News from Lake Huron

Quoted from a letter from Dick Wilke (10/16/98)

In August I sailed up the Michigan shore of Lake Huron with Fred Geburt, a 77 year old Canadian friend as crew. He and his wife had a sailboat for 30 years, and he was great company. We anchored in Presque Isle Harbor, and hiked around the area until my daughter Linda and friend sue Ross arrived from Grand Rapids. They joined me for a sail through the North Channel the second week. We sailed the Whalesback Channel, which is in the northern part of the North Channel, stopping a many of my favorite anchorages, such as Clara Island, Beardrop Harbor, Oak Bay, and the Benjamins. At Little Current we saw Frances Langford’s huge motor yacht, which had stopped to order 1200 gallons of diesel for their return trip to Florida!

We sailed to Browning Cove, arriving at dusk, and were greeted by Bob Grindahl from the A-37 yawl NARCISA, who invited us aboard for a drink. Bob and Linda were in this very cove when Gord Murphy (INTERLUDE) and I met them a year ago! They invited a Canadian couple from a 1969 A-37 sloop, and a retired doctor and wife from an A-30 anchored near us. Four Albergs in one little cove – it was quite an evening!

After a stop at Rattlesnake Harbor, with it’s fishing shacks in ruins, we had a grand sail to Tobermory, where we were met by my friends Fred Laidig, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, who spent four years aboard ships as an electrician, and Terry O’Connor, who until recently owned a Catalina 3- next to us at our club. The women departed in Terry’s car, and the men sailed with me down the Canadian shore. We spent two nights in Stokes Bay, a wild place where a local cottager showed us a Mississauga Rattlesnake he had caught, and was about to release. We stayed out of the high grass on shore!

We also stopped Kincardine, where we heard the bagpiper at the top of the lighthouse playing the pipes at sunset.

At Bayfield, a lovely old town, we admired hundreds of sailboats in the river marinas, and hiked around the town. A tough slog to Lexington, Michigan in 20 knot winds and 5 ft seas wore us out, but we managed to dodge two thunderstorms just before arriving. Next morning the lake was like a millpond, and we had to motor down to Sarnia Yacht Club.

In case you hadn’t heard, Gord Murphy made it back to Sarnia in late summer, in spite of many mishaps during the past season. I hope he will send you an account of his adventures in the Bahamas, returning to Florida, and eventually Canada. I couldn’t begin to do them justice, but Gord prevailed in spite of many obstacles. He is truly a survivor!

Best wishes to all,

Dick Wilke

(Ed. Note: We had heard that Gord had made it back to Sarnia after his mis-adventures the past year. We understand that Gord towed his boat at least part way using his dinghy – an amazing feat, especially through the canals etc. Gord and Wendy spent several days with us about 4 years ago in Kinsale, on their trip south. They truly are a remarkable couple! We would love to hear from Gord and Wendy, and receive a firsthand account of losing INTERLUDE’s rudder, rudder improvisation, constructing a new rudder, and his engineless transit of the ICW.)