Dahlfin II Status

Last updated: October 18, 2001

| Start | Lake Superior | Lake Huron |
| Lake Erie | Erie Canal |

Note: Phone calls are numbered consecutively and each area they visit is marked as a new section.


46 47.360 N / 90 51.405 W

Saturday June 8, 1996. Port Superior, Wisconsin (near Bayfield).

Ready to leave on Friday about noon but a real voyage cannot start on a Friday. A departing dinner with friends and then off into the Apostle Islands in the morning to rest. The good news is the engine, electrical, and refrigeration systems recently installed all seem to be working.

Saturday Night, departing party at Stockton Island. (46 54.868 N / 90 33.116 W) Rested Sunday before leaving at 3am Monday morning for Isle Royale.

Lake Superior:

1) Phone call from Rossport, 6-26-96. Both are in good health and high spirits and have been hiking quite a bit.

6-11-96, 47 54.73 N / 89 09.48 W Windigo (Isle Royale)

6-15-96, 48 08.76 N / 88 29.13 W Rock Harbor (Isle Royale)

6-19-96, 48 32.34 N / 88 21.39 W Loon Harbor, Canada

6-21-96, 48 56.80 N / 88 15.21 W Red Rock (near Nipigon), Canada

6-23-96, 48 41.89 N / 88 00.52 W CPR Slip, Grandma Schardin (Bonnie's mom) is 80 today.

6-26-96, 48 50.03 N / 87 31.19 W Rossport, Canada

Problems: Slight electrical problem with charging system - had to reboot Ample Power system - seems to work now. Genoa halyard failed north of Isle Royale in 15 knots of wind, the wire-rope splice parted.

2) Phone call from Sault Ste Marie, 7-15-96.

6-27-96, 48 39.379 N / 87 00.839 W Slate Islands

6-28-96, 48 41.076 N / 86 36.823 W Alouez Island

6-30-96, 48 35.141 N / 86 16.773 W Pulpwood Harbour

7-6-96, 48 06.900 N / 86 03.823 W Otter Head

7-7-96, 47 53.791 N / 85 37.694 W Cousin's Harbor, Michipicoten Island

7-8-96, 47 48.576 N / 84 55.637 W Brule Harbour, Received a radio call from Sue McDonald (Winter Solstice), will rendevouz with them when they are in Buffalo NY.

7-9-96, 47 35.288 N / 85 00.443 W Gargantua

7-10-96, 47 22.461 N / 85 42.155 W Sinclair Cove

7-11-96, 47 22.461 N / 84 42.155 W Whitefish Bay

7-12-96, 46 30.449 N / 84 20.176 W Sault Ste Marie

7-14-96, 46 03.067 N / 83 45.634 W Harbour Island

News: Received mail drop. Ordered and received from Defender a nicropress tool, new sheets, and another spare halyard.

Current Plans: Plan on making better time down Lake Huron and Erie. Should be in Detroit MI by the weekend of July 20-21. Buffalo NY in two weeks. At eastern end of Lake Erie take down mast and enter canal system (Erie/Welland).

Lake Huron:

3) Phone call from Sarnia MI (southern end of Lake Huron), 7-22-96.

7-16-96, 45 19.82 N / 83 28.78 W
Prescott, MI

7-17-96, 44 39.56 N / 83 17.09 W
Harrisville, MI

7-18-96, 43 50.92 N / 82 38.23 W
Harbor Beach, MI

7-19-96, 43 25.90 N / 82 32.27 W Port Sanilac MI, towed in, lay over 1 day putting in flapper valve in exhaust system.

7-21-96, 43 00.13 N / 82 24.88 W Port Sarnia Yacht Club, MI. Note: reciprocity between yacht clubs for docking fees is nonexistent.

News: On July 19 were heading down Lake Huron before 25-30 knots of wind with large following seas. Water forced its way in past water lift muffler, filled one of the pistons in the engine, and finally came out the air filter. Coming into Port Sanilac (which is a shallow entrance) the engine wouldn't start. Hove to with just the lapper (110% blade) up while looking at the engine. Called on the radio for a tow. A 25' boat with a 200 hp. boat came out and eventually towed them in and 15 people waiting at the dock fended off. The usual snafoos occurred with dealing with power boaters - they didn't realize how much sailboats draw or how heavy they are (at one critical point they were going to cut the line). Tow cost: $100. No major damage, one scratch on the port toe rail from coming up against a wood piling when coming in.

Lesson: Need a flapper valve in exhaust between transom and loop for water lift muffler. Installed a bronze one the next day.

Current Plans: Leaving Lake Huron July 22, no other dates given.

Lake Erie:

4) Phone call Pittsford NY, 8-8-96

7-23-96, 41 39.38 N / 82 49.22 W Putin Bay in the Bass Islands (Lake Erie), Sailed down St. Clair River past Detroit making 8-9 knots with current.

7-24-96, 41 29.25 N / 81 50.00 W Cleveland, OH

7-25-96, 41 54.03 N / 80 47.90 W Ashtabula, OH

7-26-96, 42 09.38 N / 80 07.25 W Erie, Pennsylvania

7-27-96, 42 29.36 N / 79 20.20 W Dunkirk, NY

7-28-96, 43 01.81 N / 78 52.95 W Tonnawonda, suburb of Buffalo, NY (left the Great Lakes)

7-29-96 laid over one day to take mast down before entering Erie Canal system.

Erie Canal:

7-31-96, 43 10.20 N / 78 41.63 W Entered Erie Canal at Lock #35

8-1-96, 43 12.73 N / 78 28.72 W Middleport

8-2-96, 43 12.96 N / 77 56.00 W Brockport

8-3-96, 43 05.51 N / 77 30.84 W Pittsford, suburb of Rochester NY. Met Craig and Sue McDonald (Winter Solstice).

8-4-96, 43 06.07 N / 77 26.41 W Fairport, suburb of Rochester NY.

News:Here is email from Sue McDonald about finding them in the Erie Canal:

Hi Peter. I hope I got your address right. Craig and I met up with your Mom and Dad on Saturday, August 3rd in the Erie Barge Canal at lock 33, just east of Rochester. They didn't know we were looking for them and it was quite a surprise for your mom when we met up with them.

We crossed the border at Niagara Falls and checked in at a couple of locks east of there. After looking over the lock-master's log books and making a few phone calls we were able to figure out when they would arrive at their next lock. We drove over to lock 33 and waited for about 20 minutes before they arrived. We watched, unnoticed, until they got tied up to the wall and settled (they thought that we were just one of the dozen onlookers watching boats go through the locks) and then Craig yelled "Are you having fun". Your mom gave him dirty look, but politely answered yes. I then said "Hi Bonnie" and then she recognized us.

We watched them go down the lock and then drove to lock 32 and talked to them again and arranged to meet at the next town where they had planned on stopping for the day and which was five minutes away (Pittsford) where we had a great visit. We took them out for lunch and then went back to the boat and went over our route on the National Geographic maps that we had used to plot our entire trip in 1981/82. We found that keeping these road maps on the chart table gave us a better overall picture of where we were in relation to land and the cities, than the large scale charts. We left them with them and they will return them when they are finished with them.

Anyway, we talked for hours about where we stopped and about locking, bridge clearances, and tides. We also talked about our family and yours, and memories came back about playing cards together on the North Shore, the Scavenger Hunt at Alouez and all the fun we had every summer. We had a great visit!

Hope to hear from you and look forward to hearing news of the progress of the Dahlfin.

All the best,
Sue McDonald (Winter Solstice)

5) Phone message from Catskill NY, 8-16-96

8-6-96, 43 05.92 N / 76 28.57 W anchored in Cross Lake

8-7-96, 43 14.28 N / 76 11.09 W Lock #23

8-9-96, 43 12.12 N / 75 26.97 W Rome, NY

8-12-96, 42 56.44 N / 74 17.49 W anchored in the Schoharie River

8-13-96, 42 48.25 N / 73 50.87 W Lock #7

8-14-96, 42 22.16 N / 73 43.82 W Coxsackie, Hudson River, out of the Erie Canal

8-15-96, Catskill River, stepped mast. Continued in East Coast description.

(next update)

79) 6-2-00, pocket email message from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

6-10-00, 42 29.38 N / 79 20.16 W, Dunkirk, NY

Wind SW (right on the nose) 20 k - lots of tacking. Tied up to east side municipal pier.

6-12-00, 41 58.53 N / 80 32.97 W, Conneaut, Ohio

Anchored in outer harbor. Lots of commercial shipping - even at night.

6-13-00, 41 29.55 N / 81 43.78 W, Cleveland, Ohio

Tied up to the Edgewater Marine on western side of Cleveland.

6-14-00, 41 39.37 N / 82 49.22 W, Put-in-Bay

Nice sail on south wind. Go ashore for supper and look at all the tourist shops.

6-15-00, 42 20.57 N / 82 14.70 W, Peche Is., Detroit River

Had really been dreading this part of the return trip - "up the down staircase" of the Detroit River against 2-3 k of current. But took advantage of a stong SW wind (20-25 k) and were able to average 5 k going up stream. Very little transient accomodation for our draft on the river - so anchored behind Peche Island.

6-16-00, 42 58.49 N / 82 25.33 W, Port Huron

Once again we had 20-25 k southerly winds to help push us up the river. Stayed at the Port Huron Yacht Club - VERY nice folks.

6-17-00, 43 50.85 N / 82 38.08 W, Harbor Beach, L. Huron

Because of the low water levels on L. Huron (3 1/2 ft lower than normal) we can't get into most harbors. Hence some very long days. Anchored in the outer harbor.

6-18-00, 44 39.55 N / 83 17.09 W, Harrisville

Had planned on anchoring in the harbor, but not enough water. With barely inches under the keel, we made it to the outer dock. Fellow sailors tell us they haven't even put their boats in the water because there is no place to go with the shallow depths.

6-19-00, 45 19.81 N / 83 28.79 W, Presque Isle.

Motorsail on very light winds. No problem anchoring in the harbor.

6-20-00, 45 57.90 N / 83 50.90 W, Whitney Bay

Great downwind sail (wind SE 20-25 k) all the way to Whitney Bay.

6-21-00, 46 01.54 N / 83 44.90 W, Drummond Island, Yacht Haven

Pick up mail and boxes at the Yacht Haven. Lots of new improvements since we left 4 years ago.

6-22-00, 46 03.01 N / 83 45.46 W, Harbor Island

Motor over to the island. Go through mail and just relax - we've been pushing pretty hard the past 2 weeks.

6-23-00, 46 17.12 N / 84 06.69 W, St. Marys River

Anchored off to the side outside the buoys south of the Middle Neebish Channel - about 1/2 way to the Soo.

6-24-00, 46 29.98 N / 84 20.25 W, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

Motored the rest of the way up the St. Marys River to the Soo. Tied up at the new George Kemp Marina on the American side. Spend the rest of the day visiting the locks and gathering data for the new edition of Superior Way. Tomorrow we head across to the Canadian Side. We are getting pretty excited about getting back into Lake Superior and can hardly wait.

80) 7-18-00, pocket email message from Hatties Cove, Lake Superior

We are at Hatties Cove and our first bit of civilization (a telephone) in almost 3 weeks - it has been just wonderful. Can't tell you how much we are enjoying being back on L. Superior. We have had really great weather with only a little rain and fog. And we have enjoyed so much going back to our old favorites and exploring new anchorages.

6-29-00, 46 30.03 N / 84 43.18 W, Lle Parisienne

7-1-00, 47 22.45 N / 84 42.19 W, Sinclair Cove

7-4-00, 47 35.30 N / 85 00.46 W, Warp Bay

7-5-00, 47 48.52 N / 84 55.65 W, Brule Hbr.

7-7-00, 48 00.80 N / 85 59.86 W, Imogene Cove

7-9-00, 48 05.13 N / 85 59.87 W, The Cove, OtterHead

7-10-00, 48 06.87 N / 86 03.81 W, Old Daves Hbr.

7-11-00, 48 15.59 N / 86 08.10 W, Simons Hbr.

7-13-00, 48 22.80 N / 86 11.51 W, Dampier Cove

7-14-00, 48 27.24 N / 86 13.93 W, Morrison Island

7-16-00, 48 33.25 N / 86 16.08 W, White River

7-18-00, 48 35.16 N / 86 16.84 W, Pulpwood Hbr.

We have been just thrilled to get back into L. Superior. The majesty and grandeur of it's east shore is magnificent with high rising bluffs of the Laurentian Plateau, endless green from the Northern Boreal Forest. We have done a lot of hiking inland and along the rocky shorelines. Our companions are moose, otter, herons, and gulls. The days are never long enough.

81) 8-8-00, pocket email message from Thunder Bay

7-20-00, 48 43.69 N / 86 33.10 W, Foster Island

7-21-00, 48 41.09 N / 86 33.10 W, Allouez

7-22-00, 48 39.45 N / 87 00.76 W, Pike's Bay, Slate Islands

7-24-00, 48 45.80 N / 87 29.26 W, Boat Harbour, Wilson Island

7-25-00, 48 49.97 N / 87 31.31 W, Rossport

7-27-00, 48 45.20 N / 87 37.51 W, Morn Harbour

7-28-00, 48 45.23 N / 87 43.20 W, Woodbine

7-29-00, 48 41.90 N / 88 00.54 W, CPR Slip

7-31-00, 48 37.23 N / 88 13.49 W, West Otter Cove

8-1-00, 48 31.35 N / 88 30.39 W, Loon Harbour

8-3-00, 48 21.74 N / 88 38.11 W, Walker's Channel

8-4-00, 48 19.01 N / 88 53.08 W, Tee Harbour East

8-5-00, 48 21.86 N / 89 07.27 W, Welcome Islands

8-6-00, 48 26.01 N / 89 12.96 W, Thunder Bay

We are beginning to meet cruising friends from years back and met our first boat from our home port in Rossport. Everyone is being really great in welcoming us back - it's kind of nice to be heading towards home waters.

82) 8-21-00, pocket email message from Grand Marais

8-8-00, 48 05.31 N / 89 09.xx W, Thompson Island

8-9-00, 48 05.31 N / 88 42.34 W, McCargos Cove

8-10-00, 48 09.82 N / 88 29.93 W, Duncan Bay

8-11-00, 48 08.76 N / 88 29.13 W, Rock Harbor

8-14-00, 48 05.47 N / 88 35.64 W, Daisy Farm

8-15-00, 48 01.41 N / 88 39.69 W, Chippewa Harbor

8-17-00, 47 56.02 N / 88 56.49 W, Hay Bay

8-18-00, 47 53.36 N / 89 14.47 W, Johns Island

8-19-00, 47 24.30 N / 90 20.18 W, Grand Marais

There were a few changes at Isle Royale with the implementation of the General Management Plan: daily user fees and quiet, no wake zones - nothing we can't live with. Did a fair bit of hiking on the trails, more research and LOTS of writing (I need a week of lay-over days).

83) 9-8-00, pocket email message from Cornucopia, WI

8-23-00, 46 54.79 N / 90 33.01 W, Stockton Island, Apostle Islands

8-25-00, 46 46.36 N / 90 46.68 W, Madeline Island

We came back to the Apostle Islands to attend the Great Lakes Cruising Club Rally. It was great fun and a great reunion to see all our friends from our home cruising area.

8-27-00, 47 06.10 N / 90 49.90 W, Raspberry Bay

8-28-00, 47 17.25 N / 91 16.48 W, Silver Bay

8-29-00, 46 56.71 N / 91 46.88 W, Knife River, MN

8-30-00, 46 46.46 N / 92 05.59 W, Lakehead Boat Basin

We spend a couple of days meeting with the publishers for Superior Way. Also take in the sights in Duluth.

9-2-00, 46 42.94 N / 92 03.32 W, Barkers Island, Superior, WI

Waiting for mail.

9-8-00, 46 51.46 N / 91 06.15 W, Cornucopia, WI

Went into Port Wing earlier in the day - still checking and gathering data for Superior Way.

84) 10-23-00, pocket email message from Port Superior, WI

9-10-00, 46 59.49 N / 90 55.67 W, Justice Bay, Apostle Islands

Sailed back around the north end of Sand Island to Justice Bay. Hiked to the lighthouse, took pics of the sea caves for the book.

9-11-00, 46 54.73 N / 90 33.0 W, Presque Isle Bay Stockton Dock

More hiking. See bears

9-13-00, 46 40.02 N / 90 02.94 W, Black River, MI

Checked on updates for the book. More hiking.

9-17-00 thru 10-15-00,

Return to the Apostles and spend the rest of the time cruising in the islands. It's neat to be here in mid-week as there are few other boats out - often we literally have the islands to ourselves seeing no other boats for days at a time. Often it's like it was 25 years ago before all the boats came. We watch the fall come, peak and then recede, tuning in with the tempo of the subtle changes of Mother Nature. We weather a number of cold fronts as they pass through, sometimes with gale force winds. But then the reprieve comes with beautiful warm sunny days and gentle sails beneath the sandstone bluffs and the bright yellows, oranges, and reds of the changing leaves.

In early October we go into Bayfield briefly so Ron can get a ride home with sailing friends, Larry and Jan DeMars, to fetch our car. Then it's back to the islands for one last cold front complete with SNOW and temps in the low 20's. More sunny days and then it's time to go in. It is with mixed feelings that we come back to our home port, Port Superior. It's been almost 4 1/2 years and over 15,000 miles since we left. The memories of palm trees, sand beaches, and coral reefs now come flooding in. And most important is the wonderful friends we made during those years. We went to many different and beautiful countries, but it is probably the cruising community we will remember the most as it was a special priviledge to be part of it through the years. And so this part of the adventure comes to an end as once again we become seasonal. We are presently getting ready to haul the boat for winter - it took us a week to get off all the accumulations of over 4 years. We look forward to many more years of cruising on the Great Lakes - and who knows - maybe some day - once again.

We want to thank our son, Peter, for setting up the Web Page and all his efforts through the past 4 years to make sure our entries were entered. We know that all of you share in this thanks for the wonderful job he did. It was his idea and we never thought when we began that it would mushroom into such a following. We want to thank all of you who 'tuned in' and followed our ventures. Some of you we were even able to meet in person or via e-mail. We hope we may have contributed information for helping you with your sailing dreams and achieving your own bit of paradise. And so for now we "close to navigation" - over and out.


90) 10-18-01, pocket email message from Apostle Islands

Some of you have asked why we haven't written about the summer, so here goes. We arrived back in the states from South Africa on 7 June after 2 long days of travel time. We were in our house barely 24 hours (side trips to visit Kristin and Bonnie's Mom) and literally dropped of our South Africa stuff and loaded our boat stuff into the car and headed up to Bayfield. (We still haven't unpacked our South Africa stuff.) In Bayfield we were pleasantly greated with the 3rd edition of Superior Way which had come out when we were gone. The publishers did an especially nice job with this edition and Bonnie is VERY GLAD to have all the work done. After a few days of record time in getting the boat ready, we launched and headed out into the Apostle Islands.

With such a late start to the season, we sailed directly to Isle Royale and then worked our way up the Canadian shoreline to Rossport where we left the boat, hired a rental car and drove down to Duluth to the first-ever-on-Lake-Superior Great Lakes Cruising Club Rendezvous. It was a great success and we enjoyed getting together with all of our friends and making new friends from the lower lakes. A particular highpoint for us was that Peter and Dianne were able to drive up and join us for 24 hours. We hadn't seen them for some time and it was great fun to take them around to visit our friends, many of whom Peter knew from his earlier days sailing with us. Many of them had new boats so it was almost like an "in the water boat show".

After returning to Rossport, we headed to the Slate Islands and then Michipicoten Island in a couple of big jumps. (Had lots of fog and were able to sharpen our navigational skills.) From there we slowly worked our way back up Superior's east and north shores visiting all our old favorites and exploring/charting new anchorages. It was the first time we weren't on a schedule to write a book or get back in time for jobs and we thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely pace. We had always wanted to be on Isle Royale for Labor Day, this time we were able to accomplish that goal.

We got back to the Apostles in mid-September and cruised in the islands for a month with a trip to Black River Harbor. Once again we enjoyed the fall, hiking in the islands, sailing in the brisk winds. We are presently hauling the boat and getting it ready for the winter. The Superior wilderness is just great for cruising - wish the season was a little longer.