5/24/17: We left Black River Harbor around 7:15AM. The fog was just lifting, and by the time we got to the lake, it was clear enough to not use radar. The wind was blowing NE at a measly 2 knots, right from the direction we were heading. We wouldn’t be able to sail, so we pointed the bow towards Ontonagon, and just kept motoring.
The journey there
The journey there was relatively uneventful. The scenery is awesome. For the first 25 miles or so, we saw no structures; no homes, no cottages, nothing. We saw the Porcupine Mountains for most of the trip. They are incredible to see from the lake when you can really take them all in at a distance.
We had only 2 surprises on our trip up to Ontonagon. The first was being hailed on VHF by a couple of fishermen. We kept talking on channel 16, which is a big no-no, but we knew we were out of range of pretty much everything, so we didn’t bother changing channels. However, after a minute or so, we heard The Coast Guard in Bayfield tell us to clear the channel. We switched to 11, finished our chat, and then checked our chartplotter to see how far Bayfield was. It was 46nm away (about 53 “regular” miles)! Holy cow! Upgrading our radio, cable, and antenna paid off – that’s twice the distance we should have been able to send or receive. Our second surprise were how the waves changed, pretty much instantly, about 5 miles from Ontonagon. They went from 1 footers to 5-6 footers in a heartbeat! We spent the final hour crashing through waves, water splashing over the bow! Woo-Hoo!
We didn’t do much here, it was pretty much just a stop-over. The marina itself was nice, and the staff very friendly and helpful. We were a little anxious going in, as the entrance buoys were about 15 feet apart, and we were told to keep to the left for deeper water. Our beam (width) is 12 feet, so we practically scraped the left (green) buoy. The fuel dock and pump-out were right near the entrance, although we went over one spot where the depth said 6.2 (we have 6 feet of keel underwater). The only negative to the marina is that there isnt anything nearby. The town is on the opposite side of the river from the marina. It’s too far to walk to the only bridge over the river, and we just didn’t feel like taking the dinghy across. So, we grabbed a quick shower (the first in 2 days), made dinner, and relaxed for the rest of the evening. The showers and rest rooms were also clean.
Our next stop is Lily Pond Harbor of Refuge, about 38nm away, where we plan to just tie up for a night before going in to Houghton/Hancock.