Tag Archives: fishing

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.

What we did last summer – Part I

So, let’s see…where to begin? It’s been a while. Last season started with this:


That’s the water heater that used to reside in the starboard cockpit locker. Unfortunately, the batteries also reside in the same locker and we wanted to increase our house bank by two, so the eviction notice had been served. In all the years we’ve owned Ariel, we’ve never used the water heater’s AC system. And though we have enjoyed the engine-heat generated hot water for doing dishes, we figured we’d try living without it for a year to see if we missed it. (We didn’t).

It was nice to get the heater out of there and give the locker a bit of cleaning.


That’s obviously before the cleaning.

So out with the heater and in with four Duracell EGC2 six-volt batteries and a Blue Seas Automatic Charging Relay with Starting Isolation.


Once the ACR and batteries were in place, I came up with better placement and a way to secure them:


The system more than met our summer cruise electrical needs. Additionally, we now have valuable fuse protection that was not part of the old battery bank.

Ariel splashed in early May (or was it late April?), and I finished up my end-of-year teaching responsibilities. Here’s a pre-launch glamor shot.


And a pic of me at graduation with one of my students – ok, two pics 😉

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Then there were the little projects and details that took place once Ariel was in the water. Some of them more important than others:

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The boys (well, admittedly, I too) got hooked on fishing at the start of the season. And for good reason: they had some incredible luck!

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The boys’ luck was so good that I had to drop what I was doing aboard Ariel about every 15 minutes and scramble out of the cabin and up on the dock, then run in the direction of the excited yells of “Daddy! Daddy! I got another one!” More than once, I had just returned to the boat, picked up a tool when I’d hear another shriek of excitement. Really, though, I was just as excited as the boys (and I think they knew that). To save the battery on my phone, I eventually quit taking trophy pictures of their catch.

Somewhere along the way, I scraped the ablative bottom paint off of the Trinka 10 and covered it with VC17. Then it was off to the marina.

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And because I’m a child at heart, the first order of business was more work having some fun. I dumped the dinghy in the water and introduced my boys to rowing a little boat, one of the many cool things I got to do as a kid.

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That last picture is of me in my 7′ Fatty Knees sailing dinghy. I was about the same age as Jake!

And no rowing trip is complete without admiring your own yacht from the water.


Looking back on it, we crammed in a lot of living and fun well before summer even started! Life is good!

Part II to follow (eventually).

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