frankfort. The library with Internet access was a stones throw from our dock. Bought a warm Icelandic design hat and mittens at Hull’s of Frankfort. We had breakfast at a local restaurant and met a great couple and their dog RED. Red is a pretty five month old Irish Setter. We never learned their names but we do know this is their 7th Irish Setter and they were all named RED. Mike was amazed when the waitress brought their breakfast and he couldn’t imagine how anyone could eat that much food at once. A lovely large dog bowl appeared from the gentleman’s lap and he proceeded to carefully cut the meat and toast and mix them with the hash browns and eggs and take them out to the dog. One of the nice things I’ve discovered about this cruising thing is you meet a lot of nice people, have interesting and fun conversations and then never see them again except maybe in another port. You don’t know their problems, their children’s problems, their financial problems, marital issues…… and on and on. It works for me.
4º 37' 49" N
86º 15' 11" W
Monitor Channel 9

Wednesday, September 13, 2006
We left Frankfort at 7:30 AM and arrived at Manistee Marina at 11:30 AM just 31 miles south. We both enjoyed the town of Manistee. Interesting architecture, great riverwalk, restored downtown and shops (reminiscent of a 1950's downtown) good coffee and free wifi at Goody’s Juice and Java, great soup and sandwich bar at Four Forty West, a pretty candle from Hollyhock Gift Shop.

44º 15' 08" N
86º 20' 58" W
Monitor Channel 9

Thursday, September 14, 2006
A 25 mile run to Ludington to the best DNR Municipal marina we have seen. No ducks (leaving piles of calling cards), spotless facilities, a social area with TV, all the desirable marina amenities, fresh flowers in the ladies room and an enthusiastic and helpful crew. We had homemade spinach pasta at a local restaurant called Luciano's (Mikes has good taste for an Irishman; he always looks for Italian restaurants).

43º 22' 30" N
86º 25' 51" W
Monitor Channel 9

Friday, September 15, 2006
Ludington to White Lake is 40 miles and it took us 7 ½ cold, windy hours. We anchored out in the southwest corner of the lake with several other sailboats and endured the wakes of powerboats throughout the night. Mike had to get up several times when the winds were howling to check the anchor. We were in 50 ft. of water; he did a good job. Although Mike likes to anchor out (the Walden Pond thing) this is only the second time we have anchored out on this cruise and I am most appreciative.

43º 22' 30" N
86º 25' 51" N

Saturday, September 16, 2006 and Sunday, September 17
Fotrunately, Muskeegon is only 10 miles south of White Lake. We spent a harrowing 3 hours into strong south winds and 4 to 5 foot waves before we arrived at the Muskeegan Hartshorn Municipal Marina. The weather kept us captive here another day. We took an 8 mile bike ride around the area. Not much to see or do; the visitors center is closed on weekends. Another DNR marina, Muskeegon leaves a great deal to be desired although the staff is congenial.

43º 13' 28" N
86º 20' 54" W
Monitor Channel 9

Monday, Sept. 18, 2006, Tuesday, Sept. 19, Wednesday, Sept. 20
It appears our comfort zone is evolving. We left for South Haven Municipal Marina with a 10 to 20 wind forecast and 3-5 ft waves. Rough entrance and docking 91/2 hours later. Met some nice people (sailors of course) from Michigan City and had dinner at a local pub. Would not recommend this marina for multiple reasons; not a good place to be for 3 days while awaiting the right weather conditions.

42º 24' 05" N
86º 17' 22" W
Monitor Channel 9

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006
We had hoped to get to Michigan City Marina but five hours of wind and waves in our face was enough so we docked at Saint-Joseph West Basin Marina. This is a great marina and the Harbormaster is very accomodating. Forecasts with winds exceeding 25 miles, gales, and 7-10 foot waves pushed Mike right over the edge. He did not anticipate the impact the weather would have on the Great Lakes part of this cruise and can't wait to get on the rivers.

42º 06' 58" N
86º 29' 44" W
Monitor Channel 9

Friday, Sept. 22, 2006, Saturday, Sept. 23, Sunday, Sept. 24
So here we go again....leave the boat in the a 6 1/2 hours to Chillicothe, take care of some business, mow the lawns, watch the Ohio State Football Game, monitor NOAA Marine weather forcasts and wait (anxiously) for unseasonable cold and stormy weather on Lake Michigan to pass.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

More Huron

Monday, August 28, 2006
Up at 5:30 AM and on the water at 6:00 AM. We traveled sixty miles in 9 ½ hours. It was cold; hats, gloves, socks, jackets required all day. But the wind was kind to us and we had a good motor-sail. We docked at Presque Isle in Michigan. We were in a heavy fog the last several miles; Mike and his GPSMap 492 did a great job. This is another Michigan marina run by the DNR. Mike thinks this should be called Walden’s Lake. He’s in his element in this remote area with the water, flowers and surrounding woods.
45º 20' 25" N
83º 29' 10" W
Monitor Channel 9

Tuesday, August 29, 2006
What did we ever do without this GPSMap 492. Mike consulted with a local charter operator and we decided to wait for the fog to lift a little before we leave Presque Isle. We were eventually able to leave Presque Isle in the fog with Mike navigating with the GPS by following our route into the marina back out of the marina. I sat on the bow (my choice) with a horn and an extra light. It was another long, cold day. We were in a dense fog for over an hour, listening for the sounds of the freighter foghorns every two minutes and watching for fishermen. The sky and lake looked as one. We finally arrived at Cheboygan Marina and met some very nice people with quite luxurious powerboats.
Channel into Cheboygan County Marina:
45º 40' 01" N
84º 27' 22" W

We dined at The Old Boathouse on the Cheboygan River and Mike spotted a dock he thought would be a good place to leave our boat while we retuned to Chillicothe to take care of some business. Next morning we took the boat to the Lund dock (waited for a drawbridge) and headed to the Pellston, Michigan Airport to pick up a one-way Hertz and then to Anchor Point to pick up my car and then to the Toledo Airport to return the Hertz and then to the farm. Yes, this certainly is relaxing !!!! This intermittent style of cruising has its challenges.

Tuesday, September 5 & Wednesday September 6
Here we go again! We rented a one-way Hertz out of Columbus, transferred the wooden stands that will hold the mast when we take it down in Chicago from my car to the rental along with other various items including warm clothing and left for Cheboygan. A mere
9 1/2 hours later we arrived at our boat. We stayed in Cheboygan all the next day while Mike did a little maintenance on the boat and I enjoyed a local Internet café. Dinner at Mulligans was very good and just a short bike ride away.

Thursday Sept. 7, Friday Sept. 8, Saturday Sept. 9
Up and on the water at 6:30 AM to leave for the Mackinac City Municipal Marina just 3 hours north and missed the 6:45 drawbridge so we left at 7:15 and arrived at Mackinac around 10:30AM. The weather surprised us with a thunderstorm. The lightening is somewhat scary on the water. We had plenty of time to explore the area. The downtown business district has all the amenities imaginable within walking distance. There are numerous shops (14 fudge, ice cream and carmel corn shops) and ferries to Mackinac Island. We were surprised at the tourist atmosphere. We both grew up in Niagara Falls and some of the souvenir shops were reminiscent of those days when Niagara Falls, New York thrived as a tourist attraction. We dined out, rode our bikes and hoped for good weather. We spent a second day and third day in the City Marina due to weather. I’m anxious to get off of these lakes. At least the marina had a Laundromat. We watched the Ohio State Texas game Saturday night at the Keyhole Bar and shared a table with some fun Harley bikers that were on a ride they make every year. Three scotches and a huge plate of French fries later Mike asked me if I was ready to leave (Finally...some fun). We both had a good time but we needed to get to bed early as we had a challenging day ahead of us.
45º 46' 55" N
84º 43' 12" W

Hello Huron

Monday August 21, 2006
An exciting 5 hour sail ranging from 4.0 mph to 8.5 mph ended at the Port Sanilac Harbor Commission Marina. Dock attendant Rose was very helpful. Nice town. Shopping district is just a few blocks from the harbor. A brick lighthouse on the south side of the harbor was built in 1886.
43º 25' 48" N
82º 32' 48" W

Tuesday, August 22,2006
A 6 hr sail, motor sail, and motoring, to cover 32 miles were straight into the north wind. We docked at harbor Beach Marina. Troublesome entry; stay away if you are over 4 ft. Nice bike trail. Great lighthouse that can be seen 20 miles out.
43º 50 '48"N
82º 37' 47" W

Wednsday, August 23, 2006
Sailed the first hour. Docked at Port Austin State Dock. Mike enjoyed this port, especially the beautiful sunset off the breaker wall and the sunrise when we left the harbor. I enjoyed the free internet access. They cover all the necessities at Port Austin State Harbor, electric, water, showers, pump out, gas diesel, ice, grill/picnic tables and laundry.

44º 03 '14"N
82º 59' 37" W

Thursday, August 24, 2006
What a wild ride! Reefed main and reduced furling kept things somewhat under control but this has been quite a sail in wind and waves. We made it into port minutes before the rainstorm. Harrisville Municipal Marina may be home for a few days. The weather forcast will determine when we leave. Facilities are fine including rest rooms, showers, laundry facilities and a common area with a fireplace, coffee and TV with the weather channel. Not much of a town. No flies here, just bees that have Mike talking about an enclosed cockpit. Hopefully he'll get over it.

Saturday, August 26, 2006 (Mikes Birthday)
Day number three at Harrisville Municipal Marina and the forecast is for 25 mph winds, thunderstorms and 7-10 ft waves.

There's a warning in Melville's Moby Dick that goes: Erie, and Ontario, and Huron, and Superior, and Michigan-possess an ocean-like expansiveness...they are swept by Borean and dismasting blasts as direful as any lash the salted wave; they know what shipwrecks are, for out of sight of land, however inland, they have drowned full many a midnight ship with all its shrieking crew.

Mike and I have learned to respect inland sailing and never to underestimate the Great Lakes.

We have been in the Harrisville Marina Harbor of Refuge since Thursday afternoon. The wind and rain have been relentless. Call us marina hoppers if you will.

A fellow sailor arrived late today, unfortunately he grounded with a huge hole in his furling.

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Still at Harrisville Marina. We never made it out for Mike's birthday dinner Saturday night; torrential rains made our bike ride to the restaurant a virtual imposibility. We have never before seen such a rain. Mike had to cook his own birthday dinner (he's in charge of the bratwurst and sauerkraut dinners).

We heard of a brunch at a local restaurant The Old House Inn and decided to give it a try. The term brunch takes a great stretch of the imagination in the case of the fare served at this restaurant. Little Richard, Fats Domiono and Jerry Lee Lewis were their selections for background music on a quiet Sunday Morning.

Harrisville has a lovely state park and beach, which we enjoyed the rest of the day.
44º 39 '43"N
83º 16' 50" W
WiFi Available

Friday, August 25, 2006

Goodbye Lake Erie

August 17, 2006
Our long anticipated departure for the first leg of our Great Circle Cruise suddenly moved up a day when John Schilling our marina neighbor at Anchor Point called to say our boat Silent Passage was taking on water. We hastened our packing and went straight to the marina, determined the situation was not a showstopper (I won’t bore you with the details) and prepared to sail.

Goodbye Lake Erie, no more constant chart monitoring for your shallow waters and no more hoping the water is high enough to get out of the marina. No more nasty biting flies that resemble a housefly but bite through socks and shirts (we often found ourselves steering with one hand on the wheel while the other wielded a flyswatter). No more slimy May flies that cover the boat in a smelly, squirming carpet of wings and bodies. No more bone jarring choppy water and no more confused seas with winds tearing at our bimini.

The weather determined we would set sail on Thursday and we had a great day of sailing finally anchoring at Westport Marina in LaSalle, Ontario, on the northern tip of fighting island in the Detroit River. We sailed eight hours covering Lake Erie and about 60% of the Detroit River. Ron and Marlene Tann, owners of Westport Marina were gracious and invited us to Customer Appreciation Day on Friday. They take their marina customers out on their 30 ton converted steel fishing boat but we planned to leave early that morning.

The marina was serviceable, restrooms and shower updated and spotless, $1.00 a foot Canadian, cash only, but not a marina I would recommend for a long stay.

Friday, August 18, 2006
Ten hours took us up the rest of the Detroit River into Lake St. Clair and barely into The St. Clair River. I truly enjoyed the time we spent on the Detroit River. The homes were beautiful and some of the scenery lovely, but the smokestacks and the GM building were the most significant for me. GM and later Delphi Automotive provided me with wonderful opportunities. I had a challenging career, a good income and great friends at Harrison Radiator/Delphi Automotive in Lockport, New York, as part of the Materials Management, Production Control Team.

We docked (it slightly resembled a dock) at a marina in Port Lambton called Ecarte Marine on the Chenal Ecarte at the mouth of the St. Clair River. We have a 4’7” draft and barely made it; we couldn’t get to the gas dock. Rest rooms and showers were very clean, supplies available and it’s a port in a storm but otherwise I would not recommend this marina. Cost was reasonable: $25.00 Canadian. Mike had fun looking at a completely restored 40% scaled Bluenose 1929 and we met a lot of nice people (yes, some were even power boaters) who were more than willing to share their knowledge of local waters.

Saturday, August 19, 2006
Up early and on the water for a short 6 ½ hour day struggling against the current in the St. Clair River and north winds in our face. (Was Lake Erie really so bad?) Oh yes, I forgot to mention that during our first hour on Lake St. Clair the air smelled like a cattle feedlot. But it was easy to disregard the odor as we were struggling to put on our raingear and protect our new $900.00 Garmin GPS Map 492 chart plotter from the pouring rain. As we left the marina I asked Mike if he had any running lights on and his retort: No, why? Well, I said, I thought you might have noticed the pea soup fog. OK he said, I’ll put on the lights. The next hour we wove our way in and out of a maze of early Saturday morning fishermen, anchored and happy as can be in the pouring rain and fog. And then there were freighters, lots of freighters. Sharing the shipping lanes with lake freighters has become old hat already. It’s not much different than dealing with semi-trucks on the interstate highways. The freighters are not as troublesome as the large powerboats speeding by and leaving huge wakes; the powerboat wakes have given new meaning to the phrase “rock and roll”.

Just before we reached the Bluewater Bridge connecting Port Huron, USA and Sarnia, Ontario we enjoyed a view of 4 stately tall ships in Port Huron for a showing and a fundraiser. The Bluewater Bridge was not a problem as there is plenty of clearance but the velocity of the currents under the span was startling. We were told a four-mile current is typical but sustained high northerly winds can cause the current to increase even more.

We had reservations at Lake Huron Yachts Limited and were in contact with Rick Burr as we approached. This is a marina I would highly recommend. It’s a small sailboats only marina with a friendly environment. “Going the extra mile” for transients are not a typical occurrence but Rick Burr knows how to welcome weary sailors. He knows Lake Huron intimately and is willing to spend time with the less experienced until they are comfortable with their sail plan. Rides offered, WiFi Internet information provided, restaurant recommendations, the list is endless. The rest room and shower facilities are more than adequate. A sailor on sabbatical Rick and his wife opted for the comforts of a trawler but it’s clear there is
another sailboat in their future.

We decided on a two-day stay at Lake Huron Yachts as the forecast for 25 mile an hour winds and seven-foot waves intimidated us.

We had dinner at a great Italian restaurant at 105 Michigan in Point Edward just a few blocks from the marina. Oilcloth tablecloths, clothe napkins and an owner who talks with each and every patron to determine their dinner selection for the evening (no menus). Everything is created fresh even the pasta. It was a memorable authentic Italian dinner. No need to labor over a dressing selection for your salad. Everyone gets as glass of ice water and a fresh romaine salad with a wedge of tomato dressed with oil and wine vinegar. Louie and Antonietta Mele run Salvatore’s Trattoria & Restaurante. Reservations are not required but it’s a good idea 519-344-2855. There are a lot of nice eating establishments within walking distance of the marina including the Prince Edward Charity Casino where we enjoyed a Sunday morning breakfast after a bike ride.

Mike has been troubled by what he calls a chatter in the engine. He has attempted to resolve this issue numerous times. Today, when Rick stopped by to see if we needed anything Mike turned on the engine and Rick helped him identify the problem. The alternator bracket had severed. This is reminiscent of our breakdown and tow to Erie last year. Rick contacted a local welder who is available tomorrow morning. If all goes well we still plan to leave tomorrow but sailors go with the flow and never plan too far ahead.

Lake Huron Yachts
Phone: 519-542-8125
Waypoint in our slip: N 43°00.086'
W 082°24.708'

Pointers for fellow cruisers:

A. Before you walk ten long blocks to a Laundromat in Canada with a backpack full of laundry make sure you have Canadian quarters. Not much open in Canada on Sunday; no place to get Canadian change and no change machine in the Laundromat.
B. Before you head out to a Casino for brunch call and see if the last time they had a brunch was three years ago. Some of the Guides we purchased for this trip have incorrect and outdated information including waypoints and phone numbers.
C. Bicycles are a necessity for the cruiser and backpacks are handy for schlepping purchases.
D. An extra tarp can be useful when your Bimini leaks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tying Up Loose Ends

Augusr 24, 2006

A little over three weeks and we'll be off on our big adventure. Mike has to deliver a boat, take care of tax clients, rent an apartment, make arrangements for his dog, put the farm in a realtor's hands and mow all the lawns. It's what he calls semi-retired.

I'm off to visit family in western NY and do Grandmother duty while Mike is going to deliver our 1975 27' Catalina. I can't believe he sold it.

Now we are down to two boats. Well, I think you can call the item in the yard a boat. The boat was nameless when he acquired it and he wanted to name the boat Carol Ann but I told him no thanks, do not name that puddle jumper after me. He liked that and now Puddle Jumper is the name of the boat.

We have mixed emotions about selling the farm. We wile away many ours by the creek and feel like we have our own state park. We especially enjoy the bicycle path that runs through the property.

Puppy dog is a main concern for Mike. We often see cruisers with dogs but it not something we will ever consider.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Buffalo to Home Port

Tuesday, July 18. 2006
Here we go's 6:30 AM and we are off to Dunkirk. Some of the locals told us it is a fun port . Unfortunately the wind and waves were in our face. We were able to sail only three hours out of the eight and arrived in Dunkirk at 2:30 PM. We docked at Chadwick Bay Marina which gives a discount to USBoat members (very reasonable) . We rode our bikes, checked out the Maritime Museum and had a great dinner.

Tuesday, July 19, 2006
A 6:30 start and we are at Preque Isle State Park Marina in a mere 8 1/2 hours.
We decide to anchor out in the far west end of the bay and Mike proves to be quite adept at securing the anchor. We settle in next to a great old boat, Mike grills a couple of steaks and as the boat gently turns we enjoy a circular view of wonderful sights.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fairport is a 70 mile trek so we started out at 5:45 AM and were delighted we were able to sail. The sky had been overcast all day and we had our weather gear handy. We did not anticipate the severe thunderstorm with 50 mile an hour winds that came upon us. Forunately Mike had dropped the sails, we had our life jackets on and he was able to keep the bow pointed into the weather. Our Bimini took quite a beating and will require substantial repairs but we we have gained confidence in our boat and Mike's sailing skills. We docked at Geneva State Park once the weather subsided and just missed another storm.

Friday July 21, 2006

The weather looked OK as we headed for Vermillion. Just past Lorraine we sighted a Lake freighter. I can tell you the name: American Fortitude because we had a very close (I would say too close) view of the ship. It's difficult to judge the speed of the freights and the Captain wasn't sure if he should turn and go behind it or pass in front of it. You be the judge.

We anchored at the Vermillion Public Dock this trip and had a great view of all the comings and goings of the locals out for an evening cruise. There are some great old boats at Vermillion.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Only 55 miles to our homeport Anchor Point in Curtice, Ohio. Three to five foot waves and 15 MPH wind with 25 to 30 mile an hour gusts provided rather challanging. At first riding the waves was fun but became tedious after three or four hours. It was a good feeling to be back in our home port. We survived the Buffalo excursion so its looke like we are destined to do The Great Circle