What we did last summer – Part II

Here it is, March 17, 2014, nine months after our sailing trip in June of 2013. And here I am, sitting in the living room in the early-morning quiet of spring break, the boys still asleep, replaying in my mind the snapshots of last summer: Jake lazily dangling an arm over the side of the dinghy on a warm, still afternoon; Josh eagerly cranking on the fishing reel in the hope of hauling in a beautiful silver salmon; both boys cuddling with their grandpa as he reads to them. The snapshots are almost endless, and entirely invaluable. And they’re a big part of why we sail.


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The four boys – my dad, Jake, Josh, and I – cruised for three weeks last summer. Although we would have liked to have had more of the family along, summer school and other commitments tied them to the dock. The boys had been chattering excitedly about Beaver Island, at the top of the lake, so without any definite plans, dates, or deadlines we set off for points north.

They say in these parts that if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes. Our departure day was one of those crazy Michigan days when the lake is a flat calm and there isn’t so much as a breath of wind – a little surprising for early June. We hoisted the drifter and waited well beyond 5 minutes for a change. When the weather refused to cooperate, we fired up the diesel late in the afternoon and motored for Holland.

The first evening was a spectacular reminder of why we love this lake!

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With the thrum of the diesel in the background, we soaked in the first sunset of the trip, snacked on some tasty treats, and enjoyed being together on the boat.

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We arrived in Holland well after dark and found our usual anchorage occupied by a barge and tug, so we picked up a vacant mooring ball in front of Eldean Shipyard.

Perhaps because we slept in late, we decided to spend the day in Holland. My little fishermen were eager to see what treasures Lake Macatawa would yield, so we fished (without luck) and rowed around in the Trinka.

The boys’ first boat-based fishing experience was quite the laugh. The prospect of baiting their hook with a squirming worm was almost more than they could handle, but it was time for them to learn – there was no way I was going to be baiting hooks for the entire trip! What followed was a discussion of the finer points of annelid anatomy.

This season was our first cruise with the Trinka 10, which we purchased fall of 2012, and although we decided long ago that towing a dinghy is too much hassle, the desire to teach the boys to row and sail outweighed the negatives. Beyond that, as readers of this blog might know, I had a 7′ Fatty Knees as a kid, and the Trinka is my second chance at acting like a kid again. I stepped the mast, bent on the sail, and relived my younger years.

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